It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare to be caught in an emergency while on holiday overseas, and while it’s a rare occurrence, it’s still something everyone needs to be cautious of. So, we’ve got eight life-saving tips from the experts themselves, and trust us, you’ll want to commit them to memory.

1. Falling from a cruise ship

It’s estimated that just 20 people fall from cruise ships annually, but it’s still important to be prepared. “Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct, to swim hard and to fight the cold water,” explains ocean safety organisation RNLI. “But when people fight it, chances are, they lose. If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water, do as little as possible, and float.”

2. Avalanches

Snow lovers around the world dread the “A” word, but it is possible to survive one. If caught in the path of one, the Association of British Travel Agents advise skiing sideways to try and remain on the surface of the slide. Then, ditch the poles and “swim” in the direction of the slide and try to grab hold of a tree. Always carry a locator beacon with you to aid the efforts of search and rescue.

3. Quicksand

Quicksand is made up of waterlogged sand or clay which may appear solid but liquefies upon impact. Stay calm and avoid making any quick movements, as you could create air pockets which will only pull you deeper into the ground. Shed any extra weight (e.g. backpacks, hats), then lean backwards and spread out – more surface area means you’ll be lighter. From there, move sideways until you reach terra firma.

4. Rip currents

These are found on most surf beaches and can pull swimmers out to sea at a speed of up to 8km per hour. The RNLI advise against fighting the rip, instead treading water and conserving energy until the current grows weak enough for you to swim back to shore. Another option is following the current, which will take you in a semi-circle. Wait until you reach a weaker point, then swim back to shore.

5. Safari attacks

Stuck in the presence of a lion? Avoid the temptation to turn and run. Instead, make direct eye contact and back away very slowly. If it’s a leopard, do the opposite – avoid any eye contact and hope they lose interest. With elephants, simply stand your ground and try to look brave. Buffalos are almost impossible to outrun, so your best bet is to climb a tree.

6. Lost on a hike

Adventure blogger Hiking Dude recommends sticking by the acronym STOP when lost. Stop exactly where you are, think (try to retrace your steps, but do not move unless you’re sure you know where you’re going), observe how much daylight (and supplies) you have left and pay attention to any weather changes, then plan a route back to a safe place. Unless you’re absolutely confident, it’s best to stay put.

7. Snake bite

If you encounter a snake, back away very slowly and choose a different route. If it seems to be following you, stamp on the ground – the vibrations should drive it away. If bitten, ensure the affected area is moved lower than your heart (this will slow the spread of venom) and get to the closest hospital. If possible, try to remember (or even photograph) the snake – this will help doctors identify the required anti-venom.

8. Plane crash

If you’re unfortunate enough to be caught in a plane emergency, there are two immediate hurdles – surviving the impact of the crash, then surviving what follows – fire, smoke and drowning. Get the oxygen mask on immediately (20 seconds is enough to make you lose consciousness) and abandon your belongings. According to a simulation conducted using a Boeing 727, it’s actually safer to book a cheap seat at the back, as the front of the plane will bear the most impact.

Image credits: Getty Images

This article first appeared on Over60.