5 Tips For Surviving Travel Nightmares

Travel Nightmares

Oh travel nightmares, if you’re a frequenter of the open road, skies, seas or…galaxy, I’m sure you’ve experienced at least one missed flight, luggage mix-up or forgotten passport moment. We’ve all been there, that’s why this post is a “must do” for any self-proclaimed travel writer.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a textbook Type A personality. I, unfortunately, have the bad habit of micro-managing my life, along with everyone else’s. This, however, is not the case when I travel. Some mystical force comes over me when I’m off adventuring that basically allows me to go with the flow, not direct the flow.

That being said, there are some travel nightmares that even my chilled out travel vibes can’t take care of. So, here are some tips on how to hold it all together when the unexpected happens in a country far away.

Repeat After Me: Travel Insurance Is My Best Friend

I promise, this is not me trying to be preachy, but travel insurance really is something to heavily consider. The last thing we want to think about when planning the trip of a lifetime is the possibility of getting into an accident or falling ill abroad, however, it’s something you need to at least think about. Life happens a lot more often than you’d think and part of life involves unexpected problems while travelling.

Personal story time: Last year while living in Sweden, I came down with an absolutely brutal cold that would not go away, no matter what I tired. As it turned out, I had developed a sinus infection that needed to be treated with antibiotics, which meant a trip to the doctor. Had I been without insurance, I would have paid over $400 for a 10-minute chat with the doctor and two weeks worth of medication.

Travel insurance is generally a cheap addition to your travel budget and can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Practise Yoga Breathing

Ok, maybe don’t bust out Warrior Pose in the middle of the airport, but try to remain calm. This one is less relevant for when you’re about to miss your flight, in which case – RUN! However, if you miss the day trip you’ve been looking forward to, you go on vacation and it rains all week or your accommodations turn out to be not so perfect, this tip is for you. Something’s can’t be helped, so take a deep breath, deal with it and move on. There are always other activities to do, things to see and the best to make of a less than great situation.

Don’t Turn into the Hulk

This is for all of us who maybe can’t just “deal and move on”; see how I said “us”? Sometimes you just can’t let a situation go, put please, don’t turn into a big green giant. This is especially true when travelling with friends or family. During travel disasters, we often have little patients and are super high-strung, which can lead to tension and the occasional crappy friend moment. Trust, I’ve been that crappy friend a time or two. But, this is not the time for placing blame on a friend who you think made you late or who isn’t visibly as stressed as you are. Travel nightmares are taxing enough as it is, you don’t need to get into a petty argument to top it off.

Be a Fully Functioning Adult

At my day job, we tend to book a lot of travel for people and one of the top questions we jokingly ask is, “are you a fully functioning adult?” We’re teasing of course, but it basically means – “If shit hits the fan while you’re away, do you have enough space on your credit card to book a hotel or buy a meal?” That’s pretty much it; always make sure you have an “Oh shit” fund in the off chance that you actually have to use it.

Be Prepared For It ALL Travel nightmares

This tip is courtesy of my mom who always reminds me to bring a photocopy of my passport with me on every trip. I know the natural reaction to parental advice is to do the opposite, but you should just take my mom’s word for it. Always be prepared with copies of important documents, money, socks, underwear, puppies, joy…you get the picture!

And there you have it, folks, my sure-fire way to avoiding mental breakdowns in foreign airports. You’re welcome!

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10 Free Activities In Edinburgh

freeactivitiesBefore I touched down in Scotland, I had laid out a strict budget for myself. Life as an au pair is great but the money is tight, so my goal was to do as many free things as I could. After a little research I found a few attractions that looked interesting, but I also wanted to keep an open mind and feel out the city once I got there. My hostel was located in the heart of the Royal Mill aka the budget exterminator, so I quickly discovered free attractions were an absolute must if I wanted to work within my budget. Luckily, Edinburgh offers some amazing free attractions.

Arthur’s Seat

If you’ve heard anything about Edinburgh, it has probably been about Edinburgh Castle. Located on top of an ancient volcano, the castle sits high above the city. Despite it’s undeniable beauty, admission will set you back around 15 pounds. If you make your way up to the castle and look back down the Royal Mill, you will see Arthur’s Seat.

Located on the far end of the Royal Mill is a second volcano that provides the most spectacular views of the city. There are several paths you can take up to the top, ranging from fairly easy to more challenging hikes. On your way up you can easily find a good spot in the grass to eat a snack and take in the view. Not only is it free, it’s also a nice way to stay active while traveling.



 FreeWalking Tour

This one is a staple in basically every city around the world. Walking tours are a great way to learn about the places you travel to. If nothing else, you will usually be able to discover things you want to explore more in depth. While on the tour, it’s always a good idea to chat up the guide, usually a local. They’re more then happy to recommend some of their favorite places to go/ things to do in the city.

Find Tom Riddle In Greyfriars Kirkyard

This is especially for my fellow Harry Potter fans. It’s no secret that Edinburgh inspired many aspects of J.k Rowling’s books. The first two books were written in a cafe that looked onto the Castle and George Heriot’s school and the rumor is, Rowling would walk through Greyfriars to find inspiration for the names of her characters on the tombstones. Although there are several notable names the cemetery, the most notorious of all is Thomas Riddle, thought to be the inspiration behind the Dark Lord himself.

The Royal Botanical Gardens

I’m one of those people who loves big cities, but I also crave some time alone with nature, which is why I loved The Botanical Gardens so much. Entry into the grounds is free and you’re able to wander around gorgeous flower beds and water installations. The garden is about a 30 minutes walk from Royal Mill, so you can also get a good look at the city while making your way over.

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Prince Street Gardens

Another green space to escape to. Prince Street Gardens is the perfect place to start your morning with a quick walk and coffee break on one of the many benches. From the Gardens you will have a breathtaking view of both Edinburgh Castle above and the Scott Monument.


National Museum of Scotland

Coming from a place in Canada where museum entry costs a fortune, I like to take advantage of free museums. This is one of those attractions that you save for a rainy day, which come quickly and frequently in Edinburgh. Be sure to visit Dolly, the first cloned animal.

Calton Hill

Another great view of the city. Calton Hill gives you a different perspective of Edinburgh. Here you can see well over the city, seeing both The Castle and Arthur’s Seat. The hill is also home to a number of different monuments, including one with some unexpected greek flair.


St. Giles’ Cathedral

Located in the thick of the Royal Mill, St. Giles’ Cathedral stands ready to be explored, for free. Oddly enough, St. Giles is not a Catholic church, therefore is not an actual Cathedral. Although it’s not a Cathedral by definition, it’s a beautiful church to visit. Bonus points if you can find an angel playing bagpipes, it is Scotland after all.


Scottish National Gallery

What can I say, it’s another free museum. This one is focused on art, specifically from the Renaissance period. It’s a great gallery for anyone who loves art and painting.

Portobello Beach

Although you won’t see me jumping in the water on a typical day in Scotland, Portobello Beach is a great place to walk along the water and relax. Once you’re done your walk, you can check out many of the coffee shops and places to eat.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post and found it helpful. What are some of your favourite things to do in Edinburgh? Are there any more free activities in Edinburgh that I should know about?

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