Travelling is meant to be both fun and exciting, but as every seasoned globetrotter knows, it can quickly turn into a daunting and stressful experience if things start to go wrong.
When visiting a different country you’re always at risk, no matter how well you plan ahead, or how many times you’ve checked that you have your passport.
Some of our biggest travel nightmares are more common than you might think.
Close to 20 million bags go missing at airports alone each year, so whether that's losing your luggage, having your valuables stolen, being stranded with no passport, caught short for the toilet or feeling unsafe in your environment, potential holiday mishaps are lurking around every corner.
Thankfully, in today’s digital world, there are some great solutions to help you avoid the worst holiday disasters. Here are five great tools to help avert the most common travel mishaps, and ensure the smooth running (and enjoyment) of your next trip.
1. Losing your belongings
One of the most common travel disasters which can affect the enjoyment of the rest of your trip, is to have your luggage ‘misplaced’ in transit, have your valuables lost or even worse, stolen.
Being stranded in a foreign country with no money, no clothes or no passport to get home can easily ruin your holiday before it has even started. When you’re rushing to catch a plane, train or bus you’re also at greater risk of leaving your bag behind.
Keep track of your belongings with a Bluetooth tracker called Tile.com. You can both locate your item on a map in the app, or “ring” your bag or valuable item to make it sound so it’s easier to find.
If it’s out of range (for example, your bag was left in the airport during a stop over) you can press the “Notify when found” button, which will activate the Tile community. When another Tile user passes nearby your lost thing, their app will automatically and anonymously send you a notification with its location.
2. Misplacing your itinerary
Losing your plane ticket or forgetting your hotel booking may not be a disaster on the same scale as losing your luggage, but forgetting to print off your ticket or being unable to find your booking in your overflowing inbox is still frustrating.
TripIt offers an ingenious solution: The app quickly and painlessly scans through your entire inbox for itineraries and booking documents and, even better, organises it for you. Wave goodbye to losing your place in the queue whilst you fumble through your luggage trying to find your boarding pass.
3. Struck down with an illness
Although you might visit your GP ahead of any trip abroad for immunizations and jabs, there is always a risk of getting sick whilst abroad. Unfortunately there’s no technology out there to stop you being a bit clumsy and avoiding accidents, whether at home or away!
But there are ways of minimising your risk of falling ill or catching a disease. Common sense procedures are the first step, such as making sure you have the correct vaccinations, keeping on top of your hygiene by washing your hands and only eating freshly cooked food.
A handy app to help you avoid any areas with prevalent diseases or illnesses is Sickweather. It’s earned the accolade of being the“doppler radar for sickness”, as it tracks down diseases by scanning social media statuses. The ‘contaminated’ areas are highlighted on a map and “illness alerts” are sent out to let you know what areas to stay away from so that you can avoid getting sick on your well-deserved vaycay!
4. Emergency toilet need
Another holiday disaster, that most of us have experienced at least once, is being caught short for the toilet. Public restrooms are few and far between in some countries, and we’ve all suffered the dreaded ‘bali belly’, making sightseeing in a new city a gamble.
When your limited language skills fail you, you can rely on new apps to assist in finding your nearest toilet as quickly as possible. Toilet Finder or SitorSquat are just a few of several toilet finding apps out there for the next time you have the need to go, on the go!
5. Feeling unsafe
Travelling by yourself can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences, yet globetrotting on your own does pose its own range of potential problems. Even though you might already be avoiding walking by yourself in potentially dangerous areas, alone, you are generally at more risk than those travelling as a couple or group.
Fear no more, there’s now the Companion App, a personal security app that sends your location to selected family and friends. If you’re ever feeling unsafe, press the “I Feel Nervous” button to flag their attention, with the option to call the police no matter where you are.