April 7, 2009

Missing your bookings, cancelled tours - what else can go wrong when you travel overseas

How many of these mistakes do we make? It happens to the best of us, even to the most experienced travelers.

How many of you thought that you should be ok in every single foreign country you are visiting, because everyone speaks English? How many of you thought that the worst that can happen when you travel is a loss of luggage and/or a passport? And how many of you thought that this one vaccine that you got before leaving for overseas would protect you against all possible bacteria and viruses existing in a foreign country?

Well, guess what. We all make mistakes assuming that just because we’ve read a travel guide cover to cover, we should be fine and fully “armored” with knowledge of what should be done in this or that emergency situation. Or the following:

Pre-Booked Tours, Hotels, Rentals

You left your house without confirming all your reservations overseas, like your hotels, train tickets, car rentals, and/or tours. Guess what, it might happen that any of the above places made a mistake, lost your reservation, and/or got a computer bug that destroyed your online bookings. As well as a possibility of your tours being cancelled. At least a few of these things have happened to me over years of traveling abroad.

(Road and street signs in Moscow, Russia)

I once came to Rome and the next day I was supposed to go on a boat tour on Tiber river, only to find the tour has been canceled due to high waters (Rome got a bit more rain in the last few days than was expected, and the river levels rose.) Not only I wasted valuable time - and it’s never enough time when you travel overseas on a short vacation time - but I’ve also missed another tour that I could have had instead of the cancelled one. And because most of the Mediterranean countries are still a bit behind on having WiFi connections around the city, and the hotels charge about 8 Euro for 15 min. of the internet usage (just think of adding another 5 Euro, and you could have enjoyed a nice dinner in one of the adorable Roman neighborhood,) you might be out of luck with the accessible, affordable and plentiful Internet services.

Basically, when you travel, you are on a budget, and no one, believe me – no one, wants to waste money on over-expensive Internet rates. So was I – I waited, nervous, for my return back home so that I could use all the unlimited time I have calling the 800-number of the Expedia’s customer service to find out, whether I’d be reimbursed for the canceled tour. And thank god, I was. But one does not want to wait long when it happens. So, check and confirm all your travel and accommodations reservations before you leave your house.

That leads me to the next tip: Internet Access Overseas

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