August 7th, 2013

How to Avoid a Travel Emergency

How to Avoid a Travel Emergency

A few basic steps can keep you calm in the face of a common trip crisis.

When you’re traveling, it’s impossible to predict and prepare for every possible missed train, stolen wallet, or spilled daiquiri that could put a damper on your plans. But some mishaps are so common that it’s careless not to take a few simple steps to try to either avoid them or, at the very least, minimize the damage that they cause. No matter what the emergency, remember the first, most important step: breathe! 1.     Lost or Stolen Passport A lost or stolen passport can wreak havoc during a vacation, since someone else may be pretending to be you and you may have trouble flying home. So prevention is key. Before leaving home, scan the photo page and any important visa pages of the passport and then email them to yourself. Also, give a printed copy to a trusted friend and keep one printed copy bring and an extra passport photo with you at all times. Should you become separated from that all-important international travel document, any of those copies will help your embassy get you a temporary replacement. Traveling with an Undercover™ Neck Wallet can help prevent your passport from becoming lost or stolen in the first place—simply slip your passport into the pouch, throw it around your neck, and tuck it under your shirt. 2.     Missed Flight Oversleeping, having a late connection, and experiencing bad traffic can all lead to the dreaded missed flight. Find the customer service desk for your airline and remember to be as calm and as kind as possible – after all, people want to help friendly people! Hopefully, your airline will be able to bump you to the next flight. Try to prevent a missed flight from happening at all by setting two alarm clocks, scheduling extra time to get to the airport, and booking flights with long layovers between connections. 3.     Illness or Injury While Traveling Before you leave, ask your health insurance provider what to do if you fall ill or get injured while traveling domestically. Make sure to ask where you can receive out-of-network care. If you’re traveling abroad, things get more complicated as few insurance companies cover international care. For that reason, many international travelers purchase short-term travel insurance that provides peace of mind for a small fee. Bring a health care kit and a phrase book in case you cannot find an English speaking doctor. Keep in mind that some illnesses can be prevented by proper immunizations, so do your research before heading into certain high-risk areas. 4.     Loss of Access to Funds Losing access to funds is a valid fear for many travelers. A debit card can be eaten by an ATM, a credit card can be turned off by the issuing bank, and cash can be misplaced or stolen. Before leaving on an international trip, call all of your banks and credit card companies and alert them about your itinerary. Most importantly, always travel with a backup card – ideally two debit cards that contain enough money in both accounts to get you through your trip, and bring the contact numbers on the back of your cards in case anything happens. Remember to always avoid traveling with large amounts of cash, and split it up so it’s not all stashed in the same spot. What do you do to avoid travel mishaps on the road? Tell us your secrets in the comments below! Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her second year of living as a full-time nomad. Featured Products: Pack-It™ Sac Large  Pack-It™ Specter Cube Switchback™ 22 Related Links: How to Travel Safely in Costa Rica  5 Things We Wish We Knew Before Traveling the World  How to Travel Around the World

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