We never make the same mistake twice. We make it like five or six times. You know, just to be sure. However, some mistakes can be more painful than others, especially when you’re thousands of kilometers from home. The good news is you can easily prevent them. All it takes is a few precautions. We have prepared a list of 9 disasters that can happen while traveling and how to prevent them. We have learned them all the hard way.
1. You lose all your documents
Problem: Well, you are simply reckless. All your documents were in your wallet and your wallet is gone. You’ve either lost it at the bar after an endless number of drinks or someone robbed you since you always carry it in the back pocket of your trousers. Now you’re in a country the language of which you don’t speak. You don’t have any documents. Oh boy, trouble.
Prevention: We don’t judge you. It has happened to many of us. Your passport or identity card are very important though. Always carry a copy of them when you’re abroad. Take a picture of them and save it to your phone card. Scan it, print it and put it somewhere else than in your wallet. Actually, do both because you never know! It’s not the original but it will help identifying you and can make things a lot easier.
2. You get stomach issues
Problem: OMG, that street food looks just delicious! You can’t resist and eat in one of those places that isn’t exactly the cleanest restaurant in the world. We know this situation very well. There was a place in Hanoi with incredibly fresh fish and seafood and not a single tourist around. We had been there for a couple of days already so we felt brave enough to enter. You can imagine what happened afterwards. Stomachache, diarrhea or vomiting: these things can totally disrupt your travels.
Prevention: You have to be always careful. Especially when traveling in countries where hygiene is not among priorities. You can start preparing your stomach and boost your immunity system by taking probiotics. Start at least one month before and continue throughout the whole trip. They will help maintaining the flora of your stomach. They might diminish the destructive effects of your “slip”. If you want to find out more about how to stay healthy while traveling, this article might answer some of your questions.
3. Your carefully prepared schedule blows up
Problem: You spend weeks or months on preparing your pitch perfect traveling schedule. Each day is planned into the tiniest details. You know exactly where and when you’ll be having breakfast on the fifth day and which museum you’ll be exploring on the eighth day. Everything is perfect until the moment the bus taking you from point A to point B breaks. It will take one day to fix it and your plan is totally destroyed.
Prevention: Don’t plan too much. It is OK to prepare a schedule but count with the unexpected. In many countries the transport timetables are totally unreliable and there are many delays. And what if you like a place so much that you want to stay one more day but you already have a flight to a different destination booked? These situations can be real deal breakers. We always leave enough time reserve to face these moments without anxiety. We estimate how much time we need to see all we want to see and add a few days in case something unexpected comes up.
4. You get lost and nobody knows where you are
Problem: I don’t need a map, I can find the way back on my own. Famous last words, huh? You take a trip somewhere without telling anyone and get lost lost completely. You’re in the middle of nowhere and you have no signal in your cellphone. And it’s getting dark. Sounds like the beginning of a good horror movie, right?
Prevention: It’s all fun and games until it really happens to you. Our advice is simple: always inform someone about where you’re going. We know you’re not a kid anymore but you might thank us one day. We always prepare an approximate schedule of our trip and we send it to one or two friends. Once we know where to go next we just update it and let our friends know. You can also tell the receptionist at your hotel that you are going on a trip to XY. This is very useful especially if you’re a solo traveler.
5. You find yourself without money
Problem: This is a classic. You always expect to find ATMs and perfect bank services everywhere. Well, aren’t you naive? It happened to Zuzana a few years ago in Italy that she remained without money because of her own stupidity. She needed to withdraw money but she forgot her access code. After three attempts the card got blocked. You have no idea how hard (almost impossible) it is to solve this kind of problem from abroad.
Prevention: You should always have a financial first aid kit. When traveling, make sure you always have some cash with you. ATMs are not always reliable and withdrawing money abroad can become a pain in the ass. Or you can be simply days and days far from the nearest one. Western Union can be a lifesaver in case your card is not accepted or blocked but you will not find it everywhere. For these cases carry around 40-50€ with you and your life with become easier a lot.
6. The organized tour turns out to be a total fail
Problem: You’ve been looking forward to your vacation for a very long time. You’ve been saving money all year to treat yourself really nice once you’re abroad. You’ve paid a huge amount to a travel agency to make your vacation perfect. However, the reality is different. Your schedule is so packed that you don’t have time to breathe. Your dream trip to Paris turns into a nightmare and the only thing you want is to find a silent bar and sip your coffee. What about your great trip in Turkey? You end up trapped in places that are trying hard to sell you carpets, ceramics or fur coats. You pay a fixed price for your vacation and find out it doesn’t cover food once there?
Prevention: You should always remember one thing. Travel agencies are here to make profit and many of them will find truly sophisticated ways to get money out of you. Don’t be afraid to organize your vacation yourself! You will save a lot of money and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. Don’t be lazy: your energy won’t be wasted! If you need more tips on planning a trip the solution is always on our website :).
7. The weather sucks
Problem: Your vacation is finally here. You pack three pairs of bikinis, a huge pack of sun lotion and a beach towel. And guess what? It is raining all the time. The damn rain just won’t stop and your holiday is totally destroyed. Or you go to Dubai in August and it is so hot that you start to melt just looking out of the window? Even worse…
Solution: OK, we admit that the weather is very unpredictable and you cannot rely too much on weather forecast. What you can do is check in advance which is the best period to visit a particular country. If the flight tickets are too cheap the reason can be that they are for a very low season. Either there is a rainy season or it is too hot/cold. You should always have a backup plan. Check the possibilities of the place: are there any indoor activities? Is there an interesting gallery or museum to visit? In case it is not raining hard you can always go out carrying an umbrella or wearing a raincoat. Don’t let the weather get you down!
8. You lose your flight
Problem: You’re already late and you get stuck in a traffic jam in Bangkok. Or you party hard the night before your flight and you fall asleep. One thing is sure: the plane will not wait for one passenger.
Solution: First of all, make sure you buy refundable tickets if possible. Many airlines are quite flexible when it comes to a missed flight. They will try to put you on a next flight with available seats. Some of them will simply make you pay the full price for the new ticket, others will partially refund your pain. If you are offered no such option first check the prices online. It might happen that the desk service at the airport will charge you much more. We know that most of you consider reading terms and conditions a waste of time but it can help you understand what are your rights.
9. You have no idea what a place offers
Problem: You might argue that this is not such a tragedy. In our opinion it is one of the top disasters that can happen while traveling. Why? The reason is simple. Your lack of information and no research might cause that you lose a lot of incredible places. One one hand, it’s fine to be spontaneous and just explore the spot. On the other hand, a lot of great places are not so easy to find unless you know where to find them.
Solution: Well, it’s obvious. Do yourself a favour and make a little research about the place you’re going to. Check what it has to offer besides the most famous sights. We are always interested in off-the-beaten-path spots that makes traveling much more special. If you’re too lazy to do it yourself just ask the fellow travelers to give you a few tips. There are many groups on Facebook and internet forums where people will be happy to share their travel tips with you.
Can you think of any other disaster that can happen while traveling? Let us know in the comments!