Whether it’s missing a flight or leaving your luggage on a train, travel mishaps can happen to anyone. While these situations are stressful in the moment, the stories you take away from them are a great way to learn—and to help others when they ask for advice!
Here are my top five dos and don’ts for the next time you find yourself in a sticky situation abroad:
1. rely on your listening skills to push you past language barriers. At minimum, learn how to tell time and take directions in the local language. If there is room for error, then it is best to find someone who speaks your language.
2. panic. Staying calm is the best thing you can do in a tricky situation. Once it is all over, have a scream, or a cry, or whatever lets you release some steam—but first you should try your best to focus on your next steps.
3. point fingers. If there is a problem, it really doesn’t matter whose fault it is—the most important thing is to find a solution! Don’t waste time fighting with your travel companion or with local people.
4. have anything “timed perfectly.” Chances are, when you are travelling abroad, something will happen to throw off your schedule. Always have plenty of room for schedule changes!
5. ever leave your luggage on your mode of transport. Even if you are certain that the train or bus isn’t leaving for a while, take your luggage with you if you decide to go for a wander before departure.
1. plan as much as possible. Triple-check schedules if you are taking public transport—especially if you are connecting to other transport at your next destination.
2. make sure you know where to find help. Where are the police stations? Tourist info offices? Consulates? What’s the assistance phone number for medical emergencies?
3. have a back-up plan. This might mean something simple, like always keeping your essentials such as money, passport, a set of extra clothing, and your toothbrush in your carry-on baggage. It could also be something more detailed like knowing alternate routes for all of your journeys.
4. seriously consider getting an international plan for your mobile device or purchasing a pay-as-you-go option when you arrive if you are travelling for a while. It may seem expensive initially, but if you need to use your home smart phone for GPS when you are lost in another country in the middle of the night, you will be coming back to some very high bills!
5. let your loved ones know how you areand where you are. If your country has the service available, register as a citizen abroad. It may feel like a hassle, but if your parents think you are on the Great Wall when you are really in the jungles of Laos, it will be more difficult for them to find you in the case of a natural disaster or civil unrest.
For information on travel insurance and products, visit the Ingle International services page.