No matter how much time you have put into planning everything, you cannot guarantee that everything will run smoothly. Not everything is within your control. And when traveling on a budget, you can bet that, at some point, Murphy's Law will get the upper hand.
Hence, you need to think of the WHAT IFs before you even start your trip, especially if you are going abroad.
WHAT IF my return flight gets canceled or delayed? If you are in Europe, be very glad because the EU has strict rules regarding passenger rights. Depending on your planned flight duration, you will be entitled to a refund, free flight, free accommodation, refreshments and/or money. Otherwise, I suggest that you read the fine print on your so you know what you can expect, should something go wrong.
Now, if this happens and you are low on cash, you can…
- stay at the airport until the airline finally chooses your name to be on the next flight back. Don't worry if it gets dark. You can probably stay and sleep in the airport. Check out Sleeping in Airports for tips on the best places where you can get a shut eye in the airport where you might end up in.
- call home and ask for emergency moolah to tide you over until you get a flight back home. They can wire it to you or you can check if there is a Western Union nearby where you can immediately claim the money they transferred.
- surf the net and look at couchsurfing ads. You may be lucky to find a couch nearby
- practice your sob story and appeal to a good-hearted check-in staff. Check their body language before you choose which audience will be getting a preview of your Oscar-worthy performance. If you are a man, I suggest that you make your appeal to a woman. And women should, of course, go to a man.
There are many other WHAT IF scenarios which you could come up with. Make sure that you do have a plan (it does not have to be detailed) of what you can do, should something go wrong. After all, you would not have money to back you up.