When it comes to traveling for a vacation, most people are geared up with hopeful, positive thoughts. We not only enjoy telling stories about the places we’ve visited, but also about upcoming experiences we have planned. But what happens when things don’t go exactly as expected?
From lost luggage to food poisoning, worrying about all the things possibly go wrong on a trip can diminish all that anticipatory joy you felt just a moment ago. And while the chance of a travel tragedy happening to you is unlikely, there are ways to prepare and even avoid vacation disasters. Here are a few scenarios to prepare for—when you can—and ways to deal with disaster when you can’t.
If you haven’t experienced a travel calamity yet, consider yourself one of the few lucky ones. Even with the most detailed itinerary, the travel gods could have something else in mind. Here are a few common travel calamities and what to do if one happens to you:
Missed Flight: You could arrive five minutes too late or your plane could be running five hours behind, either way delayed, missed and cancelled flights are actually a fairly regular occurrence. To prepare, try to give yourself an extra 12-24 hours on the front and back end of your travel so that your trip doesn’t get cut short if there are challenges with the flight. If you missed your flight, don’t panic. Chances are they can book you on another one leaving the same day.
Lost Luggage: Guess where that perfect dress you planned to wear to that perfect Parisian restaurant landed? Not in France, that’s for sure! Lost luggage can be a huge inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world. Plan ahead by packing a few outfits and essentials in your carry on, as well as all your important travel documents like your passport. Make sure your name and contact info is clearly written on your checked luggage tag. And when the luggage carousel stops and your bag still hasn’t plunged down, go directly to the lost luggage counter and file a report. Often bags arrive the very next day.
Road Trip Break Down: Not all travel happens in the air, so what do you do if your car breaks down on that cross-country road trip you’ve been planning for months? Before you hit the road, sign up for a roadside assistance service like AAA, Onstar or one provided by your car insurance company. If you find yourself stranded on the side of the road, take a deep breath and give them a call. If the car is a rental, give the company a call. They will be responsible for arranging pick up and getting you settled into a new ride.
Burglary Back Home: Not all unfortunate travel situations occur on the road. Life keeps on going back home, and a burglar could have his eyes on your empty house. Plan for this by hiring a house sitter, having a friend stop by once a day, or ask a neighbor to park in your driveway. If you have a home security system, confirm that they know the dates where you’ll be out of town. Any outside doors with common knob locks should be upgraded to deadbolts. If something happens while you’re gone take the time to check in with the police regularly, and call your homeowner’s insurance right away. If you need or want to see your vacation through until the end that is totally fine—encouraged even! Just add an extra layer of protection by getting a friend to go by your house to board up any broken doors or windows.
At some point you are going to experience a minor or major mishap while traveling or on vacation—that’s an inevitability even if it’s unknown. That’s why the best way to prepare is with a positive attitude about things that are out of your control. With the right mindset you can stay upbeat through just about any travel calamity, focusing on turning a miserable mishap into a wonderful memory.