No matter how much you think your plan is fool proof, it isn't. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, sometimes your stupid and sometimes you screw the plan up just because. This is so very true when going abroad. Even if it's just a little weekend away, shit can hit the fan at some point, especially on a student budget. I've been homeless, hungry, lost, flat out broke, burnt, attacked, sick, stranded and had my campsite invaded by a pack of wild boars on my travels. While I do like the occasional unexpected twist when abroad, it's not everyone's cup of tea.
One of the major reasons I end up in these situations is that I'm a poor student when I go traveling. When it all falls apart, I can't afford to fix the situation properly. Now I could probably plan ahead a little better, and for those of you that don't like change, do this; plan to a motherfucking 'T' and then some. Something will no doubt happen along the way that'll screw you over, but at least you won't (probably) be without a bed.
So if you're planning your trip, make sure you know everyone's preferred security level. When you go abroad, you're going to hear about all the nice things to see and do, but also the horror stories that this place is 'known' for."You'll have a great time, but don't think for one second you're safe or allowed to really let your hair down."
Most of these ideas are unfounded. When things don't work out, don't panic. The expectation of the danger of your new situation isn't nearly a fair representation of your reality. This doesn't mean you don't need to come up with a new plan, but it does mean you don't need to freak out about every little thing going wrong.
If you can't resist that urge to panic, or generally you just don't know what to do when things don't work out, here are a few pointers:
1) Find out the amount of money you have to deal with the situation
Money's always going to be a big issue when a problem arises. We live a cushiony first world capitalist lifestyle; we have certain standards we want to meet but can't necessarily afford. It's a dilemma, but if it means pooling together a bit of cash, that might be the best option.
2) Don't be afraid to cut corners and improvise
Sneak an extra five people into a hotel room, kill twelve hours in a 24-hour coffee shop, sleep in your car, bite the bullet and lend someone money if you have it, go to A&E and cough up the cash. While it's always important to think long term, sometimes a short term gain can be more important. That bad night's sleep or two days short on cash while your friend gets her wire transfer is going to be a hassle, but it's easier to manage than the original problem.
3) Look to the one person who isn't freaking out
If you have a big enough crowd, there will no doubt be someone who isn't freaked out like the rest of you. Yes, the plan has fallen apart, but they either know that panicking isn't going to help or they don't really think it's this much stress. If this guy or gal has the right mindset about the whole thing, they'll be the best voice of reason and most likely person to calm everyone down. You don't have to follow them blindly, but they might be the person who can resolve the problem most efficiently.
4) Find out where everyone's comfort level is
If you don't start by finding out where everyone's comfort levels are, you'll just spend an hour arguing and getting nowhere. People might have to compromise here and there, but trying to pressure someone to do something they really aren't ok with isn't just uncool, but also just far too difficult. Find out where everyone stands, then take it from there and you'll have a solution sooner than you think.
5) You need to be calm and nice to that one person who's had their spirit broken:
They might seem unreasonable, but in reality they're just upset and scared. They'll likely have some unreasonable idea of how to deal with the situation and will refuse to compromise or work with the group. They might seem angry and rude in the group, but take them aside and they could burst into tears. Take them aside, give them a hug and calm them down before you even talk about how you're going to deal with resolving the situation. If anyone else comes over, send them away; overcrowding them won't help. Don't let anyone gang up on this person, because the next time it could be you feeling this way. When they're a little more settled, they'll be more open to compromise, so then you can start to explain and try to help them understand that they might have to cut corners a little, but you won't make them do anything they're really uncomfortable with.
I'm writing this article now because it'll seriously help you plan your travels for the summer, so bear this advice in mind. The main thing is that you have a good time (for the most part) and if you come home in one piece (again, for the most part) then you should turn around and tell yourself...