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Flexibility and Creativity Dealing with Travel Glitches

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With all the folks we had traveling the past few weeks, there were definitely some travel glitches, which are inevitable, but a bummer if you are the one they happen to. Cancelled and delayed flights, lost luggage, and transportation misses were all part of the mix, and I experienced it myself when my flight to Warsaw was cancelled. This week is about real life learnings for future travels…

Flexibility and Creativity Dealing with Travel Glitches

I have a variety of travel tips that I share, and a few are more detailed than others. Sometimes I get compliments for my recommendations, and I have to share – all the really good tips come from a real life problem in the past. The little sheets to remind the folks in the group what time to catch the ferry back – that comes from me missing the ferry because I misunderstood the departure time. The advice to stay in the luggage area if your luggage is lost and not come out until documentation complete – that comes from some clients leaving suitcases in the baggage area and the 2 hours and numerous phone calls it took to get them back into that secured area.

So, the travels over the last few weeks have now created some new travel tips for my list.

Sometimes there are issues that you can’t do anything about – you just have to go with the situation and maintain the best attitude you can. We had a number of folks with cancelled or change flight schedules that caused them to get in late and miss their transfer and/or the first day’s activities. We saw issues across most of the airlines, so you can’t make a blanket statement to not use this one or be careful of that one.

With travel insurance, you can file a claim for missed activities or additional costs, so it’s important to keep all receipts. Also, when the airline has issues with delays and cancellations, make sure you get a screenshot of every notification, every time change – anything that can help substantiate your flight delay that led to missed trip activities for when you file your travel insurance claim.

One of the big tips that came out of the experience of a number of folks on the trip – use air tags to help track your luggage. We had several people that lost luggage, and the airlines were not particularly sharp in knowing the location of the suitcases. The folks that had air tags in their luggage could tell the airlines exactly where their bags were and challenge the airline’s sometimes incorrect information.

Since you always have the potential to deal with lost luggage, kind of plan that it might happen. Make sure you carry a small tote or cabin bag that has the few key items that are necessary, and wear clothes that you can repurpose. For my flight from Dublin to Poland, I had checked luggage but packed a cabin bag with two tops, a couple of pair of underwear, my Chico traveler pants that can dress up or down, a t-shirt for sitting around my hotel room and sleeping, and small sized make-up. I wore my walking shoes, my black jeans and a top. Those items would get me through days of waiting for luggage.

We had situations of transportation not showing up at the end of trip even though the airport transfers were properly set up – in one instance it seems the transfer company thought they knew the pickup locations without verifying the transfer requests, so they sent the vehicles to the wrong locations. Which of course you don’t know when you are standing around waiting for a vehicle to take you to the airport. You don’t want to wait so long it causes problems for your flight. Proper transfers should be waiting for you, so after 1-2 minutes of them being late, call the phone number on the voucher to reach the driver, and if that doesn’t work, just call another taxi so that you are not late getting to the airport. Always call the driver before leaving with another transfer option, as those communications are needed to get a refund.

That has created a new travel tip – always verify that your driver is the one specifically set up for you. Ask them who they came for. Don’t tell them your name, but rather have them say the name of who they are picking up – they should have it on their transfer request form. Question them regarding payment – have they been pre-paid or are they expecting payment at the end of the trip?

Okay, that’s a bunch of travel issues, and I’m not done yet. But I don’t talk about these things to bum you out about travel – rather, the more you understand and can anticipate, I think that makes you feel better able to deal with things when they do come up.

So next week I’ll share how I dealt with the cancellation of my Dublin to Warsaw flight because of the UK air traffic control technical problems on August 28. With no more direct flights available from Dublin to Warsaw for the next 5 days, I had to be creative, so stay tuned for some ideas that may help you with a future issue…