The 8 Most Common Things that Go Wrong when you Travel

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Share on LinkedIn

Adventure is the name of the game at the moment. More and more young travellers are booking trips overseas, adventuring in the depths of an Asian jungle or plunging from a waterfall in Mexico. While the “Eurotrip” was once popular (and still is), more and more travellers are opting for more adventurous travels – and I’m one of them. Now that’s not to say I don’t love me some culture and museums, I do, but the moments I remember and reminisce about for years to come are the crazy pushing-the-boundaries adventures like bungy jumping from the highest bungy in the world, standing on the same ground as a white rhino just feet away, or flying over glaciers and icebergs in Canada recently.




What Goes Wrong When You Travel?

It was this recent trip to Canada filming a short video for Southern Cross Travel Insurance that got me thinking: I wander what are the most common things to go wrong for travellers? A bit of interwebs research later and I’ve found the 8 most common things that go wrong when you travel – MANY of which have happened to me. Let’s take a look:

Lost Luggage

Lost luggage is a pretty common occurrence, though in recent years it has been tackled head-on by the airline industry. Still, in 2014 7.3 bags per thousand passengers are lost in transit. That often means your bags will arrive a day or two after you arrive at your destination, but sometimes means your bags will be chasing you on your grand adventure and eventually be reunited with you back at home, leaving you luggage-less. This happened to me in Abu Dhabi when flying with Etihad and resulted in a painful 6 hours waiting in transit without permission to catch my ongoing flight to Moscow until the luggage was found. Of course by the time it had been found, I had missed the once-daily flight to Moscow and was forced to stay overnight in Abu Dhabi before continuing on to Moscow the next day (not a bad thing in usual circumstances, however missing meetings with Russians is never a thing you want to do!!!)

Cancellations & Delays

Still in the airport, the second most common thing to go wrong for travellers are delays and cancellations. Its good to know your rights before this happens to you, as even without travel insurance an airline is liable to cover your hotel and food costs until a replacement flight becomes available. Just be sure to keep your receipts!

Missing Your Departure

Still not off the ground, one of the most common things to go wrong for travellers is to miss their departures on planes, trains, ferrys, etc. If this happens to you through no fault of your own (weather, etc.) your travel insurance policy should cover you. I experienced this a few years ago when connecting in Philadelphia for a flight to Los Angeles from New York, forcing me to miss my connecting international flight back to Australia. My travel insurance covered me for x1 night of accommodation and all meals (again, don’t forget to keep those receipts!)

Lost Passport

Most travellers will say that they would rather lose their passport than their smartphone, but when it actually happens to you it can be quite frustrating! Depending on where you are in the world will highly influence how easy (or in many cases not so easy) it is to arrange a replacement passport at your embassy. A great idea to ease the pain a little is to carry around a scanned copy of your passport to make the process less time consuming for officials.

Being Mugged

Surprise, surprise! Mugging is really as common as you are led to believe by the many warnings you hear, see, and could nearly recite in your sleep. The most common places for being mugged are on public transport, at tourist attractions, and in large crowds (particularly when watching an entertainer). Luckily you can claim all your belongings with your travel insurance, but to avoid it happening to you be sure not to put your safekeepings in your back pocket or leave the zips on your bag undone.

Medical Claims

I was always one to think “it won’t happen to me” until the day finally came when I was admitted to hospital in South Africa for exhaustion, follow by another admission earlier this year in the USA (which, mind you, will cost a small fortune). Luckily, my travel insurance (SCTI) covered my $6,000+ of medical bills as it allowed for “unlimited” emergency medical attention. As such, it turned out to be quite a sound investment!

Natural Disasters

Sadly there are also things that go wrong which are completely out of your hands and there is little rectification available. However if you haven’t left the country yet, the good news is that you – and your loved ones – are safe. If this happens to you, be sure to check your airline policy as well as travel insurance policy regarding natural disasters.

Political Unrest

Another one out of your control is political unrest. The best thing you can do to prevent travelling somewhere unsafe is to do your research before you go. Also don’t just be led to believe (thanks to the media) that if there is fighting “in Egypt” that the WHOLE of Egypt is unsafe. More often than not, the unrest or violence is constricted to a small area. If you are still worried about your travel plans, consult your travel insurance provider or consider re-routing your airline ticket to a new destination.


