How to Reduce your Travel Risks


When I was planning our family vacations doubts would always come into play. Well we are driving in a 1984 station wagon with a four year old and eight year old when we started this. It’s pretty crazy and I started to worry. What if we break down, what if the car catches on fire, what if we get lost. Well luckily all three of those happened. And not only did they happen they happened several times, well except for the fire, the car only caught on fire once, knock on wood.

But here’s the thing. I expected things to not always go perfectly. That does not mean I did not prepare and over plan. I surely did.

So today I wanted to take you through what I did to help reduce our risks while traveling.

AAA Travel InsuranceRoad Trips

First off we travel mostly on our Griswold Family Vacation site on Road Trips. So if you have an older car like us, take it to a mechanic. We do this constantly and it helps give you a little piece of mind and will help you on short road trips for sure. Also if you road trip get tow coverage. I joined AAA and got the top plan before we decided to drive 3,000 across America on route 66. Not only did I join AAA but I also joined Good Sams for their two plan. Both two plans are different and I wanted to be sure that if I was broken down in the desert with my wife and two little girls that someone would come and get us and the car.

Road Trip Tow Insurance

During our ten days of driving we broke down three times. One time the car caught on fire in Santa Rosa New Mexico and that went we used AAA to tow it to Bozo’s Garage, yes that was the name of the garage. The incident put us a half day behind schedule but we go back on the road the next afternoon.

Griswold Vacation Wagon Queen Family TrucksterBe Prepared for Vacation Emergencies

Speaking of fires and break downs, I of course brought a fire extinguisher and that is something you should have too. It’s important that you can get to it. When smoke is billowing out of the hood of your car you don’t want to be digging through luggage to find your fire extinguisher.

Lisa and I also made sure we had our cellphones and that they were always charged. We had car chargers with us and we ever went as far as to signing her up with a pay as you go monthly plan on Version and me on AT&T. This helps to make sure one of us always has coverage when we road trip. We tried TMobile before and for hours at a time there was no phone service when we would road trip across the US.

Expect Delays and Issues

I expected one major break down in our ten day road trip across America. We were in repair shops three times. There were times when it was 120% F in the desert and we would not see another car for hours. I have to say it was nerve racking at times especially since the break downs were reoccurring and the nearest town at times was over 100 miles away. But we were prepared with food, water, cellphones, etc. And when issues happened we just worked them out step by step. I also have to say our kids had some of their best vacation moments when things would go wrong. A stray cat became our friend at a repair shop, leaves and sticks were turned into people and dresses, and rocks, wow did they collect rocks from every place we went.

The thing is, we create amazing memories and we survived. It’s all part of the travel journey and when you look back at your travels you remember all the fun times but you also remember the challenges you had. They make for great stories and for some reason after you have concurred them they become fond memories in most cases.

Get Travel Insurance

As I write this article I am sitting in Australia. I have been here so far for eight days, with literally just the shirt on my back. My airline lost all my luggage and I figure after eight days and no leads it’s gone. So the airline pays by the pound for your luggage when you take an international flight with a Max amount of $560. That’s after you fill out countless paperwork, send in detailed lists, and copies of every ticket, bill etc. I don’t know about you, but when I travel across the world for over two weeks my bags are worth well more than $500 bucks. So I bought travel insurance on my own and that will cover most of my loss. I will be sure to write another article about dealing with airlines and lost luggage after this learning experience comes to a close.

Document your stuff

It’s important to have your vacation itinerary, passports, travel documents, phone numbers etc all photocopied and stored in at least two different places. Like me when I lost my baggage I still had a copy of my documents in my carry on. I also took a photo of my luggage on my cellphone and could show it to the airline at the lost luggage desk. I however did not inventory everything in my bags. That’s a little much to do every time you travel. I should have taken a photo or two of the contents but I did not.

Just be prepared is the moral of the story and when things go wrong, which they can often do, it will be less stressful and you can quickly move back to enjoying your vacation.


Have you had travel delays, road trip mishaps, lost luggage or some other challenge to overcome while on your vacations? I would love to hear about it. Please share your story with the community by leaving your comment.