With the recent Super Storm, Hurricane Sandy, that impinged on 15 states on the east coast, travel was among many things that were affected. The exhibit industry is one that involves a lot of traveling and two of our staff members were away from their families here on Long Island before the storm hit and with some patience and luck were able to get home before it all started.
Their situations made me think: what are you supposed to do if severe weather is predicted and you are away on business; or if there is a natural disaster like the earthquake in Japan last year? Here are some ways to help ease your stress as you try to get home to your loved ones.
First off, when booking travel, you may want to consider travel insurance. This is a small expense for a little piece of mind if you can not make your flight. If you however have already reached your destination and want to depart early, be sure to have the airline phone number programmed into your phone. This way you can call the airline as soon as your decision is made and not have to endure the long lines at the ticket counters at the airport.
Another obstacle is your hotel; when you decide to check out early many hotels will not charge you for early check-out when there are extenuating circumstances, but if you encounter an issue, first speak with the manager on duty, they can usually help, if not, after the dust has settled and you are home and everyone is safe, take a few minutes to call the hotel client service department. Most likely they will be able to work something out with you. Just remember that the hotel staff is just doing their job and they have policies that they need to follow and as much as they would like to help you they just may not be able to.
If you have traveled out of the country, be sure to have digital copies of all your documents on your person and with a relative back home. There were many people that lost all their belongings in the tsunami in 2004 in Indonesia and last year in Japan, one of their biggest obstacles in getting home was getting their documentation to get home. The US consulate could be backed up with many other travelers so help yourself with digital copies so when you get to the consulate; you are prepared to help them help you.
Traveling has its own stresses and inclement weather and natural disasters can only add to it. So by preparing for anything before hand you can limit some of that stress and be able to get home faster with fewer difficulties.
We wish you all safe travels!