What to Do in Case of War (Read It NOW if You Live Abroad)

Levi Borba
8 min readMar 10, 2022

The refugees I hosted taught me some shocking but important lessons.

What to Do in Case of War — Ukraine
Image by Gerd Altmann for Pixabay

Ps: If you are an asylum seeker in Poland, check this link. It will be very helpful to you.

I live in Poland, less than three hours from the Ukrainian border, where a war is currently raging.

Because I’m assuming you never read my bio (who reads it after all?), I start by saying that, besides being a writer, I am also the owner of a tourist hostel in Warsaw. We frequently host international backpackers and transit tourists.

But not right now. Almost all of my rooms are occupied by people who have fled the war in Ukraine, a country that, until recently, was not on the list f the most dangerous places in Europe.

Many of my guests now are women, children, and elders. Some have arrived after days of traveling through difficult border crossings, checkpoints, and congested roads.

Every day, I have to reject over 30 calls from people requesting a room because we are full and have a waiting list. It is painful to see.

Having said that, it has also been a learning experience. I discovered what these people wished they could do before the war starts by talking to them.

Familiar with other conflicts (before moving to Poland, I lived in the middle-east, one of the most stressful places in the world), I also pondered about what to do after a war.

This small guide arose from these discussions, reflections, and research. I hope you enjoy reading it.


I hope you never need to use it.

What to Do in Case of War

How to Prepare Financially for War

PS: This is not financial advice, but what I would do (in fact, I have already done most of the things in this list).

  • Withdraw a substantial sum from your bank account. Bank runs are common on the eve of war, and ATMs may run out of money. I’d take enough to last at least two months, if not longer.
  • If there are chances that your country will be directly involved, avoid keeping local currency. Why?