Don’t panic. There’s an easy fix to these travel disasters.
You’ve lost your passport
The number one fear of every international traveller. Almost 40,000 Australian passports go missing every year, so there’s a good chance your number will come up. Travel with extra copies of everything, either in hard copy in your luggage or emailed to yourself and stored online. Don’t keep all of your ID together so that you have a spare in reserve. Create your own ‘emergency passport kit’ with some recent photos, secondary ID, proof of citizenship and travel itinerary. Travel insurance should help to cover the cost of a replacement passport.
Your flight is cancelled
OK, we know that there’s actually nothing you can do about a cancelled flight. That’s under the control of the airline or the airport and you, as the lowly passenger, just have to go along with it. But it pays to be prepared. Travel insurance means you will at least get some compensation or a hotel room paid for that night. And while you’re in the moment, the best thing to do is stay calm and be polite. No one ever got a better deal by yelling at the check in staff. Ever.
You forget or lose your medication
If you regularly take prescription medication, it can be a serious problem if you suddenly find yourself without it. And it’s not as easy as walking into a pharmacy and requesting more. Before you leave, get your regular doctor to write you a letter on official stationery outlining your medical issues and the drugs you need. Carry this and an additional prescription with you. They won’t always be accepted overseas, but it's a start. Make sure you know the proper names of the drugs you take, not just the brand names, and also write them down in other languages depending on where you are travelling. If you can’t get any more, speak to your hotel concierge about finding a local doctor who can help.
Your luggage doesn’t show up
You’ve stood at the carousel for an hour and your suitcase hasn’t come down the slide. In the USA, about six bags per 1,000 are ‘mishandled’ each year, so there are a lot of other people waiting with you. When packing, make sure to keep the essentials in your carry on – toothbrush, contact lenses, clean underwear, essential medication. That way, you are prepared for a day or so until it turns up. Make sure your suitcase is clearly labelled and include the details of your first hotel, so they can track you down faster. Lodge a claim with the airline as soon as you can and keep the receipts for any new things you need to purchase.
Have you ever had a travel nightmare?