Traveling is one of the best experiences in the world. Mind expanding things to learn, seeing unbelievably beautiful natural surrounding, walking through history, pushing your own comfort zone and meeting awesome people are just a few of the benefits. But, we all know there is a potential for disaster to strike. Flights get delayed, people get sick, natural disasters strike and all of this far from home and sometimes in a language you don’t understand. Here are three of my strategies to keep in mind when it all goes sideways.
Stay Calm and Work the Problem
The moment something starts to go wrong, it is tempting to panic. Many of my clients are traveling in exotic foreign locations and with their children. It may feel like there is little margin for error but you are probably ok. Take a deep breath and remember 99% of the time it feels worse then it is. Panic will just freak out the kids and not allow your brain to work on solutions. There is a famous story of when little red light indicator came on the in cockpit of a flight over the Florida Everglades. Everyone in the cockpit panicked about this light. So much so that they failed to do the most basic thing a pilot should do, fly the plane. They crashed because no one was paying attention to the altimeter. You are the pilot of you trip. Remember to take care of the important stuff and then work the problem. Most problems can be resolved with time and money. You will be fine, just keep everyone calm, fed and safe.
Buy the Travel Insurance
Most trips go smoothly. Planning and using trustworthy suppliers will help everything go the way you dreamed about in your living. We also know that there are risks. The most common problem is with airlines. As airlines have started offering cheaper fares they are taking away services. Paying extra fees for baggage and seat assignments has become the norm. If that weren’t enough they are also unreliable with delays being more common than not. These delays wreak havoc on your carefully laid plans for a vacation. Delays mean missing connections, unexpected layovers and added costs. These costs add up. Travel insurance is very helpful when you have an extra three days in Paris due to an airline workers strike. Delayed baggage, missed vacation days, or even having to out right cancel your trip are usually covered.
Travel insurance is also traveller health insurance. I pray none of my clients ever need to use the health insurance part of their policy, but in the case you do, most US based health plans do not cover international travel. So even just a simple ear ache might cost you more than you bargained for. I have in my now travels and that of others seen more then a few major bones broken or illnesses take hold. I always recommend policies that include repatriation. Do you really want to languish in a Russian hospital by yourself recovering from you appendix surgery?
Have an Advocate
Am I going to toot the horn of having a travel advisor? Yes. Having someone who is paying attention to the details is comforting while you travel. If something is going wrong, contact me. Just in the past few months I have rearranged connecting flights, changed rental cars, rebooked flights and delayed/extended hotel stays, all assuring that the experience for my customers was as smooth as possible. It is still not ideal to have travel delays and problems but it is much better when you have an advocate at home working to give you the best solutions. Maybe you are still not convinced and want to travel independently, I still recommend leaving an itinerary at home with someone you trust and checking in with that person regularly.