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Archive for February, 2009

Travel advice for Egypt following bomb blast

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Travellers to Egypt are being warned to take extra care after the bomb explosion over the weekend in Cairo which killed two tourists.  Another 20 people were wounded in the attack when the bomb, apparently targeted on westerners, tore through a crowded market, a popular tourist attraction in the old quarter of Egypt’s capital.  The same market suffered a similar bomb attack in 2005 and, in the same year, explosions in the Red Sea resort of Sharam el-Sheikh claimed more than 60 lives.  Tourism is the central pillar of Egypt’s economy and, as so many livelihoods depend on the presence of foreign visitors, local support for violent extremism is low. The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice in the light of this new attack – “There is a high threat from terrorism in Egypt.  Security is tight throughout Egypt, especially in resort areas.  There remains a risk of indiscriminate attacks in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, such as hotels and restaurants.”

Should you become caught up in incidents related to acts of terrorism, you need to be aware that most travel insurance providers include this as a general exclusion in their policies. The impact of this is that you may not be as well insured as you think you are. If in doubt, do check with your travel insurance company before you travel and look at your policy wording. Generally, medical expenses and medical repatriation will be included but if you want to be covered for all eventualities then you will have to pay an increased premium for this.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in Ethical Travel Insurance.   

Cruise ship stranded in the Antarctic

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

The stranding of the cruise ship MV Ocean Nova in the Antarctic is a dramatic example of what can go wrong on holiday. No serious injuries have been reported to date but the accident has renewed debate surrounding cruise ship safety and the growth in tourism to the Antarctic. Thankfully, these incidents are still few and far between, but perhaps not  so when it comes to the less explored regions of the globe.  The Antarctic, in particular, has had a spate of similar incidents in the last 18 months, not least the sinking of the cruise ship MV Explorer in November 2007 when the ship hit an iceberg, which resulted in the loss of the ship and dramatic rescue of the passengers and crew. But as more travellers venture into remoter areas, there will be an element of risk that will invariably attach itself to such holidays so using reputable tour operators and having adequate travel insurance cover is an absolute must.

Such incidents are a good example on why insurance is so necessary when going on holiday. Most people tend to think about losing a bag or suffering a delay at the airport but travel insurance covers so much more. The list is long. Passengers in such incidents should be eligible for reimbursement of the rest of their holiday by having to curtail it short; any hospital costs from injuries sustained should be covered with repatriation included where necessary; personal belongings will be covered, legal costs should also be covered for any subsequent litigation and any lasting injury or death, as a result, could be covered by the personal accident part of the policy. Thankfully, this type of event is rare but it does happen. Travel insurance won’t stop an incident occurring but will significantly ease the distress and pain in the aftermath. So when deciding on purchasing travel insurance for your next trip, do think of the bigger picture rather than the loss on an ipod.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Caravan holidays in the UK set to rise

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Could we be turning into a nation of caravanners!  Well, quite possibly according to the latest information in advance of the National Boat Caravan & Outdoor Show, which opens at the NEC in Birmingham this week.  Apparently, more Britons will take a caravan holiday at home this year than will visit Spain, the UK’s most popular holiday destination. The number of visits abroad is falling sharply as more and more Britons look at the options to holiday at home this summer. This increased demand could translate into more than 2 million extra caravan holidays being taken in Britain this year with a final tally approaching nearly 13.9 million. And with foreign trips declining by six per cent in the last quarter of 2008, the figure is expected to top the 13.8 million number of British visits to Spain in 2007, the last year of full travel statistics. The Caravan Club of Great Britain is confidently predicting that 2009 will be the year of the great British, value for money holiday and, at a time of considerable economic uncertainty and with thousands of campsites and destinations to choose from, there is no better time to plan and book holiday breaks in the UK.

