Whether you’re an experienced traveler or you’re planning your first large trip, it’s good to prepare for any potential issues you might encounter over the course of your travels. From travel-related illnesses to delayed baggage, nothing can derail a vacation faster than unexpected problems. In this article, we discuss five of the most commonly-encountered issues travelers can reasonably expect to face, along with ways to prepare for them.
Illness or Injury
Especially if you’re traveling to another country, you should always double check that you will be covered by health insurance during the duration of your travels. If you receive medical care in another country, you are financially liable for paying for the cost of treatments received if you are not covered by insurance. Even the most cautious vacationer cannot entirely mitigate the risks of injuries and illnesses on a trip, including:
- Travel-related illnesses: Travel-related diseases and illnesses can occur in a number of ways, from insect bites to consumption of contaminated food or water. Many cases of the aptly-named “traveler’s diarrhea” occur when a tourist consumes unsafe water, hot foods that have been sitting out, or unpasteurized dairy products. Insects such as ticks or mosquitoes can pass along potentially deadly diseases, so it’s essential to visit your doctor before traveling abroad to determine what vaccinations or medications you may need to take.
- Heat exhaustion or heatstroke: When we go on vacation, we tend to spend most of our time outdoors exploring new places. It’s important to remain hydrated and apply sunscreen regularly, especially in hot climates. Dehydration can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke, both of which should be avoided at all costs.
- Injuries: Injuries vary wildly in terms of both cause and severity. Some of the most common causes of serious injuries while traveling are car crashes, falls, and recreational accidents. Recreational and sporting accidents can include ATV crashes, scuba diving accidents, ski or snowboarding incidents, and a range of other dangerous situations. While it’s impossible to fully eliminate the risk of injury while vacationing, you should only perform activities you are comfortable with. Always know where the nearest hospital or medical center is through the duration of your travels, just in case you need assistance.
- Inadequate medical care: Particularly if you are traveling through a remote region, there may not exactly be a plethora of hospitals or medical facilities to go to if you are seriously ill or injured. Even if there is a nearby hospital, it may not have the medical stock or equipment to treat serious emergencies. If you suffer further harm at the hands of a doctor or medical institution while abroad, you may be a victim of medical malpractice.
When traveling through a new city or country, it’s easy to lose your bearings. A few decades ago, you would’ve needed to bring a physical map of your destination with you for navigation purposes. These days, you can simply install Google Maps on your smartphone and download an offline map of the area you’ll be traveling through. An offline map will take very little of your phone’s storage space and function even when you don’t have an internet connection.
Just in case, you may find it wise to bring a physical map with you, in the event that you misplace your phone or run out of battery. You should also write down your destination, just in case you must ask for directions.
Hopefully you never run into any sort of physical violence while traveling. However, there is always the risk of running into a mugger, particularly while you’re traveling in an unfamiliar region. If you’re traveling to a new country, you should certainly check for any U.S. Department of State travel warnings before you visit. They will highlight any specific travel risks that you need to be aware of within the borders of any given country.
When traveling, do not openly display valuables such as jewelry, cameras, money, or even your cellphone. Be particularly alert when in areas frequented by other tourists, as local pickpockets and muggers may hang around the area as well. Always maintain an appearance of confidence. If you seem unsure of yourself or lost, you may be identified as an easier target. You should always be alert and sober, particularly at night or when traveling alone. If you are robbed, report the crime to the local authorities and file an insurance claim for any lost valuables.
Running Out of Money
Running out of money may not initially seem like a massive problem, but it can have a serious effect on your trip. You may find yourself unable to afford lodging, travel fares, and even food or clean drinking water. Before leaving on your trip, you should thoroughly research the average cost of living at your destination so that you can correctly budget.
Try and save money throughout your trip and have an emergency fund you can tap into if needed. This may be a savings account or credit card. Travel expenses can add up quickly, so make sure to budget as effectively as possible.
Lost or Delayed Baggage
Very few things can derail your trip quite so effectively as delayed or missing baggage. Especially if you’re traveling internationally, it can be incredibly inconvenient to replace essential items such as medications or work equipment. Generally, airlines are required to compensate travelers for the cost of delayed or lost baggage. However, it may take quite awhile for you to receive compensation, so this is unlikely to help you during your trip.
To help mitigate the effect of lost or delayed baggage, you should have a clean change of clothes in your carry-on bag, along with any medications you may need and irreplaceable items. When you do so, the worst-case scenario is that you may lose some clothes and other travel-related items. While delayed baggage can be incredibly inconvenient and frustrating, your trip can likely still be salvaged.
Planning Ahead for a Successful Trip
By proactively planning ahead for any issues you might reasonably encounter over your trip, you protect yourself from most vacation-ruining headaches. We hope that your next adventure goes off without a hitch and that you enjoy a phenomenal travel experience!