Travel provides us with all kinds of enjoyment and memorable moments, but what happens when our holiday plans don’t go quite the way we had hoped?
It’s a sad fact that even the best laid travel plans go awry. So the following are some great tips on how to steer clear of potentially harmful travel surprises, and how to cope / react if you have to come up with a new plan on the fly.
Unfortunately, overseas cities can’t turn on the blue skies and sunshine every day, so it is always wise to plan for possible unpleasant weather during your travels.
Avoid travelling to regions during seasons where inclement weather is more prone to strike such as hurricane season, monsoon season, or heavy winter snow season. It is also wise to give your itinerary a bit of flexibility in order to rearrange outdoor activities should they be impacted by bad weather. Never schedule your most eagerly anticipated experiences the last day of your travels in case weather ends up cancelling your plans.
If weather does impact your daily travel plans, make the most of it by doing some shopping, visiting indoor museums, or going out to eat. Use the down time to call loved ones back home or catch up on some sleep that may be overdue from travelling. Although unpleasant weather may not be ideal for visiting some attractions, it may force many tourists away giving you less crowds to compete with, and more dramatic photo opportunities.
Weather often causes travel delays, especially when it comes to air travel where storms can leave planes grounded for hours. It is wise to book early morning flights as these are less likely to be delayed or cancelled. Most often, severe weather becomes more prevalent later in the day and flight delays can become longer and longer as the day progresses during a weather event.
If you do find yourself impacted by flight delays, be sure to stick close to your gate for announcements and call airline assistance numbers for updates or to possibly reroute flights. Waiting in line at the airline counter can prove lengthy and may produce little results. Be sure to act fast when it comes to making any required hotel booking changes such as cancelling to receive a refund or securing a room for overnight delays.
When it comes to your luggage being delayed at the airport, you can only completely avoid this scenario by travelling with only carry-on bags. Be sure to have quality luggage identification tags put on your bags along with taking a photo of your bags you can present to an airline attendant when reporting a missing bag. This will aid staff in a giving them a clear description of your bags so they can locate them and get them back to you as quickly as possible. You may also want to look into purchasing luggage tracking devices which some airlines may provide free of charge to their higher tier frequent flyer members.
Limiting yourself to only carry-on luggage is not always possible so it is wise to pack essentials including spare clothes in your carry-on. If travelling with a family member, you may wish to divide your belongings between two bags so you’ll each only have half your luggage delayed if such an event happens.
Be sure to call your credit card company to let them know you will be travelling so they won’t put a hold on your cards due to them being used in a foreign place. The last thing you want is to be unable to pay your bill after you've eaten at a restaurant in a country where English is not the native language. While travelling, never keep all your credit cards and cash on you, rather keep some locked in your hotel room safe in case your wallet is lost or stolen.
If your credit cards are lost or stolen, have your bank’s emergency numbers saved in an email so you can call to cancel your cards immediately and have new ones express sent out to wherever you are. It's also a good idea to have a second card (from a different bank), and a decent amount of the local currency in cash, just in case.
Nothing can ruin a holiday like being sick or injured. Take precautionary measures such as getting all recommended travel vaccinations, using sunscreen to avoid sunburn, and insect repellent to limit bug bites that can lead to disease. Avoid putting yourself in potentially harmful situations or engaging in risky activities.
If you do get sick or injured, this is when your travel insurance can come in extremely handy. Having travel insurance which covers unlimited overseas medical expenses will protect you from large treatment bills. In addition to covering overseas medical, your travel insurance will aid you with many of the other unfortunate events discussed such as travel and baggage delays along with damaged or stolen belongings.
Travel can be stressful so it is wise to travel with people you generally get along with. Be open to compromising your itinerary to accommodate the interests of all in your party - not everyone will want to spend a day at the Louvre. Try not to pack too much into your daily schedule and avoid tight airline connections or narrow timeframes as these things can add stress which may lead to short tempers.
Try your best to resolve conflicts quickly during your travels and revisit more complex issues when you return home where you won’t be cutting into your holiday.
Before heading out to explore your new city, be sure to carry a card with your hotel’s address written on it in case you get lost. You can download Google maps for offline use to aid you in walking around town and don’t be afraid to ask hotel reception for maps.
If you find yourself lost without a phone or map and you are in a country which speaks a different language, head into a large name brand hotel as they generally will have someone that speaks English that can help you with directions or call a cab for you.