ExpatActually

Stranded Abroad While Traveling

March 20, 2020

Have you ever been stranded abroad while traveling? I have, and it is by far one of the strangest feelings. The pit that grows in your stomach from the moment you catch wind..."you are not going home"...is a straight sucker punch.

This time last year, we were in Iceland. A place I had long dreamed of exploring. Even better, our trip enveloped my birthday. It was a fantastically planned seven day journey. We landed in Reykjavík, made a pit stop in Vik, explored Höfn, and soaked in a few days of R&R near Hafnarfjörður to take in the Icelandic culture and live like a local.

Little did I know living like a local would take on a vastly different meaning towards the end of our trip!

Two nights prior to our return to Germany, we were swiftly notified our ride home had gone bankrupt. And that rude awakening? It came from friends, not the airline. News broke. Headlines were pumped up. Mine and hubby's phones were buzzing uncontrollably.

"WOW! Air had gone out of business..."

It took a minute to sink in. However, it hit my husband like a ton of bricks. Rightfully so, he is the planner of the two of us. 99% of our trip details are formed in his brain. If it were up to me, we would float through life on feelings and emotions- not logic and reason. I'm so glad I married him. Have I ever said that? I digress...

We eventually did receive an email stating the airline which was scheduled to take us home was no longer in business. Umm, what?! What were we supposed to do? How would we get home? We couldn't even call the airline to discuss options, because no one was there. They closed up shop and basically said "good luck."

My level-headed husband began scouring flights back to Frankfurt from Reykjavík. The first option would've been four times the price of our original flights and also included an 18 hour layover in Helsinki. Umm, no way. The next day, we caught wind that IcelandAir was offering "Rescue Flights" for pretty much the same amount as our initially booked ones. Whew! Only problems was it was a few days out. Now, what to do in the meantime?

Thankfully, the owners of our AirBnb didn't have anyone coming in after us and allowed us to stay the remainder of our time there for FREE! What a blessing!

Another blessing was booking the flights with our Chase credit card. We do this to collect points for future flights, and the fine print of our contract covered travel reimbursement. Woohoo! So we were able to recoup the money from our original tickets.

Travel Tip-

Always make sure you have some type of travel insurance to cover your behind in times of crisis. Check your travel agent or current insurance provider prior to traveling. It might already be in place. If not, don't leave home without it. I highly recommend keeping a Chase card in your wallet solely because of our past experiences. Not to mention the incredible rewards. If you don't already have a Chase account, follow the link below! Not to mention, the immediate cash upon signing up.

$750 STRAIGHT TO YOUR POCKET

WHEN YOU USE THE LINK BELOW

Copy the link when signing up for Chase Sapphire Preferred
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6a/FAFVE7VTAS 

Voila!

Lastly, hubby's work was understanding of what happened and didn't penalize him for the hiccup. He didn't have to take additional time off from work. It just meant, I had to entertain the boys in this tiny AirBnB while he worked.

Meanwhile, we had to figure out what to do with this extra time. I know it sounds like a good problem to have, but when you've already explored the touristy sites and mounds of snow is piling up outside, there's little left to do. We ended up living like true locals.

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Everything is crazy expensive in Iceland, so we weren't eating out that much anyways. We bought up more groceries, window shopped a ton in the city, and even paid homage to the local, indoor, trampoline park. Visiting a place like that is something we would typically not do while on a trip, but this wasn't a typical trip.

Our trip ended up being 11 days. In hindsight, it was a nice breather from our typical day-to-day routine. It gave us a moment to pause and enjoy one another. Even though hubs was working in the AirBnb, he could hang out with us at lunch and have mini Transformer sessions with the boys throughout the day. I got to snuggle my babies a little more. Well, they were 3&4 years old, but they'll always be babies to momma! And that micro kitchen? They cooked and baked with me and cooked some more. We played lots of hide and seek, colored, watched movies, read books, napped, and played in the snow.

So, take it from me...savor this time.

This ordinary room. This cozy space with my family. It was an extraordinary gift.

I feel like when kids are out of school, most parents still have to report to work. During this time, you can truly savor your kiddos. I know it's stressful figuring out what to do all day long. But my advice, just love them. Bake, cook, build a fort, play board games, snuggle up and watch movies, give them lots of empty boxes and watch their creativity blossom. Even if they are big kids, it's amazing to watch!

Squeeze in homework and housework when you can, but soak up this time. It is a treasure. Don't dismiss this golden opportunity to create memories. They might not remember the fluff around the madness, but they will surely recall those special moments at home.

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