What the did travellers do before cell phones, satellite phones and off-road insurance?  They relied on proper planning. 

The danger of the devices and services we currently have access to, is that many people want to rely on them as the the primary means to get out of trouble.

Please don't fall into that trap. Going to remote places is wonderful and an experience not to be missed, but planning is essential.

  1. Research the area that you want to visit in detail. You need to know what type of roads and what weather to expect. Do you need to cross rivers? Will the surface be rock, snow, gravel or sharp stones? Is there water? 

  2. Think about all the likely and unlikely bad things that may happen. Family members could get sick, the main driver might get seriously injured.

  3. Make sure that you arm yourself with knowledge and skills to handle emergencies. Can you take care of a serious burn wound or a skin cut?

  4. Have a proper medical kit tailored for your family. Cater for specific things, like allergies or asthma.

  5. Have a well selected set of tools and spares for your vehicle. Choose it carefully, down to the bolt and nut to enable you to, where possible, repair more than one thing with the same bit.

The thing about accidents is that it often happens in a series of things that go wrong and for that, one needs to plan to have more than one option of how to deal with things. You need to have a plan A, B and C. To be in a position where you can effectively get yourself out of trouble, is worth considerably more than having to rely on others or the weather.

It may happen that you need to rush to hospital with a seriously ill passenger. If you were to break down on a snowy track in bad weather where it is difficult to reach you either by road and definitely not by air, you are obviously in a much better position if you can get yourself going.

Sigh... In spite of how I feel about things like satellite phones, our family is now in a position where we have to have one. My youngest was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease which destroys her blood platelets. This means that something as simple as a nose bleed, becomes something very serious.

In preparation of our Eastern Cape Trip for 2012, I had to know where every single hospital and clinic was along the road and I had to phone upfront to find out if they have the specialised blood products in store should we need it. Many of them did not, so I had to be able to give them some lead time should we have to rush to hospital.