Common Travel Fails That You’re Going To Make
Travelling is a complex little activity that we do. There’s so many turning wheels, clunky clogs and generally things that can go oh so terribly wrong. Even the humble road trip can turn into an overwhelming disaster. It really is no wonder that so many travellers report feeling high levels of anxiety when they are preparing for a trip. A little bit of preparation can stop you from making these common travel fails.
The below examples are true stories. I almost ended up calling this section – confessions of an airport worker. Maybe one day I’ll write that for y’all. As someone who spends far too much time in airports and talking to random people, it’s amazing how often the following scenarios come up. From a wide variety of people representing a unique cross selection of the community. Really what I’m saying is that everyone has the ability to stuff up their own trip. No matter how well seasoned a traveller that you think you are.
Passport Faux par
Is your passport valid? Ok now ask yourself is my passport valid for the country I am travelling to? Supposedly it’s common knowledge that the majority of countries in the world require you to have 6 months validity from the date of departure. Now note that last part – date of departure. This means the date that you will leave the country. Not the date that you are leaving your home country. On a weekly basis, I come across people who are drowning their sorrows because an airline won’t let them board with a passport that has less than 6 months before expiring.
Solution– Renew your passport 12months before it’s due to expire. It’s a hassle and a huge expense but so much nicer than sitting in an airport pub crying because you can’t board your flight to Bali.
Congratulations on your new found status as a wife. Now not to be gender bias here but generally speaking newly wedded wives get very excited about their promotion in life to Wife and like to gush and blush over the new ring and new found husband. Which is all fine and dandy until you book your tickets in your married name. Without having yet changed your details in your passport. That’s a no-go and many airlines now won’t check you in. Even if you present at the counter with your wedding certificate.
Solution – book in your maiden name. It’s ok no one will judge you and they’ll still listen to you ramble on about how great your wedding was and how drunk cousin Betty got.
When a Threesome Goes Wrong
The story always starts off with you and a third party booking site. A deal that sounded too good to be true. So you whip out the credit card and book away. Months, weeks go by and you get ready to go on your holiday. You arrive at the airport ready to roll. Oh but you’ve missed your flight as it left an hour early. The airline advised the client (which by the way isn’t you. It’s that dodgy donkey website you bought your dream holiday through) who accepted the change of flight time and haven’t bothered to tell you.
Now the airline has nothing to offer you. They have done their part to the letter of the law. You try to contact the third party booking site to no avail. It’s your responsibility to check flight details before departure. If you’re lucky the company will help you rebook a flight or offer a refund. That’s if the company has a customer service team that’s actually available to help.
Solution – book directly with an airline or travel agent. There are some great deals out there to be taken advantage of. Just don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.
You Left Something Important Behind
Now as long as it’s not a child that you are responsible for the likelihood of you leaving something behind is rather high. Who can ever forget that time I forgot to pack a bra on my way to the Philippines? Thankfully a horrid Qantas experience saw me have an unplanned stop over in Singapore Airport and Uniqlo was open until midnight. $30 later and I had a new bra in hand. Crisis averted.
Most major airports will have the basic life necessities. So don’t stress if you’ve forgotten something behind. Yes you’ll pay a premium but ah well. Such is life.
Solution – Don’t leave things behind?
Looking Like A Cooked Lobster
Ain’t no body got time for sunburn. It’s a painful experience and one that can be totally avoided. Being a beach babe and living the mermaid dream is all an achievable life goal. But seriously slip-slop slap on that sunscreen. You’ll still come back with a nice golden tan and less likely get skin cancer. Win win?
Solution – Wear sunscreen.
You’ve Missed Your Flight
The bus doesn’t turn up. The taxi driver gets lost. The traffic is abhorrent. You’re hung over, slept in and forgot that you needed to be at the airport three hours ago. There are so many great reasons as to why you missed your flight. A good story doesn’t help you though. The plane still leaves without you on board.
So what do you do? First steps – Call the airline! As soon as you know that you are going to miss your flight, you should immediately call the airline, and I’d certainly recommend doing so before the flight departs. Tell them that you are on the way to the airport, but that you’re delayed due to factors outside of your control.
What if it’s really not your fault?
Your travel insurance may cover any costs of onward travel. Because you’re a smart traveller and have purchased insurance. You will need supporting evidence of whatever it was that caused you to miss your flight – a receipt for roadside assistance for your car or confirmation of a delay from a public transport company.
Some airlines have a little unknown area of compassion allowing you to rebook the next available flight or to take the risk with a sandby ticket. There are usually fees associated but it really doesn’t hurt to ask. The general rule seems to be if you are at the airport within two hours of your missed flight.
In any event, make sure your airline knows that you might have made contingency plans just in case it doesn’t automatically cancel your return flight.
The above are just a sample of the sad stories I hear on a regular basis. With the majority of these issues being avoidable. Don’t forget that real travellers buy travel insurance. For all those uncommon travel fails that are beyond your control.
Have you made a silly travel mistake? Let us know in the comments below.
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