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How to Avoid Common Travel Problems When You Go Away

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Whether you travel for business or leisure, there are plenty of good things about getting away, including having a change of scenery, learning about a new place or culture, ticking sites off your bucket list, and having the chance to meet new people. When you go on vacation, you also have the chance to reconnect with family members or friends and to unwind and de-stress from the busyness of life.

However, there are also a number of issues that can crop up when you’re away from home, especially problems that might affect your finances. From losing your all-important credit card or cash stockpile, to getting sick or injured, or having a passport stolen, unfortunately travel snags can be an all too common part of trips away. To help keep your next journey “smooth sailing,” read on for some tips on how to avoid common issues.

Tips for Your Money

One of the major things to be mindful of when you travel is your finances. For starters, it always pays to take out travel insurance so that if anything does go wrong, you’re covered. Just make sure that you read the fine print before signing up to a policy, to make sure that everything you want covered is included. Also make sure you have a convenient way to pay for things, even if you run out of cash in your new locale.  Look for credit cards with no foreign fees to keep your travel budget from going overboard.

When you’re overseas, one of the worst things that could happen is losing your passport (or having it stolen). To cover yourself, make sure that you always travel with photocopies of your documentation, so that you can more easily organize a replacement if necessary. Keep these copies in a separate place to your actual passport, or even look at uploading them to a Cloud storage platform such as Dropbox so that you can access them from anywhere. It also is a good idea to leave a copy with a close family member or friend back home.

You also never want to have to deal with stolen cash, credit cards, or the like, but unfortunately this can be an all-too common issue for travelers. To keep your items safe, it helps to know the usual ways that thieves “relieve” people of their belongings. Often, pickpockets and organized gangs take advantage of tourists who are distracted by the sites or culture around them. They also regularly come up with their own distraction techniques (sadly often involving young children) to lift wallets and purses.

As a result, you need to be on alert whenever you’re traveling. Make sure that you keep your belongings close to you, especially in crowded areas. Don’t put cash or wallets in easy-to-access pockets or backpacks, as these are the first places that thieves look for valuables. In case you do get robbed though, keep a copy of your cards, along with the phone number or web address for your credit card provider, in a separate area of your luggage. This makes it easy to immediately report a stolen card if the problem occurs.

Tips for Your Health

taking care of health while travelingAnother issue you really don’t want to happen while you’re away for either business or pleasure is getting sick or injured. However, there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself healthy while you travel. Before you leave, first make sure that you have any immunizations that are recommended for people traveling to the region you’ll be in. If you have allergies, it’s also worthwhile keeping a list of these in your phone or wallet so that if an emergency arises, health care staff can be alerted to any likely reactions or potential risks.

As well, pack an adequate supply of any medications you take, and keep them in at least two different spots (such as a handbag/backpack and your suitcase) so that if you lose a bag you still have a backup supply. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to take a script for the medication with you, so that if something happens and you run out or lose all your supply, you can get more made up.

To keep bugs at bay while you travel, make sure that you stay hydrated during transit and on each day of your trip. Be wary of eating or drinking unsafe substances in areas that aren’t known for having sanitary conditions or clean drinking water. Avoid buying meals at cafes or restaurants that don’t seem to have a decent number of patrons (especially locals), as this can indicate that the food quality is not high. In addition, don’t forget to regularly wash your hands with soap and water, especially before touching your face or eating or drinking.

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. Love the tips. My biggest travel problem is not a common one. It’s what happens at home while we’re gone! If school is in session, the teenager gets in trouble every single time. Normally by faking sick with Grandma and not going to school. Last time, he took the cake though! In an effort to impress his friends, he told them he was home alone and responsible for taking care of Baby Crackin’! A teacher overhead and instead of admitting the truth, he went with it.

    A few hours later after frantic phone calls from my Mom, numerous conversations with the school, and a home visit it was all squared away. It’s a horrible feeling to be states away though!

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