Thanks to Southern Cross Travel Insurance for the chance to push the boundaries in a 3-part “Travel Smart” video series on Youtube!
Parts II and III coming soon!

You Might Also Like

    September 21, 2015 at 5:21 am

    I’ve never had any of the problems above but maybe it’s because I’m a) lucky b) still have to travel more!
    I guess I’m a bit careless in that sense, though, because I never considered getting a travel insurance, really, because, being a European and traveling within Europe, I can get medical help anytime, anywhere. It’s just so easy for me! But of course, that will have to change as soon as I start exploring the rest of the world..

    September 10, 2015 at 12:20 am

    I’ve had so many flight delays I’ve lost count! 2014 was an exceptional year for me in the travel delay department. Every time it’s happened I’ve at least been compensated with food and hotel vouchers or received a complete refund even if the flight eventually takes off!

    Although it’s all worth it to satiate that travel bug! 🙂

    September 9, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Fear of losing my bags is a big one for me!

    Especially because I just bought a whole new wardrobe for Europe so if I lost it on the way there I would be sooooooo devastated.

    September 9, 2015 at 3:06 am

    How about when you hotel booking goes AWOL? Not a very pleasant when arriving in Mumbai at 2 a.m. 😛

    Maddy @ Travel Alphas
    September 9, 2015 at 2:39 am

    These are all so true! About half of these things have happened to me. Hoping that the other half won’t ever happen, but who knows!

    Anything and everything can go wrong while traveling, but that’s half the adventure!

    – Maddy

    September 9, 2015 at 2:25 am

    This is a good list of things to watch out for!

    September 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Political unrest is just about the one that has never happened to me. Volcano eruptions, excessive rains, being sick, lost luggage… I almost lost my passport too: I decided I would take a copy of it, just in case I lost it, and forgot the passport in the copy machine. I had to RUN to get it back, as I was meant to board a bus to go across the border!

    September 8, 2015 at 4:42 am

    I haven’t traveled much, but I’ve already experienced 5 of these problems. I am sure the rest will come with time and mileage, although I hope I never lose my passport, that one gives me the biggest jitters.

    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    September 8, 2015 at 4:17 am

    I’ve dealt with flight cancelations and delays quite a few times. Never be afraid to file a claim with the airline company; the worst they can do is refuse to refund you, but it’s good to t least try!

    September 8, 2015 at 1:18 am

    The lost luggage problem has always been on my radar (to many stories from family members), but loosing my passport sounds so much worse. I think I’d feel country-less for awhile. lol

    September 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    This is a clever list! I believe missing my flight would be so annoying, as it is no one but your own fault! 😛

    September 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    I think I’ve been pretty lucky as none of these have happened to me *touch wood* although I have lost a lot of things… Left a phone in a taxi in Vegas.. Debit card along with my retainer somewhere in Ubud.. But I guess it’s better that it’s me to blame right? Loved reading this post though!
    Steph x

    September 7, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Luckily none of these things ever happened to me *fingers crossed* but you’re definitely right – they’re super annoying and can happen to everyone.

    Love, Kerstin

    Marie C.
    September 6, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I was once mugged while traveling, need I say not a wonderful experience :/

    September 6, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    I’ve had my fair share of travel mishaps and, funnily enough, they always happen in Europe! I dislocated my knee in London so was hospitalised for that; missed the Eurostar, got mugged AND was locked out of my apartment – all in the one night; and just recently, Malaysia air failed to book me onto the last leg of my flight from London to Framkfurt. Not only did I have to deal with multiple staff members who treated me like I was trying to score a free flight (hint Malaysua Air, it’s not ‘free’ if I’ve paid for it), but I then missed my next flight and had to catch a train cross-country. But hey – as long as you’re safe, often these stories become some of the ones in highest rotation at dinner parties!

    Download Mp3
    September 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    wow… nice mastah

    September 6, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    The only travel tragedy that keeps occurring to me is an incomplete reservation by a 3rd party. I’ve been bumped from flights and even an overnight train in Thailand. Of course all you can do is laugh at that point


    September 6, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Great article!

    White Walls & Wanderlust | A wanderlust-ridden blog with bits of photography, food, style, and more.

    – Alex