3 Common Travel Disasters and How to Avoid Them

safety travel tips - road trip

Traveling can be an enriching, unforgettable experience, but it can also be a nightmare if things go wrong. If you’re in a new country with a different language and government policies, the situation can quickly become frightening or downright dangerous.

There’s no surefire way to avoid travel disasters, but you can take steps to lower the risk.

1. Lost Passport

Losing a passport is every traveler’s worst nightmare. You can always replace money and credit cards, but replacing a lost passport can take some time – time you might not have. And if someone steals your passport, then you have bigger issues to worry about, like identity theft.

Regardless of when or how you lost your passport, it’s important to act quickly. Start by retracing your steps and checking every square inch of your hotel room. If you still can’t find your passport, call the embassy and the local police. You’ll need to apply for an emergency passport, which is only valid for a limited time.

How to Avoid This Disaster

First, make a photo copy of your passport, and keep it in a different place from your original passport.

Second, make sure that you keep your passport in a safe place. Many travelers recommend keeping passports in room safes.

2. Lost Luggage

This is one common travel disaster that most of us will probably deal with at least once: lost luggage. My luggage was lost on the very first trip I took by plane. My heart sank into my chest when I realized that my bags were not going to come around on the conveyer belt. As it turned out, my bag was lost in London.

If you’ve packed anything valuable in your bags, it can be even more heartbreaking to lose your luggage. Mine was found eventually, but not everyone gets as lucky.

How to Avoid This Disaster

First, remove any extraneous tags that may confuse the airport’s scanning machines. Make sure that your name and address are clearly printed on your luggage label.

Second, make sure that you don’t pack anything valuable in your checked bag. Put those items in your carry-on bag or leave them at home. Also, pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.

Last – but most importantly – do not lose your baggage claim ticket.

3. Car Rental Damage

Many travelers choose to rent cars when they reach their destination. Having your own transportation is convenient, but there’s also the risk that you may get into an accident or damage the car. The risk is even higher if you’re traveling in a country with drastically different road rules – like driving on the opposite side of the road than you’re used to.

What happens if you get into an accident with another driver, or a stone flies up and cracks the windshield while you’re driving? You may be able to call an auto glass repair professional to take care of the windshield, but you’ll need to call insurance and the local authorities if you get into an accident.

Talk to the rental car agency about what to do if an accident does occur.

How to Avoid This Disaster

First and foremost, learn the rules of the road. If you think you may have trouble driving on the opposite side of the road, then you might consider ditching the rental car and using public transportation.

When renting a car, make sure that you have the extra insurance to ensure that you’re covered if you do get into an accident.

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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