THE UNEXPECTED / EMERGENCIES
So, let’s highlight some of things that can happen to anyone in a foreign country. Sometimes the lack of knowledge of the language, local nuances can spoil our vacation.
Let’s go about it this way: action > your reaction
– stolen / lost: documents, a purse, a bag … etc – the most basic and unpleasant and unfortunately common one. Call or go to the POLICE. They, most likely, will not help you much, nor find the stolen goods, but they are obligated to document the theft and give you the police report (called “denuncia”) which you will allow you to drive a car in Spain and leave the country. If you loose your passport you need to bring this policy report with you to Madrid, to the consulate of your country and request a certificate that will allow you to return to your home country.
Naturally, if you are missing credit cards, cell phone or a computer, call your bank as soon as possible and report the loss. Do not delay!
We also found that a large number of lost wallets do get taken to the local police (without cash of course) which helps as finders usually leave ID’s and credit/debit cards and other paperwork in them. Stop by the Police station a couple of days after you lost it and ask.
– Referring to a doctor. It is always better to have medical insurance for traveling abroad, as medical care in Europe is paid and is often expensive. So, let’s imagine you DO have health insurance. Your reaction – do not rush to the nearby hospital. Most likely you will not be accepted there immediately. Instead, first, call your insurance company, report your location and condition and they will arrange a visit at the closest clinic. If you are insured by a European insurance company, then everything is easier. Just go to the fastest admission of any clinic. If it’s an emergency, try to go by yourself or take a taxi. It’s better not to wait for an ambulance which can take a loooong time to arrive and take you to a questionable facility far from your location. Many medicines (for example, antibiotics) are available at most local pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription, so if you know your medical situation or the need for a certain medicine, carry an extra supply with you, just in case, or get ready to visit a local doctor.
A car. Flat tire or car wont start? Call the support phone which must be in your car rental receipt/invoice. If you are out of gasoline, no one will stop and “lend” you a liter or two. Always fill up when you can before you go out of town. Gasoline prices are fairy similar in every province and there is no Pay-At-The-Pump option. Most of the gas stations are open 07:00-22:00 or 23:00 and 24 hour gas stations are extremely rare.
If you end up stranded by the side of the road, DO NOT FORGET to install an emergency sign and put on a yellow vest, should be in the trunk of your rental car. Penalty for failure to perform these security measures, usually 200 Euros.
The most frequent fines:
– using phone while driving (200 euros)
– seat belt not fastened (200 euros)
– alcohol – in the same area, permissible alcohol 0.25 ppm, is not checked often if your driving does not attract their attention. FYI – during high season there are roadside blocks just to check for drugs and alcohol.
– speeding fines depend on how many km/hour over the limit. Fine amounts are usually 100 to 600 euros,
– wrong or unauthorized parking: 50 to 200 euros.
These are perhaps the most common, possible, unforeseen cases in traveling to abroad. Try to avoid them and in any situation remain calm. It is possible to minimize the damage .. for example paying fines as soon as possible and saving 50%.
Even if you think that you were wrongly pulled over and fined there is a way to dispute it. You will be issued a police report. The rental car company will charge the amount of the fine and an additional handling fee (usually 40-50 euros) to the same card you used to rent the car. Then you can file an appeal with the local court and dispute the decision of the policeman.
On the positive side, Spanish police does not hide in the bushes trying to catch violators . If you were pulled over and fined, in 99% of the cases an immediate payment via credit card will save you 50% of the fine and further headache.
Warned is prepared!