Right about now, I should be packing for my trip of a lifetime -- a 12-day tour of Egypt with Nile River cruise. Evidently, when I booked my Top 20 deal from Gate 1 Travel last October, no one passed the information along to the good people of Egypt. Now, because of the political unrest, my March departure is canceled indefinitely. As the old adage goes, “Life happens.” (Or something like that....) But based on my experience, here are a few tips that might help lessen the blow if your trip of a lifetime goes awry, particularly if you’re headed to foreign or exotic destinations.
Research travel providers: There are many travel providers out there, and when it comes time to book your trip, be sure to do your research to know that the provider is reputable and positively reviewed. Don’t hesitate to call and ask lots of questions in advance of booking to get a feel for their customer service.
Travelers insurance: Sure, it costs more, but travelers insurance can help give you peace of mind that if something goes wrong your financial investment is secure. Be sure to read the fine print to know exactly what you’re covered for. Is it just medical? Does it include natural disasters, political unrest or even terrorist attacks? Many travel providers offer their own travel insurance, but if you feel the coverage is inadequate, you can always purchase additional coverage from a host of places, including insuremytrip.com.
U.S. State Department: The State Department website is a great resource for you when traveling overseas. Look for travel warnings or advisories, receive helpful tips, get emergency contact and consulate information to take along on your trip, and register to receive regular updates on happenings at your destination.
You catch more flies… The saying may be cliche, but it’s true. Should your trip be canceled for any reason, get on the phone with your travel provider and begin exploring your options. Be persistent, stand up for yourself, but always be cordial. It stinks (believe me, I know) but chances are, you’re not the first or only person to call with the same problem/situation and keeping calm and collected can go a long way. No one’s going to go above and beyond to help you if you’re a screaming lunatic.
Be flexible: The ship has sailed, you’re not going on your trip of a lifetime. Mourn it, but don’t get bogged down by it. So this trip isn’t happening this time -- you may not be able to go exactly when you want to or to the exact destination. But it’s a big world with lots of places to see and a lot of time to see it in.
So maybe I won’t be going to Egypt this March, but thanks to some good planning, flexibility and lots of patience, I’ve traded in pyramids for pastries for a 12-day tour of Budapest, Vienna and Prague … and I’m just as excited.