france · Travel

How to Handle Any Problem While Travelling

Do airlines frequently lose your luggage? Are you worried about using your phone in another country? Or do you want to be prepared for everything, just in case? Read on for tips on how to handle every problem you may face while travelling.

I just got back from Paris, France recently. It was, without a doubt, the greatest trip I’ve ever had and I can’t wait to travel again. However, I also encountered more problems on this trip than on every other trip I’ve been on combined. Luckily, I managed to keep a level head and was able to handle every problem as it came.

Paris Eiffel Tower

Luggage is too Heavy

The first problem you’ll probably encounter arises before you even step foot on a plane. If your luggage is too heavy, you need to have options to deal with it to avoid being charged extra fees. Try moving things around. If your checked bag is too heavy, there may be extra room in your carry-on.

If there is no extra space, start taking clothing items out. Put on another t-shirt, put a sweater over that, put on a coat, and tie a jacket around your waist. You can also hold your heaviest coat and say you will use it on the plane.

Also, most airlines allow you to travel with a personal item (usually the size of a briefcase or small backpack). I like to carry a tote bag because you can fit a ton in there and the airline never weighs it. Keep your heavy shoes at the bottom of the bag along with any other small but heavy items.

If you’re only travelling with a carry-on, there’s a good chance you can get away without having it weighed at all. To do this, check in ahead of time. When you arrive at the airport, go straight to the security line with your luggage. Airlines will only weigh your carry-on if you are checking in a bag as well. As long as your carry-on bag fits the size/measurement requirements, nobody will stop you to weigh it. Occasionally at the gate the flight attendants will ask for the people with luggage vouchers to line up to board. If you went straight through security with your carry-on, you will not have a luggage voucher but should line up anyway. It is unlikely that anyone will notice you do not have a luggage voucher. If they do, just tell them no one gave you one for your luggage because you didn’t have to check in a bag. They usually keep extra luggage vouchers at the boarding gate and will give you one.

If you are worried about not having a luggage voucher, you can get one by asking one of the workers near the check-in lines. Tell them you do not have a bag to check-in so you only need a voucher for your carry-on. Be polite and the worker will usually grab one for you and attach it to your bag. And voila, you have a luggage voucher without needing to weigh your carry-on bag.

Long Delay/Lost Luggage

To prepare for the possibility of a long delay or lost luggage, always pack your necessities in your carry-on. Have a tooth brush, basic toiletries, a phone charger, and a change of clothes accessible at all times. Flying home from Paris, my flight was delayed due to technical difficulties and I had to spend the night at a hotel in Iceland (some people stayed the night in the airport, but I preferred to get a hotel room). Since I didn’t check in a bag and only had a carry-on, all my belongings were with me. You don’t want to have to scramble at the last minute to find contact lens solution or toothpaste when you find out you have to spend the night in another country.

Years ago, my family and I flew to South Africa and the airline lost our luggage. The airline gave us some money to cover our costs, but it was not much so we had to buy the cheapest clothes possible and wear them over and over until our luggage was found. Now when I travel, I make sure I always have a change of clothes. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable the return flight from Iceland would have been if I had not showered and changed into fresh clothes.

Also, check to see if you deserve to be compensated by the airline for any delays/inconveniences you experience.

Illness

Nobody wants to be sick on vacation, but being stuck on a cramped plane for hours makes it all too likely that you will catch something while on holiday. I was unlucky enough to get very sick my first day in Paris. At first I tried to go out and sight-see anyway, but I realized I needed to stay in my room and rest instead. If you catch something on the plane, there’s a good chance it isn’t too serious. By giving yourself some time to rest comfortably in a real bed (as opposed to those tiny plane seats), you should feel better the following day. Trying to go out and explore when you feel sick will only make things worse. Anytime you feel ill on holiday, take it easy and give your body the rest it needs. Just in case, travel with some Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or other medicine that can help reduce fever and alleviate other symptoms.

Phone Does Not Work

These days, everyone uses Google Maps to find their way around. A normal map just won’t cut it anymore. So it can be pretty scary when you arrive in another country and realize you can’t use your phone for directions or to call for help. First things first, before you leave for your trip, download Google Maps for your holiday destination. Now that Google lets you download maps, you can use them offline so it isn’t the end of the world if your data doesn’t work. Write down instructions ahead of time detailing how to get from your airport to your hotel/airbnb and use the downloaded map to find your way. When you get to your hotel/airbnb, use Wi-Fi to find the closest phone store (like Orange or Vodafone) to your location. Use your downloaded map and go to this phone store (it is usually within walking distance in most major cities). At the phone store, ask for a tourism SIM card with data, messaging, and minutes. An employee will help you set the card up. Be sure to store your original SIM card in a safe place so you can replace it when you get back home (depending on what kind of phone you have, you might want to buy a cheap tool to help you pop open the tray for your SIM card).

When the employee is replacing your SIM card, make sure they do it correctly and check that everything works. Because I was sick, I forgot to verify that my phone’s data worked after replacing the SIM card. The employee hadn’t entered in the necessary data for my mobile network so I had to find out how to do that on my own. To avoid making the same mistake I did, watch the employee carefully. He/she should replace the SIM card, restart the phone, and immediately go to your phone settings. He should change the network mode. If you’re from the US and visiting Europe, switch the network mode from Global to LTE/GSM/UMTS. The employee should also connect to that phone company’s access point. I had to connect to the Orange access point and enter a bunch of data manually to do that (but the employee should do it for you). You may or may not have to change your Data Roaming Access to allow your phone to find the phone company’s network. Once your phone is working, you should receive a text from the phone company saying that your SIM card is now registered and working. Make sure you can make calls and use data before leaving the store.

 

Any other travelling problems I missed that you’re worried about? Send me a question directly or ask in the comments.

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