Life is unpredictable. It therefore stands to reason that emergencies can occur while on vacation just as easily as they can when we’re at home. Here are five vacation emergencies I have personally experienced and how I tried my best to minimize my loss.
Stolen Credit Cards or Money
If your credit card is stolen, be sure to call the company immediately and report the loss. This may not provide you with any immediate relief (depending on the type of card and the services it offers) but it will prevent any further loss or liability. Check with your hotel to see where the nearest Western Union is located and arrange to have money wired from relatives or friends. This can be done over the phone or online in less than an hour.
Lost or Stolen ID
Losing your ID can present more issues than just not being able to buy a drink. You can’t board a commercial aircraft without a valid photo ID, so if you’re flying home, a lost ID can be a major concern. Be sure to contact your airline immediately, and they will instruct you on how to proceed. Many times there are alternative solutions if you are flexible and cooperative.
Showing up at your hotel to check-in on a busy convention weekend and hearing the words “I can’t seem to find your reservation” can be a frustrating experience. Stay calm and be respectful to the staff. Chances are high that they can either find you another room in their hotel, or a comparable room at another facility nearby. If you play your cards right, they may even throw in a complimentary dinner for two or a couple of free drinks at the bar to compensate you for the inconvenience.
If your flight is cancelled, don’t take the reservationist’s word that “XYZ” is your only option. Start checking immediately for alternative flights. At the very least, remain calm yet firm and communicate that you need the airline to pay for a room, your meals and a taxi while you are delayed (assuming the cause of the cancellation was not weather related or otherwise out of the airline’s control). Remember that airline reservationists hold a great deal of power … taking out your anger on them is not likely to gain you any favors.
Death or Significant Health Threat to a Loved One at Home
This is something none of us wants to think about, but it does happen. While on vacation with my family, my father had a heart attack from which his doctors did not think he would recover. We made the decision to fly home immediately, which cost us several hundred dollars in change fees. After arriving back, however, we were able to secure the appropriate statements from his doctor that satisfied the airlines, and the extra charges we incurred were refunded back to us.
Even though they may seem monumental at the time, there aren’t many travel emergencies that can’t be managed successfully with a calm head and flexible demeanor. Just remember to take a deep breath, think before you speak, and be ever mindful that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.