Why You Must Plan Ahead When Traveling and How to Make Safety Plans

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Travel Planning

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plans

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Recently, I hiked Mount Rainer with my friend Cosmina. We had a plan for water, mosquitoes, minor first aid, and of course, snacks! We set off.  What we didn’t make was a plan in case we got separated. The odds were really slim that we would get separated but we didn’t make a safety plan. Getting lost or separated didn’t really seem likely or possible to us. However, it doesn’t make much sense to leave the car or start on a hike without making a safety plan. It’s a smart idea, when traveling or hiking to plan ahead and to make safety plans.

Plan Ahead – The Why and How to Make a Safety Plan

We started early, about 6:00 am, driving to Mount Rainier from Bellevue Washington in the middle of the week. Weekends are horribly busy at Mount Rainier – I don’t recommend going on the weekend. We made it to Mt. Rainier National Park in about 2.5 hours. the sky was a little hazy. The closer we got to the mountain the sunnier the sky became until it was a gorgeous sunny blue sky day.

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

We got our backpacks on, took our selfies and us’y photos, and began our hike. It’s a strenuous hike about 4 miles although my fit bit said it was 5.6 miles if you take the longest route. it was hot and the sun could bake a hiker if they weren’t wearing sunscreen at 7,000 plus feet. We saw people in shorts, flip-flops, halter tops, and the mosquitoes loved biting them. We sprayed bug repellent on before we left the car. Lathered up with sunscreen and we were ready to hike

At Mount Rainier, Remember Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

How to Make a Safety Plans

This brings me to the point of this post. We Plan Ahead, that is just how Cosmina and I are, and maybe why we are good friends. Last year, we went to Beliz together on a mission trip to build a house for a lady with 4 children. Surviving that made us friends for life, it wasn’t hard to do, but, it showed us that we shared lots of common traits, like planning ahead. Most of the people on the trip didn’t so we felt good that our planning avoided a lot of mishaps.

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety PlanMoving Forward

On the trail, we saw people we had passed before and new people – no one was memorable, but, they shouldn’t be. What is memorable is the Mount Rainier views, the meadows, the mountain landscape, the power of nature, the breathtaking beauty, and the divine design.

The hike is one that makes you feel your humanity and how small each human is in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t think about anything except the trail, breathing and resting from time to time, as we drank tons of water.

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

How to Make a Safety Plans

Our safety plan included things we needed for a full day hike, in case something happened.

How to make a safety plan is pretty easy

Just think about what could go wrong. and pretend you are McGiver and what you will need to get out safely. The basics that we brought were water, lots of water, that was our number one necessity. I had other things everyone should carry to be safe. Probably the items below should be in everyone’s travel bag and hiking pack. Truly, you don’t want to get sunburned, bitten by bugs, or snakes, or run out of food or water, when traveling, no matter where you are.

Safety Plan and Supplies

  1. Water – 3 litters
  2. First aid kit
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Thermal emergency blanket
  5. Bug spray or bug repellant
  6. Lightweight coat
  7. Our families’ phone numbers – in case we need to reach them in an emergency
  8. Powerbar, nuts, seeds, snacks that are easy to metabolize, some extra in case someone was hurt
  9. Know where the car is parked
  10. Know what you will do if you get separated – plan ahead

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

Skyline Meadow – the Long Path

We enjoyed the views, the mountains were spectacular and compared to the tiny wildflowers it was a sight for contrasts. There were streams, the waterfalls were small, and when we walked past glaciers, we could feel a slight wind like a natural air conditioner was on, blowing a breeze in our direction. It’s very hard to get lost on the Skyline Loop because it’s a loop.Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

Why Make a Safety Plan

After we passed the meadow above and walked out of the meadow we ran into someone that had seen us before. It was three young men. One of the young guys was 9, 10 and 14. The 14-year-old, whose name is Hudson, the same as my grandson, seemed a little upset. The older, 14-years-old asked if we had seen a man in a red striped shirt. We said no. Next, I don’t really know how it came out, but, the eldest said, we lost our family. they had run back up the mountain and couldn’t find them and were ready to go back since we said, we hadn’t seen them. I explained that because we hadn’t seen them didn’t mean they hadn’t passed us, it just meant we don’t remember them or notice who passed us. Going back up wasn’t an option for me. They didn’t have a jacket or water with them. It wasn’t late, only about 1:00 pm, but, going back wasn’t an option in my opinion.

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

Keep Moving Forward

We told them they were safe now. And to stay with us. We all headed down to go to the ranger station. Thankfully they listened to us. I asked did they have a plan in case they got separated from each other? They explained they hadn’t gotten around to it before they got separated. A few times Hudson got a little upset. A hug and encouraging words were all it took to cheer him up. I turned around and said this to Hudson.

“It’s ok to ask for help. Always ask for help that is a good thing to do. Remember there are no bad questions.”

We were at the bottom of the mountain and heading to the visitors center, I asked them to sit so I could take a photo because someday they would laugh about this day and story. “You will laugh about the day you lost your dad and brother on Mount Rainier.

Then suddenly, someone came running up from behind and jumped at us, landing on his brother’s shoulders.

“Hey, where were you guys?”

We all laughed and took one more photo.

Plan Ahead, How to Make Safety Plan

Moral of the Story

My take away from this hike is about the people I met.

  • I learned to always make a plan before you leave the car.
  • You never know when you will need to use the plan you make, so its best to do it before the adventure starts.
  • Planning ahead pays off and probably most importantly, its ok to ask for help and there are no bad questions.
  • Always move forward and never back up unless you are with the park ranger and saving the day

Travel tip: Remember to Plan ahead.

People ask me where I have been and where I have taken photos. Here is where I have been.

My Completed Traveler’s Bucket List

Here is where I want to go.

Check Out My Bucket List

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

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