5 Ways to Stay Sane When Stranded Abroad

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor December 8th, 2015 Posted in Inspiration and Love Stories, Travel Blog 6 Comments

stranded in macauEverything was going well during my second visit to Hong Kong and Macau last July, until the least expected event happened.

My friend Ice and I were in Macau, and we were supposed to go back to Hong Kong that afternoon for our flight back to Manila the following day. Unfortunately, all ferry trips between the two regions were suspended due to an incoming typhoon. To make the long story short, we were stranded in Macau, and we didn’t make it to our flight.

Many of us have had our share of bad luck in our travels, and that includes missing your flight, train or bus because of matters beyond your control. It could be heartbreaking to feel helpless, when there’s nothing you can do except wait.

If this ever happens to you, and I hope it doesn’t, here are some tips to keep your sanity.

Don’t panic

When we found out that there was no way we could go back to Hong Kong that day, we resigned to the idea that we will be stranded in Macau. Like I said earlier, there is really nothing that we can do. There’s no point in arguing with anyone; after all, rules are rules.

macau fisherman's wharf

Having fun in Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, before finding out that we will be stranded

Keep your cool. It is okay to feel a bit stressed, but never blow your top. A more relaxed mind will help you think rationally, avoiding bad decisions. I was lucky that Ice is an experienced traveler and had his own set of misadventures in the past, so when I was starting to lose it, he would calm me down. Related Article: Where to Stay in Hong Kong

Ask for help

It won’t hurt to inform the people you encounter of your situation. In fact, you’ll be amazed at how some will go out of their way to help you when they know you are in a rut.

free wifi stranded

During our ordeal, we met a number of kind souls: a Filipino hotel staff who lent us his mobile phone to call the Hong Kong office of our airline, the Macanese hostel manager who allowed us to stay in the hostel’s dining area and use its amenities even after we checked out, the Filipino couple we met in the ferry terminal the following day who helped us secure the shipping line’s address, the shipping line employee who gave us the necessary document for our flight rebooking without any hesitation, and the Filipino airline manager who constantly checked if our names are on their list of outgoing passengers.

Don’t blame anyone

All ferries had their last trip at 5:00 p.m. We arrived at the ferry terminal at 5:10 p.m. Had we left the hostel earlier or decided not to go to the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf, we could’ve avoided being stranded. Instead of blaming each other, we decided to make the most of the situation.

stranded in hotel

Don’t blame your travel buddies like it was all their fault that this is happening to you. Not only will you ruin your vacation, but you might lose your friends as well. If you’re traveling solo, don’t be so hard on yourself.

Have a backup plan

In our case, it was my credit card. After numerous calls to the airline’s customer service and not getting any immediate action from them, we were left with no other choice but to purchase a pair of new and very expensive one-way tickets.

Expat Guide To Money Management

We did get them refunded (in full!) later on, but it took a while and it wasn’t easy. Ice had to follow up with the airline countless times via email and phone until they finally approved our request.

My advice? Always have a backup plan for emergencies. I thought about leaving my card at home since I was sure I had enough cash. Good thing I changed my mind. Another option is to tell your family and friends back home about what happened, and ask them if maybe they can book a flight for you.

Charge it to experience

Remember that there is always a chance that something will go wrong during your trip, whether you are a long-term traveler or just on vacation. Whatever it is that you will go through, it is still the experience that counts.

old taipa village macau

This little bump on the road tested our friendship, stretched our patience, and improved our travel skills. Personally, it gave me an excuse to visit Hong Kong again soon. There are still places and activities that we were supposed to see and do but weren’t able to.

What did we learn from all this? Always bring your credit card. Kidding. But seriously, prepare for the worst. And don’t let it stop you from traveling and exploring the world. Instead, use it as an inspiration to overcome future challenges and push yourself beyond your limits.

Keep traveling!

ngong ping hong kong

Looking for other articles? Check out our DIY Travel Guides Around the World. For cheap and luxurious places to stay while traveling, here’s our ultimate list of best hostels and hotels!

Monkey Dividers

About the Writer

Named after a The Beatles hit song, Michelle Caligan is a self-proclaimed expert when it comes to scoring cheap airline tickets, dubbing herself as a “seat sale slave.” This acquired skill has taken her to many places, exposing her to various cultures and tradition.
A CouchSurfing newbie, she is currently based in Manila, Philippines, where she works as a content producer for an entertainment website.
5 ways to stay sane when stranded abroad

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6 thoughts on “5 Ways to Stay Sane When Stranded Abroad

  1. True enough for the point not blaming others, it is jot easy to get a travel buddies and if u ruined it,u lose a friendship!!

  2. I was stranded in Batanes the time typhoon Lando hit the Philippines and flights going to and coming from Basco were cancelled. My supposedly 4-day stay turned into an 8-day long vacation. I went through all stages of grief there — from denial to anger to bargaining to depression (of the financial kind) to acceptance (resorting that we might have to find jobs in Batanes). In the beginning it felt okay because, why not? It was Batanes, after all. But there were jobs to go back to, no internet connection, and we were incurring lodging expenses. So there were moments that I felt like I was going to die of frustration and boredom. But I couldn’t blame anyone; the cancellations were for our own safety. What kept me sane was the television (thankfully, there were no outages), my sister and fellow strandees, and the locals who were very nice. In the end, while it’s something that I don’t want to go through again, I learned a lot from it. As you said, charge it to experience.

    1. Hi Joy! I agree that at first you will feel like you get an extended vacation but soon you will realize that there are so much at stake, esp since we were stuck in a different country. But yeah, we will always learn something from our misadventures. 🙂

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