No matter how excited you are about travelling overseas for vacation – or seeing off friends and family as they do so – there is always an element of stress involved. Most of it involves worrying about packing the right things, remembering tickets, passports and credit cards, and trying to work out the best outfit to wear, especially if the weather is going to be very different at your destination.
It’s usually only once you have safely arrived at your destination that you can fully relax but, every now and then, you might be unfortunate to come across one of the following scenarios while you are away from home. The most important rule is to stay calm. With the right knowledge and the right strategy, you can overcome almost any disaster and quickly get your holiday back on track.
You’re caught up in a man-made or natural disaster
No matter how much you plan for the unexpected, events may take a turn you could never have predicted and you could find yourself caught up in a huge event that brings everything around you to a halt. Major storms or floods can make matters worse by wiping out much of the infrastructure you would normally turn to in times of trouble.
One option is to register your trip in advance with the State Department. It’s a free service that means that, in the event of a major disaster, the government will know exactly where you are and will be in a far better position to be able to assist you to get home.
If you can, head to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate as they will be able to take or direct you towards somewhere safe where you can wait for assistance.
You’re the victim of a crime
In the very worst-case scenario, everything may have been lost, including a passport and purse or wallet. With no money for accommodation, food or transport, it may seem that the situation is desperate but all is not lost.
There are numerous online payment systems you can use to send funds directly to a hotel, transfer money to someone else’s bank account or even, if necessary, send cash that they can pick up from a local vendor almost immediately.
Choosing the right service for the right situation can be tricky due to the large number of options available but a quick visit to sendingmoneyonlinehq.com will let you find out more about the options for making purchases or transferring cash using your computer.
As a precaution, carry a photocopy of your passport somewhere separate to the rest of your belongings or, better still, upload an image of it to a cloud-based storage service. This means you will be able to access to the details from any computer, even if your own has been stolen.
You miss your flight
Get to the airport as quickly as possible and go to see a flight agent. You may be asked to make an additional payment – especially if the airline believes it was your own fault that you failed to make your original flight – but this may be waived if you have a sympathetic agent and it is clear that you did everything you could to get to the airport on time.
In some situations, such as an accident on the freeway, you may be one of a number of people adversely affected and it’s likely that you will simply be put on the next available flight without having to wait too long or pay anything at all.
That said, periodic crackdowns on security mean you should be getting to the airport well ahead of schedule. This applies to a degree for a domestic flight but doubly so for an international flight. Under such circumstances, putting the blame on something other than your self could be a little tricky.
You crash the rental car
Whether you are home or abroad, you should insist on the police being involved no matter how minor the accident. Having independent confirmation of the events surrounding the crash could prove crucial and police officers have the experience to be able to see though any comments that do not fit in with the facts. If the accident is the fault of the other driver and they have insurance, your only real concern should be getting a new car to continue your journey.
If apportioning blame is less straight forward but you took out the collision damage waiver and other insurance policies, that should cover most of any additional cost. If you decided to turn down the extras to reduce the cost of the rental but don’t have a separate policy in place, the cost is likely to be fully covered by your credit card company but be sure to check the fine print as some policies do not apply to luxury vehicles or trips outside the U.S.
If all else fails, don’t allow yourself to be bullied into making a payment on the spot. The cost of repairing even minor damage on a rental car can quickly run to thousands of dollars so you might want to get a lawyer involved to ensure the claim is a fully legitimate one.
You have a medical emergency
If you have a health insurance plan, it’s likely to include some coverage for overseas trips, though this will only extend to the kind of emergency that is likely to require a trip to the emergency room. Unfortunately, your insurers will not pay out directly so you’ll have no choice but to foot the bill yourself and claim it back later. Be sure to keep all your receipts and other paperwork in case there is any kind of dispute.
If you don’t have your own insurance, consider buying some to cover you for the duration of your trip. The cost is often reasonable and in addition to having medical cover, you’ll also be protected against a range of other potential travel disasters such as losing your luggage or having to return home early due to a family emergency.
If you or your loved ones are in need to emergency treatment, put any concerns about cost to the back of your mind. Outside the US, treatment is often much cheaper and in some cases, may be completely free. Don’t delay your treatment by worrying about something that may not end up being a problem at all.