When heading out on a business trip, you can potentially be surrounded by stressful situations—from colleagues traveling with us to traffic jams, not to mention lost luggage, and missed flights. Separately, these are all small and common travel problems. But when it comes to work and professionalism they can quickly amplify and lead to frustration, anxiety, anger, or panic. Luckily, most of them are avoidable or at least manageable. Here’s how to deal with the most common travel problems.
You’ve Lost Your Passport
There’s probably nothing more typical yet equally stressful, than losing your precious passport. The key is to act quickly. First, you will need to file a missing ID report with the local police department. Right after, contact your embassy as quickly as possible. After these crucial steps are done, all that’s left is to wait and hope everything will be settled as quickly as possible.
To anticipate this situation from being a complete setback I suggest carrying all of your important documents in digital form. Even though it’s not in physical form, and many agencies still won’t take it as a true form of ID, it’s still proof of who you are. Simply having digital copies easily accessible will will make confirming your identity much easier.
You’ve Missed Your Flight...
Missing your flight may seem like the end of the world, especially when you’re watching a business opportunity flying away without you. First, take a deep breath, it’s critical you keep a collected and calm composure. Your next move should be to ask a ticket agent if there is any possibility of being rebooked on the next flight. Depending on the airline this can even be achieved without any additional charges.
If this isn’t possible your next course of action would be to check if the airline you’ve chosen has a flat-tire policy. This basically allows you to fly standby without rebooking fees. Airlines typically have this policy if you’ve arrived no more than two hours after the scheduled departure. It’s understandable that you are probably on the cusp of a meltdown, but you need to stay calm to plead the case. Remember to be exceptionally nice to the gate agent or rebooker. It isn’t their fault and your kindness could result in an easier rebooking process.
...Or Worse, Your Flight Has Been Overbooked...
Nothing is more frustrating than an overbooked flight. This may seem unfair at first glance, but you should be aware that it’s pretty common among airlines and completely legal.
An airlines goal is to make sure each flight is filled to the maximum capacity every time it takes off. Unfortunately, since some passengers don’t show up they achieve this by overbooking. Airlines will simply sell extra tickets in order to compensate for travelers who can’t get to the airport on time. But, in case everyone does show up, the problem is simple—there are just not enough seats.
Airlines have a course of action for that situation—travelers are offered travel vouchers if they would be so kind to voluntarily give up their seats. Regrettably, if there aren’t any volunteers, you could be the one to be denied boarding.
There are a number of ways to avoid being the one kicked off the flight. First, don’t wait to be assigned the seat at the gate. Even though it may cost more, you have a stronger safe guard if you purchase an allocated seat, become a frequent flyer, always arrive to the airport, and remember to check-in early. It’s also helpful if you’re a part of the airline’s rewards program or if you have a credit card offered by your airline of choice.
...Or Your Flight is Delayed
While you can maybe talk your way through with airline staff, there’s no way of dealing with engine or weather problems. Even worse, these are considered acts of God, so there’s no compensation. The best precaution is to schedule your flights with a long layover and purchase early departure or non-stop flights. That way you leave room for other options and are able to stay calm, and maybe even get some work done in the airport lounges.
You’ve Lost Your Luggage (or it Has Been Delayed)
First of all, you can’t know for sure if you’re luggage is lost or simply delayed. That’s why it’s mandatory to leave a paper trail before you leave the airport. File a claim immediately, leave your hotel address and phone number—it could even take them a few days to reach you. In case your luggage was lost, you should also state in your claim everything that was inside your luggage. Yes, everything. It’s also helpful to tag your bags with a copy of your contact info and itinerary if possible. You should also always carry the essentials—eyeglasses, laptop, medications —separately, in your carry-on baggage.
You Haven’t Thought About Airport Parking
The time it takes to park in an airport is often overlooked. Not to mention that the added organizational stress and hidden expense. Parking at airports has become a real hassle since it’s the biggest source of revenue after airline fees. Since Lyft and Uber jumped into the game, airports have started to lose money and all airports are searching for ways to compensate. Of course, this has resulted in a huge difference in rates and quality of service.
To combat this I suggest researching ahead of time any mandatory fees. You should also look into services offered by the airport you are flying into. Take airport parking at Perth, the linked service can provide you with a pre-booked parking spot in a safe location. This ensures you’ll be able to park at the best spot with the lowest rates and with no added fuss.
You’ve Fallen Ill
(And You’ve Forgotten Your Prescriptions)
First, never travel (especially internationally) if you are very sick. Be sure it’s a mild illness, one that only needs adequate rest, staying hydrated, and OTC meds. If it’s more serious, such as food poisoning, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek medical treatment immediately. I suggest always traveling with travel insurance to cover any possible medical expenses.
If you have some sort of ailment that has a need for prescription drugs but you’ve forgotten your prescriptions at home, there’s no need to panic. For those hailing from the UK, you can utilize the Echo app to gain access to your prescriptions from anywhere, using the NHS’ digital prescription service.
As you can see, there are a number of problems and issues that can arise whilst traveling. For your journey to be as hassle-free as possible, you should be aware of them and have a plan in place should any problem arise. Take your time, do some research, come up with a solution (or backup plan), and of course keep a cool head on to find the solution.