Travel emergencies. They’re no fun but they’re a fact of life. Something will not go as planned at some point in your trip but in small doses that’s what’s fun about travelling and life! Of course you can never fully prevent problems but here are the most common problems while travelling and how you can set yourself up for success.
1) Lost/stolen bank card
This one is easy. Always travel with two different cards whether it be two debit cards or a credit card and debit card and don’t keep them in the same place. This is key. If you have your purse stolen with both cards in it the trick doesn’t work. But if you leave one in your hotel room and one in your bag you’ll at least be able to continue your trip if one’s taken. Along the same lines, take out some cash and put it in your suitcase. You NEVER know when you’ll need a bit of mad money set aside.
Ever been lost in a foreign city, panic is setting in and you don’t have wifi? Easy to prevent! 2 ways to prevent this. First, get yourself a map and get your hotel, airbnb, host etc. to circle where you live for you so when in doubt you can ask for directions or show a cab driver your destination. Another helpful tip is grabbing a business card when you leave your hotel so that you have their name and address. This is especially helpful in foreign cities where the cab driver may not speak english. Second, Download apple maps and get your location. May seem weird but when offline apple maps will still be a map and can still pinpoint your location as long as you haven’t ventured too far off course. But the key is to make sure you download the area map otherwise it will show your dot but a bunch of grey squares where the downloaded map should be. Not helpful.
I once was pick pocketed in a busy place in Europe because the thief saw me talking on my fancy iPhone and then put it in a loose pocket and went down a crowded escalator. Easy target. Always hide your belongings, especially at a busy event/area. If you’re worried about your nice things don’t travel with them simple as that. Pick up a cheap phone wherever you are travelling and forgo your favourite necklace. Staying in a hostel? Keep your valuables locked up or with reception, don’t take chances. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than lost items. IF you get held up just hand over whatever you have on you and do whatever they say. Don’t lose your life over your cell phone.
4) Bad weather
You can’t plan for hurricanes, tornadoes, hail etc. But you can prepare for rain, snow etc. I always pack and umbrella, a light rainproof jacket that can double as a regular jacket, sweater and pants. Even if you’re heading to say Australia in the summer. It still gets freezing at night!
5) Medical problems
NEVER I repeat NEVER travel without travel insurance. You never know what could happen. 9/10 nothing will happen but that 1 time could cost you thousands and thousands depending on what country you’re in. In America it would have cost my little brother $5,000 for 5 stitches because he got a little hasty with a butter knife. Can you imagine how stupid you’d feel that you didn’t fork over $40 for insurance at that point? And as they say if you can’t afford the insurance you can’t afford to travel.
Besides serious injury, things I always tend to use while traveling are: Tweezers, band aids and antiseptic ointment like polysporin. A bug net and malaria pills will solve a lot of bug related sicknesses as well. Lastly, don’t forget your travel vaccines. A lot of countries require certain vaccines to enter so be aware.
6) Food Poisoning
Ok listen I like meat but I tend to avoid it while travelling. Ok OK yes if I’m in France and then yes I will chow a steak but it Thailand? Hell no. This policy has kept me food poisoning free on every trip I’ve ever taken. Do I feel like I’m missing out? Yes! So if you’re adventurous stick to the basics. Chicken is the last thing I would eat because it spoils the quickest and you can’t smell salmonella. If you can’t see a fridge at a food stall then walk away. Pork and beef will always tell you if they’re rotten so smell it before you eat it. Read up on where the good food stalls/restaurants are. Get opinions on food safety like ice and water and generally question everything. Am I saying don’t go trying local food. NO! that’s the best part about travelling but be cautious. If you see a big crowd of locals at a food stall I reckon it’s good to go. Keep extra water, juice and snacks in your room just in case you feel queasy and it’s not a bad idea to carry anti diarrhoea pills with you.
I like to read up on local scams before I head to a country so I know what to look out for when out and about. In really poor countries a lot of scams involve children so watch out! Besides that, make sure you carry a money belt in really busy areas or a slash proof bag. I bought a slash proof camera strap that gives me tons of comfort for Europe, which has a high incidence of camera theft. In Cuba they have two different currencies with very different monetary worths. Knowing little things like this could save you big headaches later. Furthermore you may be ripped off at the markets so know what items are worth before purchasing by doing a little research!
8) Actual emergencies like fire or illness
It may seem obvious to call 911 in an emergency but MOST countries don’t use 911 so know your local emergency number wherever you go. It could save a life. Always know where the stairs are in your building as well. If it is a natural disaster don’t forget to ‘check in’ on Facebook asap so your friends and family know you’re safe.
9) Lost baggage
One of the neat things about travel insurance is it usually covers such things. Yours doesn’t? Check your credit card you bought your tickets with, they should also cover this as well. I like to take a picture of my bags before handing them over so if they’re lost you can show them exactly what they’re looking for. One time I thought my bags we’re lost because the airline told me to pick them up between flights but of course they actually got checked through and it took a while for them to realize the issue…
10) Political unrest
Make sure you’re up to date with the countries politics and/or major happenings before heading to an unfamiliar place. Your country should have information on travel advisories to specific countries so make sure you read and heed their advice at all times.
Enjoy and stay safe in the big world!