I’ve been on the road since May 2016 and I’ve run into some travel troubles. None of them were life threatening although they did cause a LOT of frustration at the time.

 

I wanted to share the troubles that I’ve seen so you can avoid the same travel troubles …

 

 

Mexico

 

Playa del Carmen was my first stop on this solo adventure. I wanted to be able to get around easily, to town and to the dog shelter I was volunteering at, so I decided to hire a bike.

 

Easily done and off I happily cycled. Well for the first 24 hours at least. After that my bike was stolen from the front of a busy shopping mall.

 

Tip 1

Ask locals if bike stealing is common in the area you’re in. Turns out it was in Playa del Carmen and I was to hear many, many stories about bikes getting stolen.

 

Tip 2

Don’t expect the bike shop to have any sympathy for you. I had a fair amount of trouble with the bike shop as they insisted that I had to pay more money on top of the one month bike rental I’d paid in advance and the security deposit that I’d given them. I didn’t give them extra money (I’d checked in advance how much the bikes were actually worth).

 

They decided to add extra charges to my credit card, even though I hadn’t approved them.

 

Keep an eye on your credit card statement if you ever give a deposit using your credit card.

 

Tip 3

Get a sturdy chain to go with your big padlock.

Guatemala

 

What do you do when you find that your card has been skimmed and that someone has been withdrawing money?

 

My eftpos card was skimmed while I was in Mexico. They didn’t use it until 3 months later, just as I was about to leave Guatemala.

 

When this happens the first thing you need to do is to contact your bank to have them cancel your card. Of course that might leave you in a tricky situation so be sure to get cash out before you contact them.

 

I was about to head to Costa Rica and would be moving around a lot over the next few weeks, which meant I had no fixed address to give to my bank to send my new card to. Problem!

 

Luckily a friend of mine had a great solution. Ask the bank to send the card to a DHL office, where I could pick it up later.

 

Problem solved! I knew I’d be in Granada in Nicaragua at some stage so I gave the address of the local DHL branch to the bank.

 

I was a bit nervous about whether the card would arrive or not but it did! It was great to be able to track on line where the parcel was in it’s journey.

Costa Rica

 

Be aware that when you extend your travel insurance that it’s not a true extension (getting my ex-lawyer cap on here) as if you’ve injured yourself during the initial policy period that injury will now be seen as pre-existing and you’re unlikely to be covered.

 

That came as a shock to me the first time it happened as usually an extension means that the original contract stands with a different end date (and any other changes that the parties have agreed to). Not so with travel insurance policies.

 

Tip

Book your travel insurance for the entire length of your trip.

 

Uruguay

 

What to do when your Air Bnb host cancels at the last minute?

 

There I was, packing up the last of my things, getting ready to catch a train, a ferry then a bus to travel from Buenos Aires to Montevideo in Uruguay (where I would be living for the next month).

 

I did a last check of my emails (as I would be wifi free for the whole day) and saw an email from AirBNB.

 

“Your host has cancelled your reservation”

 

What! I quickly emailed the host to see if this was true. It was. I had 15 minutes before I was due to leave my apartment so I had to make a quick decision if I wanted to go to a new country, in peak season, with no where to stay.

 

Although I was nervous at this prospect I decided to give it a go.

 

I arrived in Montevideo at 5pm ready to start looking for a place.

 

Tip 1

Always make sure you know exactly where you’ll be arriving. My Airbnb host was meant to pick me up from the bus station so I hadn’t looked at the map to see where I would arrive. Awkward.

 

Tip 2

Have the right power adaptor. This was the first time I’d arrived in a country and forgotten to check if I had the right adaptor.

 

My laptop hadn’t shut down fully in my rush to leave so I had no battery power. My phone was also about to die on me. I found two very kind waitresses and they let me leave my big bag with them while I headed off to buy an adaptor.

 

By the time I got back it was 6pm and I decided that looking for an apartment was pointless and I needed to find a hotel for the night. I booked the cheapest I could find.

 

Tip 3

AirBnB was willing to reimburse my hotel charge up to twice what I’d paid. If I’d known this in advance I would’ve booked myself a nicer hotel and had a better nights sleep.

 

I began emailing new apartments to see what was available. They were all over my budget!

 

Tip 4

When a host cancels at the last minute AirBnb automatically gives you 10% of the price you’d paid as a credit to use in booking a new apartment as they figure that having to book at the last moment will cost you more.

 

It all worked out for me in the end and I found an apartment I could move into the next day. If I’d been aware of what happens when an Air Bnb host cancels I would’ve been far more relaxed during my trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay.

 

 

Have you had any travel troubles? Do you have any tips that you could share?

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