Traveling should be fun and enjoyable but too often, situations arise and put a damper on your trip. This article will give you five of the top travel issues that you can avoid altogether with careful planning and advanced preparation.
Planning carefully and preparing in advance are the key factors in traveling without the stress or the hassle. There may be some things you have no control of but that doesn’t mean they are not going to happen. In fact, most of the things that do happen when people travel can be actually be prevented. Some, however, you just have to make the best effort to avoid.
5 Top Travel Issues and How to Avoid Them
Flight Delays and Cancellations
Flight delays and cancellations are hardly preventable since these occur primarily because of the aircraft’s mechanical issues or weather conditions. You can, however, minimize a delay or cancellation by choosing direct flights instead of those with stopovers to get to a destination. You won’t miss a connecting flight if the layover between your flights is longer even if there are delays.
Check in with your airline if you are bumped off your flight as a result of overbooking. Airlines typically compensate with their passengers when such incidents happen by giving them lodging and/or food compensation. If, however, the flight was cancelled as a result of a mechanical or weather issue, you don’t receive any compensation. Keep updated with your flight schedules to avoid this.
While the jet lag experienced by frequent international travelers is truly dreadful, you can do some things which would lessen your jet lag’s extent. When you book your flight, for instance, ensure that you have time for sufficient sleep by moving around during the flight. Set your watch to the time zone of the place where you will land.
Give your body a time to adjust before leaving for your destination. Move bedtime up by 30 minutes every night if you are heading east and move it back by the same number of minutes if you are traveling west. Do this a week before your actual departure to give yourself sufficient time in adjusting to different time zones.
Scams and Crimes
Travelers can avoid both scams and crimes by being alert and vigilant in foreign environments. Remember that where travelers congregate, scammers will soon follow.
Be especially wary of those pretending to be police offers and accosting you for bogus violations. Scammers presume most travelers are not aware of how police uniforms of other countries look like. I
f scammers coerce you to part with your money, criminal force you to give up your cash. Pick pockets and muggers are common encounters which you can avoid by not looking like you are ripe for being victimized. Never look like you are lost. That is easy to do when you have a camera dangling from your neck and looking up from a foreign language dictionary or trying to figure out a big map.
Unless you know people in the country you are traveling to – like former classmates, relatives, friends, etc. — go to your consulate or embassy and ask for advice on what areas to avoid. If you are fortunate to know locals you can trust, ask their advice on safe attractions, restaurants, and other sites which you may want to visit. You can also ask to accompany you.
The worst travel issue is loss or theft of items such as wallets and passports. For seniors, the loss or breakage of contact lenses or eyeglasses and/or hearing aids is, undoubtedly, frustrating since their visual and auditory functions will definitely hamper their enjoyment of the trip.
What you can do is make several copies of all the important documents that you will need while traveling prior to your departure. Copy account numbers, telephone numbers, expiration dates, etc. on index cards and tuck them away in an envelope where your passport (and your pet passports) should also be once you have arrived at your hotel or lodging. This envelope should be placed in a secure place where it can be readily retrieved when needed. Always carry copies of important documents with you when you go out of your hotel or lodging.
Emailing those copies to your own email address guarantees that you can retrieve them online should there be a need for them and all other options have been ineffective. Avoid cash shortage and leave some with the concierge and/or security of the hotel’s vault. Don’t keep all of your money in just one place. Leave half in your bag and half with you.
Wear clothing with several pockets if possible and distribute your money in them. If, by misfortune, you encounter a slick pickpocket or a fast snatcher, you won’t lose all your money since it is in several places. Write down the serial numbers of your traveler’s checks, their dates of issuance, and the issuing agency’s location for faster facilitation of their replacements.
Always bring a spare pair of eyeglasses and/or contact lenses when traveling. Most people hardly ever give consideration for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses when going on a trip, yet either lost or damaged can bring your sightseeing to a grinding halt and ruin your travel. Keep a copy of your prescription with you at all times. Additionally, keep another copy online.
Have the phone number of your eye doctor in case you will need a recent prescription to buy a new pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. There are great deals on eyeglasses in some countries that have lower costs of living such as Thailand where you can get frames for your eyeglasses at cheaper prices. Or you can get prescription sunglasses to use as backup.
Have a lens cloth and tiny screwdriver in a case to do basic repairs – tightening screws, for instance – on your eyeglasses if they tend to get loose; when this happens, it is likely that your eyeglasses can just become unscrewed and get broken or damaged. For users of contact lenses, bring a spare pair in an unopened case.
Getting sick while on a trip is not unheard of. If your trip is overseas, ensure that you have been vaccinated. Aside from a first aid kit, keep common medications in one container that can be easily accessed. These medications include those for motion sickness, diarrhea, indigestion, cold and flu, fever, cough, stomach upset, etc. If you use syringes or needles for insulin injections, keep your medical certificate with — from your doctor — indicating these are for your medical use.
Why Get Travel Insurance?
The reason for having travel insurance with medical coverage cannot be emphasized enough. These top five issues may all be covered with a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
Having such cover will give you peace of mind and security in cases of theft, loss, and flight delays and cancellations as well as immediate medical treatment in case of serious illness, injury or accident.
Some people may tell you that having travel insurance is not necessary. On the contrary, travel insurance ensures security for so many things involved in the course of your travel including, but not limited to, repatriation in case war breaks out in the country you are in, theft or loss of your personal items, and medical attention for an injury or accident, among other circumstances.