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How To Handle Crisis Situations While Traveling Abroad-Loss Of Passport,CreditCard,Baggage,Travel Insurance

Updated on April 30, 2011

5 Crisis Situations While Traveling Abroad

Holiday travel is looked forward to by all and preparing for the relaxing time ahead is less traumatic if you have a check list to go by. A truly relaxing and exciting holiday can go awry if you suddenly discover that you have lost your passport or your credit card is stolen. Well, these are the common crisis situations one can land up in and not know what to do. Especially when you are in a foreign country. So, how do I get back home safely is the first question that crops to mind.

I shall deal with 5 crisis situations in this hub and hopefully you never have to be in these situations, but atleast you are aware of what to do instead of having a panic attack.

  1. You Lost Your Passport : By far, the most common.
  2. Your Credit card / Travel card is stolen : Another common situation.
  3. You fall sick and cannot find your travel insurance
  4. Your flight is canceled or your baggage is lost
  5. You are stranded at the airport

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Tips To Handle 5 Crisis Situations

1. What to do if you lose your passport

The first step is to contact your embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting. They will issue you a temporary passport. Remember to find out and carry the telephone number and address of the embassy before you embark on your journey. Or you can log on to their website for speedy access. Also make sure you have a copy of the passport scanned and stored in your e-mail in order to get the new one. It will also help if you carry passport-size photos and photocopies of the passport.

2. What to do if your credit / travel card is stolen or blocked

Before the trip, let your bank/credit card issuer know of your travel plans. This will help in 2 ways. You will be informed if there is a special transaction fee for using the card overseas and you will be given the local contact number of the country you are visiting. Storing this in your e-mail or phone will help in alerting the bank in case your card is stolen. The bank will immediately block the card and arrange for a replacement at the earliest from their local branch. Instant replacement is possible from banks with a worldwide network, so make sure you carry internationally accepted cards or ones from global banks.

If you lose a travel card, which is offered by leading banks, quick replacement is assured. All you need to do is call up their international helpline numbers. Again, storing these in your cell phone is handy.

For a fee, there are some companies that offer card protection facility services in such situations, where one call to their international helpline number will ensure that all your credit cards are blocked instantly if you lose them anywhere in the world.They will also facilitate payment of hotel bills and travel tickets.

3. What if you suddenly take ill while abroad and discover having misplaced your travel insurance

Log onto the insuring company's website or call the insurer's contact person in the foreign country. If you have the helpline numbers,call them and give your name, policy number or passport number and the company can e-mail your documents. With this, all you need to do is contact the local service provider and hospitalization can be arranged. It would be wise to carry the relevant toll-free numbers and photocopies of your insurance documents.

4 . What if you lose your baggage or your flight is cancelled

If you lose your baggage,contact the airline immediately. If the airline is not able to trace the baggage within 7 days, which is the typical designated period for most airlines, and your travel insurance covers loss of baggage, you can claim compensation.

Airlines usually offer 3 options when a flight is cancelled. Reroute via the next available flight, refund or a credit for future flights. Call up the airline or make an online contact to find out about the earliest flight. You can also opt for a refund and search online for available flights by other airlines. And claim the prescribed compensation if you have travel insurance. Always carry your airline number.

5. What if you are stranded due to a natural or man-made calamity

If it is a natural calamity, and nothing can be done about it, it is wise to just check into a hotel and stock up on food. Also make sure your insurance does not expire. If it is about to expire, call up the insurer or make online contact to have it extended.

If it is an internal unrest in the country of visit, call up your embassy and ask for help. Usually, a plane is arranged to transport you back.

So, the next time you plan to travel abroad, make sure you have the relevant phone numbers and website addresses and store copies of your important documents in your e-mail. Also make sure you have all the necessary valid insurances.

Have a carefree fulfilled holiday.

Take a poll

Which of these crisis situations have you been in ?

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    • kingphilipIV profile image

      Ramphil Basco 

      7 years ago from Iloilo, Philippines

      I always want to travel and this hub helps me a lot.. Thank you for useful information and stay happy!

    • profile image

      Charles de Gaulle Airport 

      7 years ago

      There's some really useful info here. I wish I'd seen it back in 2009, when I was stranded in Paris airport, having mislaid my passport on the way to Charles de Gaulle airport. I subsequently missed my flight and couldn't find my passport either. Knowing how to go about resolving the issue beforehand would have saved me from upteen amounts of stress!

    • roshall profile image


      7 years ago from Ohio

      This is something every traveler needs to know.

    • Purple Perl profile imageAUTHOR

      Purple Perl 

      7 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Peter, Lady_E,and AliciaC,thanks for the comments. Yes, it is better to be aware and prepared. And never panic in the unfortunate event. Holidays are meant to be relaxing fun not stressful.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for very useful information. An emergency when traveling to another country is always upsetting, but following your advice would certainly make the experience easier to deal with!

    • Lady_E profile image


      7 years ago from London, UK

      Very useful info.... you just never know.

    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 

      7 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      Fortunately I haven't had a problem yet, but these are good suggestions if one should develop.


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