If you’re reading this because you want to be prepared for the worst on your next vacation, good on you for doing your homework — there will be eight fewer potential surprises on your trip because of it. And if, on the other hand, you’re reading this because you find yourself in an unexpected travel emergency… you’ve come to the right place.
Fact: A lot can go wrong when you’re on the road. Even the most organized and prepared travellers will sometimes find themselves in precarious situations. So here’s how to combat an array of common travel emergencies, from seasickness and tick bites to lost passports and missed flights.
Now arm yourself with knowledge and go forth, intrepid traveller!
These little buggers are common across much of Canada and the U.S., and can be dangerous to yourself and other furry creatures (dogs, llamas, husbands, children) you might be travelling with. Check yourself thoroughly, including on your scalp, behind your ears, in your belly button, between your legs — they’re resourceful little buggers and will burrow down in the least expected crevices. And once it’s in, you don’t want to just yank it out. Use tweezers to pinch the tick as close to the surface of the skin as possible and then pull up with slow, even pressure. Then, clean the bite with water and soap or rubbing alcohol. All done, champ!
On the scale of travel emergencies, this one ranks pretty high, but telling you what a dummy you are for misplacing it won’t bring it back. Instead, we’ll tell you to keep calm and know that you’re not the first. If you’re in Canada and you’ve lost your Canadian passport, you can call the government’s Passport Program at 1-800-567-6868. Canadians abroad who find themselves without their little blue book should contact the nearest embassy or consulate, which can issue temporary travel documents. If you think you were robbed, call the police, too. Once you’re back on Canadian soil, you’ve got to jump through the hoops to get a proper replacement, which takes an average of four weeks to process, but can be done much quicker if handled in person rather than by mail.
Stolen Credit Card
Don’t panic, because, yeah, you probably did just leave it at that Starbucks. But once you’re sure it’s missing, act quickly. Simply call your card provider — you can google the company name and “cancel card,” which should get you the right phone number — and tell them what’s up. They’ll cancel the card and make arrangements to get you a new one. Getting a replacement card may not be so simple, depending where you are. That’s why it’s a good idea to have several cards and a bit of cash that you keep separate for just such an emergency. Cash is king.
There are many ways to hurt yourself in the ocean, and getting too close to a jellyfish is one of them. If you’ve come into contact with a jelly, first off, this is going to make a great story one day, and second, a lifeguard may be able to help you out if there’s one in sight. If not, you can make a quick DIY fix. First, rinse the wound with seawater and remove any of the jellyfish you can see. Don’t scrub it with sand or a towel. Then, rinse it with vinegar for 30 seconds or apply a baking soda and water paste. A hot or cold shower may also help, as can lotion or ice packs. Oh, and FYI, the Mayo Clinic classifies the old “just pee on it” method as “unhelpful or unproven.”
Head straight to your airline’s ticketing desk and speak to someone in person — airlines differ, but many will be able to squeeze you on the next flight at no extra charge, so long as you were at the airport within two hours of your flight. It doesn’t hurt to pull out your best manners here, no matter how stressed out you feel. On the bright side, you did just get a longer vacation, right? Don’t forget about any continuing flights that this may cause problems for, and get in touch with those airlines too.
It’s not the end of the world, but ingesting unfriendly or unfamiliar bacteria can definitely ruin a day, or longer, and it may be prudent to see a doctor. Treatments can range from waiting it out and taking some Pepto Bismol to antibiotics, but remember to stay hydrated no matter what. You can make your own rehydrating solution with a bit of salt, sugar and baking soda added to water.
First of all, always keep your baggage claim ticket somewhere safe, because if and when your luggage doesn’t show up on the carousel, you’re going to want it. Head to your airline’s baggage counter and be prepared to fill out some forums to reclaim your belongings. We always pack a spare set of clothes in our carry on, because it can take days to reunite with your bags. You only need to learn that lesson once.
Guarantee you won’t care how luxurious your suite is if the movement of the cruise ship has you running to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Seasickness is real and it sucks. There are some natural solutions you can try, like sitting at the front of the boat or behind the wheel if that’s an option, eating dry crackers and lying down with your eyes closed, but for many, that won’t cut it. Your next best bet is an antiemetic like Dramamine — it can work wonders.