You’ve been saving up and waiting to take a trip, when suddenly you’re met with a road block. Whether it’s lost luggage, a flight cancellation or a health problem, things can sometimes go wrong on your trip that aren’t very fun to deal with. Our friends Matt and Caro from Passport and a Toothbrush share their tips with us on what to do when things go wrong on your trip:
We’ve travelled to more than 25 countries without any major glitches. During a 10 month trip we never had one single flight delayed or cancelled. I guess Matt and I were due for an unlucky fate. During our last trip, things went wrong. Oh so wrong; injuries, delays, cancellations. What do you do when things go wrong on your trip? You take a deep breath, focus, and read these tips 🙂
Take Health Insurance Seriously
To state the obvious, injuries can happen wherever, whenever. Even if you’re omitting extreme activities it’s easy for the unexpected to happen. We were at our friend’s wedding in the Dominican Republic when Matt decided to show off his dance moves. And if there’s one thing to know about Matt, is that he takes his groove very seriously. As he busted a move, he busted his knee. His knee capped popped out of place and a few seconds later, popped back in. Two weeks later, Matt is still unable to walk on his own, needing the use of a knee brace and crutches. Should something serious happen to you as well, it’s essential to have health insurance.
Now, if you’re overconfident like us two, you won’t buy it for your most of your trips. But we’ve learnt the hard way that this can be a big mistake. With visits to the hospital in Bulgaria, Turkey, France, Montenegro and now, Dominican Republic (the latter with insurance) we finally understand that it’s a way to travel with complete comfort. It’s important to know that your provincial healthcare does not cover everything so a simple visit to the doctor when abroad can be costly. Make sure to carry the number of your policy and insurance and leave a copy with someone back home. The cost of insurance isn’t usually much but really helps when panicking over pesos at the ER.
Did you know that lost luggage is on the rise? That’s right, more than 29 million items of luggage was misplaced last year. Should this happen to you, patience is the one thing you want to be lugging with you. To prevent further headaches, I always pack a change of clothes, toiletries and valuable items inside my carry on bag. If you really want to be on the safe side, read your travel insurance and be sure that lost luggage is covered.
My flight is Cancelled!
On our last trip, we got acquainted with the newest, craziest meteorological term we’ve ever heard: a polar vortex. That’s right it’s not ‘cold’ anymore, it’s a vortex. I was impressed. But amidst sensational news reports of freezing temperatures in the US midwest, we were stuck in transit limbo for 3 days. This is NO fun. In the span of 60 hours, we had 3 flights cancelled, and all delayed. What to do?
If you’re ‘lucky’ and the cancellation is the airline’s fault (mechanism issue, crew conflicts) they will pay for a hotel and hand you some meal vouchers. However, if it’s directly weather related, you better find a comfy corner in the airport until the next day. If you’re noticing your flight is starting to get many delays, there are strong chances it will be cancelled. In this case, contact your travel agent or locate the closest customer service desk as once the flight is officially cancelled, it’s a race to the front of the line. Use your smart phone to browse other flights as ticket agents will not necessarily know all of the smaller airports close to your destination. Also, get creative with airlines. Companies are part of airline alliances so it is possible to fly with another company, as long as it falls under the same airline umbrella.
Many people would advise you to call the airline as it’s technically quicker. While this may be true for most cases, it isn’t when dealing with a major storm. With thousands of stranded travellers calling the same number as you, you can imagine how frustrating the ‘on hold’ music will get. I always suggest speaking with a re-booking clerk in person, at the airport as the best solution and of course, contacting your Flight Centre Travel Consultant who have special agent phone lines to get through to the airline directly and will wait on hold for you.
Most importantly, keep it cool. Easier said than done? Absolutely. This is no fun for the airline either and there is no need to get angry with the front line workers!
We’re lucky to be travelling and going on holidays but unfortunately, it can’t always be perfect. If there is anything you can prepare for do so, with insurance, wise packing and an open mind.