You’ve spent months planning your perfect vacation. You’ve researched your destination, planned your itinerary, packed your bags, and set your alarm to wake up early so you’ll make it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
You hop in the car…and find yourself stuck in a traffic jam as the minutes tick by and your flight departure time looms closer and closer. What to do?
Even the most well-organized, seasoned traveler will eventually run into a travel snag, but it doesn’t need to ruin your vacation. Here are some of the most common travel issues and how to deal with them.
You lose your passport.
Before you leave for an international trip, photocopy or take a photo of your passport’s ID page and email it to a close friend or relative so you have backup documentation, as well as storing a copy on your phone and in your luggage.
As soon as you realize you’ve lost your passport, report it to the police, then go to your country’s embassy or consulate in the area you’re visiting. Be sure to bring along a backup form of identification. You’ll need to fill out a lost passport form in order to be issued a replacement passport.
You realize your passport has expired – and your international trip is just days away.
Head to the nearest US Passport Office with a copy of your trip itinerary to prove your travel dates and explain your situation. For additional expediting fee on top of the regular passport renewal cost, you can expedite your passport renewal and typically receive your new documents in time to travel. There are also companies that can help you expedite your passport for a fee. Visit travel.state.gov for current passport requirements and instructions on how to proceed with renewing your passport.
You end up in a traffic snarl en route to the airport, and you’re worried you’ll miss your flight.
There are plenty of factors that can delay your arrival at the airport, from bad weather to traffic jams. If traffic is an issue, use the map feature on your smartphone to find an alternate route to the airport.
Worried you’re going to miss your flight? Call the airline and explain your situation. They may be able to hold your seat for a while if they know you’re en route and there’s a chance you might make it. However, if you miss your flight and don’t inform the airline, you’ll end up paying in full for your tickets and you won’t be reimbursed.
You miss a connecting flight.
Head straight for your airline counter to explain your situation and get scheduled on the next available connecting flight. Depending on your airline, you may even qualify for a travel voucher for a future flight to help make up for the inconvenience.
You get a serious sunburn.
Even the most diligent appliers of sunscreen can suffer from painful sunburns. If it happens to you, drink lots of water and apply cold, wet washcloths to the area to help reduce pain and inflammation. You can also pick up a bottle of aloe vera gel to help speed healing. If your sunburn is very bad, consider taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain.
Your luggage gets lost.
Before you travel, make sure you’ve filled out your luggage tags with your current address and contact information. Pack your carry-on with a few necessary items to get you through a day or two without your luggage, just in case – a change of clothes, a bathing suit, and any medications or prescriptions you require. Don’t worry about toiletries, since you can typically purchase those easily once you reach your destination, and some airlines will even provide you with a bag of essentials upon hearing about your lost bags.
As soon as you realize your luggage is missing, notify the airline. And try to relax – lost luggage usually shows up within a day or two!
Your stomach gets upset.
Sampling all the delicious local food is one of the best parts of traveling to a new place, but if you overdo it on things like fresh tropical fruit or dishes you’re not accustomed to, you can eat something that upsets your stomach – one of the most common traveling afflictions. If it happens to you, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Pepto-Bismol may help to reduce some of the discomfort of an upset stomach.
Once your appetite returns, start with easy-to-digest foods like rice, toast, crackers, and bananas and drink plenty of electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water or Gatorade before attempting spicier, more flavorful meals.