Don’t let your vacation be ruined: 6 tips for smart travelers

Perhaps you want to travel to the southern US states or further afield to Europe or South or Central America. Or maybe you have decided to enjoy your own beautiful state or another part of Mexico.

Regardless of where your next vacation will take place, it should be relaxing, fun, and full of new experiences. Unfortunately, things can go wrong. Here are the most common problems that can ruin a vacation and what you can do to prevent them.

#1. You may have problems with your passport & other documents

Passports can wreck a cross-border vacation before it starts. Before leaving, make sure that your passport is valid and that it will be valid for six months after your trip. Also, check that you have the necessary visa, and you don’t overstay it.

If you need to apply for a new passport, do so in plenty of time. To protect your documents:

  • Make paper copies of all important documents you will take (passport, tickets, driver’s license, etc.).
  • Leave one set with someone back home.
  • Take another set of copies with you but pack them separately from the originals.

#2. You can suffer data loss

Most of us use at least one connected device which may fall victim to malware and data theft. For instance, public Wi-Fi connections aren’t as secure as you may think. It can be difficult to deal with technical issues when you are traveling. So in order to stay safe you need to:

  • Keep devices locked and log out of applications when they aren’t in use.
  • Install Surfshark VPN on your devices to protect your data.
  • If the breach happens, notify any affected parties or organizations.
  • Block and track your device if it has been stolen rather than hacked.
  • Change all your passwords.

#3. You didn’t plan your trip beforehand

Not planning can backfire, especially if you are vacationing during popular periods. You can’t assume that you will find accommodation or get tickets where and when you want them. 

So, make sure to research your destination carefully and identify places you want to visit. Make accommodation bookings at well-reviewed, affordable facilities. And talk to a travel agent or visa specialist to find out about the travel requirements.

There’s no substitute for proper planning and budgeting. If things have gone wrong:

  • Ask the tourist office for advice on where to go and what to do.
  • Get assistance with finding accommodation from the tourist office.
  • If you run out of money, ask for help from family or friends.

#4. Your cell phone and/or credit cards don’t work

Travelers rely on cell phones for a range of things and use credit or debit cards to pay vacation expenses. If phones and bank cards don’t work, it can be a disaster. You should:

  • Contact your phone service provider to arrange the necessary coverage.
  • Notify your bank when and where you’ll be traveling so that they don’t decline transactions.
  • Take some cash and multiple bank cards in case one is refused or gets damaged.

If you encounter problems when you travel, you will have no option but to contact your cell provider and your bank/s. This can be difficult and costly! You’ll have to use your emergency cash until the problem is resolved.

#5. You can get sick or injured

If you get ill or hurt on vacation it can really spoil things and be hard to find medical attention. Language barriers and additional expenses are also challenges. 

Before leaving, make sure to purchase comprehensive travel insurance through a reputable company and take enough of your medication to last the duration of your vacation. It’s also a good idea to pack a first aid kit of basics for common problems like headaches or diarrhea.

If you or someone in your party is ill or injured there are things that you can do:

  • Contact your travel insurer and request assistance.
  • Notify the staff at the accommodation you are staying at as they may help.
  • If there was an accident, take photographs.

#6. You may have your valuables stolen

Having valuables stolen while on vacation is horrible. While we can’t protect ourselves against every possibility, there are things we can do to reduce the risk and impact.

For instance, you shouldn’t take unnecessary valuables with you on the trip and, if you do, don’t flash them around. Once you’ve checked in, place your valuable items in safe places (not in back pockets) and keep an eye on bags. Finally, make a list of valuable items and their serial or model numbers.

If you have fallen victim to theft, there are several things you must do as quickly as possible:

  • Notify your travel insurance company of the loss.
  • Report the loss to the local police so that you have a case number for insurance.
  • Keep the documentation you need such as police report, and receipts for related expenses.  

While this is not a comprehensive list of things that can go wrong when we are traveling on vacation, it does look at six of the most common problems. 

The fact that there are protective and recovery measures we can put in place should offer some protection and reassurance. 

Stay safe and enjoy your vacation!



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