The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel


If you have to leave home, TAKE THIS BOOK! The team that brought you The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook now helps you navigate the perils of travel. Learn what to do when the tarantula crawls up your leg, the riptide pulls you out to sea, the sandstorms headed your way, or your camel just wont stop. Find out how to pass a bribe, remove leeches, climb out of a well, survive a fall onto subway tracks, catch a fish without a rod, and preserve a severed limb. Hands-on, step-by-step instructions show you how to...

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If you have to leave home, TAKE THIS BOOK! The team that brought you The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook now helps you navigate the perils of travel. Learn what to do when the tarantula crawls up your leg, the riptide pulls you out to sea, the sandstorms headed your way, or your camel just wont stop. Find out how to pass a bribe, remove leeches, climb out of a well, survive a fall onto subway tracks, catch a fish without a rod, and preserve a severed limb. Hands-on, step-by-step instructions show you how to survive these and dozens of other adventures. An appendix of travel tips, useful phrases, and gestures to avoid will also ensure your safe return. Because you just never know...

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Armchair travelers and adventure travelers alike will get a kick out of The Worst-Case Scenario Travel Handbook, the companion volume to Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht's runaway bestseller, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. Learn vital travel skills, such as how to stop a runaway camel, how to cross a piranha-infested river, and how to foil a UFO abduction, in this entertaining and -- believe it or not -- useful guide.

Most travelers won't need to know how to remove leeches, survive a sandstorm, or treat a scorpion sting, but thanks to hardcore adventure travel guides, such as Robert Young Pelton's bestseller The World's Most Dangerous Places, there are more and more "danger tourists" willing to risk their lives for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If that's your cup of tea, then you should definitely pack The Worst-Case Scenario Travel Handbook. The book's potentially lifesaving advice comes exclusively from experts who have extensive medical or scientific training or years of field experience with the deadly creatures, natural disasters, or hostile terrorists mentioned in the book. For example, the section explaining how to escape when tied up was written by "The Amazing Flanagan," a magician and escape artist. Who else would you trust for that information? The instructions for treating a severed limb were contributed by a Harvard Medical School physician, and the notes on how to stop a car with no brakes come from a demolition derby driver.

Whether or not you're planning to travel into regions where life-threatening situations involving sandstorms, tsunami, or tarantulas are common, fate could throw you a curve ball at any moment. Be prepared with The Worst-Case Scenario Travel Handbook -- that runaway train or volcanic eruption might be right around the corner. (Julie Carr)

From the Publisher
Quick: You're on an elevator when the cable snaps, plunging you into free fall. What do you do? Jump in the air at the moment of impact, right? Sure, except that the elevator "will likely collapse...and crush you," note the authors of the bestseller The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. The right answer: Lie flat on the floor to distribute the impact. In deadpan tone, Piven and Borgenicht advise how to survive a plane crash, remove a leech (burning it off will make it regurgitate, causing infection who knew?) and escape from the trunk of a car. The scenarios owe a debt to action flick clich's how often do you find yourself leaping from rooftop to rooftop? but their utter implausibility doesn't make this read any less riveting.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Just in time for summer travel, the hyperimaginative and slightly paranoid authors of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, 1999's favorite gift book, deliver what will no doubt become popular airport reading for stranded passengers in 2001. Starting with the cheery statistic that "more than 50 percent of all travelers run into problems," and the basic advisory to "always be ready for the worst," the book presents concise and extremely knowledgeable "how-to" assistance on a range of topics: e.g., stopping a runaway train, surviving a hostage situation, escaping from a car hanging over the edge of a cliff, surviving in a plummeting elevator, navigating a minefield, crossing a piranha-infested river, treating a severed limb, removing a leech and even foiling a UFO abduction. Like their earlier handbook, the success of each entry is based on the authors' ability to provide detailed and truly helpful advice on even the most outlandish or horrific situation and make the reader think, "Sure, I could successfully crash-land a small propeller plane on water, or easily climb out of a deep well, or locate and treat individual bleeding arteries on the stump of a severed arm. Nothing to it!" Their delivery evinces a calm precision that even the most worried traveler will find reassuring if faced with one or more of these eventualities, such as trying to escape when tied up ("When your captives start binding you, expand your body as much as possible") or encountering an extraterrestrial biological entity (EBE), unlikely as that might be: "Firmly tell the EBE to leave you alone... Go for the EBE's eyes (if they have any) you will not know what its other, more sensitive, areas are." Although some appendixes on strategies for packing, etc., seem boilerplate, overall this is another eminently practical, enjoyable survival guide. Watch out for those tsunamis! Illus. (May) Forecast: The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook was a runaway bestseller. This will be, too. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811831314
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/2001
  • Series: Worst Case Scenario Series
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 254,440
  • Age range: 13 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Piven is a writer, editor, and Web site designer who lives in Philadelphia. He's ready for anything.

