Travel emergency: What to do when you’re unlucky in travel

Some of the best travel stories are born when things go horribly wrong – so long as you know how to react to get things back on track.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most common travel disasters, and what you need to do to bounce back when you’re unlucky in travel.

What to do when the airline loses your bags

There are plenty of reasons why your bags can go missing while flying. Perhaps someone picked them up off the carousel? Or maybe they were accidentally transferred to Venezuela? Either way, losing your bags while flying can be hugely disheartening.

Hopefully you’ll have taken out a travel insurance policy that has cover for this dilemma, however, it’s likely you’ll need to survive a little while without your possessions either way. Make sure you complete the airline’s Lost Baggage forms as quickly as possible and head to a local shopping mall to stock up on essentials – undies, socks, toiletries, and a warm jacket if you are in a particularly cold country.

What to do when you’ve been robbed

Being robbed – whether by an aggressive mugger or a nefarious thief – is always a scary experience. The situation is made all the worse when you are overseas, away from the comforts of home. But don’t panic! Not all is lost.

The first thing you’ll need to do is write down what happened. Try to take notes on everything you might not remember – such as the time of the crime, the location, the possessions that you’ve lost, and any suspicious characters that may have been involved. Then, head to your local authorities and file a full report.

Unfortunately, many countries don’t have the same quality of police force that Australia offers. However, if you don’t make a statement then you’ll have virtually no chance of recovering your belongings and bringing the perp to justice. Keep in mind that your travel insurance policy should be able to replace any stolen belongings anyway, so know what to do by reviewing your policy’s terms and try not to let the incident ruin your holiday.

What to do when you misplace your passport 

Losing your passport in a foreign land isn’t ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. The best way to prepare for this scenario is to ensure that you have a few scanned copies of the photo page of your passport tucked away in the lining of your baggage and carry on.

Head to the nearest Australian embassy, high commission, consulate, multilateral mission or representative office to let them know what has happened. The Department of Foreign Affairs has a handy guide to these organisations on their website, sorted by country and economy.

What to do if you’ve been injured

The occasional scrape and bruise is a natural part of travelling, but what do you do when you’ve had a true travel emergency and are seriously injured, in need of assistance? If you’re in an English speaking country, you should be able to locate the nearest hospital or emergency clinic, but if you’re in a strange and unfamiliar land, getting help might not be that easy.

Whenever you visit a country that speaks another language, it’s a good idea to memorise the words for ‘hurt’, ‘injured’ or ‘help’ and that country’s emergency number ahead of schedule, just in case. Fortunately, many countries use English regularly alongside their native tongue anyway. You’ll also want to carry a copy of your medical information with any allergies or other health problems you might have (store it with the scanned copy of your passport we mentioned earlier). And also keep your key information from your travel insurance policy handy, especially the 24-hour emergency contact details if your policy includes this.

Check out Virgin Travel Insurance to see if it suits your travelling needs.

Once you’ve managed to find medical assistance, you’ll want to make sure you ask for a full medical report – not only will this be important for any travel insurance claims, it’ll also help if you experience any ongoing health problems.

Do you have any other great tips for dealing with travel disasters?