How to prepare for travel emergencies

No-one wants to have problems when travelling but they do happen. These simple tips will help you handle travel emergencies like a pro!

Rear view of a woman looking at the departures board in an airport

How to prepare for travel emergencies

No-one wants to have problems when travelling but they do happen. These simple tips will help you to handle whatever travel emergencies you encounter

No one wants to encounter problems when travelling, especially when we’re going on holiday. We all want our holidays to be plain sailing and for everything to go smoothly, don’t we?

But things can and do go wrong for everybody at some point. Even a little glitch can make the most meticulously planned holiday start to come apart at the seams. 

Knowing how to deal with common travel emergencies before you travel can really help you to feel more in control. If you know exactly who to contact or what to do when things go wrong, you’ll react better and feel less stressed. And that will help you to enjoy your trip more, because you’ll feel confident that if something goes wrong, you can handle the situation.

So here are a few simple tips and tricks to help you prepare better for the travel emergencies you might come across

Plan ahead for emergencies

It might sound a bit odd to plan for emergencies. But if you can think ahead about things that might go wrong, you’ll be more relaxed if these scenarios do actually happen.

For instance, you might be worried about what would happen if your flight gets cancelled. So before your holiday, take a look at your airline’s website to see what their cancellation procedures are and what compensation they offer. And remember to check your insurance policy to see what cover you have there as well.

Cancelled hotel rooms, lost passports and other common situations are easier to handle if you already know who you need to contact. It’s also worth preparing for things like your luggage going missing or problems with your holiday car rental. 

Rear view of a man looking at the departures board in an airport

Prior preparation

There are a few steps you can take before your holiday to prepare for emergencies in advance.

For instance, make sure you have apps installed on your mobile that will let you quickly search for alternative accommodation or car rentals. And make a note of your country’s embassy details in case you need assistance from them. I always take a printed copy as well as saving the details to my Google Drive.

Make sure that you have an emergency credit card handy to cover any unexpected expenses that might crop up. This really came in handy for me when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 2010 and grounded all the flights back to the UK. I was stuck in Portugal and the emergency credit card meant that I could cover the cost of car hire and ferry tickets. 

Contingency plans like this make it easier to stay calm in a stressful situation. 

Prevent problems where you can

There are some travel problems that you just can’t prevent. Obviously I couldn’t have done anything to prevent the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupting or the airspace over Europe closing for days. All I could do is to make sure that we were prepared to deal with the emergency as well as possible.

But there are some common travel problems that you can try to prevent, so that you reduce the risk of your holiday being spoiled.

For instance, you can check online reviews to make sure that the car rental company you are planning to use is reputable. And when you get there, you can do some basic checks around the car to make sure that it looks roadworthy. It won’t completely cut out the risk of a breakdown, but at least it will reduce the risk a little.

You can also reduce the risk of your passport being stolen by carrying it in a secure money belt or bag. That’s much safer than putting it in your backpack where someone could easily open up the zip without you noticing. And when you get to your accommodation, lock your passport away in the safe if there is one, or in your locked suitcase if not.

Simple steps like this can help to cut the risk of travel emergencies, so hopefully you will never have to put those contingency plans into action.

A woman holds her head after missing her plane at the airport

If the worst happens, stay calm

Finally, if the worst does indeed happen, try to stay calm. Your natural reaction is likely to be panic but once the adrenaline starts flowing through your body, it’ll be hard to think straight.

So at the risk of sounding like a cliché, stop and take a deep breath. You’ve already made your contingency plans and the information is there where you saved it. And even if your particular emergency isn’t one that you covered in your pre-travel planning, staying calm will make it easier for you to find whatever information you need.

The more often you travel, the most likely it is that you will experience problems at some point. But that means you have more opportunities to learn from them and make your preparations for future trips even better.

What are your best tips for travel emergencies? Let us know in the comments below!

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