Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post: Tips if you find yourself stranded in a Foreign Country!

If you are planning a trip to another country, it is important that you take the steps necessary to protect yourself in the event of theft, accident, illness, injury or any other event that can make it difficult for you to return home.

There are many things that can happen during your travels and it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to planning.

Tips if you find yourself stranded in a foreign country Planning for the worst
Before you leave on your trip you should make two copies of all of your important documents. Your passport can help you get a new passport quicker and may help in other situations.

Passport picture. This will help speed up the process of getting a temporary passport from the embassy.
Credit cards. You want to make sure to have the numbers you need to call for your credit cards in case of an emergency by having copies of the card, front and back. Sometimes these numbers are printed on the back of the cards, but if not be sure to write them on the copies.
Airline ticket. If you have the information on you flight such as the flight number and other details that help to define your flight, it will be easier to get a replacement ticket.
Traveller's checks. Keep a list of your traveller's check numbers and mark them off as you use them, so if something happens to them, you’ll know which ones you have left.

Before you leave, keep one of the copies of everything to take with you and give the other copies to someone that you trust here at home, for safe keeping. Never pack any of your valuables or important documents in your luggage.

Dealing with Losing your Documents
If you are on vacation and robbed of your money, credit cards, passport or other documents and items that make it impossible to function where you are, you’ll need a Plan B. The first thing you need to replace is your passport. You cannot travel, stay at cheap hotels or pick up money without your passport. Going to the consulate or embassy for your country is the first step you need to take.

If you don’t know where the embassy is you can ask the clerk at your hotel, or reference a telephone book. There are 24-hour emergency phone numbers that you can call for the US State Department in case you need assistance from the embassy after it has closed.

Where to go for Assistance
Your embassy can offer help when you find yourself stranded with no money and no passport, but you must go there in person. There are separate lines for citizens of that country and travellers who are visiting and need assistance. Making sure you are in the right line will save you time and stress. Once you are able to speak to someone, explain the situation with as much detail as possible.

If your passport is lost or stolen, they can help you obtain a temporary one. There will be a charge. The embassy personnel can help you to reach family or friends that may be able to help with the cost. They can pay the embassy directly, transfer funds via Western Union, or even directly to a bank.

Assistance you can get from the Embassy
If your money has been lost or stolen and you are unable to find someone from home to lend you the cost of the temporary passport, the state department may be able to lend you money. This is a repatriation loan.

Whether they approve this loan depends on the funds available to the department. Also, it may be possible for your credit card company to wire you money, based on their regulations. Once you have reported your credit cards missing, certain companies may be able to offer expedited card replacement services.

This guest post article was written and provided by freelance writer and consultant Erica Gustafson on behalf of Expedia. She recently helped a couple in Australia who had had their things stolen from their rental car and set them in the right direction for home.

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