Holiday trips are here, bringing travel nightmares. Delays, cancellations, sleeping in airports instead of with loved ones or nursing a margarita at sunset – all horrible to contemplate. And I sincerely hope that such a true travel nightmare will not repeat itself.
But many people have different fears, reveals a new survey of 1,000 Americans by Passport Photo Online, a tech startup developing artificial intelligence tools for taking biometric photos. The study asked respondents if they had ever had a travel nightmare, what it was like and if they had any advice on how to combat potential travel disasters.
These are mostly G-rated issues, not dramatic ones like shooting or kidnapping like in the “Taken” movies. If you want real travel nightmares, the State Department has a website for that. Travel.State.Gov introduces the world by providing travel advice.
And one person’s travel nightmare may be routine for someone else. I caught COVID-19 after a trip to Las Vegas in May, but was back on my feet within a week.
The study found that 92% of Americans have experienced at least one driving nightmare in their lifetime. The three most common travel nightmares in the US are losing or getting separated from a travel partner (66%), having planned activities fall through (63%), and having to stay in a bad hotel or accommodation (62%). This definitely fits in with one of my travel fears, getting bad service .It’s a fear that has come true all too often.Other top ten travel nightmares:
Getting a minor illness, such as a cold: 61%
· Big argument with travel partners: 59%
· The weather was terrible during the entire trip: 58%
· The hotel canceled my reservation: 56%
Losing your wallet, phone, passport or other valuables: 56%
Need to seek emergency medical care: 54%
Getting lost or stuck: 52%
Nearly half of respondents said it cost them between $500 and $5,000 when things went wrong on vacation. 18 percent said their travel nightmare cost between $501-1,000, 12% said it cost $1,001-2,000, 10% $2,001 to $3,000: 6% said it cost them $3,001-5,000, and 1% admitted they were out of pocket .
Another cost, in addition to the loss of cash and pleasure, is the loss of time. As the study noted, most Americans only have 10 days of PTO (Europeans often get 20 days of personal time off), so losing a day can mean losing 10% of your vacation.
Given all this, it seems surprising that 81% of US tourists took the risk of arriving at a destination without travel insurance. Of those, 71% regret it. Refundable tickets and hotel rooms have helped lure travelers away from the coronavirus cave-in, but airlines and hotels are reducing the These “benefits”.
Many of the other travel nightmares waste time and money. For example, 32% claim to have been arrested while on vacation! The unofficial motto of Las Vegas was “Come on vacation, leave on parole.” The research shows that the world of the hangover may have been more real than we thought.
Other travel nightmares include losing money in a scam (51%; note to self – don’t play three-card monte in Times Square), pickpocketing (try a money belt), enduring a natural disaster, 45%, a car accident 40%, and the special nightmare of COVID, having to quarantine with The arrival, 47%.
Notes showed the impact of these failures.
“I was stung by a jellyfish. It hurt a lot.”
“I had to stay in a disgusting hotel on our trip to Orlando. It was almost bad in a movie, with stains on the sheets and mold on the bathroom walls. I will never let my wife choose rooms again.”
“Our plane broke down before takeoff, and we had to wait eight hours for another flight.”
As for me, I’ve had my fill of horrible hotels. But if there is a reincarnation, I hope I don’t come back as a rental car, condemned to drive on a sidewalk.
Airlines have also created their fair share of travel disasters.
· My bag was lost or stolen: 59%
· My flight was cancelled: 56%
· My flight was diverted, causing a major delay: 56%
· I missed my flight: 55%
· Sent luggage severely damaged: 52%
· Luggage sent lost or stolen: 50%
Deferred boarding or entry to the destination due to the lack of a vaccination certificate against COVID-19, a negative test or another reason related to the corona: 49%
What can you do with all this? The respondents advised:
· Arriving at the airport with plenty of time before the flight: 61%
· Write your name and address on the outside tag of your bag: 58%
· Check the travel and testing requirements for COVID-19 for your destination: 56%
· Make a photocopy of your passport: 55%
· Print all confirmation messages: 55%
· Contact hotels and airlines to double check your reservations: 55%
· Always check the seat back pocket before leaving the plane: 54%
Always buy travel insurance: 51%
However, the best advice is often the simplest. As one said, “Get a supportive travel partner.”