Your luggage is ready, flight tickets are in your hand, excitement is brewing...you’re ready to have the best trip of your life ? The last thing on your mind is an emergency while you’re abroad! Travelling isn’t always a chilling-by-the-seaside, smooth-sailing experience. An overseas emergency can catch you off guard when you’re least expecting it – be it a missing passport, a natural disaster or a terror attack.
While overt worrying may destroy that trip excitement, taking some simple precautions before your travels can help ease your mind. Keep calm and read on! Here are 8 things to do when you're faced with a travel emergency.
1. If you lose your passport
There's no greater fear than losing your passport when you’re overseas. But if that really happens, what do you do?
Your first step, in the event that your passport gets stolen or goes missing, should be to head to the nearest police station and make a report with your original Identification Cards or photocopies. Then proceed to your embassy or consulate with that important police report to apply for an emergency travel document, known as a Document of Identity. This essential piece of document will help you return home safely☺️
Always bring a photocopy of your passport during your travels. You could also take a photo of it and email it to yourself, so that you are able to retrieve it wherever you are.
2. If you fall really sick or injure yourself in an accident
When you are far away from home, falling sick can be a bummer? If you are at a hotel or attraction, try to get a staff who is able to direct you to the nearest hospital or clinic. If you can, contact your insurance company hotline to know the procedures that you can take. Make sure you inform your insurance company as soon as you can, as not doing so might invalidate your medical claim.
In case of a traffic accident abroad, you are also advised to make a police report. The main documentation required are snapshots of the Identity Cards of involved drivers, snapshots of damages, medical reports and hospital bills, if any. Also, contact the rental vehicle company and the nearest consular of your country after the accident. They will be able to assist you with any administrative issues.
Remember to save your insurer’s emergency hotline!
3. If your wallet or valuables go missing
Your wallet is usually filled with many important identity cards and credit cards. If you realised that your wallet has been stolen, the first thing you should do is to contact your banks so that they can stop your credit and debit cards from being used. All the credit card companies provide a hotline that you can call 24/7 so regardless of the timing, be sure to call them first! After contacting the relevant banks, file a police report as this can help you with insurance claims.
It's always worth putting password locks on your laptops and phones, as well as activating your ‘Find my iPhone app’ for iOS users!
Credit: @daemonikopol on Instagram#HHWT Tip:
Avoid keeping all your cash and valuables in the same bag or wallet.
4. If you get caught in a terrorist attackCredit: @boivinsamuel on Instagram
Before your trip, it's always wise to register your travel with the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country of residence as they can assist you should a crisis occur.
If you find yourself caught in a terrorist attack, quickly look around for the safest route. Leave all your belongings behind. In the event all your escape routes are cut off, seek cover immediately and hide. Turn your phone to silent, stay quiet and hidden. As soon as you're able to, call 999 to report your location and any details about the suspects. Above all, keep calm but stay alert for any chance to escape. Once you get to safety, contact your local embassy if you are in need of any emergency assistance.
Don't forget to notify your family of your safety! You can also utilise Facebook’s Safety Check
feature, which is especially useful if you're unable to contact them.
5. If a natural disaster strikes
We can never forget the tsunami during Boxing Day, Iceland’s volcanic eruptions or the earthquakes in New Zealand during the past decade. If you are caught in such disasters - or any, at all - run to safety quickly and stay away from immediate danger. Tune in to local reports on the TV or radio, and follow their instructions. If you are out on the streets, look out for local law enforcement who can give you directions on where to go. Many hotels, airlines and tour companies also have policies and standard procedures to help you in the event of a crisis.
Preparations before your trip is essential so don't forgot to register with the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country of residence before your trip!
It's always a good idea to travel with a small flashlight in your bag.
6. If you miss your flight
If you miss your flight, don’t panic as you’re not entirely out of luck. You have to check the terms and conditions of your ticket. For premium airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Etihad, they have ‘no-show fees’ where the company is able to put you on standby for the next flight. As for budget carriers, there are typically no refunds so choose your flights wisely!
If you need to get home urgently, check the airport departure boards to see other flights going to your destination. You can book a later flight on your phone or by visiting the airline carrier counter at the airport.
Credit: giphy#HHWT Tip:
Always head to the airport at least three hours before your scheduled flight!
7. If there's no record of your reservations
Excited, you arrive at your accommodation with the printout of your reservation in your hand, and your passport ready. But alas, the receptionist informs you that they do not have your reservation in their system?
Credit: @Marriott_moscos_tvers on Instagram
Don't panic! Firstly, try to recall how you booked your hotel or flight – was it done using someone else’s name, or was it through a third party website such as Agoda? Then, ask the receptionist to find it accordingly. If they are still unable to find any records, contact your credit card company to retrieve your transaction.
Confirm your hotel, flight and car reservations before your arrival.
8. If your luggage is damaged or goes missing
Losing your luggage filled with precious souvenirs and valuables is one of a traveller’s worst nightmare. But don’t fear, as you may be able to salvage the situation! File a report with the airline for any of your damaged or lost luggage but you will need to do so within a certain period (it's usually in your ticket or insurance policy), or you may not be able to get your claim. Most of the airlines and insurance companies will be able to compensate you. For budget carriers, you would need to lodge a report to a member of the ground services before you leave the airport!
We know how painful it is to lose your luggage so reduce this possibility by attaching a baggage tag with your particulars on your checked bags!
A travel emergency can come when you least expect it but with extra research and work, coupled with constant prayers to ease all your affairs, you might be able to prevent your vacation from turning into a nightmare!