See The World
Seek Adventure Travel Happy
Hey there everyone! So, I felt like I needed to do a post on what to do when things go wrong while you're on a trip. It's so easy for me to just say, "oh, yeah, my trip was wonderful, problem free, and amazing!"
While I do enjoy all my trips, there are times when things go wrong. Sometimes, they're my fault, and it's a learning opportunity. Sometimes it's no ones fault: a hurricane, mechanical problems, etc. So here are a few things that I've learned along the way to help you when you find yourself in these situations.
1. Your flight has been severely delayed or canceled: This happened on our way to Italy. We boarded the plane, then waited for a while. They then came on and told us that there was a mechanical problem and that if you had a international connection to get off the plane and go to customer service...so we did. When we (and everyone else) got to customer service, they told us to go back to the plane because we weren't going to miss our connections. By the time we made it back they said we couldn't re-board because too many people had gotten off the plane. After finally re-boarding, and adding more fuel to fly around a storm that had popped up during this time, we were finally on our way to the runway...at which point the mechanical problem resurfaced and the captain announced that the flight had been canceled and for everyone to go to customer service to be re-booked.
If you find yourself in this situation, DO NOT wait to exit the plane and walk with the other 200 people to customer service. Get on your phone immediately. We had a new flight booked just a few minutes after we got off the plane, while everyone else stood in line for HOURS at customer service. By the time the people at the back of the line got there, they were re-booked 2 days out....that would suck! We got the last seats on flights that re-routed us and got us to Venice 12 hours later than we were originally supposed to. It still made for a long day, and we missed a big chunk of time in Venice, but it worked. Getting there 2 days later would have made me a rage monster. But 17 trains, 4 states, 7 planes, 6 buses, 3 countries, 2 continents, and 1 boat later, we made it there and home again.
2. Accepting travel delays: If your flight is delayed more than a few hours, or canceled altogether (even if they re-book you), ask to be compensated for the delay. When our flight to Venice was canceled, even though they re-booked us, I asked to be compensated. We were missing an entire day of our trip, incurring additional costs, etc. In return we both got $200 vouchers to use on a future trip. If you tried to reschedule your trip at the last second, you can guarantee that they would charge you out the nose, so don't let them off the hook.
3. Being stranded without identification or money: Look, things happen: you're robbed, you lose your luggage...it happens all the time. To make this situation less dire, make copies of your passport, and credit cards and put them in a separate bag. That way if you loose them, you have a copy to give to the American consulate abroad, and the contact and account information for your cards so that you can cancel them, (and get new ones) right away. Also, if you're traveling abroad, have the address and contact information for the nearest consulate or embassy just in case you find yourself in a bind.
I feel like I have to share what happened on our most recent trip on this subject...I'm all about full disclosure. I did all this, made copies, was completely ready. What I didn't do was remember to take our passports off the copy machine at work until 3 am the day of our flight, when we were 2 hours away.
Panic ensued, I may have started to hyperventilate...We drove like crazy people, back to Pocatello, and then all the way to Salt Lake City, and made it to our flight, with about 2 minutes to spare. They closed the doors right after we boarded. I was shaking and so happy we made it. Which leads me to another topic...
4. Missing flights and connections: This one is an easy one, but always give yourself lots of extra time for getting lost, for running home to get forgotten passports (or is that just me?), flat tires, etc. Don't miss your trip or pay extraordinary fees because you didn't give yourself a little extra time.
5. Being sick,injured, or in other sticky situations abroad: Liz just did a great post last week on getting vaccinations before traveling, make sure to read that! Sometimes though, you'll be struck down with a serious illness or break your leg skiing. I know, it doesn't seem like the type of thing that can happen to you, but it does. Travelers insurance can be a life saver. This is especially true if you are traveling to a country with less than stellar medical services. Also, some insurances won't cover you for care that is out of network. Double check if you're covered, if not, look into travel insurance. New Zealand actually required that we had it while we were there on a working holiday visa. New Zealand will cover some of your expenses if you're injured while there on vacation though. Sometimes people find themselves in places experiencing political or social turmoil, like Egypt has been lately. Having the U.S. Embassy information handy and registering your trip with the department of state can be helpful if things get dangerous.
6. Hanger: I do legitimately get cases of hanger. Ask Pat, it's not pretty, and I'm not proud. Since I am aware of this, and I am aware that when it comes to travel, things are rarely on time, I always have snacks. Always have some healthy snacks and a water bottle so that you can stay hydrated and full. This will keep you from turning into a full on crazy person when you find yourself hungry for hours and run into yet another travel delay. And you'll save a few bucks when you find yourself stranded in the Phoenix airport, for what seems like an eternity.
7. Not being thorough: As you may have noticed, I'm big on lists. Make a list of the documentation that you need. Also make an itinerary of your trip and give it to a loved one back home. Making sure that you have back up documentation, and that your family knows about where you'll be in case of an emergency can be a life saver. If for some reason, you go on an ill-advised drunken tirade and end up in a Turkish jail, it's going to be your loved ones at home with copies of your passports and knowledge of your whereabouts that will help get you out. If say, you've lost everything you own down a river in the Amazon...how are you going to get home?
With all things, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
I hope this is helpful, and trust me, I get myself in situations too...like when I accidentally pulled the emergency brake on a train outside of Florence, good times, good times!
Most situations aren't the end of the world, and with some planning you can avoid many. Just don't go hiking near Iran or North Korea...that I can't help with.
To register your trip with the Department of State and also get travel alerts, visit the Smart Traveler Enrollment program.
Have a great week, and happy travels!
Hi there! I'm Skeeter. I grew up moving a lot and that makes me a bit restless for travel and exploration. I started this blog with my husband Pat when we decided to backpack New Zealand for a year. We are always looking for the next adventure and are loving life. We're just your average couple with two sassy dogs and a love for travel. We're sharing our travels and the tips we pick up along the way.
Hello! I'm Liz. Blogging is very new to me, but I'm so excited to finally write as much as I talk!
"Don't forget to travel happy"-Skeeter & Liz