Whether you’re jetting off to an exotic beach or staying somewhere closer to home, your summer holiday is a time to relax and unwind. So the last thing you want is for anything to ruin your precious time away.
Here are our top tips for a hassle-free holiday (and it goes without saying that you’ll want to insure your phone with the Captain before you set off – what could be worse than a lost or stolen phone while you’re away?)
Research your destination
You’ll no doubt want to find out about all the exciting things to do in the area. But it’s also worth looking a little deeper, particularly if you’re going somewhere off the beaten track. Understanding local etiquette and culture could save you from getting into sticky situations or even from unwittingly breaking the law. Check which areas are considered safe and unsafe. If you can, find out if there are any known scams so you can take steps to avoid them.
Think before you pack
If you rely on medication, distribute your supplies so you won’t be left without if something goes missing. If you’re flying, pack some in your hold baggage, some in your carry-on baggage and keep some in a pocket too, if possible. Likewise with important documents like passports and travel insurance – take multiple copies before you go to make sure you can access the information no matter what happens.
Take out travel insurance
OK, we’re in the insurance business so you wouldn’t expect us to say anything else! But insurance really does give you peace of mind that you won’t be left high and dry if something goes wrong while you’re miles away from home. Check that your policy covers you for everything you need, particularly if you’re planning any high risk activities.
Beware of hiring moped or quad bikes
Hiring a moped or quad bike might look like a cheap and fun way to get around, but they can end up being very expensive indeed. They are unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance so if you have an accident, you could face a big medical bill. If you do go ahead and hire one, check the bike carefully to make sure it’s safe to ride. Take photos before you set off as a common scam is for the hire agency to claim for damage when you return it. Another scam is for the agency to ‘steal’ the bike and try to claim the cost from you – so use your own lock if you can.
Remember your EHIC
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to state-provided medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident in any EU country, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You will receive treatment on the same basis as the residents of the country and it covers pre-existing conditions too. The cards are free from the NHS website – beware of unofficial websites that try to charge you for a card. Post-Brexit (whenever that is), this is likely to change and you should take out medical insurance as you would when visiting a non-EU country. And one little-known point to note about the EHIC – it’s not valid on cruises.
Don’t be an easy target
This is common sense whether you’re on the High Street at home or away on holiday.
- Keep your phone and purse/wallet out of sight in a safe pocket or bag – not the back pocket of your jeans!
- Keep valuables under lock and key in your hotel/accommodation
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash
- Stay alert to your surroundings and any potential threats
- If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, get out as soon as you can
Don’t be a scammer yourself
In recent years, there has been a massive increase in claims for holiday sickness against foreign hotels, with a large percentage of these exaggerated or simply fake. And unfortunately, UK holidaymakers are to blame.
It might seem like easy money to claim against your hotel or travel company, but the consequences can be huge. A couple from Lancashire were convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud after trying to claim £20,000 from Jet2holidays, alleging that their trip was ruined by gastric illness. They were ordered to pay Jet2holidays £30,000 in compensation. This is just one of several recent high-profile convictions and the publicity surrounding them has started to bring down the number of false claims. Alongside this, a 2018 change to the rules around how much claims management companies (CMCs) and legal firms can charge has meant fewer unscrupulous companies touting for this kind of business. So don’t even be tempted to try.
Remember the rules for safe flying
If you’ve ever thought the cabin crew safety demonstration could do with jazzing up a little, see how Air New Zealand do it. From Middle Earth to disco to Bear Grylls, they’re definitely worth a watch.
These few simple tips will help to make sure your holiday is everything you want it to be – bon voyage!