How to Handle The Most Common Travel Emergencies
When you plan your vacations, it’s likely that you put a lot of effort into making sure that nothing will go wrong. From your transport to the airport to the fun you’ll be having when you get there, everything will be planned to near perfection, and you will feel very ready for your adventure. Of course, though, things don’t always go according to plan. Instead, a lot of people find themselves dealing with emergencies when it comes to their overseas trips, and this post is here to help you to avoid this trap yourself.
This all has to start with a little bit of assessment. If you’re able to identify a potential issue long before you’re due to set off, it will be much easier to resolve it without having to delay your vacation. Checking your passport’s expiry date, printing out your tickets, and even making sure that the weather won’t affect flying conditions is all essential work. When you find something which could be a problem, you can use Google to help you out, or you could read some of the sections below.
The biggest thing to keep in mind with all of these common travel emergencies is that you need to stay calm. While travel can he stressful, freaking out isn't going to help and should you be traveling in a foreign country that could make the language barrier even more difficult.
Lost Passport or Other Identification
Discovering an out of date passport before your journey will be enough to make most people feel sick. Even if you happen to be near your country's consulate, the process of applying for this document can take a long time and be full of confusing paperwork. Companies like Expedited Passports & Visas though can produce a new passport in as little as a day. This makes it nice and easy to cover this essential piece of documentation, along with any visas which you might need to get if you want to plan a last minute trip.
There are a lot of travel emergencies which can occur as the result of other people’s mistakes, and this can make them especially hard to avoid. Losing your luggage, for example, is something which happens to a lot of people when they are travelling the world. This sort of issue can leave you stranded without any sort of clothing, presenting obvious challenges. Thankfully, this is an issue which can be solved before you set off, with most travel insurance including cover for your suitcases when you travel. Most hotels will be able to help you out with clothing until you can get something of your own.
Delayed or Canceled Flight
One of the things I wish we had in the United States was a standard policy for compensation based on flight delays and cancellations. I get it, sometimes it is unavoidable but all too often I suspect airlines plan delays or try to make connections that give no room for error should something go wrong. Either way, when this happens you should always try to contact the airline directly and ask for compensation in terms of miles, a full or partial refund, and they should also provide you with meal vouchers and other accommodations on site too. In EU countries, this is regulated with standard compensation for flights delayed by more than 3 hours. There's even cool services like AirHelp that allow you to simply input your flight info and they'll check if you are owed money.
Bodily Injury and Illness
Getting hurt when you’re in a different place can often be a daunting prospect. Most places will have their own rules when it comes to medical care, and it can be hard to know whether or not you’ll be able to see a doctor for free. With insurance, you should be protected here, and you shouldn’t have to worry about accepting the help you need. The travel agency you booked your vacation with will often have a representative in the hotel at all times. You can use this person to help you to find a good doctor and communicate with them effectively.
Theft and Destroyed Property
While some places are more secure than others, petty crimes like theft happen everywhere. I've even had my stateroom steward steal my wife's wedding rings from our cabin on the last day of the cruise. Hotel rooms too are notorious for their poor security. This is true especially since you'd assume that your room would have some sort of sanctity. The reality though is that master keys are relatively easy to aquire and housekeepers are generally very low paid so they are easy targets to bribe. If you ever experience something like this, you need to let the hotel know as soon as possible and provide as much detail as possible about when you last noticed the item and what it was. Make sure that they contact the police on your behalf, rather that simply trying to take care of it internally. Luckily, most hotels offer in-room safes and some provide larger secure spaces for bulkier items as well. If they don't provide it complementarity, inquire if they have this service available for a daily fee. By choosing this option, you can protect your valuable possessions, even if your room gets broken into.
Identity Theft and Electronic Crimes
On a recent cruise that I took to Alaska this summer, the cruise line prohibited VPN use on the internet package I was offered. I ALWAYS try to use VPN for added security, but this time I didn't. Someone on the ship though must have been running a packet sniffing app just waiting to steal logins and passwords from unsuspecting visitors. Unfortunately I was a victim here and my bank account was drained. Luckily, PayPal was EXTREMELY easy to work with and refunded the money quickly. As a precaution you should always use a VPN when connecting to a shared network, but if that isn't possible make sure to avoid using online banking apps until you have a more secure connection. That's not the only danger though, people can also steal your identify information by following you to an ATM or snooping on RFID enabled cards in your wallet. The best solution is to always be aware of anyone close to you and use a wallet that blocks radio waves as well as covering your hand when using the ATM. Those aren't going to completely prevent identify theft and electronic crimes but it makes it much more difficult for would be thieves!
Arrest and Detention by the Authorities
Finally, as the last emergency on this list, finding yourself in jail is the last thing that most people would expect when they are on holiday. This can be a harder challenge to overcome than the others in this post. In a lot of cases, you can pay bail and have yourself released without any charges. Sometimes, though, if you’ve done something particularly bad, you could find yourself in court. Most governments will offer support to their citizens in this position. This makes it easy for you to get some help from your home country, while also ensuring that you’re following the right path.
Hopefully, this post will give you everything you need to battle the problems which can come with travel. While things most likely won’t be as extreme as the examples here, the principles are always the same; take it slow and do your research. Most people have the chance to make their holiday run nice and smoothly, even when things go a little wrong.
- Written by James Hills
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