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What Would You Do If You Were Stranded By a Natural Disaster?

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I didn’t realize how much the Icelandic volcano’s eruption has disrupted travel until I was watching Gerlado at Large this past weekend. One of his guests said it was going to be much worse than travelers stranded for just a couple of days. It could take people an additional week to get a flight to London. (And maybe also from London.)

I haven’t experienced even an overnight delay yet while flying, but I’ve known quite a few people who have. Flights were canceled, flights were late and they missed connecting flights, then those next flights out were booked…that sort of thing. It really only takes one hitch and BAM! Your dream vacation can turn into a travel nightmare.

Twenty-four or 48 hours I could probably handle –both mentally and financially. But to be stranded for a week or better, especially overseas where prices are more? Um, it really got me thinking: what would I do?


Who do I know? Am I in a city where I know anyone? Am I in a city where someone I know knows someone? Can they help at all?


Camp out where I am. It would suck, but I’d make the best of it.


Rely on the kindness of strangers. I just read one of the most heartwarming travel stories in a recent issue of Woman’s World. An elderly woman was stranded at an airport on her way home from visiting her daughter. She missed her connecting flight, and since she was on a fixed income had no money for a hotel.

She ended up chatting with a man who turned out to be the kindest of strangers. He called his wife and asked her to set an extra place at the table. After taking the elderly woman to their house for a home cooked meal, he then paid for a nice hotel and drove the elderly lady there. In the morning he arranged to have a car take her back to the airport.

I think of such people as Earth angels. I know they exist, not only because I’ve had my fair share of Earth angels help me in my life, but because when disasters strike it tends to bring out the amazing in people. (The news often reports the worst, because that’s what sells, but the good shines too. Like that town in Nova Scotia who helped the thousands of travelers who found themselves stranded there when their planes were grounded on 9/11. That town stepped up big time and helped all those people. I think we’ll hear similar stories coming out of this Icelandic volcano debacle too.)


Use the Internet. I read a really neat story on USA Today “Q&A: How to deal with volcano-related travel disruptions” that explained options for stranded travelers and those also planning on taking European vacations in the next week or so. One of them was turn to Twitter and Facebook.

It kind of combines some of my options above, but people are using hashtags like #getmehome, #ridesharing and #putmeup on Twitter to find Earth Angels. And also has been established to help “volcano refugees.”


Have you ever been stranded while traveling? What did you do?

If you were stranded, what would you do? Have you already formulated a back up plan?

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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3 thoughts on “What Would You Do If You Were Stranded By a Natural Disaster?

  1. I am the wrong person to answer this because I love being stranded while travelling! I was trapped in Vermont once. Called into to work, got two days off to hike and eat. I was happy as a clam. I think someone spilled baby powder on a plane and homeland security thought it was anthrax. It took them two days to figure out it was baby powder and reopen the airport. How sad is that?

  2. I have never been stranded in an airport but our cruise took an extra unplanned day to get across the Pacific. Our 10 day Hawaiian cruise consisted of seven days cruising around the islands and three days to get across the ocean. The weather got rough and they had to slow the ship down adding another day. I loved it. For four hours, the night before our last day, we got free drinks and my head was so clear with no sinus problems whatsoever! It was cool and breezy. Many were scrambling to get their airline tickets changed but since we went through a travel agent, they took care of our tickets for us. We all cheered when we went under the Golden Gate Bridge showing us that we safely made it home. All I can say is, I hope where ever it is I’m stranded is somewhere fun and that I have my laptop and blackberry to keep in contact with my family…..oh yes, plenty of money would be nice too.

  3. I love this! Both of you had such positive ways of handling this. It shows why I like you overall anyway and find myself drawn to you. You just roll with things. I would get a little uptight if it was extended much past a few days only because of my animals. Forget them having separation anxiety when I’m gone. I’m the one who suffers from it! But really I never mind delays too much. I’m kind of like you both…it’s not about the destination, but the journey!

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