Help! I’m Sick While Traveling

What happens if you get sick or injured while traveling? What happens if you don’t speak or read the language?

If you do have an illness that could flair up, it would be a good idea to check where the hospitals are in the city where you will be. Traveling outside of the US? Look at the US Embassy of the country where you’ll be visiting. Their website will usually have a list of physicians and hospitals.

Traveling domestically? Contact your insurance company for a list of in-network hospitals and physicians at your destination.

Make sure you have this information with you:

Your physician’s office number
Your insurance contact number
The US Embassy contact number and website
Contact information for someone at home
Any prescriptions for medicines you regularly take
Ample supply of regular medications

If you’re staying in a remote area, pack a first-aid kit.

Do You Know Where You’re Staying?

Have you ever been asked the address of where you will be staying? Maybe a customs agent asked or you needed to list it on some official form before you get through customs.

If you are staying in one hotel or one vacation rental, keep that address somewhere you can access it easily. If you’re moving around from hotel to hotel or from city to city, at least keep the address of the first place where you will be handy.

Might as well start your trip off with no stress.

Got a Pen?

Do you put at least two pens in your purse, backpack, or carry on bag?

When traveling somewhere other than the US, you’ll need to fill out forms. Sometimes on the plane…sometimes standing in line…sometimes just one in your traveling family…sometimes everyone in your traveling family.

If you’ve remembered to put a couple of pens in your purse or carry on, good for you. If you’ve remembered the pens, but put them away or at the bottom of a bag…good luck finding them.

It makes life and traveling easier if you have them within reach.

Pack Your Carry-On Bag

What do you have in your carry-on bag?

Here are a few essentials when traveling by plane, where the air is dry, you don’t know what snacks you’ll have, and you have no idea if that crying baby is going to sit right behind you.

A healthy snack, like almonds, always come in handy and don’t take up much room.

Hydrating moisturizer for your skin keeps hands from feeling dried out and itchy.

Ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones…because you just never know.

Saline nasal drops or spray…especially if you want to keep from drying out your nose.

Bottled water. You can always bring an empty bottle through security and fill it at a fountain before you board.

A Fender Bender in France or …

Renting a car can be stressful when you are uncertain about driving conditions, street signs, or driving on the opposite side of the road. Throw in a minor fender-bender, or worse, and the stress level increases.

Rental-car companies will try to sell you extra insurance via a collision damage waiver (CDW), which will be listed as an additional fee on the forms you sign. Do you really need this and can you decline it? Should you decline it?

Before you rent a car, check with your credit card company to see what kind of rental insurance policy is available for cardholders. Most likely, only damage to your own rental will be covered, meaning damages to other cars or injuries to drivers will not be. Some, more elite cards carry better coverage, but not always.

Then check with your personal auto insurance to see what it includes. If neither of these are enough to make you feel comfortable, you will want to purchase a CDW through your rental agency. These fees can range between $20 and $40 per day, usually.

Always get a copy of the police report. And, if you need assistance abroad in the case of a serious accident, the US Embassy can help.
For parking tickets, pay those as soon as you can via your credit card. Some unpaid tickets can show up on your credit card much later…with interest.  

Oh No…You’ve Arrived, but Your Bag Hasn’t

Ever been in the situation where the airline lost your luggage? If so, what can you do?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, for every 1,000 passengers, three pieces of luggage are reported delayed, damaged, or completely lost. That seems like a lot, to me.

But, if your airline sends your bag to parts unknown, head to the lost-baggage department. Usually, there is a counter or an office close to the luggage carousels. There, you will be able to file a claim. They will ask for a drop-off address of where you are staying so they can deliver your luggage. If you’re traveling around, you’ll have to let them know that and work out something.

What do you do if you’re in a foreign country with nothing but the clothes on your back? It’s worth asking the airline if they have any idea when or where you bag is. Chances are…they don’t. That means you’ll have to purchase things in order to get by.

Next time, pack necessities like a toothbrush, a few essential travel-sized toiletries, and a change of underwear in your carry-on. You can also pack a couple of clothing items in your travel companion’s bag, just in case. If your main bag is lost…at least you can get by for a few days.

But…You Know You Made a Reservation

What do you do if you arrive at your hotel and the front desk tells you they have no reservation for you? 

Before you go…print all confirmation documents and file them away the very minute you book your hotel online. Then, when you’re getting ready to leave, grab that file. Keep a copy with you and show it when you check in. It’s always a good idea to have two copies. One in your carry-on bag and a second one given to your travel companion. 

If you’ve booked your accommodations over the phone, ask for email confirmation as well as the name of the customer-service agent with whom you’ve spoken. Then, keep that info with you as well. 

If you want to be even more organized, forward all necessary documents to an itinerary app. 

It’s also not a bad idea before you take off on your vacation to confirm all hotel and restaurant reservations at least one week in advance.