Author Topic: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money  (Read 6592 times)

mustachepungoeshere

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A volcanic ash cloud has grounded flights and stranded thousands of travellers, mostly Australian, in Bali.

One passenger interviewed was due to fly out Friday night and is still there today (Monday morning), so he's had to pay for food and accommodation for three extra days and nights.

Quote
"I'm confused as to what I should be doing because I just don't know. I'm anxious, worried, the ATM card is getting pretty tight. We've had to extend the limit on our credit card."

http://www.smh.com.au/national/terminal-tensions-amid-bali-flight-chaos-as-volcanic-ash-cloud-shuts-airport-20150712-giaktr.html#ixzz3fiiTGjyY

NykkiC

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2015, 05:17:28 PM »
To give him the benefit of the doubt, he might have only have enough money accesible on the debit card and he might not have been comfortable accessing internet banking to pay off the credit card on foreign wifi.

Personally, I only have enough cash on the debit card for what can reasonably be expected plus some emergency. The rest is squirelled away in a linked savings account which can't be acessed from the card. This is mainly in case my card gets stolen or copied. I would also be leery of doing internet banking on foreign wifi unless I was using hotel wifi of a well known hotel chain, or something equivalent. Then again, I also card around two extra credit cards that would usually be used for internet shopping but which would be fully paid off before I go. I can, and have, survived being unexpectedly delayed returning home for two weeks (very bad case of food poisoning and the doctor at the hospital advised against flying just to be on the safe side).

On the one hand, the guy quoted does sort of bring up a valid point. It hasn't been well handled, and some people might be starting to have money troubles. I suspect this is compounded by the fact that so many Aussies see Bali as a holiday destination where they can live large on very little money, compounded by cheep flights. So you get a lot of people who really shouldn't be travelling overseas but 'Bali's so cheap!'

neophyte

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2015, 06:32:14 PM »
I actually almost had this happen to me.

Before I went to Thailand, I called my bank to let them know. At that time both my ATM card and my only credit card were through them.  They said that under no circumstances would any transaction of any kind be allowed in Thailand.  At that point I was already in Cambodia and leaving soon so I was scrambling to withdraw my $200 daily limit everyday.  Of course, Thailand is the place where I had an allergic reaction to something and had to go to the hospital.  There was a brief moment of panic but I had ended up having enough cash to cover it.

MgoSam

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2015, 07:58:56 PM »
Yeah, this is something that would scare me about traveling abroad unless I know locals.

AH013

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 09:59:36 PM »
I actually almost had this happen to me.

Before I went to Thailand, I called my bank to let them know. At that time both my ATM card and my only credit card were through them.  They said that under no circumstances would any transaction of any kind be allowed in Thailand.  At that point I was already in Cambodia and leaving soon so I was scrambling to withdraw my $200 daily limit everyday.  Of course, Thailand is the place where I had an allergic reaction to something and had to go to the hospital.  There was a brief moment of panic but I had ended up having enough cash to cover it.

I imagine shortly after you return you thanked your bank for their exceptional customer service and summarily told them where to send the cashier's check for your account balance?

rocketpj

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2015, 12:10:49 AM »
Shouldn't travel unless you have a backup plan or are comfortable improvising on the fly.

I am comfortable improvising, and in my younger years spent a lot of time living on almost nothing in some random parts of the globe.  A few days flight delay is a great excuse to do some more exploring.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 03:06:13 AM »
I once ran out of money in a foreign country. It was Italy, so it wasn't very foreign, but I didn't speak any Italian at the time. I had brought enough euros in cash but something happened that meant I needed more - I think it was that we had an extremely delayed train so had to stay an extra night in one city and then book another train the next day while also having to pay the full amount for the hotel we should have stayed in. We may have had to change a flight too. Anyway, my bank helpfully blocked my debit card (to be fair, I hadn't told them I was travelling as I thought I'd have enough cash). I could have made some very expensive phone calls to England but in the end I texted my parents and they lent me 200 euros through some wire transfer service until I got back to England and could sort it all out. (This was right at the end of the holiday, and I had budgeted to the penny as I was an impoverished student!)

So it can happen, as accessing money from abroad can be quite difficult!

zephyr911

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2015, 10:48:26 AM »
A volcanic ash cloud has grounded flights and stranded thousands of travellers, mostly Australian, in Bali.

One passenger interviewed was due to fly out Friday night and is still there today (Monday morning), so he's had to pay for food and accommodation for three extra days and nights.

