S**t happens — the popular expression often seen on T-shirts aptly describes emergency situations abroad. Yes, even the best-laid plans could easily be thrown off track by incidents, like loss of travel documents or a sudden illness. This gets all the more stressful if you happen to be vacationing in a foreign land. And though you can’t plan for the unexpected, you can be prepared.
Agratha Dinakaran, 26, was in Berlin, Germany, earlier this year, when she got pickpocketed at a train station. She says, “Someone stole my wallet and travel bag that contained my passport and other documents. I had no ID on me. Plus, I was travelling alone, so I was bawling my eyes out.” The digital strategist filed a complaint at the police station, and then went to the Indian embassy. Unfortunately, it was shut.
“Doing the only thing I know best, I tweeted for help. Within an hour, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj reached out to me. I shared my number with her, and she got the embassy to help me. I was given my emergency certificate. My trip schedule changed drastically after that, but I had an experience of a lifetime travelling across Europe with little to no money,” she adds.
On the other hand, Sudha Shah, 35, was forced to get herself admitted to a New York hospital last month after her knee locked suddenly while holidaying in the US. She says, “I wasn’t able to walk, and had to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, we had travel insurance. It covered all the medical expenses, and reimbursed us for a leg of the trip that we weren’t able to make due to the hospitalisation.”
From lost passports and currency issues to medical assistance and flight cancellations, there are a number of travel emergencies that could crop up while vacationing abroad. Here’s how you can prepare for them and get assistance, if needed.
With inputs from Vikram Malhi, managing director-Asia, Expedia and Indiver Rastogi, chief operating officer and head - corporate travel, Thomas Cook