The Sane Girl's Travel Guide to a No-Stress Summer Vacation
Instant Fixes for Unexpected Problems
Your flight got canceled. Immediately pick up a cell phone and call the airline reservation number, says Bob Jones, a travel expert at onetravel.com. An attendant behind the counter can put you on a new flight, but more agents are available via phone, so you may book a new flight more quickly.
You're seriously lost. When you're circling the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge for the twentieth time, again let your cell phone bail you out. Use your phone's browser to access MapQuest Mobile ($4 per month, mapquest.com/mobile), which will instantly supply maps and directions for anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.
You got robbed. Call your credit-card companies immediately to report the stolen cards. Ideally, you have with you a list of the card numbers, which will expedite cancellation. Have the company put a fraud alert on your file so that you'll be notified if anyone tries to open a card under your name. If you're now dead broke, ask someone back home to wire money via Western Union, which is available in more than 200 countries, says Ziff. If your passport was stolen, immediately go to the American embassy or consulate; they can reissue you one, but be prepared to wait a few days or (in some cases) even weeks. Having a photocopy of your passport may speed up the process.
You're wrestling with reservations. It may seem so 20th-century, but when you're planning a trip or making changes on the road, call the hotel or local rental-car office directly. They'll have the most up-to-the-minute information on overbooking or on deals that are suddenly available due to last-minute cancellations (like weddings). Plus, you can ask about any specials they are advertising locally.
If you still don't have any luck, ask for the manager on duty or the director of sales, says Peter Greenberg, NBC's travel editor and author of The Traveler's Diet: Eating Right and Staying Fit on the Road. Managers tend have the power to make things happen for you, whether it's an upgrade or a discount.
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