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When Travel Goes Wrong

Problem-free to problem-prone travel

After years of no-incident (ok, minimal-incident) the inevitability of the murphy’s law of travel is catching up. With recent problems with flights, reservations, cancellations, extreme weather and a number of other logistical snafu’s, we now believe the philosophy that it’s not IF something is going to happen, it’s more WHEN something will happen.

The proof of your traveler’s mettle lines in how you handle challenges placed in front of you. Here’s a few of our recent (and common) challenges and what steps we took to make lemonade from the lemon grenades launched at us.

Compromised credit card

a compromised credit card Scenario: Traveling for business, away from home for 10 days, transferring between Las Vegas and New Orleans – trade-show to conference. Just arrived at the hotel in New Orleans after a flight stop-over in Dallas. Mr. GoGirlfriend back in Canada gets a call from the credit card company … “this is the TD Loss Prevention department, can you verify these last 4 transactions on your credit card attempted on your card today … $10,205 declined from ABC co., $1 from so-and-so, $1,236 from the Trump Hotel and $4.65 at CVS pharmacy?”

Knowing the $1 test followed by a large purchase Ms. GoGirlfriend was not planning to make today, I jumped on FaceTime with my tablet and conferenced a call between the LP department, Julia and I. We did not authorize a purchase of bathroom faucets from Quebec, Canada.

Challenge: Because the card was deemed compromised, the credit card was shut down. Not an uncommon occurrence, but a challenge when you don’t have a back-up credit card to continue your travels. Was it the cab driver this morning, the night before or the vending machine …

Solution options:

  • Embrace the versatility of online banking to transfer funds for ATM cash access.
  • Contact your bank in advance of large transactions for override approval.
  • Carry backup travellers cheques for a portion of your expenses (you can always use them towards the end of your travels).

Extreme Weather flight delays/cancellations

weather-related flight delaysScenario: Returning from a vacation trip from Cancun back to Canada through Atlanta in September. Fall hurricane storms are battering the Eastern seaboard and your original flight into Atlanta is delayed. Arriving in Atlanta, all connecting flights north and east are cancelled. Then your iPhone gets stolen!

Challenge: You need to get a flight booked to get you home eventually. Where do you sleep, what responsibility is the airlines to accommodate your delay?

Solution options:

  • Stay calm and be the sane head helping the agent make your arrangements. It’s not their fault and being nice will get you to a comfy bed quicker.
  • Plan for the worst. Assuming your luggage isn’t with you (you’re expecting a connection and your jammies are packed for home), carry a fresh set of clothes in your carry-on.
  • Pack medications or urgent needs in your carry-on.
  • Know how to connect with home without your phone – social media (Facebook, Facetime, Skype) can all get you in touch with home through video.

Sickness while traveling out-of-country

Out of country travel insuranceScenario: Like recently reported in the news affecting the Royal Caribbean cruise line’s Explorer, whether your resort/cruise/conference experiences a potential Norovirus outbreak, food poisoning, simply a bout with the flu or worse a medical emergency, are you prepared for out-of-country medical treatment?

Challenge: With no medical history records except your own knowledge, foreign languages, foreign medical practices and the potential costs of covering out-of-country medical expenses, getting sick while traveling can be a scary experience.

Solution options:

  • Research before traveling and know the medical capabilities of the resort or country you are travelling to.
  • Purchase out-of-country medical insurance as required.
  • Carry a mini first aid kit with you that includes key items like Gravol, Motrin, Benadryl samples.
  • Check in daily with someone from home.

Check out these other travel disasters … are you prepared to handle them?

pack one change of clothes in your carry-on

While GoGirlfriend wishes you every success and safety when traveling, it’s wise to have a plan for the most common problems. Prepare for common challenges and reduce the stress of traveling, which will afford you the sane head when others around you are losing it.

What different problems have you encountered and what was your solution. We’d love to hear. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or drop us a comment below.

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