Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to travel. And I do. But I put up with a lot of discomfort,
stress and sometimes even trauma to do it. Let’s face it… not all trips are magical all the time. Some downright suck. BUT, I can honestly say travel has changed my life, opened my mind and taught me more than any book or classroom.

Below are 4 of the worst things that happen when you travel and how to mitigate them. (And yes…all of these things have happened to me multiple times)

1. Flights Delayed or Cancelled
Ugh. (Hand on Forehead) This is the most common annoyance of travel. Bad weather, mechanical issues, flight crew timed out….you name it.

  • Cancelled flight – FIRST, I keep the airline on speed dial so the minute I know there is a cancellation I call to get re-booked. If you wait to get off the plane or stand in the horrendous lines at the airport you will most certainly be in a terrible mood and get a terrible itinerary to match. It’s a bad situation, there’s no getting around it. SECOND, book a hotel room. Again if you wait in line for this you will be there for hours and to me the stress is not worth the free room.
  • Delayed flight – Most of the time the airlines will drag things out telling you as little as possible stringing you along for hours and hours. You know the drill! First check the airline flight status online. You can look to see where the plane is coming from and it’s status. If it’s late at night or been more than a few hours, I take the initiative to call the airline and have them re-book me on another flight. Save your sanity, re-book on another flight, go home or get a hotel and relax. It’s a much better alternative than sitting and waiting for the end of time.

Travel Pro Tip: Book all travel on your Chase Sapphire Reserve (or similar) and you have automatic travel insurance for hiccups such as these.

2. Lost Luggage

If you have a flight that is delayed or cancelled you will most likely get the ever so wonderful consequence….lost luggage. I cannot count the number of times my luggage has been lost. I wish there was a magic travel hack to prevent it. There’s not. But here’s how to turn something potentially trip ruining into a moderate annoyance.

  • Pack 2 pairs of extra underwear and 1 outfit in your carry-on along with a few toiletries. If your going somewhere tropical pack a swimsuit in your carry-on too.
  • Always keep the teeny tiny piece of paper with your checked-bag bar code in a safe place. You WILL need this if your bags are lost.
  • Keep the address of your hotel in your wallet. They will need this address to bring your luggage to you when they get 1, 2, 3, or more days later.

Travel Pro Tip: Purchase a Tile to put in your suitcase and you can track it from your phone

3. Getting Sick
No one wants to be sick when traveling and it can be hellish to be sick in some climates and 3rd wold countries. Always be prepared!

  • Carry a small pouch of all medications with at least a few doses (prescriptions, cold meds, digestive meds, antibiotics, etc) in your carry-on!
  • Look up the nearest hospital at your destination and keep the address in your wallet. Or ask your hotel front desk, lodging host or tour company if you need to see a doctor.
  • If I am traveling to a country where medical care is not reliable I always purchase medical trip insurance from MedJet Assist. They will evacuate you in an emergency and fly you to the doctor of YOUR choice.

Travel Pro Tip: Make sure your trip insurance has some coverage for medical expenses abroad.

4. Having your Stuff Stolen
One night in Prague I came back to the hotel room I was sharing with friends to find the door ajar. Someone had broken in and stolen our stuff. This is an awful feeling. Unfortunately this is a reality of travel. Thankfully this story ends with an incredibly memorable trip to the Prague police station in the middle of the night and a fun story about a 7 foot english interpreter hitting his head every time he walked into the room. There are several things you can do to downplay your risk and mitigate the situation if this happens to you.

  • Keep your passport on your person at all times in a safe place. Keep a COPY of your passport in your suitcase and on your phone. Getting a replacement is much easier if you have a copy in your possession.
  • Carry minimal cash and keep a separate record of your credit cards with the numbers on the back. If your wallet is stolen you can call the credit company and close the cards.
  • Do NOT travel with valuables. Period. I have had valuables stolen out of my checked bag IN airline custody. Guess what, they won’t give you a dime. I travel with a simple fake wedding ring. As for my camera equipment…well I have insurance just in case.
  • Get a pouch to carry your passport, cash and cards that goes under your clothes. If you must carry a purse or camera bag, make sure it zips closed (keep nothing in outside pockets), has THICK straps and always keep it in front of you.

Travel smart and be safe. If you travel enough you will eventually experience some of the worst travel has to offer. Be prepared and you’ll have a story to tell after and hopefully not a trip ruining experience.

On the up side, travel is everything it’s cracked up to be; thrilling, breath-taking, living on the edge of your seat inspiration and my favorite SERENDIPITOUS. It’s definitely worth it!

Happy Travels!

4 Reasons International Travel is the Worst by Shelley Coar

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