You want to know, if you ever come face to face with any of the worst case travel scenarios, that you are armed to deal with them. Some of these scenarios can not only derail your vacation but may also mean you have to head home before you planned your trip to end. So what are the worst case travel scenarios and how do you deal with them?
1. Natural Disasters
Wherever you are in the world, a natural disaster is one of the worst case travel scenarios to be experienced, so you must be prepared to meet just such an event. The most important thing is to listen to local authorities and follow their instructions. The days following a natural disaster can be incredibly chaotic, but keep your cool and contact your local embassy, as well as your family/friends as soon as possible. Making sure that people are aware of your status will not only prevent confusion for those back home, but may help you to obtain vital information, such as when and how you’ll depart. Before you leave home, always register your travels with your embassy or consulate. This will allow them to contact and advise you should a natural disaster occur.
Self-treat any minor injury with a travel first-aid kit. If you incur a serious injury while abroad, it’s best to get local help. You can first ask the front desk of your hotel or other accommodation to recommend a doctor to you. Your embassy website also likely provides a list of doctors who speak your language. If in an undeveloped country, be wary of your facility’s safety standards, and avoid unnecessary injections. Always alert your local embassy or consulate in cases of serious injury. Depending on your nationality, your consulate may provide services, such as arranging your medical care or contacting your family.
3. Car Accident
Prior to travel, research your established insurance polices – such as home, travel, personal car insurance – to see if you’re covered by a collision-damage waiver. You may be able to add it. Before even leaving the rental lot, acquire all the information you may need in the event of collision. An accident-specific emergency number will likely be provided by your rental company. Though you may not speak the local language, it’s important to file a police report, which you’ll need for insurance claims. Finally, contact your personal insurer, which may cover damages.
4. Sent to Jail
Getting on the bad side of law enforcement is quite a hairy situation to be in at home, let alone in an unfamiliar country where you don’t know the language or the laws. If given the option to contact someone upon being arrested in a foreign country, call your consulate or embassy. You are subject to the local laws and regulations wherever you travel, but your consulate will ensure that your rights are given you, that you’re aware of the charges against you, and will secure you the proper legal counsel. To prevent what could be one of the worst case travel scenarios from occurring, always be respectful of foreign authorities, be aware of travel warnings, and research the local laws before leaving home.
5. Lost Valuables
If you recall losing property on a flight or in public transport, do not lose hope; find the central phone number and call to report your loss. You may be pleasantly surprised by the goodwill of others, as lost items are sometimes returned intact. Taxi services have a central dispatch which may be able to trace your driver via your pick-up, drop-off locations. If you contact your airline, found items aboard the aircraft will be returned to you. Though it may be a long shot, do the legwork, and your lost valuables may be found.
6. Stolen Valuables
If your wallet has been stolen, use a stored backup, which will allow you to withdraw funds before cancelling your cards. Then access the internet or make a phone call as soon as possible to report your stolen items and cancel your accounts. If you do this immediately, you won't be held responsible for any charges that occur. Your bank is unlikely to forward new cards abroad, so your alternative options are to request money to be wired from someone back home or to ask your consulate to set up a trust account, which will enable funds to be forwarded to you. Before you travel, familiarize yourself with what to do if your passport is stolen. Your home country government travel website will have the details. Make sure you always take a copy of your passport when you travel (even if it’s on an email). It will save time when dealing with your embassy/consulate to obtain a replacement or permit to travel home.
7. Reservation Cancellation
There’s nothing like arriving at your hotel at 3AM only to find your reservation has evaporated into thin air. Instead of getting a hot head, keep cool, and ask the front desk to check again. Sometimes the issue is as simple as a typo. Prior to arrival, always verify your reservation via phone and print off a confirmation number; if you can prove your booking, the hotel is responsible to accommodate you. If the issue is overbooking, ask the hotel to rebook you in a sister property at no extra charge, and be sure to request a transportation voucher. If you still run into issues, you can always call the website you booked through, and they will assist you.
Have you ever had to deal with any of these worst case travel scenarios? How did you cope?