Stranded-What to Do Next? 5 Tips

Stranded-What to Do Next? 5 Tips


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.

Tip One:

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.

Tip Two:

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.)

Tip Three:

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.

Tip Four:

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.

Tip Five:

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.

 

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