Once you start travelling on a regular basis you’re bond to have things that start to go wrong. Either missing a flight or losing luggage.
From my end, although I’m proud to say that even when I was flying more than once a week I never lost a flight, not even when I was stuck in traffic, I have a few lessons myself.
#1 – Get to know basic travel sentences from the country you’re going to
On my first flight to Germany, I checked on how to get from the airport to the office and I knew I had to go from the airport to the train terminal, and then get a train to my destination. I assumed that the trains would have as much information as in UK where you can clearly see all the stops so you know exactly which train to take. Not the case in Germany… I’ve asked the ticket office which platform I had to go, but once there, even knowing the time I wasn’t sure which train to take. On the platform it had the following information:
So guess what I did… I didn’t got into the train because I thought it was 2 different trains and only the 10:30 was the one I was supposed to take. Well, for those of you that know German you’re already having a giggle, for those that don’t, it means 10:28 – time of arrival at the station and 10:30 time of departure. It was just one train! Result, had to wait extra 30m and was late in the office
#2 – Get to know the nearest embassy or consulate from where you’re travelling to in case something happens
Once, also in Germany, I lost my wallet. I was so tired I didn’t even notice it had fallen (probably in the taxi while I was paying) and with it, I lost my ID card (in Europe that’s all you need to travel). As I had a flight back to UK next day I had to go to the consulate to get an emergency passport done. Fortunately I knew where the consulate was, so I’ve managed to get it sorted otherwise would be stuck in the country until I could get a passport back.
In this case, I had to go to the police to report the loss of my wallet and with it my travel documents. Also, as soon as I’ve noticed about the missing wallet, I’ve cancelled all my cards immediately. It was quite a stressful evening and day, but in the end managed to get back home with a temporary passport. The UK border control hated me for a month until I had my documents back again (it really looked dodgy!)
#3 – Always keep clothing in your hand-luggage
In case your main luggage gets lost. To be honest I’ve started to try to fly mostly with hand-luggage as possible as I can. The last thing you want is to arrive to your destination and they’ve lost your clothing! This happened to my other half while he was travelling to Switzerland. The luggage was delivered to him only a few days latter, so fortunately he had some clothing in the flat.
#4 – Always keep a charger in your hand-luggage and remember the country you’re travelling to
To be honest there’s two parts on this one. It’s always good to keep chargers in your hand-luggage. You don’t want to find you’ll run out of battery as well as any connector plugs you need for the country you’re travelling to. There’s some universal chargers which are brilliant and cater for a lot of countries. The other aspect is, always check how you’ll connect to the internet while you’re at your destination. Roaming can be very expensive and to be honest I can’t survive without google maps anymore!!! For instance, when we went to Japan we had to order a special data card, as foreigners can’t get a sim card. So don’t forget to check what’s available and what suits your needs. You might want to disconnect from any social media and travel simple, that’s an option too.
#5 – Travel Insurance, because you never really know!
This is even far more important if you are flying to an unsafe place. Fortunately I never had to use travel insurance but was pretty close. In the first case, I had a boat accident in Angola and I still don’t know how we’ve managed to survive without major bruises! Pretty much it was a small boat with an engine on the back. Normally the boats would have 2 people, one next to the engine and another at the front that would ensure there were no other boats at sight, as the guy back there won’t be able to see it. I was sitting at the back and suddenly just saw a bigger boat in front of us. Just closed my eyes and then bang. The other boat was damaged and so was ours (our little wooden sits broke). We were all pretty shocked. I thought I was going to die in those long seconds. Fortunately the other boat was not the same model as ours, it managed to cover for most of the impact so we didn’t turn into the water or were projected I don’t know where!
If I had ended up in the hospital (well… hospital is quite a major statement there) I would want to fly back home as soon as possible to get proper care and that can be pretty expensive!
Case number 2, I went to Japan while I was pregnant, so if anything would happen to me I would like to know I would have protection that would cover for the costs. It’s really important to check before-hand what the travel insurance would or would not cover. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s worth it!
I’m sure if I would dig out from my brain I would find loads more examples, like double check which hotel you’ve booked when there are several from the same brand in the same city (yap done that!). Any stories you would like to share?