Your vacation is something you look forward to for months in advance and there is nothing more disheartening than unforeseen travel surprises. There are a number of things that can go wrong as soon as you leave home. I’m talking about things like the weather, traffic, aircraft mechanical problems, computer glitches, over bookings, strikes, customs delays and the list goes on.  So, don’t be caught off guard when you find out your flight is delayed, or your hotel is overbooked. Below are a few examples of travel surprises I have encountered in my travels.

Travel Surprise – Always wear layered clothing when returning home from warm destinations!

plane delaysI have spent my life travelling and I think I have witnessed just about every surprise imaginable. Here is just one example: I spent hours sitting on airport tarmacs because there were no gates available when we were diverted to a small back-up airport due to freezing rain at my destination. After five hours waiting our turn to deplane, it took another hour to go through immigration. Then, we were put onto school buses with virtually no heat for a five-hour drive to Toronto.  It gets worse. Since I originated in the Caribbean, I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I was freezing.  My jacket and sweater were packed in my luggage, which I couldn’t gain access to for security reasons.  I finally made it home … tired and irritable … 24 hours later. It gets worse. I developed a flu and cold along the way.

Travel Surprise – It’s time to dis-embark from your cruise vacation.

Cruising the MedImagine that you are taking a cruise and the cruise line says you will be able to disembark the ship at 8:00 AM and your bags are off the ship waiting for you to collect. Sounds easy doesn’t it? You booked your flight home for 10:00 AM thinking that you had plenty of time to get to the airport (only 15 minutes away). You easily exit the ship and head down the ramp to the customs and immigration area.  They ask if you hold an American passport. If yes, they allow you to go get your luggage and there is a 20-minute wait in line to show your passport and your customs declaration form.

For those who are NOT holding a US passport, you get in line behind 500 others with only four agents taking their time processing the masses one at a time. Forget your 10:00 AM flight as this customs process will take you a couple of hours to get through. Talk about frustrating.

Reminder: Always fly in the day before your board the ship the next day to prevent extra stress should there be delays on the day of your departure.

Travel Surprise – Delays, delays…. Delays!

I have experienced numerous times when airlines will change or cancel your flights and there is not much you can do about it. They are only committed to getting you to your destination. I planned a trip to Peru and had one easy connecting flight.  Well, the airline decided to change the times of the flight which meant there was not enough time to connect.  Hence, I was forced to fly via Bogota and sit in the airport for five hours until my final flight to Lima. This led to my arrival being delayed by seven hours. Very frustrating to say the least.

Final Travel Surprise – Always make sure you have Trip Protection Insurance

My last bit of advice is to always purchase trip protection insurance and not just medical insurance. You want to be covered for delays that you cannot control, and unfortunately this happens far too often. Recently, I arrived into JFK airport late and there was not enough time to make my next flight on a different airline. I had to purchase a brand-new ticket at the counter. My travel insurance covered the unexpected expense.

Conclusion

As your travel professional, my job is to be looking over your shoulder to help eliminate as many unforeseen travel surprises as possible. With my knowledge, I can remove the stress and put you in a position to create memories that last a lifetime!

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