Thursday, August 15, 2013

Contacting Home from Abroad in a crisis

Going on holiday doesn’t mean that you will necessarily be able to escape all of your problems. Sometimes going abroad can create new issues that didn’t exist at home, so it’s important that you prepare yourself for any eventuality. This doesn’t mean you should go expecting the worst, as of course holidays should be enjoyable, but a little preparation before you leave could make things a lot easier if anything does go wrong.

Firstly, think about the numbers you might need when you’re away. If anyone in your group has a pre-existing medical condition which might be problematic, get the number of their doctor just in case. Also note down the contact details of your airline and hotel in case any luggage goes missing, you leave anything behind or you get lost.
It can be rather expensive to call home if you haven’t prepared for anything going wrong, so sort out a way of contacting home before you travel. Roaming data plans aren’t always cheap, so don’t fall into the trap of having to sort this out when you need it. Instead, order a global SIM card which enables you to call other countries very cheaply. Of course, when there’s an emergency, you don’t have time to send an email or wait for someone to come online, so phoning is your only real option.

If you need to get in touch with the police, first make contact with the police in that country. They should be your first point of contact, as they will be able to take care of things immediately. For example, if you fall victim to fraud or have any of your possessions stolen, it is crucial that the local police are informed before those at home. While you may need to contact your bank, the police in the country can do a lot more to help you at the time than the police at home.

Without buying an international SIM card or a phone card, you will find that calling home can be expensive not only for you, but also for the person you’re calling, so keep these calls to a minimum if you don’t want to spend a fortune. However, there are always times when money doesn’t matter, and sometimes it might be the case that you just need to accept the costs of the call and make contact with home. It is a good idea to put the right provisions in place well ahead of time, but this needn't mean worrying yourself. Chances are, the holiday will go without a hitch and you’ll have a fantastic trip.

Claire Bywater is a regular traveler who believes passionately in being prepared for every eventuality!

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