However, for those deciding to holiday at home this year, it’s worth remembering that the same rules though apply to holidays in the UK as they do elsewhere. So do make sure you are properly covered in case of emergencies. Travel insurance, for example, is not always thought of as a necessity if you take a break in the UK, being so close to home and under the safety net of the NHS should you have an accident but travel insurance covers much more than medical emergencies. Most people buy travel insurance for trips and holidays abroad but these policies do generally provide cover for travel within the UK, though do check the small print rather than assuming that this is always the case.

So is travel insurance that covers holidays in the UK worth considering? It can be very useful to have insurance should you subsequently cancel a trip, say for illness, as your holiday costs will be reimbursed subject to any excesses to pay. Your personal effects will probably be covered too, which is an important point to consider as theft and loss is not just confined to holidays on the ‘Costas’ – these things happen at home too. What you will almost certainly not be covered for will be for medical expenses as the NHS is available for such instances. One final word of advice though is do check the small print as many, if not most, insurers do require you to have proof of booked accommodation, or a campsite booking in the case of camping and caravanning, for a minimum stay of normally 2 nights away for the policy to be in force so the one night weekend trip away is definitely outside this definition.

This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Excellent half term snow forecast in ski resorts

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Thousands of British families will be heading for the slopes this weekend, with France, Canada and Austria being among the most popular destinations. February half-term is traditionally one of the busiest, and most expensive, weeks in the ski season calendar. And what a prospect with ski resorts across Europe and North America expecting heavy snowfalls ahead of next week’s half term holiday. Forecasters are predicting up to half a metre of snow in many resorts across France, Austria and Switzerland and almost a metre in some US resorts.

In France, which last season attracted almost half of Britons 1.4 million skiers, the popular Les Trois Vallèes (Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens) is expecting 23cm of snow, while the Espace Killy (Tignes and Val d’Isère) has 16cm forecast. However, it is the lesser known resorts of the Portes du Soleil ski area (Morzine and Avoriaz) which will see the heaviest snowfalls in France, with around 45cm expected. In the popular family resort of Obergurgl, in Austria, forecasters are predicting 36cm, while in Arosa, in Switzerland, 45cm of snow is expected. In North America, the US resort of Mammoth is expecting up to a metre of snow, while in Whistler, Canada, 29cm is set to fall.

Families that do not make it to the Alps, or have opted to avoid the crowds and expense of foreign ski resorts can opt for one of Scotland’s five ski resorts, which are currently experiencing some of the best conditions in more than a decade. Scotland’s resorts already have a good snow base and are expecting up to 10cm to fall during the next few days.

Recent surveys still show a high number of people going abroad without any travel insurance at all. Whether this is just forgetfulness or a desire to live dangerously, it shows that many people view travel insurance as an extra expense which can be added or deleted depending on the holiday budget. But with price of travel insurance premiums, particularly on the internet, being relatively cheap – you can find a week’s Winter Sports cover to Europe for under £10, it does seem to be an unnecessary risk to take. It is not necessary to pay through the nose these days and if you are prepared to surf the net then there some excellent deals to be had.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

 

FCO issues Australia bushfire contact numbers

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The FCO have issued contact and telephone numbers to call concerning the bush fires in Victoria, Australia.  With an increasing death toll and up to 500 injured and nearly 1000 homes destroyed, it’s Australia’s worst ever bushfire outbreak. If you are concerned about relatives/friends, please call the  new Family Help Hotline on +61 8 9225 8880 (from  outside Australia)  or 1800 727 077 (within Australia),  or (from the UK) the British Red Cross international tracing service on 0845 053 2004. Further fires are still being fought across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.  Those with plans to visit the area should contact the authorities, and their travel agent or airline for updated information.  For online information for the Victoria area visit:  http://; for South Australia visit: http://; and for New South Wales visit: http://.

