Marooned: what to do when you’re stuck on the road

It’s a business traveler’s nightmare – you’ve completed a tough week abroad meeting clients or contacts, and you’re on the way to the airport to jet home. But all of a sudden your phone lights up with notifications from TripIt telling you your flight is delayed. Then it’s canceled, and all the alternate flights are canceled, too.

It’s widespread travel disruption due to unforeseen natural circumstances. We’ve seen it in the not-so-distant past – almost every winter a strong blizzard shuts down the airports of the eastern US for a couple of days, and on an even more massive scale, see the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in 2010.  And if mother nature isn’t playing a prank on us, it looks like we could be in for widespread travel disruption again very soon if Bárðarbunga erupts.

When big travel disruptions hit, at Concur we make a point to stay connected, safe, and sane.


Stay connected

“Let someone know as soon as possible. Either let a co-worker or manager know and also let your Risk Manager or Travel Administrator know,” says Concur Senior Manager of Global Security, John W. Coovert. “Let the company begin the process of arranging for alternate travel.”

John Dietz, Vice President of Platform Services at Concur, takes a similar tack. “When I find myself stranded, the first thing I do is turn to my phone for help,” he says. “TripIt and Migo help me out of a jam by letting me know how long the flight is delayed and providing me relevant news. Then I turn to email, Evernote and Mynd to keep me connected to the office,” he says.


Stay safe

Coovert also has thoughts on how to stay safe. He says to “make sure you are in a safe location, whether it is at the hotel or the airport. Avoid too much moving around in the likelihood alternate travel arrangements are being made.” If you’re abroad, you should “also have the phone number of the closest embassy of your home country programmed into your phone in case of an emergency,” he says.



Stay sane

This is where you get to choose your own adventure. Is the glass half full or half empty? We’ll assume you want to make lemonade out of your lemons, because no amount of stress and worry will get planes back in the air any sooner once Mother Nature calls a time-out. To stay sane, you can choose productivity or leisure.



If you choose productivity…

Take the time to focus on backburner projects or indulge in a planning session. Unscheduled time away from the rhythms of meetings and office life can boost your creativity and allow you to tackle those nagging tasks that you never seem to complete during the course of a normal workweek.



If you choose leisure…

Take care of yourself. Take some vacation days and revisit the things that piqued your interest during your trip but you didn’t have time to do because you were working. And you can let go of any guilt you experience about spending an afternoon at a café writing about your travels – outside creative pursuits likely lead to better job performance.

John Dietz also recommends taking advantage of new technology that is emerging to make business traveler more enjoyable. “I treat myself to a great meal with recommendations from TravelShark, Trover, or TV Food Maps, which all link to my itinerary and help me decide where to eat,” he says. “If I have a little more time I turn to apps like TripCierge and Nezassa that let me book activities and excursions. If I decide I need ‘retail-therapy,’ shopnfly connects me with the best deals in the airport.”

So, while we keep our eye on Bárðarbunga, it’s important to remember that while travel disruptions are inconvenient, they happen for your safety above all. If you’re caught in such a situation in the future, remember to return the favor to your coworkers and family by staying connected, safe, and sane.


  • Tweet us at @concur and let us know how you handle being marooned on the road.
  • Let us know in the comments how you handle being marooned on the road

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