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Hello, brave backpackers and hostel dwellers of Australia! 🌪️ When you're exploring the land Down Under, sometimes Mother Nature throws a curveball, like a cyclone or a flood. If you find yourself with a few days' notice that a natural disaster is headed your way, don't panic. Here's a guide on how to stay safe, comfortable, and even entertained during these challenging times. First thing to do before getting yourself prepared is to speak to the hostel management about their disaster management plan and for any tips or experience they can share. Then proceed with the following guide on how to best prepare:
1. Stock Up on Non-Perishable Food
Head to the nearest supermarket and stock up on dry and canned foods. Think canned beans, veggies, fruits, and bread that doesn't need toasting. If the power goes out, ideally, you want food that doesnt need refrigerating or cooking, however all good hostels should have back-up gas stoves so that you can still prepare some meals. It will feel like camping but indoors
2. Secure a Safe Water Supply
Buy bottled water or, better yet, fill up reusable bottles to minimize plastic waste. Staying hydrated is key, even when the world seems to be doing its best impression of a water park.
3. Choose a Sturdy Shelter
If your hostel is a charming but rickety wooden structure, consider relocating. Find a solid, preferably non-ground-floor accommodation. It's like choosing a fortress over a beach hut. If in Cairns, where cyclones and floods can happen, especially during the wet season, then Wanna Stay is a great choice. Level 2 and 3 accomodation and build to withstand the strongest weather problems.
4. Power Up with Battery Packs
Charge any spare battery packs you have. In the age of technology, a charged phone is like a lifeline to the outside world (and your sanity). Also charge up all of your devices while there is still power and try to keep them on full until (or incase) the power goes out!
5. Light It Up with Torches
Get torches or flashlights. When the power goes out, you'll be grateful for every beam of light.Of course you have your phine but you're going to want to save that battery! Remember: NO CANDLES as these can start a whole new disaster if knocked over in an emergency situation.
6. Spread the Word
Inform your fellow hostel guests about safety measures. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to survival tips. Keep up-to-date with local news and weather reports. Apps and social media can be great resources and your hostel should be providing regular updates to you also.
7. Stay Indoors
Unless it's an emergency or you are instructed by emergency services or your hostel manageemnt team, stay inside the hostel. It's a good time to bond with fellow travelers, as long as you're not reenacting scenes from disaster movies.
8. Download Entertainment
Pre-download movies, shows, or e-books on your devices. When the Wi-Fi goes down, you'll have your own personal entertainment stash. It's like Netflix and chill, but with a hint of apocalypse.
9. Bring Out the Board Games
Dust off those board games or pick up a good book. When the power's out, it's time to go old school. Who knew Monopoly could be a survival tool? If you have a hobby that doesn't require electricity, like drawing or knitting, now's the time to dive in. It's like rediscovering your inner child, but with more practical skills.
10. Pack a Small Emergency Kit
Last but not least - Keep a small emergency kit in your backpack. Essentials like a flashlight, extra batteries, a whistle, a first-aid kit, and a list of local emergency numbers, as well as the contact info for your country's embassy or consulate.
Facing a natural disaster in Australia, or anywhere, can be daunting, but with a little preparation and a lot of spirit, you can not only stay safe but also keep your morale high. Remember, these experiences, though challenging, can become an integral part of your travel adventure. Stay safe, stay prepared, and keep your sense of humor about you – it's your best companion in times of trouble.