Planning and preparing for your next trip, you think that you’ve got every angle covered. The bags are packed, you’ve double checked to ensure you have all of your documentation, the destination has been researched, online check-in initiated, cash in pocket, and the automatic cat feeder topped off. Things appear to be flowing well, at least for the moment. Three hours until takeoff and your ride should be arriving momentarily. Five minutes pass, then ten, and still no call. Chances can’t be taken, so you immediately contact the driver, who informs you that he’s just gotten a flat and should be there within twenty minutes. However, the time that you’ve already factored accounts for traffic enroute, and you know that you’ll now be cutting it close, and that is if his twenty minute estimate is even accurate; it could be later.
By the time you make it to the airport, you are now T-minus ninety-minutes and the security line is long, but not to worry, you’ve cut it close before. You pass through and casually stroll up to your gate, thinking everything is back on track now, just to see that the takeoff time for your flight was just pushed back an hour, due to weather delaying the plane you’re supposed to be on from taking off from their last location. And now your only thought is that the small window of time that you had to catch the connecting flight at your layover location is now gone, and you will have to look into a backup flight. It’s now time to get in line with the other twenty or thirty people in the same situation, just to be able to speak to the agent at the counter, who possibly won’t be able to get you a flight going into your final destination, because many other people are also delayed and being shifted around.
This type of scenario happens daily, and so many people are affected by the constant little setbacks. It’s almost not fair for you to have to experience it, because YOUR only job was to pay for the ticket and get yourself to where you are supposed to be, on time. And as long as you are where you need to be, everything else should be doing it’s part to work for you. But that isn’t how it always goes. The problem is, when putting plans together, we never seem to consider the fact that circumstances have a vote in how things go. And that is just another way of saying that we need to expect the unexpected in planning. Whether it is travel, or anything that relies on external variables coming together to help one successfully achieve a desired outcome, there needs to be a certain level of expectation for those things that we ourselves cannot control.
So, how does one get around this issue? Well, the simple answer is that you cannot always get around it. Like anything in life, when you try to mitigate every potential avenue in something, you begin to work backwards, and the same goes for planning. When we attempt to get ahead of the potential for the unexpected, we begin to create stress in different ways. For example, you maybe plan to get to the airport four hours before the flight, instead of two, but now need to cut into preparation time in the morning. But maybe you prepared the night before, although at the cost of cutting in to work time; those adjustments come at a cost.
The answer to resolving these issues is not necessarily to defeat those variables with time and action every time. But you can minimize potentials by planning, planning, and planning. Try getting an idea and writing down the other flights that arrive at your destination, in the event your flight for any reason gets pushed. With that information, at least you know where to direct your next move, rather than being at the mercy of random selection. If you know weather is rolling in, perhaps gather an idea of hotels at your layover. Or, one can also look into travelers insurance, if they think there is a chance for setbacks. The point is, you have to forecast the obvious, but sometimes its the not so obvious that will get you. The best that you can do each time, is understand that those things that cannot be controlled will always have a vote. Take the time to plan for contingencies and have an idea of what you can resolve, should the moment come where that idea is needed.
Tips along the way:
- Use a travel planning organizing service to assist you (www.Planiversity.com)
- Check the weather along your route before leaving the house
- Check in for your flight as early as you can (be proactive)
- Have an idea of where you can go or who you need to call in the event plans begin to fall apart
- Carry a few extra supplies in your bag, should you need them
- Charge your phone when you have the opportunity; a dying battery is sure to add to your stress
- Carry cash, don’t rely on card services when things fall apart