David Borgenicht is a Philadelphia-based writer whose own worst-case scenario involved a heavy-armored vehicle in Pakistan.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


[1] Hang on to the reins—but do not pull them back hard in an attempt to stop the camel.

A camel's head, unlike that of a wayward horse, cannot always be pulled to the side to slow it down. Camels are usually harnessed with a head halter or nose reins, and pulling on the nose reins can tear the camel's nose—or break the reins.

[2] If the camel has sturdy reins and a head halter, pull the reins to one side to make the camel run in a circle.

Do not fight the camel; pull the reins in the direction the camel attempts to turn its head. The camel may change direction several times during the incident—let it do so.

[3] If the camel has nose reins, just hang on tight.

Use the reins for balance, and grip with your legs. If there is a saddle, hold on to the horn.

[4] Hold on until the camel stops.

Whether the camel is running in circles or in a straight path, it will not run very far. The camel will sit down when it grows tired.

[5] When the camel sits, jump off.

Hold on to the reins to keep it from running off.


[1] Locate the emergency brake.

There is an emergency brake valve just inside each end of every passenger car. These valves are generally red and should be clearly marked.

[2] Pull the handle.

This opens a valve that vents brake pipe air pressure to the atmosphere, applying the brakes for an emergency stop. There is a possibility of derailment, depending upon track curvature and grade, trainweight, and the number of coaches.

If the Brake Does Not Work

[1] Call for help.

Locate a crew member's radio. Depress the "talk" button between the earpiece and the microphone. Do not change the channel, even if you do not hear an answer. Transmit an emergency distress call: Give any information that may help the listener understand the location of the train (for example, train number and destination). The Train Dispatcher should hear you and may clear traffic without responding. If you cannot find anyone on the radio, you will have to attempt to stop the train yourself.

[2] Make your way to the front of the train.

Pull all emergency brake valves as you proceed, or instruct other passengers to apply handbrakes. These brakes are different from the red valves described earlier, and are located on each end of the passenger coach, inside the vestibule. They are applied by turning a wheel or pumping a lever. Tighten these valves as much as possible, and leave them applied.

[3] Enter the locomotive.

The locomotive is usually right after the baggage car, just in front of the passenger coaches. Exercise extreme caution when stepping over and across the car couplers that connect the locomotive and baggage car.

There may be several locomotives on the train—not just one. Repeat the following steps in each locomotive. However, there is a chance that the trailing locomotive cab will be reversed, and that you will not be able to proceed any farther forward. If this is the case, retreat to the last car of the train and follow the instructions on page 26: "If the Train is Not Slowing or a Crash is Imminent."

[4] Open all emergency valves located in the engine room on or near the dash (at the left side of the cab).

The emergency valves will be clearly marked. Place the handles in the farthest position forward.

[5] Move all levers and handles forward, toward the windshield.

Be certain to move the brake valves forward (they will have the word "brake" at the base of the handles). Quickly push or move down all white sliding switches on and around the control stand to shut off electricity to the engine(s).

[6] If the train is still not slowing down, enter the engine room, which will be behind you to your right.

A very loud engine room will indicate that the locomotive is "under load," or still operating.

[7] Move rapidly through the engine room, along the engine block.

The engine block stands about four or five feet tall and looks like a large automobile engine.

[8] Shut down the engine by pulling the layshaft lever.

This is a two-foot-long handle at shoulder height near the end of the engine block. It may be difficult to find, as it is not painted a different color from the engine itself. Push the handle all the way in, and the engine will run too fast and shut down. This lever is mechanical and will shut down the engine without fail.

