Travel has a tendency to be unpredictable. While this sense that anything could happen is exactly what makes traveling so exciting, it also means that you can’t count on important things to always go according to plan. The chances of a problem happening during your trip are minimal, but the smart approach to traveling is to prepare for the worst while still expecting the best. Here are a few common travel disasters, how to avoid them, and what to do if one happens to you.
Photo via Flickr by bradleygee
Lost or delayed luggage is a common travel mishap that give your trip a rough start. Most airlines have a counter or office in the baggage claim area where you can report your missing bag if it doesn’t appear on the luggage carousel as expected. In the majority of cases, your bag has simply been delayed, and your airline will deliver it to you within a few days.
It’s a good idea to pack an extra outfit in your carry-on, so you’ll have at least one set of clothes to change into if your checked bag is delayed for a few days. Make a written or mental note of everything in your checked bag. If the worst case scenario does occur and your checked bag is permanently lost, you’ll likely need to make a list of its contents to file a claim for damages with your airline.
Getting Sick or Injured
Whether it’s “Delhi belly” or a broken limb, getting sick or injured while you’re traveling is sometimes impossible to avoid. It can be intimidating to deal with the health care system in an unfamiliar country. This is especially true if English isn’t widely spoken, if you’re not sure about the quality of local medical care, or if you don’t know how expensive it will be.
It’s a good idea to research the emergency numbers for your destination, just in case. You might also purchase travel insurance or medical transportation assistance from MedjetHorizon, which will arrange for you to fly out of your destination if the local hospitals aren’t equipped to treat your illness or injury. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you won’t need to pay out of pocket for any unexpected medical expenses.
Losing your passport or having it stolen is one of the worst problems any traveler can experience. If your passport goes missing, contact your nearest embassy right away. There are a number of steps for getting a replacement passport, which can take up to a few weeks. If you’re scheduled to fly home before then, you can usually pay a fee to speed up the process.
Before your trip, it’s a good idea to make a copy of your passport. You can keep a PDF of it on your phone or email a copy to yourself. If your passport goes missing, presenting a copy at the embassy can make the replacement process a little smoother.
More than likely, you won’t need to deal with any of these issues during your trip; but if a travel disaster does occur, you’ll be glad you know how to handle it.