We put so much into planning a trip these days. There are plenty of websites designed to provide information on destinations and travel itineraries – including Cool Things – plus there are services designed to automate the entire planning process. Even Google now offers travel-specific resources to make planning your next trip easier.
Meticulous planning, however, can only do so much. A lot of things can still go wrong with the trip – you can find flight cancellation details here – and knowing what to do when things actually go wrong is invaluable. You can stay calm and keep the trip smooth and enjoyable in the worst situations. To handle travel problems like a pro, here are the five important things you need to know.
You Always Have Options
You want to stay calm and think clearly from the moment you are hit with a problem or an emergency. This, I admit, is easier said than done. When your flight gets cancelled and you have another connecting one to catch, you know you have a lot to handle. Nevertheless, staying calm is the way to go, and there’s a secret you can use to help you.
You always have options; you always do. Even when it doesn’t look like there is anything you can do, there is always a way to salvage the trip. If you miss a connecting flight due to your first one getting delayed, you can act quickly and find a replacement flight, knowing that you will be compensated for the trouble and extra costs later.
Know Your Rights…
Having your travel itinerary ruined because of a cancelled flight or a delay in the ferry schedule is inconvenient, but it is not the end of the world. More importantly, it is not a problem that you cannot solve. The more you know your rights, the better you will be at planning what to do next.
Flightright, a comprehensive site about flight cancellation and delay, has all of the information you need when you do suffer from a delayed or cancelled flight. Depending on the airline and how long the delay is, you should be compensated for your troubles. In fact, airlines offer anywhere from €250 to €600 in compensation depending on the situation you face.
The same is true with hotels and other parts of your trip. If your Airbnb host suddenly cancels on you on the same day of your trip, you know you can file a complaint and get compensated for your troubles. This means you can focus on the next task in hand.
…And Your Options
With your rights covered, you can immediately move on to problem-solving mode. As mentioned before, regardless of the travel emergency you deal with, you have options to choose from. When your flight gets cancelled and you have a connecting flight to catch, you can ask the airline to immediately find a replacement flight. If your accommodation for the night is unavailable all of a sudden, you have apps and sites like Last Minute Deals helping you find a replacement accommodation at a fantastic price.
The internet makes dealing with travel emergencies easier. As long as you have your smartphone with you, you can always find another flight and a new hotel room. Other emergencies are just as easy to solve with a capable smartphone acting as your secret weapon.
Finding an immediate solution isn’t always the end of the process. You can stop worrying about issues like delayed flights once you have found a replacement flight, but you actually still have a lot to do if the emergency involves missing travel documents or cash. You have to report the emergency immediately and get new travel documents issued.
Getting your wallet stolen can throw your trip off balance, but once again you have your smartphone ready to rescue you. A number of banks are starting to let their customers withdraw cash from conventional ATMs without a card, thanks to a mobile banking app with added features.
However, you still need to notify your bank and credit card issuers that your cards have been stolen. You want the cards frozen as quickly as possible to avoid unauthorised charges. Getting the cards frozen will also save you from more headaches in the future.
Preventing More Problems
As long as you stay calm throughout the emergency, the risk of making more mistakes (and causing more issues) is slim. However, there is nothing wrong with taking extra steps to prevent future emergencies.
Having a contingency plan helps prevent the problems we covered in this article from causing too much trouble. Choosing a reliable airline, for example, reduces the risk of getting your flight delayed. The more proactive you are when planning the trip, the more of these travel emergencies you will be able to avoid. Once the bigger potential issues are out of the way, smaller problems along the trip will be much easier to manage.