Travel plans disrupted by natural disaster?

Travel Forums General Talk Travel plans disrupted by natural disaster?

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1. Posted by Cottonwood (Full Member 124 posts) 17w Star this if you like it!

While sitting here at home looking out my window to a very cold(3 degrees Fahrenheit) and yet sunny morning here in Idaho and watching the news about the fire's in California, I was wondering, Has anyone ever have their travel plans disrupted do to a natural disaster like an earthquake, forest fires, hurricanes, and anything else mother nature made?

I personally never have. I've lucked out and had those type of disasters happen weeks or months before/after I've been there. How about you?

2. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1318 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

Remember the volcano in Iceland in April of 2010? We were headed to southern France and due to change planes in London when they closed European air space. We were stuck in London for 4 days. We called our hotel in Toulouse, France and explained the situation and they didn't charge us. We had a leased car waiting for us in Toulouse and they held the car and later (unasked), they reimbursed the 4 days cost. We just got a check in the mail one day after we were at home . . . a complete surprise. Thank you Peugeot!

British Air paid for our hotel in London and most of our meals there. We did have to pay for our train tickets when we finally got them. After 4 days in London, we got a train to Paris and the following day got another train to Toulouse. Our car was waiting for us at the airport so we took the bus out to get it. We had rented a house in the Dordogne for 2 weeks and lost 5 days of that but it couldn't be helped and we had a grand adventure in the meantime. We were fortunate that we knew a good hotel on a convenient Metro line in Paris so we didn't have to worry about where to stay or how to get there. We had no information with us about either London or Paris because we hadn't planned to visit either on that trip. We did have euros but no Great British Pounds so when we first landed, we had no local money. Fortunately, British Air also arranged to get us to the hotel where they put us up for 4 days. Then we found the nearest bank machine to get some money. Fortunately we had a French phone that worked in England. LHR was a mob scene because all the flights had been cancelled but everyone waited in the long lines very patiently and we got to meet people we never would have met otherwise.

Everyone was incredibly helpful and thoughtful in London, Paris and Toulouse. There were no planes in the air for days and I remember walking through Paris and one plane flew over and everyone stopped to look up at it as though they'd never seen a plane before. It was surreal.

3. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 865 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

We were driving from Melbourne to Sydney along the coastal road and there was a town we wanted to visit on the way but in meantime a bushfire had broken out. We were stopped by police, told there was no access to the town and directed us to a detour that took us inland over a dirt track just so we could continue our journey. On the bright side we ended up at a cheese factory and had an amazing cheese platter.

In Croatia we wanted to see some sights just south of Zagreb but there had been heavy rain the night before and so many roads it seems were flooded. Every detour we took the road would end in a lake so in the end we gave up and headed back.

I know you specified natural disasters but our worst trip interruption was a man made disaster in Norway. We were heading to Voss and in the direction we were going there is only one road access. When we got to the tunnel it turned out some truck carrying chemicals exploded and the tunnel was going to be closed for a week to clean it out. So we had to scramble for a room in the tiny town before the tunnel. Luckily because people were stuck on the other side of the tunnel it made rooms just enough available. Then we had to back track the road we came take the ferry back across the fjord drive along the other side of the fjord to another ferry to cross again the fjord after passing the whole Voss region just so we could continue to our next destination. On the bright side we got some amazing fjord photos;).

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1456 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

For me it has mostly been hurricanes.

I've only been in one earthquake, and I was at home in Maryland at the time. I did not immediately know what had happened. But no travel plans disrupted.

As far as forest fires, there were some in southern Georgia and northern Florida when we were there but there was no real disruption - mostly reduced visibility on the highways and we avoided that section of the highway by taking a ferry across the St. John River and going up the coast.

We were driving across Kansas (which is interminable) and we got caught in a snowstorm - not unusual as it was the end of December. There were wrecks all over the highway - cars in ditches. We were moving from Norfolk to Monterey California - we had been living in Norfolk for 3 years and had not needed to put the snow tires on the car in all that time, so the tires had dry rotted. They went flat, one after the other. Each time Bob had to unload the station wagon (with all the junk the movers would not take like candles) and change the tire in the snow, and then go buy another snow tire. All I had to do was keep the children fed and entertained while he changed the tire(s).

We have had hurricanes here on the east coast several times, but one time I had travel plans disrupted was the year there were so many hurricanes that they ran out of names and started numbering them. There were 27 named storms and the three that caused the most problems were Dennis, Katrina and Wilma. Although I think Katrina caused the most damage, Wilma was the strongest of the three and that was the one that impacted our travel plans. After Wilma devastated the Yucatan and trashed Florida it went out into the Atlantic. We were getting on a repositioning cruise in Philadelphia to go to the Bahamas and the Caribbean and Wilma was coming north. I figured we would probably skip a port, and we did. The Captain said he could either go out toward Bermuda and try to get east of the storm or he could hug the coast and hope Wilma would go farther out to sea. In the end he hugged the coast and we just had a little rough weather. We skipped the stop in the Bahamas, and got to San Juan Puerto Rico early.

