Smooth Sailing…

Or as smooth as we can make it.

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Bridge across the River Ness, Inverness, Scotland. Summer, 2013.

It all really comes down to identifying the hurdles you will most likely face and what you can do when you come across them. Last week, we covered lost luggage of all kinds and your options when it happens to you. This week we’ll tackle the other hurdles I’ve come up with (if anyone has anything else, comment below!).

The first “hurdle,” if this can really be called one, has a lot to do with planning before your trip and continuing to work at it while you are traveling; namely, sudden closures and openings. Each of these can reek havoc on your pre-trip schedule but, as long as you haven’t really over or under booked, you should still be fine. Basically, when you are planning before your trip, keep your options open and know your order of preference—what you are and aren’t willing to skip if it comes down to time, place, or money.

As you get closer to the time of your trip—or visit to a specific location if you are continuing your research while you are traveling—you should look back at each of these locations for hours and any listed reasons they may close suddenly. Some places can’t open during bad or rainy weather; knowing this before allows you to look up the weather on your way there to see when and if you’ll be able to do what you want. As I said before, this research should continue on trip as you near your locations as sudden closures of your predetermined sites can happen. My sister and I were supposed to travel a bit further than our lodging one of our days in the northern part of the UK but, because we looked up the castle we were bound for early, we discovered that the whole place was rented out for an event so no one else was being admitted. We were able to save ourselves a few hours of exploring the city we were sleeping in rather than a back and forth train (and possible cab) ride to not see what we wanted. Having options at each locations mean that you will have something to do or see even if a few things do shut down on you.

Generally, more things being open is a blessing rather than a problem. It can, however, in cases like festivals, make an area you thought would give you a small rest a lot more hectic than you planned for, as well as making the sites you wanted to visit more crowded or harder to get to. Then, of course, new things being opens also tends to add to your own list of things to see which can mean more schedule shuffling in your future. That is fine, breathe and look at your lists. Do you have time to add new things? If not, does anything new sound more interesting than what you had planned? It’s really a game of judging as these interruptions—unless you are really good at finding and navigating the cities local cites or blogs—tend to be discovered once your feet hit the floor of you main location so planning off the cuff is key here. Spontaneity is the spice of travel, so when unexpected openings happen look into it; going for it may become the highlight of your trip.

One of the really big hurtles that can through a wrench into your plans is missed transportation. From big transport to small, missing your connections between places really slows you down.

When it comes to large scale travel, the chance of something going wrong and you missing you plane or ship is the reason why travel insurance is offered and why you should really buy some. This insurance makes it possible to get back on your feet and get where you are going without starting from scratch. They’ll get you there as quick as they can but, the truth of the matter is, you will loose some time. So what to do? Call ahead. Anywhere you are staying, if you pre-rent your car/ have a service picking you up, or if you are meeting up with anyone once you get there. Let these groups know you’ve been delayed and when you think you will be getting in.

If it’s smaller level travel—buses, trains, ect—the real only choice there is to wait it out. You can look into other forms that will get you there but usually they will take longer once you figure them out or cost a lot more (again, you should balance out your options). If you do have to wait it out, pay attention to your schedules. Some trains you pick can be direct and others will stop at EVERY stop. This means you may get on your next train and get to your final destination an hour after the train that picked up after the one you got on. I mean it, really read the schedules. And of course, when in doubt, ASK FOR HELP! Something to remember as well (that people don’t always think about), when you travel further from densely populated areas (like cities at the top of countries with few other cities) the less stops will be made there so the time between train or bus pick ups can grow rapidly. I’ve missed a train before by a few minutes and had to wait around for three hours waiting. Just like in large scale travel, you should look into calling ahead to work out any of your arrangement. And something I didn’t mention before, in both large and small travel (just like sudden openings and closings), you’ll have to look into juggling the various sites you will or won’t have time for.

One of the largest issues people can run into while traveling are money issues. Again, this is a really important reason for having travel insurance and a friend who can get you money quickly in the mean time. We talked about this a bit in the last post so if you are worried about lost money, look there first. If there is a different issue, like withdrawal issues, here are some ideas. In my last trip, we found out when trying to get money from the ATM, our cards wouldn’t give us the requested money. As it turned out, despite our ages, our cards had a minors’ level access. It took my parents taking to the bank to up our limits to be able to get out the money we needed to pay the hostel.  Check things like your limits before you go as well as alerting your ban to your plans so they don’t shut your cards down for travels in places you aren’t normally in.

Another hiccup that happens is a sudden need to extend your stay on either large or small scales. Just like every other hiccup, the best thing to do is start making calls. Call your next night booking, travel booking or really anything that ends in booking and let them know you won’t be there when they expect. Some places will give you some money back if you let them know 48 to 24 hours before hand, so do your research. Basically, call anyone who is going to be affected. Then jump to finding a roof to cover your head and a bed to rest it on. Changing plans like this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you do it right but I definitely suggest doing some quick research and math to see what will and won’t mess up the rest of your travel plans.

And of course, have some fun. Trouble comes and goes but if you’ve every watched an Olsen twin movie, you know these can be the main ingredients to making the best adventures

Until next time and a clothing math problem to solve,

I’m Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

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Smooth Sailing…

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