Traveling abroad presents a lot of new experiences, even for the most experienced of travelers, but sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. It pays to prepare for common travel problems, especially when you are on the holiday with the whole family. Here’s a list of common travel mishaps and how to deal with them:

You Missed Your Flight

As a general rule, you have to be at the airport two hours prior your flight. Take into account traffic jams, weather issues and other holdups before leaving to the airport. This way, you won’t miss your flight. But if for some reason or another you missed your flight, don’t panic. Go straight to your airline’s information desk and politely ask for available flight options. If you missed your flight because of a flight delay, your airline may rebook you on the next flight and even give you freebies for your trouble. Some airlines offer a refund on taxes if you end up having to book a new flight, so inquire about that to at least save a bit of money.

Photo credit: Alex Duggleby

You Lost Your Luggage

Baggage being lost or routed to the wrong location happens to us all at some point. If your luggage has been lost go to your airline’s counter to file a report. Most airlines will offer a bag of toiletries and an emergency number. Next, check your travel insurance policy. Lost luggage is usually covered by travel insurance. However, if you lose your luggage after claiming it from the baggage claim area, you will have to file a police report as the airline will not claim responsibility for it. Also remember that lost luggage may be inconvenient, but you shouldn’t let it ruin your holiday. Pick up some essentials and make sure you are contactable so the airline can get in touch as soon as they find your bags.

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Your Hotel Does Not Have the Room You Booked

Say you’ve made a reservation and the hotel doesn’t have the room you booked, be positive, you’re more likely to get an upgraded room! However, if the hotel is fully booked the management are obliged to find alternate accommodation for you at a similarly-priced hotel. They should also pay for your transportation to your new hotel. If you would rather find an alternative hotel yourself, you should be able to negotiate a cash payout as compensation for your trouble. Be sure the hotel you are placed in is up to the same standard as the one you originally booked. If it isn’t, you are well within your rights to make a complaint to the original hotel, agent or website you booked through.

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Food Poisoning

Bali isn’t just known for the beautiful beaches and the sunny weather, it’s also a foodie’s paradise! However, with the different types of bacteria and hygiene practices it’s not uncommon for foreigners to get stomach upsets on holiday. If you come down with a case of ‘Bali belly’, drink lots of water or coconut water to stay hydrated. Do not eat spicy, greasy or fatty foods and opt for bland foods like plain rice, crackers and bananas. Try to resist the temptation to take anti-diarrhea meds unless absolutely necessary as these can stop your body from getting rid of the toxins naturally. Activated charcoal tablets are a great alternative as they soak up the toxins. If you or your kids have diarrhea or are throwing up for more than 3 days or are not able to drink any fluids see a doctor. Your hotel will be able to assist you with this.

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Dealing with Natural Disasters

Bali is a tropical island so the weather can get extreme at times. The island is also part of an archipelago packed with volcanoes and seismic activity so, although rare, travel can be interrupted by volcanic eruptions, high seas and heavy tropical storms. If you’re stuck on the island when disaster strikes, try to keep the lines of communication open. Get the word to your loved ones that you are safe.

Always study your airline’s policy regarding natural disasters (volcanic eruption, monsoon, flooding, and earthquake) as many people are caught out without accommodation or compensation for their extended stay. If flights are overbooked due to cancellations, your airline may or may not give you compensation for your trouble. If they don’t you should make sure that you have the coverage you need from your travel insurance. Like any emergency situation, it’s best to remain calm and patient until everything is sorted out.

Most recently Bali’s international airport has been shut due to volcanic eruptions. Read more about this here.

Photo credit: Miftah Firdaus

You Got Robbed

Even the friendliest countries have a dark side, so even in laid-back Bali you need to stay alert. Wear a money belt to keep your cash safe and don’t put all your valuables, including your passport and other important documents, in one place. This way, if you do get robbed, you won’t lose all your valuables. Scan and email all your credit card and debit card information to yourself or someone you trust in case of loss, and make a copy of your passport. When you go out, don’t burden yourself by carrying a lot of valuables. Just take enough cash to last you the day or night and never take all your credit and debit cards with you. If you need money from an ATM, go to the nearest one to your hotel, get your cash then drop off your card back to your hotel. It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Finally, try to wear as little jewelry as possible, especially if you’re traveling via public transportation. The streets of Kuta and Legian can get extremely crowded at night, so be especially vigilant when walking in this area.

Photo Credit: Komando

If despite all the precautions, you do get mugged, never attempt to fight back! Instead, make as much noise as possible and try to remember distinguishing features of the attacker. Check for tattoos and moles, as well as skin and hair color. In places like Bali, the locals are always ready to help, especially those who are in distress. For your insurance company you’ll need to file a police report, so ask for the nearest police station. The more details you can provide, the better the chances are of catching the muggers.

You’ve Lost Your Passport

One of the most stressful things that can happen on holiday is losing your passport. Of course the best thing you can do is leave it in the safe at your hotel, but there are times when you might have to have it with you.

Photo credit: My Destination Unknown

The first thing to do if you lose your passport in Bali is to call your embassy or consulate to find out what action needs to be taken. You may have to make a police report and most likely will have to rush to the consulate. Most consulates are in the Denpasar and Sanur area so you will probably need to get a driver to take you there.

The Australian consulate has lots of helpful travel advice about Indonesia here.

The ATM Eats Your Cash Card

ATMs in Bali can be tempermental and it’s not uncommon to hear of travelers cards being sucked into the machine. Thankfully, it’s usually pretty simple to get your card back, especially if you use a machine within a bank.

However, it’s not always possible to use a cash machine in a bank so if your card does disappear into the ATM, note down the location and immediately call the bank. There is generally an emergency number on the ATM. In this case you will also need to call your own bank to cancel your card. It’s always important to have a back up card or source of money to ensure you aren’t left with no funds.

Photo credit: Wise Geek

There have also been a number of schemes recently where a false front it added to ATMs to skim the details off your card. This is another reason it is always best to use a cash machine within a bank and in brightly lit areas with plenty of people around. If you think something suspicious might be going on call your bank immediately to check.

Some of these issues may seem scary, but being aware of them will make you much better prepared in the event that they do occur. Bali is an exciting place to visit, so we hope these tips will make your holidays smoother and allow you to enjoy everything the island has to offer and stay safe too!