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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.