CONSIDER THIS SCENARIO
You have been planning an international trip with your friend over the course of months and the thought of travel disasters never even crossed your mind. You both bought your plane tickets and also booked all your accommodations. You’ve rented a car in advance too.
The excitement is real! Now the both of you can focus on planning the fun stuff.
GET READY FOR THE CURVEBALL
It is a couple of days before your departure and then out of nowhere, you’re friend calls you with bad news. Your friend has to cancel the trip on you because they just lost a family member. Dun Dun Dun…..What do you do?
ARE YOU PREPARED?
Do you cancel you’re entire trip because you’re best friend can no longer make it? If so, will your flight be reimbursed? Or do you modify your trip? Did you have flight insurance and/or cancellation protection on any of your flights? Rental car? What about your accommodations and any tour packages you also bought?
Super stressful huh? Travel disasters happen and the best way to handle them, is to be prepared.
I recently experienced a similar situation and although it gave me grey hair, I learned to be flexible and modified my travel plans. It took extra patience and time because I wasn’t as prepared for them.
I hope this post will help save you time, stress and especially money. May this post guide you to make the best decision for yourself when planning a trip (especially expensive, international ones).
7 WAYS TO AVOID TRAVEL DISASTERS
1. FLIGHT CANCELLATION PROTECTION?
Each airlines cancellation policy will vary; so make sure to read up on it PRIOR to buying your plane ticket. For some airlines, if you buy the protection and you have to cancel your flight, depending on the circumstance the airline may reimburse your flight money or credit you for another flight.
Specifically for WOW Airline, the cancellation protection insurance will give a full refund in case of sudden illness or death of you or immediate family member (They specify the definition of immediate family on their site) A copy of medical certificate and or death certificate signed, dated and stamped required.
2. TRAVEL INSURANCE?
There are many different types of travel insurances out there. Depending on the airline you are flying with, the insurance policy can also vary. My advice would be to read the fine print before booking your flight to see if the insurance is worth it to you.
I found an informative site that may help any of you that are debating on buying travel insurance for a trip.
CLICK HERE for more information on travel insurance.
3. CHECK THE CANCELLATION POLICY ON…..
Your accommodations, rental car, tours packages and anything else you purchased for your trip.
Check the cancellation policy on anything you wouldn’t want to lose money on, especially if it is pricey.
I’m guilty of this. I’ve used Airbnb numerous times and I’ve never once looked at the cancellation policy until the day I had to cancel lol. On Airbnb under cancellation policy it will say, “strict, moderate or flexible” So depending on your situation you can choose accordingly.
Hostel World has a great flexible booking option. You pay the small fee for piece of mind. If you happen to cancel on that hostel you will be credited and can use that for your future hostel.
Many car rental places offer a refund for a small cancellation fee if it is cancelled 7 days prior to the rental date. I have also heard that some rental places are strict especially if they are offering a low-fare deal. So doubt check with the company you are renting from before you rent the vehicle.
TOURS / ACTIVITIES
If you bought an expensive tour package, concert, or anything similar to that, I would read over the cancellation policy before purchasing in case you have to cancel.
Maybe the weather is bad and you end up missing your tour. Or maybe a flight gets delayed or canceled which sets all your plans back by a day.
Whatever the reason, if you are willing to spend a lot of money on it, it may be worth your time to double-check the cancellation policy.
4. DO YOU NEED A VISA?
I have heard stories of people finding out 2 weeks before their international trip, that they are required to have a VISA prior to entering that specific county! EEEK! Please don’t be THAT person!
Some countries highly recommend getting the visa prior to arrival. Here is a list, but heads up, I would still research the country you are going to just to make sure.
Other countries offer visas upon arrival. Again, please double-check the country you are planning to visit. It may also be time consuming to get a visa upon arrival, so ordering ahead of time could be a better idea.
When applying for a traveling visa in advance, remember it is a process and is recommend that you apply months in advance.
5. IS YOUR PASSPORT VALID?
** Please note that this post contains an Amazon affiliate link, which means that if you click on the product link, and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small percentage back at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep my site running.**
Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you return home and that you have two or more blank pages, depending on your destination. Otherwise, some countries may not let you enter. That would super suck! Better to be safe than sorry!
CLICK HERE to learn more about your travel destination (vaccinations required? Visa? Etc.)
Another helpful tip is to keep your passport in a passport cover along with other important traveling documents (customs papers etc.) is a great way to stay organized. For a great deal on passport covers, click the link.
6. DID YOU MAKE COPIES OF YOUR PASSPORT?
My mom always did this when we would travel out of the country when I was a little girl. I thought it was more for peace of mind, but it is actually extremely smart and helpful. Thanks mom!
If you happen to lose your passport in another country, you must be able to prove your identity and citizenship to the US government. The best way to do that is to have a xerox copy of your passport with you.
I also think it is wise to take a photo of your passport on your phone and email it to yourself to be double secure.
Also don’t keep the copies of your passport with your original passport! Put then in separate places to decrease the chance of losing both.
7. DID YOU NOTIFY YOUR BANK?
If you plan on using your credit/debit cards overseas, make sure to notify your bank/credit card company or they may freeze your account due to “suspicious activity” lol. This has not happened to me personally but I have heard stories of people having trouble with this.
I would also suggest traveling with emergency cash, 2 credit cards and a debit card just to be safe. Some places do not accept debit card (renting a car overseas like in Europe) so that is when your credit card will come in handy.
These are proactive strategies to help you avoid travel disasters.
Have a safe and disaster free trip!
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear which tip helped you out the most, please comment below!
– VAL PAL