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International Travel: What To Do If Your Holiday Turns Into A Disaster

Sometimes mistakes and / or problems are unavoidable.  While we’d like to think that traveling or going on holiday are two activities which are completely free from the threat of disasters, they’re definitely not.  However, there are some ways to salvage a bad experience, depending on what the root cause of the problem is, of course.  Remember, a little preparation goes a long way.

Scenario #1 – You get sick / injured

This is of course the last think you want to happen to you or your family when going on vacation, but it does happen occasionally; it’s best to prepare in a manner to avoid basic maladies altogether.  Before you even leave the house, put yourself through a little week or month long physical activity / exercise / nutrition regimen.  This doesn’t have to be extremely scientific or anything, you can just try to eat right, take vitamins and go out jogging or hiking every other day for several miles.  Also, consider getting some type of medical insurance for travelers, just in case you need to be hospitalized for any reason at all.  Additionally, be very careful about what physical activities you engage in; for example, going windsurfing in the midst of a beach area with lots of large, sharp rocks in the water is not a good idea.  Lastly, try to avoid street food whenever possible and also stick to bottled water if at all possible.

Scenario #2 – Your valuables (including passport) are stolen or lost

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re basically left with very little in the way of currency, valuables or official documentation, don’t panic.  Before you even leave, make color scanned copies of all your important documents and cards (credit, licenses, etc..) then email them to yourself.  In the event that you need to convince an embassy clerk that you’re a citizen of another country having a place where you can quickly access all your data can be a life-saver.  Don’t try to stand out or be ultra-flashy about all of your valuables; in fact, try to travel light and keep your expensive items or the bulk of your cash in a safe place, like back at the hotel in an undisclosed location.  If you are mugged, follow the same protocol you would at home, report it to the police.  Afterwards, contact your insurance company and see if there’s anything they can do.  Following that, make a trip to your country’s embassy if you need any help or replacement documentation.

Scenario #3 – Lost luggage

First off, keep your cash, valuables, important documents or critical items, like medication, on your person at all times (i.e. – in your carry-on bag).  If possible, try to pack at lease one change of clothes (shirt, pants, socks, underwear) in this same carry-on.  Likewise, if you’re able to, make a list of everything that’s in your checked bag and take a picture of it with your phone; in the event that the airline needs to know what the bag looks like and/or what’s in it, this data / info will be extremely useful.  In the meantime, pick up a few items in the airport to make up for your lost luggage, perhaps another shirt if it’s a hot climate and a coat if you’re in a colder region.  If all goes well, they’ll find your bag and deliver it to your hotel, of course, so don’t let it ruin your experience.

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