Even the most carefully considered plans can be disrupted — and travel is no exception. But you don’t have to let it stop you from setting off. We can’t promise that your trip will be trouble-free, but we can write a list of the most common setbacks and how to deal with them (and minimize the chance of them happening). Here are four things to watch out for.
1. Missed flights
Sometimes there’s a traffic jam and you don’t make it to the airport in time. Sometimes you get the details on your boarding pass confused. Sometimes you get to the airport and still don’t board the plane (find out why here).
Whatever the case, missing your flight is a common travel setback. You can reduce the chances of it happening by leaving for the airport in plenty of time, but here’s what to do if your plans go awry.
If you miss your flight:
Go to the desk of the airline and see if they can let you board the next flight. If there are no free seats, you may be able to get one with a partner airline.
Alternatively, you can research cheap last-minute flights on a price comparison website.
If you miss a connecting flight:
Go to the airline desk and see if they can let you board the next flight.
Ask the airline if they can keep your luggage stored safely until you arrive at your destination.
Getting ill is a part of life, so it’s not something you can avoid, but you can look after yourself to reduce the chances of it happening. Simple steps like washing your hands often, carrying anti-bacterial gel, getting your vaccinations done and drinking water from a bottle, not the tap, will all go a long way to keeping you healthy.
What to do if you fall ill while traveling:
If your symptoms are mild, stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids.
If your symptoms get worse, find out where the nearest clinic or hospital is, and be ready to go there if you need to.
If you’re too sick to do anything and your symptoms don’t improve, you may have to return home.
Don’t forget to book travel insurance before you go. According to TINZ, 28% of people fail to take out a policy — don’t be one of them. The cost of medical care abroad is very expensive, even for relatively simple conditions like dehydration.
3. Lost or stolen possessions
Whether it’s baggage loss on a flight, theft, or just plain forgetfulness, lost or stolen possessions can be a huge source of stress while you’re travelling. Here are the steps to take if it happens to you:
What to do if your baggage goes missing
Speak to someone at the airline’s baggage claim counter and be sure to show them your baggage claim ticket. They may be able to track your bag’s location.
Ask for a Property Irregularity Report. You may not need it, but if you need to claim compensation you can use it as evidence.
If your baggage shows up: it’s the airline’s responsibility to get it to you as quickly and safely as possible.
If your baggage is declared lost: contact your travel insurance provider, who will help you claim compensation.
What to do if your wallet goes missing
Visit the local police station to file a report.
Cancel any cards immediately to prevent unauthorised spending.
What to do if your passport goes missing
Have copies of your passport, another form of ID (like a driving license), your travel itinerary and a passport-sized photo saved on a cloud, just in case.
Go to your nearest embassy as soon as possible.
Let them know your passport has been stolen or lost — they should be able to issue a temporary passport.
Apply for a new passport as soon as you get home.
4. Being lonely or homesick
It feels like you shouldn’t be homesick when you’re exploring new places and are supposedly having the time of your life, but it happens to everyone. (Even TripSavvy describe it as ‘inevitable’ in their guide to dealing with homesickness.)
The best thing to do is be patient, accept you feel the way you do, and — most importantly — be kind to yourself. Have time to wallow, then go out and start exploring again.