Being an intrepid traveller is both a gift and a curse. Your natural curiosity takes you to the most incredible places on the planet, places other people could only dream of. But inquisitiveness doesn't always work out. If you find yourself facing a travel disaster, it can be extremely stressful. Here are seven common travel disasters and tips on how to deal with them...
1| Missing Your Flight
Despite all the warnings from airlines to arrive at least two hours before your flight, this is a common mistake amongst keen travellers and holiday makers alike. The best way to deal with this disaster is prevention; set several alarms, make time for traffic problems and give yourself plenty of time in between connecting flights. But if you do miss your flight, just remember that it's highly likely you will need to pay a flight change fee or buy a whole new flight altogether. So don't travel without a credit card for backup funding! With some airlines, flight change fees can be waived at the discretion of the manager - so remain calm, be polite and see if you can come to an agreement.
"Erdington Station - plane - Monarch" by Elliott Brown is licensed under CC BY 2.0
2| Losing Your Luggage
Losing your luggage can be devastating. If this happens to you, find a member of staff at the airport so you can report it. Unless you have a pre-arranged appointment elsewhere, do not leave the airport straight away. Hang around for another hour or so; there could be a chance that your bag has been delayed for one reason or another. After 21 days, your luggage will be deemed to be officially "lost" and you can make a claim for compensation.
"Lost Lonley Luggage" by Strange Luke is licensed under CC BY 2.0
3| Flight Cancellation
If you happen to travelling during a snowstorm or extreme weather conditions, your flight could end up being cancelled. Some travel insurance policies will cover you should your flight be cancelled or you have a travel delay but some don't - so make sure you don't forget to check your policy.
"Delta Air Lines cancels over 800 flights from Atlanta" by nesnet is licensed under CC BY 2.0
4| Natural Disasters
No-one wants to land in their dream destination to discover the devastation of a flood or volcanic eruption. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you and your travelling companions are safe; do not attempt to get to your hotel/resort if there is any question of your safety. Take advice from the airport staff and keep up to date with news reports to help decide your next step.
"Ash plume from Eyjafjallajokull Volcano, Iceland May 26th View" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Cenre is licensed under CC BY 2.0
5| Political Protests and Social Unrest
One of the most terrifying travel disasters that could happen to a holidaymaker is the threat of political unrest and violence. It is not wise to get caught up in another country's politics so steer clear of street demonstrations or any hotspots where unrest is common. Use the Gov.uk website for advice on safe places to travel / destinations to avoid before you book. If you do find yourself facing a tough situation or witnessing something violent, the best thing to do is not to get involved. If you feel like you are danger, contact your embassy for advice. If you are in immediate danger and need direct help, go straight to your embassy and show them your passport.
6| Having Your Belongings Stolen
Muggings can happen anywhere in the world, particularly in busy tourist hotspots. There are many ways you can do your best to prevent this from happening (such as using secure bags and money storage, limiting the amount of cash you carry, and leaving valuables at home). But sometimes there is just no way of preventing a mugging or a robbing. If you are faced with an attacker, do not hesitate to give up your cash; risking your safety is not worth it. Some travellers carry decoy credit cards or store their cash in different places on their person.
"Trevi fountain" by Michael Jelijs is licensed under CC BY 2.0
7| Losing Your Passport
Believe it or not, losing your passport is extremely common and can be fixed relatively quickly through your embassy or consulate. The first thing you need to do is fill in a lost passport form which is the LS01 form for the UK (don't forget a police report is essential if it's been stolen) and then it's just a matter of waiting - this can take up to a few weeks. If you are in a rush, you can pay a fee to have your new passport brought forward.
"Passport" by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0