We all work hard to enjoy our vacations. Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong.
It goes without saying (although it goes better having been said!), you should be working with a travel advisor to book your holiday. You get PITA x 2 – working with a travel advisor saves you the “Pain In The A$%” (PITA #1), and it also gives you the “Pleasure In The Advisor” (PITA #2).
And there’s no better pleasure then having someone to call when things go wrong. I always tell my clients, if problems arise, and you cannot solve them with the person in front of you, please give me a cal,l or shoot me an email. I’d much rather help you solve the problem while you’re still on vacation, than hear about it, and commiserate with you when you get back home. I certainly don’t pretend to be responsible for flights getting delayed, cancelled, rerouted; etc (and the vast majority of issues my clients have are with air transport)…. but at least I can help you deal with, and hopefully get out of, the situation you might find yourself in. Why not have an advocate in your corner, with greater resources and connections than you?
And things do sometimes go wrong…
Besides calling me…. here are some ideas to keep in mind for dealing with these common mishaps:
1. Baggage Troubles: There’s no stress like lost baggage stress. As the July 2,2012 Canadian Travel Press reports in “Caution advised ahead of summer getaways,” “If your bags are delayed, airlines can usually track them within 24 hours, but if the airline loses your luggage, make sure you file a claim before leaving the airport as airlines usually require losses to be reported within a limited time period.
To lessen the chance for baggage woes, check in with enough time at the airport and leave enough time between connecting flights. Attach unique and visible markers on your luggage, including your address and a phone number to contact you, and pack all valuable like computers, cameras and jewelry in your carry-on bags. And remember – keep your medication on you or in your carry-on too.” (I often tell clients to put their bathing suits in their carry ons as well – that way if your bags do get separated from you, at least you can go for a swim when you get to your destination, and try to relax.)
2. Lost or Stolen Passport: Canadian Travel Press also notes that “whether it was lost or stolen, not having your passport in a foreign country should not be part of any travel itinerary. In this situation, your first step would be to immediately call the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. There, you’ll be advised on whether or not it’s necessary to file a police report.
The time it takes to have your passport replaced depends on how remote your location is, if it was lost or stolen, and your particular circumstances. However, having access to supporting documents will usually help expedite the process. Before your trip, be sure to make photocopies of your passport and leave one copy with family or friends and another copy in your hotel room safe.”
I usually ask my clients to provide a photocopy of their passport to me as well. That way, a phone call or email to me can at least get the process started, and you have another backup plan.
3. Filing an International Claim: As a TICO-registered travel advisor, I make sure my clients review their insurance coverage before they go on vacation. I always strongly encourage my clients to purchase travel insurance if their current coverage isn’t sufficient. You want to make sure you are covered for trip cancellation, trip interruption, medical, baggage loss, etc…. you want to make sure your spouse and children are covered… and you want to make sure you know in advance whether you pay upfront (and are later reimbursed) or your provider pays upfront.
As the Canadian Travel Press article also notes, “if you must file a claim, it is always best to contact your insurnce provider at the time of the incident and to have original documents with you (i.e. receipts, medical records or police reports related to the incdient) as this may save considerable time in processing the claim. Carry your insurance wallet card on you while travelling so you know who to call in case of an emergency.”
And… of course, you have your travel advisor’s card, and contact details, in your travel papers as well!