[9] Return to the cab and sound the whistle to warn others of your approach—it may take several miles to stop the train completely.

The whistle is either a handle the size of your hand that points upward, or a button located on the control panel marked "horn."

If the Train Is Not Slowing or a Crash Is Imminent

[1] Proceed as calmly and quietly as possible to the rear of the train.

This is the safest place to be in the event of a crash. Instruct the other passengers to move to the back of the train with you.

[2] Prepare for a crash.

Sleeping cars are usually placed on the tail end of the train and have mattresses and pillows that can be used for protection. Sit or lay against a wall that is toward the leading end of the train, so you will not fly forward in the event of a crash. The farther you are from the locomotive the better.


[1] Begin pumping the brake pedal and keep pumping it.

You may be able to build up enough pressure in the braking system to slow down a bit, or even stop completely. If you have anti-lock brakes, you do not normally pump them—but if your brakes have failed, this may work.

[2] Do not panic—relax and steer the car smoothly.

Cars will often safely corner at speeds much higher than you realize or are used to driving. The rear of the car may slip; steer evenly, being careful not to overcorrect.

[3] Shift the car into the lowest gear possible and let the engine and transmission slow you down.

[4] Pull the emergency brake—but not too hard.

Pulling too hard on the emergency brake will cause the rear wheels to lock, and the car to spin around. Use even, constant pressure. In most cars, the emergency brake (also known as the hand brake or parking brake) is cable operated and serves as a fail-safe brake that should still work even when the rest of the braking system has failed. The car should slow down and, in combination with the lower gear, will eventually stop.

[5] If you are running out of room, try a "bootlegger's turn."

Yank the emergency brake hard while turning the wheel a quarter turn in either direction—whichever is safer. This will make the car spin 180 degrees. If you were heading downhill, this spin will head you back uphill, allowing you to slow down.

[6] If you have room, swerve the car back and forth across the road.

Making hard turns at each side of the road will decrease your speed even more.

[7] If you come up behind another car, use it to help you stop.

Blow your horn, flash your lights, and try to get the driver's attention. If you hit the car, be sure to hit it square, bumper to bumper, so you do not knock the other car off the road. This is an extremely dangerous maneuver: It works best if the vehicle in front of you is larger than yours—a bus or truck is ideal—and if both vehicles are traveling at similar speeds. You do not want to crash into a much slower-moving or stopped vehicle, however.

[8] Look for something to help stop you.

A flat or uphill road that intersects with the road you are on, a field, or a fence will slow you further but not stop you suddenly. Scraping the side of your car against a guardrail is another option. Avoid trees and wooden telephone poles: They do not yield as readily.

[9] Do not attempt to sideswipe oncoming cars.

[10] If none of the above steps has enabled you to stop and you are about to go over a cliff, try to hit something that will slow you down before you go over.

This strategy will also leave a clue to others that someone has gone over the edge. But since very few cliffs are sheer drops, you may fall just several feet and then stop.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 10
Introduction 16
1 Getting There 19
How to Control a Runaway Camel 20
How to Stop a Runaway Passenger Train 22
How to Stop a Car with No Brakes 27
How to Stop a Runaway Horse 30
How to Crash-Land a Plane on Water 32
How to Survive an Airplane Crash 39
2 People Skills 43
How to Survive a Riot 44
How to Survive a Hostage Situation 49
How to Pass a Bribe 52
How to Foil a Scam Artist 54
How to Foil a UFO Abduction 58
How to Survive a Mugging 61
How to Tail a Thief 63
How to Lose Someone Who Is Following You 65
3 Getting Around 69
How to Jump from Rooftop to Rooftop 70
How to Jump from a Moving Train 73
How to Escape from a Car Hanging over the Edge of a Cliff 76
How to Escape When Tied Up 79
How to Ram a Barricade 82
How to Escape from the Trunk of a Car 84
How to Survive a Fall onto Subway Tracks 86
How to Survive in a Plummeting Elevator 89
4 Out and About 91
How to Survive When Lost in the Jungle 92
How to Find Your Way without a Compass 96
How to Climb out of a Well 99
How to Navigate a Minefield 104
How to Survive a Riptide 108
How to Survive When You Fall through Ice 110
How to Survive in Frigid Water 112
How to Survive a Trip over a Waterfall 116
How to Survive a Volcanic Eruption 118
5 Food and Shelter 121
How to Survive a High-Rise Hotel Fire 122
How to Find Water on a Deserted Island 126
How to Purify Water 129
How to Build a Shelter in the Snow 132
How to Survive a Tsunami 136
How to Survive a Sandstorm 138
How to Catch Fish without a Rod 140
How to Make Animal Traps 142
6 Surviving Illness and Injury 147
How to Deal with a Tarantula 148
How to Treat a Scorpion Sting 152
How to Cross a Piranha-Infested River 155
How to Treat a Severed Limb 157
How to Remove a Leech 162
Appendix 166
General Travel Strategies 167
Strategies for packing 168
Strategies for Flying 170
Strategies for Hotels 172
Strategies for Travel in Dangerous Regions 173
Foreign Emergency Phrases 174
Gestures to Avoid 178
About the Experts 181
About the Authors 191
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2002

