I was stranded in a Foreign Country with NO MONEY!

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Hello loves!

As some of you may know, I decided to visit Paris for three weeks on my own. I wrote a post about it here .

Anyway, although this trip has been quite magical and therapeutic, it did not start off that way. In fact, I have quite the story to share, so please keep reading!

Midway through my flight, I remembered that I forgot to pay my phone bill. No one in my family will ever take up this responsibility, so I knew I was SCREWED!

My landing time back at home would be 1 A.M. and if I did not pay my phone by 2, I would be disconnected.
Anyway, I decided to calm down and just do it as quickly as possible once I landed.

I landed.

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I attempted to pay my phone bill, but for some reason… the payment was not going through despite my information being permanently saved to the account.

I figured it was because the card was being processed as an international payment. I neglected to let my bank know that I would be traveling.

(Can you tell I was a mess right before the trip?)

Once I exited the plane, I took a seat on a bench to log onto my bank’s app and authorize my debit card for international use. I always do this on my phone and it is always so easy! For some reason, this time the app was allowing me to authorize my credit card and not my debit card. I thought it was odd, so I called.

I reached a customer service rep (you could tell he was outsourced) and he said my card was authorized already. I said, “ok great, what about my debit card?” He told me that my debit card (THE ONLY CARD I BROUGHT WITH ME) had been canceled that same day, because there was some type of “fraudulent activity”. He was so nonchalant about it too…

Okay? I used the card the day before at Target! And I did not bring my credit card with me, because I did not want to go crazy in Paris spending money I shouldn’t on shopping.

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So there I was, freaking out, with like 20 minutes to spare before my phone would be disconnected.

Everyone back home was knocked out asleep because it was almost 2 A.M. Houston time. I remembered that I’d forgotten my credit card in my bf’s wallet one day, so I had a photo of it he’d sent as a reminder to pick it up. I called my cellphone company and used that.

Then I had to change the information to my Uber account because it was linked to my canceled debit card.

IMAGINE???

Imagine if I wouldn’t of had that information!!!!! I would have been left without a cell phone and without a ride to my place!!!!!!!!

The only thing that was keeping me somewhat sane was the fact that I had 200 euros with me that I withdrawed right before my flight… or so I thought.

When I arrived to my place and looked for them they were nowhere to be found…

I lied in bed, cried, slept and freaked out. Did I mention it was the first day of my cycle? The day I am always the most moody and emotional.

I decided, God didn’t make me weak! I’d already called the bank several times, so the only thing left to do was to TWEET THEM!

They responded quickly and had two lovely women help me. The best solution they could provide was to activate the card for a one-time transaction.

Of course, it did not work…. I had to call again and once I found another ATM the limit was 300 euros…which would be terrible. Three weeks in Europe with only 300 euros? I gave it a shot anyway and pushed my luck with multiple transactions.

It worked!

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This experience really opened my eyes to the reality of being on your own in a foreign country.
So here are Tips for Women traveling Alone that I gathered for you.

Has anything similar ever happened to you while traveling before?

How did you go about finding a solution?

What if this would have happened to you? What would of you of done!??!

Bisous

Zayda

4 thoughts on “I was stranded in a Foreign Country with NO MONEY!

  • Reply Glenda September 16, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Wait so you made it through the whole 3 weeks with 300 euros? ????

    • Reply Zayda September 16, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      LOL No, thank goodness! I was told my card would be good for one transaction only but I tried multiple transactions anyway and it worked. 🙂

  • Reply Emperatriz September 16, 2016 at 1:10 am

    Yes girl. I’ll try to be short but this happened to me while traveling with my husband who was a novice traveller so I still blame myself. I advised my bank (debit only) that I would be travelling to Turkey for 3 weeks. I can’t assure I said Greece too but since I was only going to Greece for 3 or 4 days it shouldn’t matter right? Once there I heard of animosity especially between both countries. Turkey had lira and Greece had euros. I decided not to pay the exchange rate and withdraw once I arrived to Greece. I had on me a few lira, my debit card, and some money a friendly taxi driver gave me to bring him back duty free jack daniels. I paid the port entry and ferry and was sort of winging it in Greece so we arrived late and tried to withdraw. Nothing. The ship left and I tried the second atm. Nothing. Don’t stress. I walked to the hotel, checked in and tried next morning. Nothing. I needed taxi, hotel, food, and excursion money. But we had none. I asked and in broken English they told me the money box may have money today or maybe Monday (3 days later) because the ship brings it and it was a holiday. I panicked and cried. The hotel owner ask what was wrong. I had to be in Istanbul by Monday to leave home on Tuesday. He calmed me and gave me 100 of his own euros. Then drove me in his jeep to his friends restaurant. He explained it was an island that as a big business owner, we wasn’t really worried we could go without paying him. We were sick of being there, wanted the ship to bring the money, pay him back, and head back to a more populate island/ Turkey asap. From the top of the island we enjoyed a decent meal with the he borrowed money. On our way back down we saw the ship. Come. And go. I ran to try to catch it but only ran out of breath and hope. Luckily the money box now had money, we paid him back, then we went to the other side of the island to catch the weekend ferry back to the port island. The atm limits and eurobexchange raye were super limiting. There I rented a hotel and finished the amount of euros I had. No big deal, I thought. This island has more atms. But that day none worked. I had to pay to check out, pay to ride ferry, and pay to eat, and pay to exit the port in Turkey. I called and they claimed system issues, not security. We ran and spent our last euros on the ferry ticket. Then ran to pay the hotel in LIRA the nice man had given us for his jack daniels. This Greek hotel owner was not happy at all. I thought he may call the cops. We ran to barely catch the ferry then finally touched Turkish soil. There I used my phone to call them because I couldn’t figure out why my card was not working if the atm too had money. I called several times and they said in new York times they were closed for system updates. I waited starving at the port for maybe 6 hours until operating hours. I called when the clock struck 6 am new York time. She proceeded to tell me that that had been the wrong information. All that was needed was for me to answer a security question, wait 10 minutes, and withdraw. I made her wait on the line. It worked. I got money, paid for Burger King and the entry cost, then walked into Turkey again. Phew. Longest 72 hours of my life. First no money in the money box. Then no money because of a security block. Then wrong information given which made me go hungry in Turkey. Absolutely horrible. I learned my lesson. Tell them all countries I may go to and take more than one card and have the local money on hand BEFORE arriving to the next country.

    • Reply Zayda September 16, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      OMG! I can’t believe you went through that. Especially because you were probably so excited to visit but instead of enjoying you were mortified. You and I both learned our lessons!!! Never again boo!!! Luckily, my airbnb had food inside, otherwise I would have starved like you. I hope you and your husband traveled again to make up for that. Thanks for reading and sharing, Empi!!!

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