The Pitfalls of Travel

The Pitfalls of Travel

This is not a subject I love to talk about as I much prefer to err on the side of the positive. However, I do talk about these things a lot as these are all very common questions from clients and I am asked one of these almost daily.

We all plan our holidays with care, love, and positivity that it will all go as planned. But the reality is, it is a big world we travel in and things can just go wrong. The best way to handle it is to stay calm, have an idea of what to do first, and remember there is always someone to call!

So here are some of the more common questions I get and what you can do if it happens!

What do I do if the company I booked with goes belly up?

This question is becoming more and more common as we’ve seen some big names in travel go into liquidation over the past couple of years.

So, what should you do if it happens to you?

  • Contact your travel agent first (if you booked with one) – most likely they will already know about it before you’ve seen it in the news and will be working diligently to try to fix the issue for you. Leave it with them as they will have contacts in the industry, and the ground suppliers, and will be working to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Once they have done all they can, they will contact you if any changes need to be made to your booking.
  • If you have booked online or directly yourself, contact all of your hotels, airlines, tour companies, etc that may be affected to ensure your booking has been paid for and your bookings are still valid. If you have lost any or all of your booking, you will need to start making (and paying for) alternative arrangements.
  • Apply for a chargeback through your credit card provider. This is a process that protects your funds should the goods or services you paid for not be provided.

Perhaps, more importantly, here are some tips you can use before booking your travel to hopefully avoid too much fall out:

  • Check if your travel agent (whether it be an online booking engine, instore or mobile agent) is ATAS accredited. This ensures your agency is credible, well trained, professional and conducts their business in accordance with Australian law.
  • Make sure can always contact a human – this may seem silly, but if something goes wrong, it’s very difficult to get a full understanding of how it affects you and how you can fix it if you have no one to speak to. This is especially important when booking online – make sure you have a 24/7 contact phone number and test it before you book.
  • Pay with your credit card so your funds are protected through the chargeback scheme.
  • Book with an MTA agent – MTA offers Zero Flight Risk, an initiative that guarantees your funds are refunded in full if any MTA approved travel intermediary or supplier becomes insolvent and is unable to deliver the product or service.
Zero Flight Risk with MTA Travel Agents Alicia Pringle

What do I do if I lose my passport?

This is what nightmares are made of – being overseas and losing or having your passport stolen! Before you travel, always make a copy of the photo page of your passport – email yourself a copy so you always have access to it plus leave copies with family and your travel agent. It is much easier to get a replacement if you can provide a copy of the original.

Here are your first steps if it does happen…

  • Call for consular assistance right away +61 2 62613305
  • They will cancel your lost passport and direct you to the nearest Australian consulate to apply for a replacement.
  • Call your travel insurance provider – most policies cover the cost to replace a lost or stolen passport. Some may also cover the costs of travel to the consulate if required.
  • Call your travel agent to rearrange your travel if required or make the arrangements yourself if you booked online/direct (this will include making arrangements to get to/from the consulate as well as cancelling or postponing onward travel).
Don't lose your passport.  The Pitfalls of travel with Alicia Pringle MTA Travel Agent

What happens if I miss the ship while on a shore excursion?

When you’re cruising, it is inevitable that you will get off this ship and explore the port you’re in. There are two ways you can do this and they will dramatically affect what happens if you are late back to the ship and miss it’s departure.

  • If you are on a shore excursion provided by the ship (booked through the ship) and you are late back for any reason, they will wait for you if possible, or make all the arrangements to get you back to the ship or the next port at no expense to you.
  • If however, you are on a shore excursion booked independently or just looking around on your own and miss the ship – you are just that…on your own! Call the cruise line first to find out if they are able to assist in getting you to the next port. If not, contact your travel agent to help you make arrangements. Please note that any expenses incurred will be your responsibility.

What do I do if bad weather affects my travel plans while I’m overseas?

This can, and does, happen regularly. Be it a storm, heavy winds, snow, cyclone/typhoon or volcanic eruption, these can all affect travel plans and wind everything to a screeching halt. First of all, stay calm – there isn’t anyone that can do anything about the weather so you might as well go with it, enjoy it for what it is and it will be a great story when you get home!

Always follow local advice and weather warnings to stay safe and if the weather affects your travel plans, here are some tips of what to do:

  • Ensure your current accommodation is secured until you are able to leave – speak with reception at the hotel to extend your stay.
  • Contact your travel agent to make any necessary alternative arrangements and/or cancellations
  • If you don’t have a travel agent, call ahead to your next hotel to advise them you won’t be arriving as planned and offer an estimate of your new arrival. If you will miss a hotel altogether, ring ahead to cancel. If you will be late to meet a tour or cruise, contact the operator directly to make arrangements to meet them late if possible.
  • Cancel any day trips that you won’t be able to make due to the weather.
  • Keep all receipts of additional costs, ie extra night/s at your current hotel for travel insurance claim purposes.
  • If any travel arrangements need to be cancelled last minute, ask for written advice of any cancellation fees that will be imposed (including if you don’t get anything back) so you can claim these back on travel insurance also.
Travelling in Bad Weather. Pitfalls of Travel with Alicia Pringle MTA Travel Agent.

What happens if my first flight is late and I miss my connecting flight?

If your flights are on the same ticket and operated by the same airline or partner airlines:

  • Approach the airline’s customer service desk at the airport. They will make get you on the next available flight and provide accommodation if required.
  • Once your flight is sorted, contact your travel agent to make any necessary changes to your onward travel (hotel/tour etc) or contact your onward travel provider (hotel, tour company etc) if you don’t have an agent and will be late or miss the start of your stay.

If your flights were booked separate tickets and/or are operated by different airlines who are not partners:

  • Approach the customer service desk of the airline whose flight you have missed to see if your ticket is still usable toward a new flight. If some cases, this will be allowed but you will need to pay a change fee and any difference in the fare for your new flight. If your ticket has been flagged as a ‘no show’, this may not be possible and you will need to purchase a new ticket for the next flight at your own expense. Any accommodation, meals and transfers to and from your accommodation will also be at your own expense and will need to organised by yourself or your travel agent.
  • Once your flight is sorted, contact your travel agent to make any necessary changes to your onward travel (hotel/tour etc) or contact your onward travel provider (hotel, tour company etc) if you don’t have an agent and will be late or miss the start of your stay.

It is inevitable that something will go wrong on your travels at some stage, be it a little inconvenience or a huge disaster. But there are two very important things to remember:

  • You always have someone to call – Speak with the local operator first, then your travel agent and travel insurance provider.
  • Everything is fixable – it may take some time and/or money, but it is always fixable!

Safe travels!

Have you ever had something go wrong while travelling? Share your experience in the comments so others can learn too!

If you’ve been wanting to travel but nervous about taking the plunge, check out Alicia’s other article, Travelling For The First Time, for some great tips and advice!

Ready to book your next holiday? Eliminate the risks by booking with a qualified and registered travel agent such as Alicia! Call her today and start planning for your next adventure!

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How to prepare for the unexpected when travelling. The pitfalls of travel written by Alicia Pringle MTA Travel Agent.
The Pitfalls of Travel written by Alicia Pringle MTA Travel Agent. What happens if your travel plans don't go to plan?
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