Scrolling through social media and coming across various people’s travel experiences, we sit back often in awe at how wonderful they look. The beautiful pictures, the relaxing and all of the adventure – it’s very easy to get jealous and catch feelings of wanderlust! Although I’m guilty myself, I pride myself in knowing I create many wonderful travel experiences for myself and I’m aware that a few people like what I do. But, it’s certainly not plain sailing. So let’s have some honesty, travelling isn’t something that is always easy, smooth and pleasant. Things can and will go wrong…
When travelling I always prepare myself for ‘hiccups’. Just because you’re travelling it does not mean you’re suddenly immune to the problems that occur daily. Flights get cancelled, luggage gets lost, things go wrong when you reach your destination – that’s life and I’ve experienced all of those aforementioned issues a handful of times. Sometimes even natural disasters and terrorism have stopped me in my tracks! But by equipping yourself with some good knowledge, the severity of those situations can be greatly reduced <3
WHAT TO DO WHEN FLIGHTS GO WRONG
Usually, a good airline will quickly re-route you onto the next flight for you which should be within a few hours. But often airlines are not so great and flights to certain destinations aren’t too frequent. Meaning…they like to keep you at the initial airport overnight and fly you out the next day. But in essence you will get to your destination on time – so don’t flap! But a day late isn’t acceptable in my opinion so:
Hold your ground – Go to the customer service desk of the airline and push for an earlier flight. Most airlines are part of partnerships, meaning they should be able to put you on another airline if they themselves can’t fly you out. From a 20 hour journey on outdated Alitalia, I got a 15 hour journey with gorgeous Korean Air. Flying on Korean Air via Seoul was the best flying experience of my life – and I’ve flown quite a lot in my lifetime. So it turned out for the better <3 But, you need to know your stuff.
Know your airlines and their partnerships. – Keep screenshots on your phone of the various partnership teams so you know who works with who. Soooo… just look up the partnership team you are flying under, then google flight times with the other airlines under the same partnership. Now just show the staff the flights you wish to be re-routed onto with the flight number and boom. You’ve basically done some of the work of the airline ground staff for them – re-routing you should be easy now.
So for this situation you need to prevent and prepare…
Try not to book flights with tight connections. If you have to run to catch your next flight, think about it, your luggage too is going to struggle to make it to the plane as well. 2 hours is the minimum for me.
Double check with the ground staff that your luggage is being checked through. Not entirely necessary as I rarely do this and luggage doesn’t always get lost, but if you happen to be able to reach the appropriate ground staff with ease, double checking could save you luggage! Try to check at the gate as well if possible.
Pack 1/2 days worth of essentials in a carry-on. Arriving in your destination without your luggage = no clothes other than the ones you are wearing, no fresh underwear, no bikini, no toiletries, no electronic chargers…you get the picture. Make sure you are prepared for this situation if it comes.
Always leave your details and itinerary in your suitcase. A few printouts on the top of your items displaying your name, contact details, home address and where you are staying and going could speed up the process of identifying your luggage if it does get left behind.
COPING WITH THEFT OR LOSS OF VALUABLE ITEMS
Have photocopies of all relevant travel documents. Keep a photocopy of your passport, itinerary, travel insurance, tickets for travel and of course keep it in a different place to the originals. Take pictures of these documents on your phone too, just in case you lose the photocopies and so you have it easily accessible.
Backup everything. Relating to my last point, back up all of those photos I told you to take onto cloud storage. Your phone could easily run out of battery when you need it, or it could break, so being able to access the information anywhere would be extremely handy. Plus it is also a good idea to back up any data you have on your valuable electronics as you never know you could lose it or have it stolen. We’re all more careless whilst travelling…
Keep your money safe and have multiple ways to access some. Basically, ensure that you bring cash with you and a few cards. Pickpockets can be commonly found in many destinations so please whatever you do, do not bring all of your money with you everywhere. Leave some money and one or half of your bank cards inside your room’s safe or your hotel’s safety deposit box.
WHAT IF I GET LOST?
Who knows if this will happen to you, but I know it’s a big fear of some new to travelling. I’m not going to lie, it could happen. It happened to me on my first trip to Japan, but to deal with this:
Have a map of where you are. Yes, google maps would be the best option since with internet it works just like a sat nav. However, make sure you also have a paper map and know how to read it. As aforementioned, anything could happen to your phone and internet isn’t everywhere…
Have a phrase book in the language of the country you are visiting. Get yourself out of this situation the old fashioned way, ask for directions. We’re not all going to be fluent in all the languages of all the countries we visit, but a small pocket phrase book could allow you to make conversation and find your way back 🙂
I hope some of this advice finds you well, by following this any hiccups I come across are quickly solved without too much pain. But the best advice I want to give to you is about expectations. Of course, you can get super excited for your trip and have expectations about how wonderful it is going to be. However, just make sure your expectations are balanced. Know in the back of your mind that issues may arise and things may go wrong. Just because it’s your time to jet off somewhere, it does not mean you’re immune to the bad things in life. Most of the time everything will go as planned, but if you prepare for and half-expect things to go wrong, and they do, you’ll be in a better position physically and mentally <3