What to do when these 5 travel nightmares occur

With travel borders opening up, here are some useful tips to resolve common travel crises.

Nurul Mardhiah

I like chewing ice.

Published: 27 May 2022, 5:01 PM

The June holidays are coming and overseas travel is back on!

Whether you are planning on heading down to Malaysia to visit relatives or planning a big trip with your friends after graduating, here are five of the most common travel nightmares and how to get out of them. 

1. Losing your passport

Losing your passport can be difficult as it is one of the most crucial items to have on you when you are overseas. However, do not fear and panic in the event you do lose it as there is always a way for you to return home.


Using a passport cover can also help in easily identifying your passport. PHOTO CREDIT: AGUS DIETRICH VIA UNSPLASH


When this happens, immediately lodge a police report with a local police station and contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission. You can find the different locations on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) website

At the Singapore Overseas Mission, you should submit the police report you lodged, two recent passport-sized photographs, and any form of documentary proof of your citizenship status, and identification such as your identity card. 

You will then be issued a Document of Identity (DOI) that allows you to return to Singapore. The DOI costs $15. Once you reach Singapore, you will have to immediately apply for a new passport at the Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). 

2. Losing your wallet

Amidst the unfamiliarity of a foreign country, unfortunate situations such as your wallet being stolen could occur. Losing your wallet overseas could mean losing several important items such as debit and credit cards, identity cards, cash, and even your hotel key cards. 

A tip when travelling is to keep emergency cash or cards in different bags before entering a country. Spreading out your cash minimises the chance of losing all of your money at once.


Never carry all of your money in your wallet when you go out. PHOTO CREDIT: HAMED TAHA VIA UNSPLASH


In the event when you do lose your wallet, the first thing you should do is call your bank to cancel or freeze all of your cards immediately. This ensures that no one will get a chance to misuse your cards. 

Some payment networks allow you to request emergency cash. For example, Mastercard provides a list of emergency hotlines for various countries that you can contact to get local currency wired to you. Other banks might be able to send you replacement cards as well. 

Once your cards are settled, it is time to lodge a police report so that the authorities can take action in case of identity theft or fraud under your stolen IDs. 

Bring a copy of the police report to any Singapore Overseas Mission if you lost any form of identification. You can also contact your friends and family so that they can send some money to you through these offices as soon as possible. 

3. Missing a flight

Have you ever had trouble sleeping the night before your overseas trip? On top of the excitement and adrenaline of visiting another country, one of the biggest fears people have before a big trip is missing their flight. 

In the unlikely event that you have missed or realise you are going to miss your flight, the first thing you should do is to call the airline. 


Check if there are any updates to your flight timings especially when there is potentially bad weather before you leave for the airport. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/NICOLE DESCALSOTA


Some American airlines like Delta Air Lines and American Airlines will allow you to get onto the next flight without additional charges if you arrive at the airport within two hours. 

This is an unofficial rule called the flat-tire rule. However, it is only applicable if you missed your flight due to circumstances beyond your control. For example, you missed your flight due to bad weather, traffic congestion, medical emergencies, or security checks. 

If your airline is unable to do anything about your situation, you might have to book another flight. 

4. Missing luggage

Before boarding a plane, put special and unique markers such as stickers, tags, or colourful ribbons on all of your luggage and take a picture of all of them.


If you are travelling in a group, it is also advisable to put the same kind of unique markers on everyone’s luggage. PHOTO CREDIT: AMERICAN GREEN TRAVEL VIA UNSPLASH


When you realise that your luggage did not arrive at the airport, immediately report to the nearest information counter or approach any airline staff for help. Sometimes luggages and bags might have been switched by accident. 

You can also show the airline staff member what your luggages looks like with the photos you took before the trip and speed up the process of finding them. 

If your luggage goes missing in the hotel, report to any hotel staff member immediately. They will be able to help you find your luggage in the hotel and assist you in making a police report. 

5. Misplacing your phone

Before you begin your trip, ensure that you turn on your phone’s GPS and make sure that your phone has access to data overseas. This allows you to use features such as Find My iPhone or Find My Device. 

By connecting to another device, you can track the location of your phone and find out where your phone was last seen. You can even lock your device and erase the data from your phone using another device. Make a police report if you cannot find your phone using these features. 


The police will contact you if they manage to find your phone. Don’t forget to get a copy of the police report for any insurance claims. PHOTO CREDIT: VANDAN PATEL VIA UNSPLASH


If you lose your phone in places like the hotel, shopping centres and museums, find the nearest information counter to ask for assistance and check if anyone has returned your device.

Despite the enjoyable and entertaining experiences, visiting a foreign country can still be nerve-wrecking and intimidating. It is normal to encounter a few bumps on the road. 

Don’t panic when anything goes wrong and approach every situation calmly. Always be prepared before the trip and don’t forget to keep important documents such as police reports that you have filed during the trip with you. 

Last tip, don’t forget to have fun. It’s not everyday you get to see new sights, learn new cultures, and meet new people, so enjoy it. Stay safe and have a pleasant trip ahead! 

You may like these