Perhaps, it is a timely reminder that we can all be caught up in a disaster, natural or man made. Whilst the FCO will be giving out important travel advice and, depending on the nature of the event may have teams in place to help in the aftermath, most of us will have to rely on tour operators and local representatives to look after us when on holiday. This is where a good travel insurance policy comes into play which, when it all starts to go wrong on holiday, you can fall back on to get you out of trouble. Most travel insurance policies will provide a level of specific cover that can be used to lessen the impact on the insured holidaymaker. This cover will range from paying for alternative accommodation should the existing accommodation become uninhabitable to cancelling your trip before you travel or curtailing the trip once away. In particular, look out for a policy which includes catastrophe cover. Before making a claim, it would be normal for your travel insurance provider to expect the tour operator to provide alternative accommodation free of any extra charges or offer a refund before making any settlement. Cover should also extend, but do check the small print as policies do differ, to providing emergency medical cover and repatriation in the event that you or your travelling companions are injured or worse. This is no different from suffering a road traffic accident but becomes more complex when incidents are caused as a result of civil commotion and unrest or, say, a terrorist attack. Some policies provide cover for all eventualities but you will have to pay a hefty premium for this and you will have to weigh up the risks of it happening and whether you should really be there in the first place if looking for cover at this end of the travel insurance spectrum.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Accidents do happen

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

The ski season is in full swing with record amounts of snow, so nothing can go wrong?  Think again.  Accidents do happen. Now this is a true story and shows what can happen when you least expect it. Picture the scene, Mr X is on his ski holiday and is waiting in the lift queue when someone careers into him from behind. The next thing he remembers is being stretchered off the mountain by an air ambulance and ends up in traction in the clinic. Luckily for Mr X he was covered by his travel insurance and is now claiming back for damaged ski equipment, rescue costs, medical expenses, the unused portion of his lift pass and is considering taking out a third party claim against the reckless skier who hit him, which again his travel insurance should cover the legal expenses to do so. This is not an isolated event and resorts in Switzerland and Austria now have speed patrols to take action against the ‘boy racers’ and ‘speed merchants’ who endanger others by their actions. Other countries, including France, the mainstay of British winter sports holidays, will be following suit as this trend increases.

But alarm bells should be ringing here, not just against the rise in the accident rate on the slopes but that recent surveys still show a high number of people going abroad without any travel insurance at all. Whether this is just forgetfulness or a desire to live dangerously, it is shows that many people view travel insurance as an extra expense which can be added or deleted depending on the holiday budget. But with price of travel insurance premiums, particularly on the internet, being relatively cheap – you can find a week’s Winter Sports cover to Europe for under £10, it does seem to be an unnecessary risk to take. It is not necessary to pay through the nose these days and if you are prepared to surf the net then there some excellent deals to be had.

So to go back to Mr X for a moment. Although he has had to come to terms with having his holiday cut short, he does now have the backing of his insurance company to recover most of his costs and maybe some compensation from his assailant. But picture the scene again if, like an increasing number of travellers these days, he had decided to overlook travel insurance. He would be facing hefty medical and rescue bills including the potential of being repatriated home at own cost. So the next time you are undecided about taking out travel insurance, do remember Mr X, unless of course you are one of that increasing band who do want to live dangerously!

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

6th February travel advice

Friday, February 6th, 2009

More snow is expected to push into many southern and eastern parts of England, including London, during the day on Friday February 6th.  For those flying to and from UK airports, travel advice is as follows:

AIRPORTS

:

Heathrow:  The airport is open operating a near normal service today.

Gatwick

:  The airport is open and operating a near normal service today.

Stansted:  The airport is open and operating normally.

Luton:  All flights cancelled until at least 4pm.

Southampton:  The airport is open and operating normally.

Glasgow:  The airport is open and operating a near normal service. Passengers travelling to the Midlands and Wales are advised to contact their airline for further information as there may be delays or cancellations.

Edinburgh:  The airport is open and operating a near normal service. Passengers travelling to the Midlands and Wales are advised to contact their airline for further information as there may be delays or cancellations.

Aberdeen:  The runway has reopened. Passengers flying from the airport are advised to check-in as normal, but to expect some delays. Please check the status of your flight with your airline before leaving for the airport.

