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Archive for the ‘General Travel Advice’ Category

FCO launches World Cup travel advice campaign

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office have recently launched a travel advice campaign called ‘Be on the Ball’ aimed at British football fans travelling out to Brazil for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup. As part of the campaign, the Foreign Office is producing a number of resources for fans, providing information on how best to prepare for travelling to Brazil as well as internally between each of the host cities for the initial group matches.

The following page has been set up to help fans planning their trip:


This website will continue to be updated with further details in the lead up to the event and as the tournament progresses.

The FCO is also working with football clubs and travel partners to help promote the key advice to travelling football fans.

This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com

Snow causes travel delay

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Snow is causing widespread disruption with roads blocked and flights cancelled.  If you are stranded at an airport and your flight is cancelled or delayed overnight, your airline is responsible for providing meals and hotel accommodation as well as rescheduling transport arrangements. When travelling to the airport in bad weather, some travel insurance policies may cover you if you miss your flight but do check the small print as many policies specify the types of delay that are covered and snow disruption is not  always one of them.

As for compensation when your flight is delayed or cancelled, for best advice, then do look at our Blog post at:


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

Travel delay caused by freezing fog and ice

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Yet again, cold weather, freezing fog and ice has caused travel disruption with several key airports, including Heathrow, cancelling flights with aircraft grounded.

For those flying from UK airports and who suffer delays or are stranded, then it’s useful to know what rights you have. Under the European directive of Air Passenger Rights, all EU operators have a duty of care to passengers and should be responding to claims for delay by providing at least food and drink vouchers for those caught up in the delays at the airports.

If you are stopped from boarding, you may be entitled to compensation between €125 and €600 depending on flight distance and the delays incurred when re-routed.  For long delays, you may request a refund of your ticket if the delay exceeds five hours, but only if you decide not to travel.

The only snag is that, as with so much EU legislation, what is given in one hand is often taken away in the other. Under these rules the airline can claim protection for delays relating to, yes that’s right “weather” amongst others. The protection the airlines have is a sting in the tail for passengers as losses from “Weather, Air Traffic Problems, Security & Safety, Political Unrest, and Strikes”, are reasons why an airline will not pay out compensation to travellers.

So all WASPS have a sting in their tails!   So what about travel insurance? Under the delay section of a policy, most insurers will give some benefit for periods of delay faced at the airport. For those facing longer delays, then travellers may be eligible to abandon their holidays but do check your individual travel insurance documents as some of the cheaper basic covers do exclude this protection.

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

Foreign Office launches user friendly travel advice

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched Plan.Pack.Explore, the ultimate travel guide for those planning a trip abroad. The guide contains a wealth of information to help travellers understand exactly what they need to do before they go away, from getting the right visa to keeping their money safe. It also explains exactly what the FCO can and cannot do if they get into trouble abroad. The FCO is particularly urging those planning a gap year to pick up a copy of Plan.Pack.Explore to help them avoid running into preventable problems overseas.

Plan.Pack.Explore. is available for free in print, online and as an app for iPad, iPhone (iOS 5 and above) and Android devices. The benefits of the Plan.Pack.Explore. app include:

– My Checklist – allowing users to develop personal check lists

– My Notes – allowing users to write personal notes to act as reminders for a later date

– Latest FCO travel news

– Useful contacts section for Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions abroad

– Holiday countdown function

Download the app at the following links:

For Android:


For iPad and iPhone:


Download or host the digital version here:


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

Help when abroad

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

People often ask what they should do if they get into difficulties abroad and who they should contact.  A comprehensive travel insurance policy is there to give you that ‘peace of mind’ in the event of a medical emergency, airport delays and loss of personal belongings but, when abroad, you may become the victim of an incident and you need to know who to turn to in your hour of need.  Medical Assistance companies tied to your travel insurance are a first port of call and, if you are on an organised holiday, then the tour operator is likely to have a resident representative at the resort.

More and more people are now opting to be ‘independent travellers’ and when things do go wrong, you need to know what to do in an emergency.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London also provides excellent advice for travellers and you are strongly advised to log on to their website at https://www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo before you go.  They can also be contacted by telephone for consular assistance on 020 7008 1500. Similar levels of advice to non-UK nationals can be obtained from their respective Consulates, Embassies and High Commissions though the FCO website is also a source of good general travel advice to anyone travelling abroad.

For UK nationals travelling abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will do everything they properly can to help British people in difficulty abroad. If you get into difficulty or trouble, you can contact British Consular Staff around the world who may be able to help.  It’s always worth getting travel insurance cover and checking you have the address and telephone number of the local British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate before you travel.  Your rep/local guide, hotel/guesthouse or local police are likely to have this information.

The UK consular operation covers most countries but not all and, in these countries, you may be able to get help from the consulate of another EU member state.  Also, Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada may provide certain consular services to British nationals in countries where the UK is unrepresented.