Quote
"I'm confused as to what I should be doing because I just don't know. I'm anxious, worried, the ATM card is getting pretty tight. We've had to extend the limit on our credit card."

http://www.smh.com.au/national/terminal-tensions-amid-bali-flight-chaos-as-volcanic-ash-cloud-shuts-airport-20150712-giaktr.html#ixzz3fiiTGjyY
Maybe I'm just weird, but I'd rather sleep on the floor in the airport than pay for another night in a hotel. And from what I'm hearing, food there should be cheap.
Even in my financially stupid days, I'd never travel internationally without at least several thousand in free credit. For people to be buying international plane tickets with such a tiny cushion is asking for trouble.

neophyte

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 07:19:48 PM »
I actually almost had this happen to me.

Before I went to Thailand, I called my bank to let them know. At that time both my ATM card and my only credit card were through them.  They said that under no circumstances would any transaction of any kind be allowed in Thailand.  At that point I was already in Cambodia and leaving soon so I was scrambling to withdraw my $200 daily limit everyday.  Of course, Thailand is the place where I had an allergic reaction to something and had to go to the hospital.  There was a brief moment of panic but I had ended up having enough cash to cover it.

I imagine shortly after you return you thanked your bank for their exceptional customer service and summarily told them where to send the cashier's check for your account balance?

It got worse actually :(  I had moved overseas after college and hadn't been back to the US in a while. Years later my credit card still had the same $1k limit on it that my mom requested when I got it at 18. The Thailand incident happened after I quit my job and started backpacking my way back to the US. About a month after that when I was ready to buy a ticket home, I knew it would be over the credit limit so I sent the credit card an extra $2000. I figured with the ticket already more than paid for, they'd let me buy it. NOPE! You can't exceed your credit limit even if you've prepaid it! I had to have my parents buy my plane ticket for me and reimburse them.

Basically the first order of business once I got back was to call them and let them know what I thought. Naively I asked them to raise my credit limit so I wouldn't run into the issue in the future. NOPE! I was unemployed, they couldn't do that. Years of paying the balance in full or more than in full and no late payments, the gobs of money I was transferring back to the US from my foreign bank account, the new job I was starting in a month? Nope, no can do. Maybe I should call back after I started the new job.

So I finally said 'screw it' and cancelled the card.  I opened a different one where they were happy to give me a higher limit. I was rewarded with a hit to my credit score because my oldest account had been closed and the credit card company took their sweet, sweet time sending me a check for the balance of my account. *sigh* Some fights you just can't win.

The silver lining was I moved to USAA and they have just about the most fantastic customer service I've ever seen, so I've been really happy with them.


Reynold

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2015, 02:01:35 PM »
I came close to having problems on a trip to England, of all places.  I'd pre-booked my B&B room in London for a couple of nights, fairly expensive at ~$180/night with taxes, but it was a business trip and I was getting reimbursed so I wasn't too worried about it.  They asked for a credit card, of course, when I booked it from the U.S. 

So I arrive and give them the credit card to pay, and it turns out that although they require having a credit card to book a room, they don't actually accept credit cards for payment, they take cash or local check only!  As I'd only brought something like $500 cash for the 5 day trip, and my ATM card had expired from lack of use, that didn't leave me a huge amount of margin.  Fortunately, the small town B&B I stayed at for the rest of the trip did take credit cards, and what I had left lasted me for the remainder of the trip, but I was rather concerned at the time.  This was before cell phones were common or hotels were on the internet, so options were more limited. 

Even now, we usually have discussions once in awhile about do we keep;
-1 credit card with a good reward program, and take a chance it gets a fraud alert and turned off just when we need it, or
-2 credit cards, so we have a backup in case of the above, and bring both on a trip, risking them getting lost or stolen and have no working card, or
-3 credit cards, and leave one at home when we travel, and bring two, but have to use cards with less good reward programs to keep them active. . .

Making Cookies

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2015, 10:00:53 AM »
I came close to having problems on a trip to England, of all places.  I'd pre-booked my B&B room in London for a couple of nights, fairly expensive at ~$180/night with taxes, but it was a business trip and I was getting reimbursed so I wasn't too worried about it.  They asked for a credit card, of course, when I booked it from the U.S. 

So I arrive and give them the credit card to pay, and it turns out that although they require having a credit card to book a room, they don't actually accept credit cards for payment, they take cash or local check only!  As I'd only brought something like $500 cash for the 5 day trip, and my ATM card had expired from lack of use, that didn't leave me a huge amount of margin.  Fortunately, the small town B&B I stayed at for the rest of the trip did take credit cards, and what I had left lasted me for the remainder of the trip, but I was rather concerned at the time.  This was before cell phones were common or hotels were on the internet, so options were more limited. 

