Whether you're stuck in an airport during a snow storm or in need of medical help in a foreign country, there's no worse feeling than not having anyone to call for help when you're far from home. That's why it's vital to program your cell phone with important numbers in advance. Before you jet off on your next vacation, make sure you have the following contacts at hand:
- Your Airline's Reservations Center: This number can be especially helpful when you miss a connection or your flight gets canceled and you need to rebook. I've rebooked flight connections while sitting on the tarmac during a delay.
- Frequent Flyer Elite Service: If you're an elite mileage member, you can often get help from your airline more quickly by using an exclusive elite customer service number.
- Airport Pick-Up: Your friend, relative, transfer service, or whoever is picking you up will be grateful if you can inform them of delays or changes to your flight itinerary.
- Travel Providers: You'll need the contact information for your hotel, car rental agency, cruise line, tour operator, and any other travel provider you're using should you need to alter your vacation plans or if you experience a service problem.
- Travel Agency: If you used an agency to book your trip, they're often the best resource when trouble arises.
- Local Cab Company: Look up the number of a major cab company in your destination before you go. You never know when you might need a ride.
- Google SMS: Google's nifty text messaging services comes in handy in so many situations. By texting 466453 (GOOGLE) with a short message, you can get flight status information, weather forecasts, local listings, and even directions in just a few seconds—no iPhone or BlackBerry required. To learn more about this service, go to www.google.com/sms.
- Emergency Contacts: This goes without saying, but have the numbers of several trustworthy relatives or friends on hand.
- Health Insurance Company: This number is vital should you become ill or injured while away and need to verify your insurance coverage.
- Travel Insurance Provider: Whether you have trip cancelation, travel medical, emergency evacuation, or any other type of travel insurance, you won't get coverage unless you call and get approval from your insurance agents.
- Local Emergency Responders: Know the local 911 equivalent for emergency calls in your destination. If health or security is a particular concern, it may also give you peace of mind to have the numbers for the local police and hospitals.
- Your Doctor: Bring your doctor's phone number in case you have a non-emergency health concern or need a prescription written.
- U.S. Embassy or Consulate: Whether you need a stolen passport replaced or are dealing with a more serious problem abroad, the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate may be able to assist you.
- Credit/Debit/ATM Card Company: When your card is lost, stolen, eaten by a bank machine, or rejected by merchants, you'll want to be able to report and resolve the problem as soon as possible.
It's helpful to have these numbers written down somewhere or stored online should you lose your phone or not be able to use it.
Can you think of any other important numbers to bring with you? Post your ideas below.