On 9/11, I was stranded in Europe for 8 days as a female solo traveler. Since then, I have traveled around the world and met more solos who were stuck abroad. Here are just a few examples:
In India, where I joined a small tour, we left one of our team in a hospital after a sudden illness.
In Costa Rica, I met a man who was an experienced traveler who barely made his flight. He was robbed on the way to church and left without a passport, credit cards or cash. On a Sun. afternoon, he found someone back home that could send cash to pay for a quick passport replacement.
The failure of fabled Thomas Cook is a reminder that even seasoned travelers can be left on travel where they can’t get home as planned. Try our 5 tips if it happens to you. We look forward to your feedback.
Always buy travel insurance that covers trip interruption. However, insurance claims are paid after the fact so have a Plan B. The best way? Have a source of emergency cash whether from friends and family or an available credit card.
If your airline is on strike or airports are closed because of a political or other crisis, look for surface transportation. Look for trains, buses or rental cars. (Having navigated low-grade civil wars alone, I recommend that before heading out alone on the road, you check if roads are safe.)
Look at borders where you are and at your destination. At 9/11, when US airports were having a ground stop, I tried to get a ticket to Canada. Unfortunately, at that time, there were 44,000 or more US citizens stranded there so that more Americans were not to be admitted then. While I waited, I failed to think about an alternative: a flight to Mexico with a train, bus or car to follow.
Where possible, seek out local assistance not off-site international or other call centers. Not only are the latter too distant to be real help, time holding and/or busy signals will make it harder to get any real information. Better yet: If you can speak even some of the local language, you are more likely to getthrough faster.
On the Internet, check whether your credit cards or travel insurance provide concierge or emergency assistance other than for medical coverage. (If you are traveling with a tour, their local office can assist as can your lodging.)
In any case, don’t panic and make poor choices by accepting help from questionable people.