Even now, we usually have discussions once in awhile about do we keep;
-1 credit card with a good reward program, and take a chance it gets a fraud alert and turned off just when we need it, or
-2 credit cards, so we have a backup in case of the above, and bring both on a trip, risking them getting lost or stolen and have no working card, or
-3 credit cards, and leave one at home when we travel, and bring two, but have to use cards with less good reward programs to keep them active. . .

Had a similar problem. Flew from the USA to Heathrow Airport and missed a connecting flight back to Italy where I was living at the time. Security was tight b/c of the Lockerbee bombing. Was new to international travel and did not have the cash (or a credit card at all) to buy a one way ticket to Italy from the UK on short notice.

Fortunately I went to the gate (of my missed flight) and they put me on another airline/flight to Rome at no extra charge.

Went from wide-eyed scared to time for a nap... Ahhhh... ;)

I'll never travel again without a credit card at least (cash is better) enough to cover several weeks of delays. Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.

Leisured

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2015, 09:12:59 AM »
I am Australian, and what struck me was that the Australian news was only about the inconvenience for privileged Australian tourists briefly stranded in Bali. What about he locals living near Mt Ruang, the volcano emitting ash and dust? Does not look good.


Gerard

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 09:20:21 PM »
I am Australian, and what struck me was that the Australian news was only about the inconvenience for privileged Australian tourists briefly stranded in Bali. What about he locals living near Mt Ruang, the volcano emitting ash and dust? Does not look good.

It's definitely not just an Australian thing. Here in Canada we joke that the archetypal CTV news story would be "Godzilla destroys Tokyo, Canadian travellers have trouble getting to airport."

Zamboni

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2015, 09:55:32 PM »
Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.

It took me a week to get home . . . from what was supposed to be a two day business trip to Indiana. After a few days at a hotel I piled into a full-sized rental car with 4 other business travelers headed in the same "general direction" as me (generally we were all going south, and it was very zig zaggy. Since I wasn't the furthest south I think I was the third drop off and boy was I grateful.) Don't even remember who had the car or how it all got coordinated.

I've had fraud prevention computer systems flag CC purchases and decline them in random locations like Dallas. Plenty of cash in a belt or traveler's checks when overseas is probably a reasonable idea.

Money Mouse

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 08:30:50 AM »
Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.

It did. I'm a travel agent and it was (IIRC) Friday before domestic flights got into the air (9/11 was a Tuesday) and the following week before int'l flights were allowed back into the US. Our board of directors (I work for a non-profit, not a travel agency) was stuck in China an extra week, they were supposed to fly home on the 12th or 13th originally. The ten days or so following 9/11 was a travel nightmare, I worked 11 and 12 hour days for over a week straight between processing refunds for travelers who couldn't (or wouldn't - a lot of people were afraid to fly) travel during the ground-stop and helping stranded travelers get hotel rooms and arrange travel back home (train, bus, car rental, or flights once things got up and running again).  For all of our people, we were able to help them out by pre-paying everything with our corporate CC, I can't imagine what other travelers had to do if they didn't have the means at hand for upwards of a week of extra travel expenses.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 08:34:29 AM by Money Mouse »

Gerard

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 09:49:30 AM »
Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.
It did. I'm a travel agent and it was (IIRC) Friday before domestic flights got into the air (9/11 was a Tuesday) and the following week before int'l flights were allowed back into the US.

A happier story from that time, perhaps new to some folks here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44391951/ns/us_news-9_11_ten_years_later/t/unlikely-place-human-face/

screwit

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 10:18:11 AM »
I got stuck for 10 extra days in Vietnam when the Icelandic volcano blew but my biggest problem was that my visa - as in my immigration visa to enter country - expired 5 days after I was due to fly back. The Monday after the eruption the visa office in Ho Chi Minh was full of foreign backpackers trying to work out what was going on and after several hours they announced that we could all get extensions, but they needed to take our passports for a week to do it. I was on standby for a flight in four days (which didn't pan out in the end) and you need to show your passport whenever you check into a hotel there, so I didn't apply for an extension and just winged it, hoping that the volcano excuse would work if I got arrested. Luckily the passport control officer only realised it had expired AFTER she'd given me my export stamp and after I babbled some high-speed, highly colloquial English at her, she just waved me through.

