Nothing is worse than planning the ultimate vacation, only to have things go wrong. Erin Bender of Explore With Erin has been traveling for nearly 20 years and understands that drama-free travel really can be attainable, especially with helpful tips from the right people!
After traveling to 74 countries I’ve had my fair share of drama-filled travel, from broken arms to lost luggage to missed flights. It’s frustrating and disappointing when you’ve been looking forward to an amazing vacation only to have it get interrupted by situations out of your control.
Just recently I had the smallest issue changing names for a flight I had coming up. I was so thankful that I had booked on Travelocity, because with their Customer First Guarantee I was able to contact someone directly on social media and have the problem ironed out much faster than my previous attempts with the airline.
If you run into one of these situations, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. Here are some tips from my fellow Gnomads and me to ensure drama-free travel no matter what obstacles may pop up along the way!
When You Miss A Flight
It was 5 a.m. when we hopped in our British cab and headed to the airport for our flight out of London. We traveled quickly on the carless roads until the freeway. Then suddenly we were at a complete stop. Nothing moved. And nothing moved for hours. I got out of the car to investigate. Further up the road, a semi-trailer had tipped its load of steel cables across the entire freeway. We weren’t going to be getting anywhere for a while. We watched our plane fly off over our heads.
When we got to the airport the pain started to set in. We’d missed our flight, we had to pay to book another one. There was none that day so we’d need a hotel, but then there was the hotel we already booked at the other end as well. I stopped, took a breath and did everything in a methodical fashion. First, I called our travel insurance. They said as long as I could prove there was an accident and that we weren’t just running late then they would cover everything – the new flights, the hotel, even food.
Pro Tip #1: Document everything! I took photos of the truck, screenshot the traffic warnings and provided a receipt of what time the cab picked us up to prove we had plenty of time to get to the airport. Then we rebooked our flights, got an airport hotel for the night and the next day were well on our way to our Prague vacation.
– Erin Bender of Explore With Erin
When You Have A Food Allergy
We travel with a son who has a food allergy and sometimes even the best-laid drama-free travel plans have gone awry.
Pro Tip #2: When traveling somewhere where there might be a language barrier, we purchase food allergy translation cards that help translate the specific food allergy into the native language.
We also travel with multiple epi-pens and Benadryl and make note of the local emergency number. Twice we have been caught off guard. Once, we made a false assumption the local cheese was safe and did not use the allergy card. Another time we forgot the Benadryl and epi-pen at the hotel. Both of these incidents resulted in our son becoming very sick, but thankfully no hospital visit was required.
We are now very mindful and double check whenever we travel that we are always prepared for a food allergy emergency.
– Kirsten Maxwell of Kids are a Trip
When You’re Injured Before The Trip
While you might not be able to prevent injuries during a vacation, it does help to know that the airlines can assist you so that you can at least reduce that stress when the unexpected happens. In 2015, my husband and I had planned a major trip from the USA to Bali. Less than 24 hours before our departure, my husband fell from a ladder and injured himself. While he was lucky to have no serious injuries, he could not carry any weight on his left hip, leaving him unable to walk without crutches. I knew that canceling a trip half way around the world at that point would be devastating and spent hours trying to sort it out after hours in the ER. We decided it was #BaliOrBust and that he could recuperate on the beach in Bali as well as in his bedroom in Phoenix.
We discovered that an advance call to the airline customer service works wonders. They took our booking number and told us that they would be prepared for us the next day when we checked in at the airport. We flew EVA Air to Taipei and on to Bali. The airline, true to its word, met us at check-in. My husband got into a wheelchair, they helped us both through security and took us to wait for our flight. They met us just prior to boarding, took us directly to the plane and helped him to his seat.
In Taiwan, they met him again, helped us off the plane, through security and repeated the process. When we arrived in Bali, they helped us clear security and even stayed with us until our transportation arrived. The airline made certain that my injured husband never lifted a finger—or an injured leg—and that we made our trip despite his injury.
Pro Tip #3: A simple call to the airline can help you deal with a special need for drama-free travel. If you handle those situations prior to check-in, the airline is prepared, making everything easier for your trip.
– Susan Lanier-Graham of Wander With Wonder
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