Unexpected things that can happen when you travel and tips on dealing with those events
Travelling is one of the most exciting things you can do in life, but this travel blogger has learnt that a lot of things can go wrong and one can never be too prepared. Here are some of the common, unexpected things that can happen when travelling and how you can prevent them from turning your vacation into a nightmare.
1. Split luggage and/or shopping too much
I am usually guilty of over-packing and even if I know there will be lots of shopping at the new destination, my suitcases often are really hard to zip up. If your luggage has had enough, a zip may burst now and then. Usually in the worst possible moment i.e. when you’re in a hurry to get on a train or in the airport, certainly where there are many eyes that can see you turn bright red as all of your undies and trinkets get exposed.
There are also times when you may forget the code of the lock or lose the key and there is no way to open a bag but to have to break the zip. This happened to me while travelling in Peru, and we had to cut a carry bag open just because we lost a key and it was the middle of the night so no one could help us.
At those moments you will definitely need to be buying a new bag at your destination, and unfortunately if you’re at the airport and in a hurry, the premium you’ll pay on bags is high.
One time while starting our trip around South America, we realised that we needed to send one of our bags home so we don’t have to lug it around the Amazon jungle. We went to the local post office in Buenos Aires and they asked us to get a quote from DHL. The total sum to send a bag would be around $500 US! Had to keep the bag
(my overpacking – not a good look)
Send your heaviest necessary items ahead, e.g. if you’re going to be travelling for a while and then ending your trip with a camp or a hike where you’ll need a lot of specialised equipment. Use companies that can safely and at reasonable cost deliver your items without you having to pay excess baggage airline fees. World Baggage is an Australian excess baggage company providing secure, excess baggage services at a lower cost than the airlines.
If your bag does happen to get damaged and you have to replace your luggage, you can always claim your warranty (if your suitcases have it) and send the damaged luggage to a brand’s service centre. You are responsible for getting the product over to the service centre and in this case you can also use the World Baggage service to courier the bag.
2. Visa issues (especially in transit)
There are times when you’ll be travelling through a certain destination, staying only a few hours in a city or country to get to another location. During those transits it is usually not required that you obtain a visa, but it’s best to research and ask around just in case.
I was travelling from Sydney-Guangzhou and then Guangzhou-Hong Kong- via Beijing – Sydney. To travel to China, you need a tourist visa and I had it for 1x entry into China as I would be leaving the country through HK on the way home. No one said anything about the 3 hours I would spend in Beijing. On entry into Beijing, the passport control people had a real issue with my visa saying that I only obtained permit to enter the country one time. Luckily after some time they let me into the airport so I could get my Sydney flight.
If you’re entering a certain country that requires visas on entry more than once, check if you require anything that lets you enter the ‘transit zone’ without any problems.
3. Not having the right clothes
While travelling for over 6 weeks around Europe in September, all weather forecasts pointed to warm, summer inspired days. We packed light jackets and autumn boots and did fine all the way through Italy. When we got to Paris, the next day, there was a sudden cold spell and we along with many Parisians had to rush to Galleries Lafayette to purchase emergency cashmere sweaters, woolen scarves and hats! Some mornings it was -2 degrees Celsius!
Have lots of clothes that you can layer in case it gets too cold unexpectedly when you’re travelling. Also have some ‘budget’ for warm clothes that you might have to purchase when in a new destination, and in some countries good quality clothes for winter are not very cheap.
4. You will get sick of some foods after a while (yes even Pizza!)
After travelling some time in Italy and seeing the most amazing sites and historical areas, we honestly got sick of pizza and pasta. It seemed that all restaurants, especially near to tourist locations had the ‘copy and paste’ menu. Pizza Pasta, Pasta Pizza and Calzone.
Look at the size of that pizza! (Venice)
One day we had to have pizza for brunch because most restaurants start serving pizza and espresso at 10am! I was craving Japanese food for about 3 weeks but we couldn’t find any good options to satisfy those cravings! We are quite lucky in Sydney to have lots of different food from so many cultural backgrounds and it will be really good, authentic stuff, not a token ‘exotic’ restaurant. So when travelling and seeking diverse foods, think when in Rome….
If you really get sick of one type of food, google some local, authentic restaurants that have a high rating on wholesome foods, like locally grown vegetables and local seafood. Make a booking at those places and look for restaurants further away from the main tourist destinations. The staff might not speak any English (good sign by the way) but you will get some really great food!
5. You might get scammed in the most unexpected ways
Before travelling, you’ll surely read a few blog posts or articles about scams while travelling. Some of them are very obvious – people creating diversions in a crowded space to get inside your bag, asking you to sponsor their ‘charity’ by buying a pen etc.
When in Paris, me and my husband got scammed royally and I had no idea that scam artists could be so well researched and unlike anything you’ll hear in the ‘beware pick pockets/scammers’ department.
We took a train into the Parisian CBD from the airport. This is the time when you have to be the most careful – lugging around suitcases and clearly looking like a tourist is bound to attract unwanted attention. We needed a taxi to get us to our hotel. In Paris it’s really hard to get a taxi on the street and we had a few unsuccessful attempts. A well-dressed man came over to us; he spoke fluent English and was very friendly. He told us about leaving his wallet at the hotel and how his girlfriend and her mother was in Disneyland and he had to get to them with some cash as they were also stuck….The story was very well rehearsed. He made polite conversation and told us he’d been to Sydney and named the most luxurious hotels, he said he was an investment banker and worked at UBS, that he lived in Switzerland and he just needs 100 Euro which he would pay us back. Then came the most shocking thing – my husband ended up giving him 100Euro and then the man helped us get a cab in exchange. While in a cab I was in awe that we just gave money away, as my husband is usually a skeptical person. Just goes to show you that when you’re tired and disoriented from travel and in a new location, you can easily fall victim to scam artists – really well rehearsed scam artists.
Incredibly crowded tourist areas with potential for pickpocketing (Photography: David Coleman https://havecamerawilltravel.com/)
When after a long flight and carrying large luggage with you, try not to speak with anyone unless they are an official (information, police officer etc). Try not to believe any stories, yes you’ll want to help but think of why is this scenario happening only when they see you with big bags! Easy tourist target, coincidence – I think not!
Written by Julia Kim Murphy
Australia Lifestyle and Travel Blogger