Running out of money wasn't a problem then - most debit cards and credit cards are accessible from anywhere these days and we travel enough internationally that it is a prerequiste. One thing to be careful of, which caught us out in Singapore once, was that we have our credit cards locked for any purchases from Asia, Africa and South America (where we don't go that often), so we have to make sure to unlock them before we leave.

Money Mouse

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2015, 09:31:28 AM »
Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.
It did. I'm a travel agent and it was (IIRC) Friday before domestic flights got into the air (9/11 was a Tuesday) and the following week before int'l flights were allowed back into the US.

A happier story from that time, perhaps new to some folks here:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44391951/ns/us_news-9_11_ten_years_later/t/unlikely-place-human-face/

I remember that, glad to hear many of the passengers are staying in touch after all this time, and that scholarship fund, how awesome is that!

I got stuck for 10 extra days in Vietnam when the Icelandic volcano blew but my biggest problem was that my visa - as in my immigration visa to enter country - expired 5 days after I was due to fly back. The Monday after the eruption the visa office in Ho Chi Minh was full of foreign backpackers trying to work out what was going on and after several hours they announced that we could all get extensions, but they needed to take our passports for a week to do it. I was on standby for a flight in four days (which didn't pan out in the end) and you need to show your passport whenever you check into a hotel there, so I didn't apply for an extension and just winged it, hoping that the volcano excuse would work if I got arrested. Luckily the passport control officer only realised it had expired AFTER she'd given me my export stamp and after I babbled some high-speed, highly colloquial English at her, she just waved me through.

I can just imagine what she was thinking..."eh, fuck it. Not worth the paperwork."

Gerard

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2015, 09:42:33 AM »
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/44391951/ns/us_news-9_11_ten_years_later/t/unlikely-place-human-face/
I remember that, glad to hear many of the passengers are staying in touch after all this time, and that scholarship fund, how awesome is that!

There's definitely a hospitality built out of need here (when you live on a rock in the ocean, people in trouble wash ashore all the time). A couple of other stories:

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2011/08/11/25_years_later_tamil_boat_people_live_the_dream.html
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/15/AR2010091507189.html?sid=ST2010091600164

The Lanier Phillips story (the second one) is especially powerful.


Us2bCool

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Re: Article: Travellers stranded in Indonesia running out of money
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2015, 10:05:05 AM »
I came close to having problems on a trip to England, of all places.  I'd pre-booked my B&B room in London for a couple of nights, fairly expensive at ~$180/night with taxes, but it was a business trip and I was getting reimbursed so I wasn't too worried about it.  They asked for a credit card, of course, when I booked it from the U.S. 

So I arrive and give them the credit card to pay, and it turns out that although they require having a credit card to book a room, they don't actually accept credit cards for payment, they take cash or local check only!  As I'd only brought something like $500 cash for the 5 day trip, and my ATM card had expired from lack of use, that didn't leave me a huge amount of margin.  Fortunately, the small town B&B I stayed at for the rest of the trip did take credit cards, and what I had left lasted me for the remainder of the trip, but I was rather concerned at the time.  This was before cell phones were common or hotels were on the internet, so options were more limited. 

Even now, we usually have discussions once in awhile about do we keep;
-1 credit card with a good reward program, and take a chance it gets a fraud alert and turned off just when we need it, or
-2 credit cards, so we have a backup in case of the above, and bring both on a trip, risking them getting lost or stolen and have no working card, or
-3 credit cards, and leave one at home when we travel, and bring two, but have to use cards with less good reward programs to keep them active. . .

Had a similar problem. Flew from the USA to Heathrow Airport and missed a connecting flight back to Italy where I was living at the time. Security was tight b/c of the Lockerbee bombing. Was new to international travel and did not have the cash (or a credit card at all) to buy a one way ticket to Italy from the UK on short notice.

Fortunately I went to the gate (of my missed flight) and they put me on another airline/flight to Rome at no extra charge.

Went from wide-eyed scared to time for a nap... Ahhhh... ;)

I'll never travel again without a credit card at least (cash is better) enough to cover several weeks of delays. Imagine trying to get from Europe back into the states on 9/12 or 9/13... I'll bet it took a week for some of those folks to get home.

We adopted our daughter from overseas and belong to a group of parents who adopted from that country.

That week in September there was a new family who were stranded overseas with a new child in a hotel charging >$500 a night*. They couldn't get other accommodations and couldn't leave until, I think, Friday or Saturday.  We took up a collection to help them out; all things considered it ended up costing them about $5K over what they were already paying.

*They weren't spendthrifts; the hotel is arranged by the agency and for very good reason. We stayed in the same hotel with the understanding that we could stomach it for three nights.