Traveling by airplane, once a marvel of the modern world, has now become nothing more than a headache for most of us. And yet, we all have places to go and people to see that are far away from home. Air travel, while taxing, is still the most expedient way to go. But that doesn’t mean you don’t face hundreds of potentially disastrous situations each time you jet off on a trip. Whether you’re facing pat downs, delayed flights, and cancellations at the airport, a possible terrorist threat aboard your plane, or the loss of your wallet and passport while traveling overseas, you may have to deal with any number of catastrophic situations when you leave your city for parts unknown. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to handle these dicey conditions, and if you want to come out of the experience relatively unscathed, you need to know how to react appropriately when the time comes. Here are just a few tips for making decisions when disaster strikes.
1. Stay calm.
The first and most important rule of dealing with disaster is to remain calm in the face of adversity. No matter what has gone wrong, it can likely be fixed one way or another, so don’t panic (you’ll only make it worse). By remaining cool and collected, you’ll help to stop chaos from breaking out around you (since other travelers will likely fall apart and need a steadying hand). And a level head is the best tool at your disposal when you have to think your way out of a potentially problematic situation.
2. Make a plan.
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off is not going to provide the solution you seek. Instead, make a plan of action. If your flight is canceled, start by calling other airlines to see about switching over your ticket, and if that isn’t possible, ask your airline to put you up in a nearby hotel for the night. If someone threatening is aboard your plane, collaborate with other passengers to make a stand (don’t just charge in on your own). And if you lose your identification and money while abroad, contact the local embassy to find out what to do. A solid plan will provide the most expedient way to solve any problem (and get it right the first time) with less hassle.
3. Get help.
There are all kinds of resources available for the traveler facing mishap, from airline representatives to the hotel concierge to the legal authorities. If you know who to turn to when things go belly-up, you’re going to get a lot closer to turning your disaster into a distant memory.
4. Have a backup.
The one thing you can do ahead of time to prepare for potential problems is have a backup plan on hand. Stash cash and a spare ID and credit card in your hotel safe, search for a branch of your bank in whatever city you’re visiting, know where the embassy is, and keep a list of important phone numbers written down in case you lose your cell phone. Also, it couldn’t hurt to know some basic self-defense.
5. Let your whereabouts be known.
Kidnapping is not that uncommon throughout the world, and an injury or accident may leave you unable to call your contacts. And if no one knows where you’ve gone (or even that you’ve gone at all) then no one will be looking for you. ALWAYS let friends or relatives know when you’re traveling, send a copy of your itinerary, and check in frequently. This is the surest way to avoid the worst travel disaster of all: a trip that never ends.
Emma Martin writes for Charming Puglia where you can find the best in Lecce hotels and Puglia hotels for your luxury vacation.