Don’t make these mistakes
International travel can be a lot of fun. It lets you see new places, meet new people and experience new cultures. But that’s not to say that holidaying abroad is stress free. Here’s how to beat the top three travel mishaps.
Travel Mishap 1: Delayed Flights
Sadly there’s not much you can do to avoid flight delays since the cause tends to be out of your hands. But you can still make the most of an unfortunate situation. First, check the flight status before you set off. If you know it’s delayed ahead of time you can spend your time more productively than hanging around at the airport.
If you’re already at the airport when you learn of the delay, make sure you get the airline representative to explain to you exactly what is happening. You’re often entitled to food and accommodation depending on the length of the delay, so make sure you understand your options.
If you’re planning to make a claim for the delay with your travel insurer, you will probably need a document from the airline confirming the flight number, the length of the delay and the reason. It pays to keep a copy of your travel insurance policy with you or to have the contact number handy so you can check what you’ll need on the spot.
Travel Mishap 2: Falling Sick
Nothing can spoil a holiday quite as easily as falling sick, but there’s plenty you can do to avoid it in the first place. Make sure you research your destination before you travel: in less developed countries it’s a good idea to only drink bottled water, for example. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth, and make sure that uncooked food like salad has not been washed with tap water.
While prevention is better than the cure, accidents and illness do happen. It’s worth checking in advance where the nearest medical facilities are so you know what to do in an emergency. If you’re planning on claiming on your insurance, then you should call your insurer as soon as possible after the incident so they can advise you on what to do.
Travel Mishap 3: Lost Baggage
Few things in life are worse than the sinking feeling that comes when everyone else has already left the baggage claim area and you realise that your luggage hasn’t made it.
First of all, try to keep as many essentials as possible in your hand luggage so you know that you will at least have the basics with you if you lose your check-in luggage. Restrictions on taking liquids on planes make that trickier these days, but if you have a change of clothes and a toothbrush with you then at least you have most of what you need should the worst happen.
If your bags do go missing, your first step is to speak to the airline representative while you’re still at the airport. They will give you documentation to prove your claim, and they’re also your first point of contact for compensation. Some airlines will also provide a toiletry bag with basic necessities upon request.
Next up is to contact your travel insurer to let them know. They will need copies of the documentation from the airline, so make sure you have it handy. If there’s a suspicion that your bags have been stolen rather than lost, then you may also need a police report, so it’s best to call your insurer before you leave the airport. Keep your policy somewhere safe (in your hand luggage of course!).