Travelling is all about exciting new experiences, blissful moments and relaxation. Unless something goes wrong and the whole trip turns into a nightmare.
Flight delays, stolen wallets, awful hotel rooms - travel mishaps happen all the time. In fact, urban adventurers who have never had a mishap during a trip are a rarity. But even if you're one of them, the "No, that stuff never happens to me" attitude might leave you completely unprepared if something bad does happen on one of your next adventures.
Even in the worst case, your trip doesn't have to be ruined. So, here are the most common travelling mishaps and how to handle them without stress.
Your Flight's Been Delayed
So, you've just arrived at the airport, excited about your trip. Two weeks of exploring the sunny south of Spain. What could go wrong? And then you check your flight and see that dreaded "Delayed" sign.
Delays and cancellations are extremely common travel mishaps, so this is nothing shocking. However, it may threat to ruin your trip from the start. If you're taking one or more connecting flights, the situation gets even worse. Missing a connection might get you stuck at an unfamiliar airport for hours with no other option but to wait for your flight.
When your flight gets delayed or cancelled, you need to act fast. Get ready, because you will be one of the many complaining about the same issue at the gate, so it may take hours just to get to the desk.
But, there are other options. If you have a travel agent, call them immediately and they can reach the airport customer service faster than you can, saving you a seat on the next available plane.
If you don't have a travel agent, you can try cutting in line by reaching out to the airline on Twitter. Many airlines have excellent customer service on Twitter and they reply almost instantly.
But, before you even get to the airport, you should have the travel insurance sorted. This way you can get reimbursed for all the mishaps that were beyond your control. Just remember to save all the receipts on your vacation, because the insurance company will need them as evidence.
The Case Of The Missing Luggage
If you’re a frequent flier, chances are that you've ended up with lost luggage at least once. Not a very pleasant feeling, especially if you've just arrived at your destination and have absolutely no clothes aside from the ones you’re wearing. Not to mention the other essentials you packed for the trip.
Things can go from bad to worse considering the three possible outcomes. In the best-case scenario, you will receive the luggage after two or three days. In a slightly worse scenario, your luggage will chase you across the planet until you're reunited back home. And in the worst case, you might never see your belongings again.
There's not much you can do in this case. Most airlines don't even take responsibility for the mishap. Again, make sure you get travel insurance, and it might help to have a conspicuous suitcase or a duffel bag that stands out from the rest, so that you can easily describe it to the airline staff.
We suggest the eye-catching Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 90L that's not only easy to spot in the crowd, but also stylish, water-resistant and extremely durable.
A Booking Disaster
You've booked a lovely hotel room with a view of the sea, but once you've arrived, there's spiders on the wall, the room is much smaller than in the pictures, and the only thing you can see through your window is the neighbouring building.
Since accommodation is one of the biggest travel expenses, getting an awful room can be disappointing, to say the least. But, it’s not the end of the world even if something like this happens to you.
The first thing you should do is take photos of the room so you have evidence. Then, take the problem to the reception desk. In most cases, the staff will eagerly help you with the issue since they don't want bad online reviews or legal issues. You might even get a discount to compensate for the trouble.
But, if politeness doesn't pay, you'll have to file an official complaint to your hotel or your accommodation provider, in case of indirect booking. Travel insurance could also get you a refund in these situations, but it might take a few days until you get new accommodation sorted out.
Passport: The One Thing You Can't Lose
Losing the passport must be one of the worst travellers' nightmares. But don't worry. If that happens, you're not stuck in a foreign country forever.
If you lose your passport or it gets stolen, you will need to get a new one at the Embassy immediately. The speed of the process will depend on several factors, but your best bet is to have a photocopy of the passport ready at all times.
So, before you even set foot abroad, make a photocopy of your passport and upload a backup on cloud as well. The same applies to your boarding passes, booking arrangements, travel insurance and all other documents. That way, you will always be able to access them securely, even if you can't get to the hard copies.
Finally, get yourself a handy travel wallet like this Bellroy Passport Sleeve that safely stores your passport and other important travel documents while letting you reach them easily whenever you need them.
Beware The Pickpockets
You know how at the crowded places your travel guide usually reminds you to keep your belongings close? Then you suddenly clutch your bag and become suspicious of everyone around you. Well, sometimes there won't be anyone to remind you, or you'll get too distracted by a street performer to keep an eye on your bag.
That's where you'll make a mistake because the pickpockets are trained to take your valuables without you even noticing. And if you've ever been in the situation, you know you usually realize something's missing when it's already too late.
As soon as you notice something has been stolen from you, file a police report and inform your bank immediately. Chances of retrieving the stolen possessions are slim, but you can at least protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud. Depending on the bank, you can also get new credit cards issued in one to three days.
To prevent being pickpocketed, well, keep your belongings close. And, for an active adventure, get a safe, zippered backpack like The North Face Vault 28L Backpack that keeps your personal belongings secure while you're on the go.
Aside from that, try to scatter your cash and cards instead of keeping them all in one place, and always keep a portion of your money in a hotel safe. While you're out and about, you can try one of the tricks – putting valuables in a disposable diaper, keeping money in an old chopstick, or sewing secret travel pockets on your clothes.
Emergency Room Adventure
When you go on a vacation, the last thing on your mind is you'll end up in an emergency room with a broken leg or that you'll spend half the time in your hotel room with a terrible fever. But these things happen.
Saying "Don't let that ruin your trip" is easier said than done since you can just brush an illness or an injury off and carry on as planned. But, there are some things you can do to make the situation easier (at least on your wallet).
Stating the obvious here, but address your medical issues before you leave the country. Don't travel sick or at least get the necessary medication. If you have a chronic illness and regularly take certain medication, don't forget to bring it on your adventure in its original packaging.
Depending on the country, sometimes you'll run into trouble at the airport due to the meds, so inform yourself about the medication forbidden to bring into the country you're visiting. Also, find out whether you need to take certain shots before you leave. Getting an exotic disease will do more than just ruin your vacation, so make sure you get that part done.
Although you can't really prevent getting sick or injured on a trip, you can at least cover yourself with a health insurance. Getting treated for the smallest health issue abroad can cost a fortune, so make sure you have a good medical insurance wherever you go because you never know what might happen.
The more you travel, the more mishaps you'll encounter. You can't really avoid that. What you can do is make sure you stay calm when something bad happens, and you know how to get yourself out of trouble and carry on with your trip.
What's the worst thing that happened to you on an adventure? Share your story in the comments below!