The Atlantic is always a crapshoot, especially late in the season

We had a week cruise in 2011 to Bermuda where the ship we were to sail on ran into the big low - I guess off NC - with seas of 20 feet and the young teen club and the arcade room on deck 4 were damaged. They were late getting into port so our embarkation was delayed. We got on the ship Monday afternoon instead of Sunday afternoon. So we were late getting to Bermuda. Instead of docking Tuesday, we didn't get there until Wednesday afternoon. The storm that damaged the ship had turned into Hurricane Sean and was heading for Bermuda so they were under a Hurricane Watch and did not want to let us dock. Eventually we were able to get off, but they changed the time we were to leave from 3:30 Thursday to 1 pm. It was a little rough getting away from the dock. Then we had two days at sea, wandering up and down the coast until it was time go back to Baltimore. We were doing a B2B (back to back) so we were staying on the ship and doing another week, and that cruise was not impacted.

5. Posted by Dymphna (Full Member 210 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

There have been major earthquakes in the Philippines. I get travel warnings from around the world that has to do with natural disaster and protests.

6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 865 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Dymphna

I get travel warnings from around the world that has to do with natural disaster and protests.

Is it an app that gives you these warnings?

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1086 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

The itinerary of our recent trip to North Korea was completely messed up by Typhoon Ling-Ling, known more prosaically there as Storm Number Thirteen. All tourist groups were told to get back to the capital, Pyongyang, if at all possible, and if not to wait it out wherever they were. We were in Kaesong at the time, near the border with South Korea, and should have been travelling on to one of the more mountainous areas north west of Pyongyang, but that plan had to be shelved and we headed straight back to the hotel in the capital we had left two days previously. Our guides (both our UK guide but even more so our Korean one) had to work the phones for ages to rearrange pretty much the whole itinerary as it collapsed like dominoes once one part was pulled, but they succeeded in ensuring that by the end of the trip we had seen more or less everything we were scheduled to see, just not in the right order! At the time I thought it was overkill on the part of the DPRK authorities but later we heard that five local people had been killed in the southern part of the country during the storm (my guess would be by flying debris since a lot of roofs were damaged) so we were well out of there!

8. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1318 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

Sounds like you were well out of it Sarah. I went through a hurricane in Haiti many years ago and it was not fun.

Like Teoni, most of our problems have been man-made disasters like the air traffic controllers strike back in 1981. Our oldest daughter and I were on our way back from Haiti and got stopped in the Miami Airport by the strike. Having been in Haiti, we had no USA news so it was a complete surprise. Fortunately they were putting people on the existing flights in the order they had started that morning and we had started very early so after a rather long wait in Miami, we found ourselves on a very roundabout flight home. It was actually kind of fun because we met all kinds of people we knew from all over the country who were also stranded in the Miami airport. Then when we got on a flight, it was a local that stopped in nearly every airport between Miami and Raleigh, NC which was our final destination. We saw airports we'd never seen before . . . and haven't seen since.

Living in California we have occasionally had to reroute due to forest fires or land slides. It's never been a real problem, just a minor inconvenience to us. Major problem to the folks who live there! We camp in a tent so in the Midwest we always stop at truck stops to check the weather and route ourselves around the larger storms. Only once have we had a tent pole broken by wind and only once have we been flooded out. The bank of televisions at truck stops tuned to the Weather Channel are a great help if you want to avoid that sort of thing. They also usually have clean showers. We just don't eat the food and if we're stuck there for dinner, we order breakfast. It's hard to ruin breakfast.

9. Posted by Tabithag (Full Member 139 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

We got caught in the Icelandic volcano in 2010. We were in Lisbon and we're due to fly back the next day. After unsuccessful attempts to find any advice, my husband went to the airport to find out what he could there - which was basically nothing - and I spent seven hours queuing at the train station. Whilst queuing, we checked out buses, a group of us hiring a coach, and even cruise ships, with no joy. Eventually we got to the desk and the best we could get was a train that left in seven days. We got the tickets, and spent a day and a half on four trains back to London!

In other travels, we've been significantly delayed or had to change plans due to landslides in Colombia, forest fires in Ecuador and Chile, and an earthquake in Cuba. Given the known unpredictability of the location, I'm not sure if can be counted as unexpected, but on an Antarctica trip we couldn't make it even close to the intended destination due to the sea ice being to thick and extensive. We did make it to many other wonderful locations though and still had an amazing time.

But then we've had plenty of man made issues too, and just today, we had to cancel plans to go to a family event that was only a two hour train journey away, because high winds messed up the trains in Kent, so disruption isn't confined to nature's whims of to travelling abroad.

10. Posted by Cottonwood (Full Member 124 posts) 16w Star this if you like it!

Funny, as I have sat here reading all your answer's, I forgot about the snowstorm that hit Tokyo way back in March of 1986 on the way back from my trip to China and Hong Kong. Our Northwest Orient flight was diverted down to Osaka where we sat on the plane for 7 hours after a 4 hour flight before being taken off to get to hotels for the night. Finally got to Tokyo the next day for a 6 hour layover before the flight to Seattle and then the 1 hour flight to Spokane and then flying off to the state of New Mexico the very next day after that for school. My mind was swimming after that trip.