    hilariosity in a bag!

    this book was so funny! My friend and i have nothing better to do, so we went and sat there and read all of the worst case scenario book, and i must say, this one was bomb! i loved the emergency phrases in the back, such as: Why is the water brown/green/yellow?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2001

    Humorous Advice for Secret Agents and Ordinary Travelers

    The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel has four primary uses: (1) To let you fantasize safely about what you would do in a life-threatening situation you probably won¿t face, but have seen in the movies (survive after being lost in a jungle, escape a mob, survive a kidnapping) (2) Provide humorous scenarios that you will probably never face to give you a good laugh (being abducted by a UFO, handling a runaway camel, getting rid of a leech in your nose) (3) Practical advice for challenges that many travelers will encounter (stopping a car with no brakes, handling a runaway horse, foiling thieves) (4) Reducing risk of harm from unlikely events that you probably do think about (escaping a hotel fire, what to do after falling onto a subway track, surviving an elevator fall). I was impressed that although I did not expect to learn anything I could ever use, the book actually had several sections which I wish I had known about when I faced travel challenges in the past (handling scorpion stings, what to do in a hotel fire, how to stop a runaway horse that someone else is on, making a shelter in the snow, avoiding having your carry-ons stolen at the x-ray machine). I suspect that I will be able to use this information in the future. Another benefit I got was to realize that I could handle some emergencies that I would normally consider well beyond me. In these days when travel seems more dangerous than before, this book may also be worth carrying to play the role of Dumbo¿s magic feather -- to build a little confidence. For example, I don¿t like to fly in small planes. I think I could follow the instructions in the book for crash landing a small plane in water, as long as someone could help me. But I could never remember all of these details in a crisis. Having the book along will help me relax a lot more on my next small plane flight. People with phobias about certain travel situations may find the knowledge that they gain here can help reduce their anxiety. One of the best parts of the book came in the foreword by David Concannon of the Explorers Club who described the many hideous things that had happened to him in order to encourage you to realize that the unexpected does happen, you need to accept what is beyond your control, always have a contingency plan, and no matter how bad things are . . . they could get worse. As a result, you will probably spend more time thinking through the potential challenges that you will face on future trips, and be better prepared to handle these challenges. My favorite funny parts in the book were the runaway camel, passing a bribe, foiling a UFO abduction, trailing a thief, losing someone following you, jumping from a moving train, escaping from being tied up, ramming a barricade, surviving a volcanic eruption, surviving a tsunami, getting rid of leeches, and crossing a piranha-infested river. Indiana Jones, move over! Even if you never travel, the book ¿will provide good information and entertainment for the armchair survivalist.¿ Be prepared! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001


    I had read the reviews on this and decided to read it on a recent trip to Florida. I made it through it, but I'm not sure in some parts if they were trying to be funny or what, but it didn't really do much for me. The other book I read on the flight ('Come Fly With Me: A Humorous Guide to a Better Flying Experience' by Tera Walker) was more what I was looking for -- more realistic scenarios that I can relate to. But I guess you can be the judge.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Hilarious and handy

    This book is really funny, just like the first one. And hey, I actually learned something from this book too. The section on how to stop a thief and how to survive a mugging are good for anyone to learn, not just travelers!

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