Thibault Camus/AP
Thibault Camus/AP

Top 10 Travel Emergency Tips

Transit Strikes

The Scenario:

Layoffs, pay cuts, raising the age of retirement – employee unions have a lot to complain about. When these complaints leave the bargaining table and hit the streets, stalled or cancelled services can wreak havoc on even the most carefully planned vacation. Though strikes can occur anywhere, note that Europe is particularly prone to strike-related tourism disruptions, especially in France, Italy, and Spain.

The Prevention:

• Many groups opt to strike when it will make the most impact, like during the peak summer travel season or holiday periods. Berlin, for instance, saw its underground, tram, and bus networks shut down by a transit worker strike in February.

• Unions are required to give advance notice of strikes (usually a week). Check local news reports before your trip to anticipate any strike-related travel emergencies.

The Solution:

• In most cases, airlines will work to keep long-haul flights running or will accommodate passengers on a partner airline.

• If public transportation is down, taxis for traveling to and from the airport may be scarce. Be leery of drivers in unmarked cars trying to take advantage of the situation (and you). Though it may cost extra, check with your hotel to see if they can arrange airport transfers.

• Once you’ve reached your destination, check local news outlets to find out which public transportation is running and what alternative transport options are available. For example, Paris transit strikes often only reduce service on the Métro and RER, rather than cutting it altogether. And if worse comes to worst, walking is oftentimes the best way to see a city anyway!

Liz Webber

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