Bags are packed, tickets are booked, hotel bookings done, itinerary is ready, you’re ready for the trip of a lifetime, and the last thing that comes to your mind are overseas emergencies. And the next thing that pops into your mind is ARE YOU READY FOR IT?
If you’re traveling abroad, you need to know how to manage the unpredictable and to make firm decisions. From political crisis to natural disasters; from accident to becoming a victim of crime, emergencies while traveling abroad can come in any shape and size.
So what would you do when something goes wrong, and you’re far away from your home? Here are some things to remember when something unpredictable happens:
No way, you can avoid any natural disaster. Mother nature can show its wild side, anytime and anywhere, but it’s better to prepare ourselves before visiting the foreign land. If in case, you’re stuck due to natural calamity, immediately call the embassy or consulate as they could arrange an air-transport. Also, you should quickly reach your travel insurance company because if you have an insurance cover, it’s their responsibility to evacuate you back to your homeland and provide medical help when necessary.
It’s awful when an airline loses your luggage; unfortunately, it happens now and then. Thankfully, many airlines have started laying down laws on what happen when you arrive and your baggage doesn’t. To help you navigate through this tricky situation, you should immediately contact the airline help desk. And, even after seven days, you’re not able to claim the baggage than apply for compensation through travel insurance company. In case the luggage is delayed, which usually happens due to the unsophisticated system of some airlines, you should contact the airline personnel in the arrival hall and report the same. Even if your luggage has been damaged or in a pilfered condition in transit, you can ask for a claim from the airline. It is advisable to carry all your important documents, valuable and some clothes in your handbag to avoid problems if you lose the checked-in luggage.
From a mild cold to broken limbs to viral infection, travelers are prone to sickness and injuries. If you’re also facing a similar situation, immediately contact your embassy and insurance company to inquire about the hospitals. Embassy would tell you about the recommended hospitals and can notify insurers or relatives. If you’re unable to get in touch with the embassy, contact your insurance agent. To be able to do so, make sure you carry the coordinates before embarking. After cross verifying all the details, the insurance company will call your hospital and take care of their medical expenses incurred during travels & tours.
One of the worse thing that could happen to anyone while traveling in the foreign land is losing the passport or having someone steal it; as without passport checking into the hotel isn’t easy and getting to home is impossible. So the first thing you should do is go to the nearest police station to lodge FIR and then visit the embassy or consulate to get a replacement passport; which is a time-consuming process. To avoid the problem of locating the high commission or embassy in a foreign land, carry all the telephone number and addresses in your notepad. To speed up the process of replacement passport, bring all the documents, which you think might be required. If in near future, you’re able to find your stolen or missing passport, don’t reuse it. All the stolen or missing passports are entered in Interpol’s database to prevent misuse, and anyone attempting to enter a country using one will throw up huge red flags.
Somewhere like natural disasters, the political upheavals are pretty unavoidable. In this case too, you should contact the travel insurance company and the embassy too as they know your whereabouts and how to contact you or your relatives. The embassy also could arrange something to get you out of that situation and keeps on updating you on travel warnings, travel alerts, and other information. If you think that the situation is turning worse, head straight to the embassy. Also, you can contact your airline to prepone your flights as some companies cover the additional cost. It is advisable not to pull yourself in a situation where you can get injured or worse. Try to analyze the situation and anticipate developments. If some sorts of protest or national crisis are happening, don’t get involved. And keep all the emergency numbers handy.
In case you’re arrested while traveling abroad, immediately contact your embassy or high commission as they will not only help to get in touch with your emergency contact but also assist in hiring a local lawyer who understands the law. Come, what, may the situation be, don’t lose your cool; avoid appearing offensive or evasive, that only makes the situation worse. Ensure that all your documents are properly arranged and don’t add anything incriminating to your list of belongings. Make a point not to sign any document until you’ve read them correctly. If you don’t understand something to be sure to ask for clarifications, but it’s best not appear rude. Politely request when you need something explained. Once you’re out of custody, check your belongings thoroughly.
Whenever you are assaulted or robbed, on the spot, report the crime to the nearest police station. If you think that police can be of no help, then at least get an FIR (First Information Report) registered as you will need it to file for an insurance claim. You should report the situation to your embassy or consulate, especially when your passport is stolen, as they can help you to notify the police, provide you accommodation, and even give emergency cash. If you’ve lost your debit or credit card, call the bank and get it blocked. From the local bank office, you can ask for a replacement. Before traveling, you can also avail the card protection facility, provided by many banks as per which your card will be blocked at one go and facilitates payment of hotel bills or travel tickets. To take precaution, a good rule of thumb is to keep your debit cards, credit card, documents with you in different bags; ideally with zippers and buttons.
Have you ever found yourself in mishap or crisis while traveling abroad? We’d love to hear your stories as well as what you learned from the experience in the comments below.