You are travelling and find yourself in some trouble. Where do you turn to? Who can help you? What are the resources you need to know about before you travel and once you arrive? The faster you can answer these questions, the faster you can get back to enjoying your vacation! Below is a list of some of the most common problems and where to find help in case you find yourself in trouble on your trip.
Lost passport: One of the most common problems travellers run into while venturing off to international destinations is a lost passport. If you find that your passport is misplaced or stolen, immediately contact your embassy – they will be able to provide you with a number of steps for getting home and managing without this critical piece of identification in the meantime.
Injury and Accident: Even after plenty of precautions before you leave and while you are travelling, injuries do happen. If this occurs at your hotel, the front desk staff should be your first point of contact. Following that, you will be directed to the best health facility for your injury. Whether it is a hospital, clinic or other treatment option, be prepared for something a little different than you may be used to at home. If your injury was serious and you think there may be some negligence on the part of the service provider, consider contacting legal authorities at home. Either way, be sure to record your injuries thoroughly and keep all records and receipts. Take similar steps with other accidents, contacting relevant authorities when needed.
Sickness: Similar to unexpected injuries, illnesses sometimes happen while you are travelling. Be prepared for these circumstances by bringing relevant medications and first aid kits, while also ensuring your have overseas medical coverage. If you are concerned about the severity of your illness, seek out medical care and do not hesitate to contact a doctor in your home country to advise on your condition.
Stolen items: You get back from a day of excursions and find that something is missing from your hotel room. If you have any issues while on the premises of your hotel, contacting the front desk is the best first step and do not hesitate to ask for a manager or owner. In this situation, either a hotel representative or yourself should contact the relevant local authorities. If you are pickpocketed on the street or during an excursion, take similar steps to contact the local authorities while being sure to record all details and facts of the incident thoroughly.
Arrest: Hopefully you do not find yourself in handcuffs overseas, but it is possible that you may inadvertently break the law or become caught up in illegal activity. If you are arrested or brought to a police station, you will have contact with the local authorities of that country, which may be very different from those in your home country. Be sure to contact your embassy – they may be able to forward you legal consultation. You may be offered local legal help, but be sure to consult with a lawyer from your own country to verify what you are being told, especially if there is a language difference.
Product scam: It is quite common for excursion and product scams to be offered to unsuspecting tourists at international destinations. First, research every excursion and product very carefully, preplanning from home when possible. Staff at the front desk of your hotel or resort can usually offer important advice, along with travel agents from your home country and other fellow travellers. If you find that you have purchased something that was not as advertised, you have a few options. If you believe that the scam was illegal (keeping in mind international laws may differ from your home country), contact the local authorities to file a report. Otherwise, you can discuss the scam with hotel front desk staff, travel representatives, or alert other travelers through internet resources.
Other criminal offences: Whether you are a victim of a serious crime or a witness to something illegal, never hesitate to contact local authorities – you may be implicated in the event if you don’t take necessary measures! Serious crimes should be reported to your embassy where you may be assigned legal representation.
Natural Disaster or Civil Unrest: While this is a less common occurrence, it is perhaps the most serious and often requires immediate action. Contact your embassy as soon as you are able and safe to do so. From there your embassy will advise further action. In these cases be prepared to leave your hotel and the country quickly, keeping the most important items with you at all times. Immediate action is very important, but it is also critical to remain calm and follow the advice of your embassy in order to keep yourself safe.
Separation from members of your party: During a busy day and travelling between sites, it is easy to get separated from other people in your group. To avoid such a situation, always plan a rendezvous point in advance that everyone is able to get to easily (even children!). If you find yourself separated at a site, there are often security or other relevant personnel to help you. Between sites, it is usually best to contact a local authority, most likely the police, to help you locate lost loved ones. If it is a time of a serious disaster or civil unrest, always get to your embassy before trying to reunite with members of your party.