Cardiff:  Cardiff International Airport is open and operating with no disruptions as a result of Thursday morning’s weather conditions.

Bristol:  All flights cancelled until at least 4 pm.

Birmingham:  Some flights to and from Birmingham are delayed.

AIRLINES

:

EasyJet has cancelled 18 flights in and out of Bristol, and flight EZY512 from Newcastle to Stansted has been diverted to Nottingham East Midlands resulting in the cancellation of the EZY513 return service. Passengers affected by cancellations can rebook an alternative flight or apply for a full refund.

Ryanair has cancelled 44 flights today from Dublin, Luton, Stansted, Bristol, Birmingham and Gatwick. Passengers affected by cancellations can rebook to travel on an alternative date or apply for a full refund.

This travel news is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

4th February travel advice

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

For those wishing to travel by air and eurostar today, the following is the latest travel advice:

AIRPORTS:

Some routes have no spare seats for three days, as a backlog of passengers hit by snow delays try to rebook onto later flights. A number of routes may suffer delays or cancellations following a knock-on effect of the condition on Monday and Tuesday.

Stansted Express

A half hourly service is running between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport at:

10 & 40 minutes past each hour from London Liverpool Street.

15 & 45 minutes past each hour from Stansted Airport.

Gatwick Express

A half hourly service is running between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport, departing from London Victoria at 00 & 30 minutes past each hour, and from Gatwick Airport at 20 & 50 minutes past each hour. Services will not run to/from Brighton.

Heathrow Express

A reduced service is running between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport, departing from London Paddington at 10 & 40 minutes past each hour, and departing from Heathrow Airport at 12 & 42 minutes past each hour.

TRAINS

:

Eurostar: 17:35 London St Pancras to Paris service will not run. Customers may travel on the 17:55 London St Pancras to Paris service. 17:43 Paris to London St Pancras service will not run. Customers may travel on the 18:13 Paris to London St Pancras service.

 

This latest travel news is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

3rd February airport travel advice

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The latest airport travel advice as a result of the snow conditions is as follows:

Southampton Airport has closed its runway for de-icing until 8am.

London City Airport – Flights suspended.

London Heathrow – Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

London Gatwick – Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

London Stansted – Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

London Luton – Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

Bournemouth Airport – Normal service.

Leeds Bradford International Bournemouth Airport – Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

Newcastle Airport – Normal service.

Birmingham Airport– Flights subject to delay and cancellation. Contact your airline.

This travel news is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Snow causes widespread travel chaos

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Major airports have been closed, motorways slowed to a standstill and some of the busiest train services in Britain have been cancelled after Arctic blizzards brought the most widespread snow for 18 years. Conditions are expected to get worse with a band of snow expected to move up from Europe during the day bringing further chaos. The capital faced near shutdown as the entire fleet of London buses was suspended and parts of the Underground were knocked out by the dangerous conditions. Despite a fleet of snow ploughs working to clear tracks, rail services in and out of the South East of England were cancelled or severely disrupted. On the roads thousands of gritters were out in force but there was gridlock on major routes including the M25. Gatwick Airport and London City Airport were both temporarily shut overnight as their runways were de-iced. Thousands of passengers were stranded after 23 flights at Gatwick were cancelled and 18 diverted because of the weather. Both runways at Heathrow were closed with flights cancelled, diverted and delayed. At London City, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and Southampton airports, many flights have been cancelled and delayed.  For those with flights and ferries to catch, do check what you are covered for if you take out a travel insurance policy. Under most travel insurance policies, insurers will respond to claims for Delay and Abandonment as well as Missed Departure. Some insurers provide cover for events beyond your control so if you have been delayed by the snow then the travel insurance will cover you for additional accommodation and travel expenses incurred to get you to your destination, so your holiday is not lost. Don’t forget to obtain a written report from the airline confirming the delay and a report from the police or breakdown service if your vehicle has been held up in the snow. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.