Reducing Travel Stress
By Allison Eaton
Allison is the Vancouver based Communications Manger for Flight Centre North America.
Most travellers aim to get everything sorted well before they take off, but even the best-laid plans are subject to common inconveniences. But there are a few travel issues that occur time and time again – including the dreaded lost passport, forgetting to apply for a visa or driving permit, and what travellers find most frustrating – lost luggage.
Dennis Lowry of Flight Centre offers some sage advice that their consultants have recommended for international travellers in this sort of emergency.
People always think they know where their passport is – that safe place in the top of the wardrobe where it has been stashed for years – but Lowry says that they deal with a huge number of queries from people who discover their passports weren’t in that special place at all, and they need to replace them in a hurry.
Passport applications usually take at least 10 working days to process, so any time period shorter than that will require either urgent passport processing or a special callout if the timeframe is less than three working days. Both of these scenarios will incur an extra cost. If travel is due to bereavement or serious illness, both urgent and callout fees can be waived or reimbursed with a written explanation from a doctor, hospital or the police.
Many inexperienced travellers are not aware that such common travel destinations such as China, Brazil and Australia, require Visas. Visas can usually be applied for through your agent and with ease unless you show up in the country without one. Long waits, higher costs and potential refusal for entry are among the consequences of not having applied for a Visa prior to travelling.
To limit the incidence of lost luggage, there are steps you can do to minimize the possibility of a mix up. It is recommended to have distinct markings on your luggage and have a non-removable name, address and phone number tag attached both inside and outside your bags.
If your luggage is lost you should notify the airline, tour operator or transport company immediately, keeping in mind luggage is occasionally just in the wrong compartment. Those who lost the luggage should take responsibility for the luggage, but having travel insurance will limit any effect a possible loss may incur.
With this cost to airlines and transport operators, lost luggage may soon be a thing of the past, with some airlines proposing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to keep electronic tabs of luggage at all times. But electronic tracking or not, Lowry says it doesn’t diminish the need for insurance – those who travel without it set themselves up for a whole new set of worries, not the best way to start that dream vacation or long awaited trip back home.