On Saturday 20th Sep, 2014

Common travel mishaps and how to avoid them

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Starts at 60 Writers

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We all want to have the best holiday we can, but it would be naive to think that it can happen without obstacles. 9 times of of 10, we have trouble-free holidays, though we should still be informed about what to do if a problem occurs! If you’re smart and aware, your holiday should run smoothly, even if there are some bumps.

Before you leave for your dream trip, it’s absolutely imperative that you have travel insurance. Don’t assume that you will automatically covered by your bank (some credit cards offer travel insurance), as they can have some pretty strict terms and conditions. Search around for the best quote and don’t immediately go for the one your travel agent gives you – that’s how they make their commission. Also, sign up to the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website so that you have the latest updates and you can be contacted in the event of an emergency.

Pickpocketing

It’s sad to think about, but there are some desperate people who will take money and belongings when they can and when you least expect it. And it’s not just in third world or poorer countries…it’s everywhere, even in Australia. Protect yourself by always carrying your wallet/money on you. That isn’t to say you should carry every dollar you have – get out as much as you need and leave the rest at your hotel in a safe or inconspicuous location. There are things called ‘dummy wallets’ that travellers use as a decoy for a pickpocket. Don’t be tempted to have your travel belt around your waist as the pickpockets are smart and know where to look. Keep your money in a wallet around your neck.

Stolen/lost passport

If you lose your passport, it’s upsetting but it isn’t the end of the world. Before you depart, scan and send your passport photo and any IDs to a loved one, and carry a few extra passport photos. That way if you lose or have your passport stolen, you will be able to know the details and have a new one issued immediately for a cost of $108. Most large cities around the world have an Australian consulate however if you are in a remote location or even if you’re close to help, you must seek assistance straight away via the Australian Passport Office here

Hotel reservation

It happens from time to time but to ensure you have proof you booked a hotel (especially online), always carry copies of your reservation. Call a week before your stay to double-check so you avoid these issues.

Accident 

If you have an accident of any type overseas or fall ill and require medical treatment, contact your insurer ASAP. They will advise on the next steps and if you will need to pay an excess. Make sure you check your policy to ensure you don’t get any nasty surprises in the event of a claim. Some companies won’t insure motorcycle/scooter accidents, or anything that involves risky behaviour, which can include consumption of alcohol. If you will be participating in adventure activities, simply ask when signing your policy, just in case.

Cancelled flight

One thing is for sure if your flight is cancelled, you will receive a refund, but what do you do to get your trip back on track? If your airline has offered you accommodation but you still have to get to another destination, take it and spend the day or evening trying to find other flights. If you are stuck in the airport, speak to a representative to see if you can get on another flight. If you’ll miss a connecting flight, also contact that airline and see what they can do and if they can change your flights considering what has happened. Travel insurance can also cover costs as well if stipulated in your policy, so call your insurer as well! Lots of calls and contacts to make but as long as you have a plan in place and the details ready, it should be less of a headache.

Lost luggage

For every 1000 passengers, 3 pieces of luggage are reported as mishandled. If your bag never arrives or is damaged, find the lost luggage counter and speak to a representative from the airline. It’s always a good idea to have a spare change of clothing and any valuable items in your carry-on so that if you aren’t left with just the clothes on your back. Always have your hotel details handy so you can provide a forwarding address. Check your travel insurance as well as if your luggage isn’t found (God forbid), you will be compensated.

The main thing to take away from this guide is to carry documents with you and copies of absolutely everything – a travel wallet can hold these neatly. Always keep your valuables in your carry-on but take them out once at your hotel. If you absolutely must carry them, have combination locks on your bag. And also, have a phone number for your airlines (easily able to be found using Google) and hotels in a notebook!

Has anything unfortunate happened on your travels? What happened and how did you get back on track? Share with us below.

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