What to do if a trip doesn't go according to plan: 4 tips

Living and studying abroad is a wonderful experience you will carry with you for a lifetime. As with everything else in life,

What to do if a trip doesn't go according to plan: 4 tips
What to do if a trip doesn't go according to plan

Living and studying abroad is a wonderful experience you will carry with you for a lifetime. As with everything else in life, however, things may not go exactly as planned.

While these moments can be annoying, the unexpected along the way becomes part of your adventure. And that's actually the point of going abroad! If your trip doesn't go as planned, here are four tips on what to do:

  1. You must do this when the airline has neglected your suitcase

First things first “ get to the baggage/service desk. The staff will want to see your luggage tag (it's usually a sticker you got when you checked in your luggage. If you can't find them “ look at your boarding pass where it's often located so you don't lose it). The staff at the counter will then be able to see which plane you were on and see if your luggage was with the plane or not - often "lost" luggage is just delayed, or loaded on a later flight.

After that, they will most likely ask for an address where they can send your luggage - then leave the address where you will be staying at the destination. If they are unable to send the luggage, they will inform you how and when you can collect your delayed luggage. Always ask for a paper copy certifying what you have agreed upon. This way, misunderstandings are avoided and you don't have to remember everything in your head.

Some tips:

  • Tie a scarf, ribbon or colorful tag to your luggage so you can easily distinguish your luggage from others
  • Do not store your laptop, iPad, camera or other expensive possessions in your checked baggage
  • Keep your boarding pass, travel insurance information and luggage tags together in a safe place “ for example, in a small plastic folder or in your wallet
  • Take a photo of your luggage to show the airport staff if necessary. It's much more effective than trying to describe a "black, medium-sized backpack that looks like thousands of others".

  1. You must do this when you have missed your flight

Tip number one - go to the airport even if it's obvious you won't make it. Sometimes things happen beyond your control “ for example, the flight train is delayed or a major traffic accident occurs that blocks the road to the airport. If this is the case, you can ask the airport staff if it is possible to use the "flat tire rule" (also called the "two hour rule"). Namely, sometimes airlines offer passengers to fly standby, at no extra cost, if their arrival at the airport is prevented due to circumstances beyond their control. Unfortunately, not many airlines follow this practice, and especially not budget airlines, but it's certainly worth asking about.

Unfortunately, if you miss an international flight, which is not caused by the flight booking itself, it can be a completely different challenge. You will most likely have to pay a "change fee" to get on a later flight. As annoying as this may be, just take a deep breath. If you travel a lot, it will happen at some point - so welcome to the club!

Some tips:

  • Always book with associated airlines you stopover and fly onward domestically or internationally. If you miss your connecting flight due to the airline's fault (for example due to technical problems), it is their responsibility to rebook you on the next flight.
  • Keep track of your travel insurance! If you have the opportunity, choose travel insurance that compensates you for missed international flights.
  • Budget for a missed flight so that you have money if the bad luck happens. This way you avoid emergency calls home to ask for money in cash.
  • Treat airline staff with respect. They're human too, and your courtesy can go a long way toward avoiding additional emotional”and sometimes financial”stress.

  1. This is what you should do if you are nervous about speaking in a foreign language

Nervousness is normal - and part of learning a language abroad. Just give some time to it “ and relax! After a few hours or days, you will get used to your surroundings, make new friends and feel more comfortable speaking your new language. Anyone who has ever learned another language has experienced moments when they felt insecure about their knowledge. But look at it positively “ if you challenge your learning with curiosity, have a willingness to learn and take any language mistakes with a grain of salt, you will do more than well!

Some tips:

  • Remember, it's perfectly normal to be nervous - speech will come with time! The saying "practice makes perfect" is perfectly true!
  • Say YES to meeting new people. Group activities are good as you can choose between talking to one person or several depending on your mood.
  • Remember that a hike, bowling, walking around town, visiting an art gallery”or any other social activity that engages both your mind and body”are great ways to meet people, relax, and talk . There's something magical that happens when you use your hands or when you exercise that helps turn off the critical voice in your mind.
  • Treat yourself like a good friend. You would never laugh at a friend's attempt to learn a new language - so why be so hard on yourself?

  1. This is what you should do when you are lost abroad

Brilliant! Getting lost is a good thing (no, seriously “ we mean it). When you are abroad, there are endless opportunities to grow and crawl out of your "comfort zone", for example by feeling a little lost.

Some tips:

  • Download the city's public transport app and use it to find out which route you should take to get back home.
  • Carry a public transport map in your bag. Mark the easiest route to and from your accommodation and school. You can also note down alternative buses and train lines if there are any.
  • If you get lost - go into a cafe, bookstore, grocery store, tourist center or similar. Ask for help there and show them your map to illustrate where you are going. Don't be nervous about asking people to repeat directions “ often people love helping others navigate their hometown.
  • Think of the moments when you feel lost as language learning bonuses! You'll practice talking in real time with locals “ there's nothing better to improve your fluency in the language and your confidence.
  • If you have time and feel comfortable - dare to enjoy feeling a little lost. You might meet people you wouldn't have met otherwise or find your new favorite cafe, square, gallery, park or shop just around the corner.

There is probably a small risk that any of the above situations would occur. But if they do”or if a friend is experiencing a similar situation”hopefully these tips will help you feel more relaxed and ready to take action. Nice trip