Each and every traveller, whether a seasoned one or a novice, looks forward to a smooth and pleasurable journey, even when realistic that it can’t be all that perfect. As a matter of precaution, planning and preparation are done to increase the likelihood that the journey and ensuing days under the sun (or snow) would be an enjoyable one.
Yet, no amount of readiness can really prepare anyone with travel’s little surprises. So, what do you do? “When life gives you lemons, make lemonades!” It sounds fun and easy, but really you just have to do your best to keep your vacation from being completely ruined.
Many surprises wait in the airport or before getting into your flight. Rick Seaney of the ABC News – Travel Section offers some suggestions in his post Solutions to 7 Common Travel Problems.
“A naked man running through traffic causing delays probably doesn’t rank high on your list of potential travel problems but it has happened on the 405 freeway leading to Los Angeles’ vast international airport in the past couple of years – twice.
There are lots of surprise problems that can creep up on you and throw a wrench in the best planned trips; here are seven unexpected snafus, and how to fix them.”
1. Traffic delays: One too many had been left by his/her flight because of traffic. Seaney suggests that instead of missing your flight and losing its value, you consider any of these three options:
- Monitor the traffic through an app. This way you can find alternative routes to the airport. If you don’t have a smartphone, anticipate the problem earlier and do something about it.
- Go to the airport early. If you are travelling abroad, you need to check in earlier. Most airlines also require their passengers to be in the departure on the dot.
- Call the airline if you’re stuck in traffic. This means you need to have the contact number of the airline. Know that they can only hold on to your seat for a while, but your absence, even if you call, can’t hold the plane.
2. Unusual apparel. Despite all the liberality and the lax ruling on clothing, certain airlines still uphold certain rules about these things. For instance, “American Airlines’ contract says they can refuse to transport anyone who is barefoot; has an offensive odor; or is wearing anything that “would cause discomfort or offense to other passengers.” You may cause a stir to fight for your rights, but remember that your rights end where the other passengers’ rights start.
3. Bad weather: Weather can be very unpredictable. Don’t assume that because you are holidaying during a season without a blizzard or typhoon that weather can cause you to be stranded somewhere. Seaney writes, “Winter is not the worst season for flight delays and cancellations; summer is prime time for getting stuck in airports.” The solution? Be prepared for anything, and most especially when you have kids in tow.
4. Lost or stolen documents: Who wouldn’t freak out, but that wouldn’t achieve anything. Instead, get your wits and composure collected, and then go through these steps:
- Remember planning and preparation? Part of those entail collecting all contact numbers for your banks/credit cards, embassy or consulate, airline, and booked hotel, travel tour operators, car rentals, etc. Another important step is to have all your travel documents photocopied and entrusted to another person you trust and within easy reach. In addition, you may send photocopied documents to your personal email.
- First things first. Your goal is to stop fraudulent use of your credit cards, so call your banks, and to get another passport (if it is among the stuff stolen), so call the nearest consulate or embassy to get a replacement within 24 hours.
- No ID? Make sure you’ll have a ready way to verify your identity. TSA will let you board the plane and fly if you can pass their verification process.
5. Wrong airport, wrong terminal: Any of these can happen to you, particularly when you are already running late or your mind is too cluttered. There is just one solution, stay focused. This means double checking your tickets and updates from the airline. Do this even before the time and the day of your departure.
6. Unexpected rule changes: This kind of problem can be anticipated. Check updates regularly and keep a credit card handy.
7. Bad jokes: You must have heard a whole plane being held because of a nasty joke, such as, “There’s a bomb on the plane!” If you’re the source of the bad joke, you’re in for trouble than you bargained for. So be sensible and responsible. This is not a comedy club!
Some of these problems are things you can’t avoid. Rather than lose your cool and be stressed, be prepared for these eventualities. Planning in advance is always the best so you don’t make lemonades too often.