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

Delayed or lost bags, now what?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

A question often asked is, can I claim compensation for delayed or missing bags when I travel? And none of us can safely say these days that it won’t happen to me. Rules regarding airline liability for mishandled luggage are laid out in the Montreal Convention, which sets the maximum payout at just over £1,000 to cover emergency items or to replace possessions which are damaged or irretrievably lost. But, in reality, passengers can find it hard to get a fraction of this sum. Airlines will ask for original receipts for items that are lost or damaged and, even if you are able to produce these, the airlines are unlikely to pay up in full, on the grounds of depreciation.

Losing a bag can be a distressing experience, made worse by the generally poor customer service at some airport’s lost luggage counters and, if it happens on the outward journey, what do you do? Do you make do with the clothing you have in the hope that the luggage will arrive or buy replacements? Tough decision to make and is all very stressful at a time when you should be enjoying your holiday?

There is no magic wand to wave here but you can help yourself by being adequately protected by having travel insurance cover in place before you go. What travel insurance should provide in these circumstances is an allowance, usually based on each 24 hours the luggage is delayed, for you to buy essential replacement items, such as clothing and toiletries, for you to survive until your bags arrive. There will be an upper limit to this daily allowance and your travel insurance company will be looking for receipts for these items to accompany any claim you make. This still requires you to pay first and claim back later but at least it means you won’t be too much out of pocket.

Do remember to obtain what the airlines call a ‘Property Irregularity Report’ from the Lost Luggage Section at the airport at the time your bags go missing. You will need to send this to your travel insurance company to substantiate your claim and they will also be looking for proof of when the bags were returned to you, so a signed and dated receipt will also be expected. If you don’t have these, then it is very possible that the insurers will not pay your claim.

If your bags become ‘irretrievably’ lost, then the insurance company will need a letter from the airline confirming this and you will then be able to claim for all the lost items under the Lost Baggage Section of your policy. But don’t let the thought of losing your luggage overly worry you. Just get the required paperwork, know what you can claim for and get on with your holiday.

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

Is cheap best?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A common pitfall when buying travel insurance is to take the easy option and sign up for the insurance package offered by your tour operator or to buy through a no-frills airline website. Not only do you risk spending over the odds if you do it this way but you could be buying a mediocre policy that doesn’t provide adequate cover and isn’t best suited to your needs. So can you find a better deal yourself by searching the internet?

More and more of us are doing our shopping on the internet. We do so for the convenience but the main reason continues to be the innate desire to find the best deal but, and it’s a big but, there are a lot of travel insurance websites to choose from out there. So you do need to be ‘savvy’ in your search and the increasing number of price comparison sites can often be a hindrance rather than a help. Why is that? Well, simply these sites highlight the ‘headline grabbing’ figure, not to mention that many only show insurance providers that pay them a commission, so the consumer is often given a confusing and false picture.

So can you find ‘cheap travel insurance’ on the internet? Most definitely, yes, but you do need to check that what is being offered will provide you with the cover you need. When looking for cheap travel insurance, there are some simple rules to apply. Do your homework. Firstly, know what you want. Are you looking for a policy to cover you for just one trip or if you are going to travel more than once, then why not consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy instead? That could save you money over the year.

Read the policy schedule. Most internet sites are good at giving an instant quote – that is what they are designed to do but fewer provide easily accessible information to indicate what the policy covers. At the very least you should look at the policy schedule. This is the table that shows the level of cover against various risks.

Choose a policy that satisfies your needs. The areas that cost the most in a travel insurance policy tend to be cancellation, personal effects and medical cover. If you are booking long in advance, then cancellation cover is a must (normally around the £3000 figure is sufficient) as this safeguards you if you have to cancel because of, say, a close family illness or being called for jury service, to name but two examples. If however, you are taking a last minute holiday, then perhaps cancellation cover is not as necessary so you could reduce your premium considerably by choosing a policy with limited or no cancellation.

Likewise, reducing your baggage cover can see your premiums nose dive. When it comes to medical cover, the FCO recommends a level of £2 million as being more than adequate, so do you need to buy the policy that offers £10 million? This is another example of ‘gold plating’ a policy which will attract a higher premium.

Check the small print. Very few of us take the time to read the small print but the ‘devil is in the detail’ for sure. Ask yourself some key questions. Is where I want to travel covered by the policy, for example, is Egypt in Europe or Rest of the World as definitions do differ from company to company? Am I covered if caught up in a terrorist incident? Do I need to produce a police report if I have money or personal effects stolen? What about hazardous activities? Am I covered to bungee jump on my trip for instance? Make a list of simple questions relating to your trip and then check the policy.

So is there such a thing as Cheap Travel Insurance? Most definitely there is but the simple rule of thumb is that the cheaper the policy, the more restrictive it is likely to be. But you can help yourself by knowing what to look out for and wherever possible tailoring your insurance to your exact needs and that way make your travel insurance cheaper.

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

Spain strike causes travel disruption

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Hundreds of flights to and from Spain have been cancelled due to a general strike which has been called by unions in protest over planned austerity cuts and changes to labour laws.

If your flight is cancelled, check with your airline or tour operator before travelling. Airline websites are often the best place to find this information.

You should, in most cases, receive a refund if your airline cancels your flight.  However, when flights are cancelled for reasons beyond the airline’s control, EU Regulation 261/2004 applies. This gives passengers the choice of accepting a refund and making their own way home, or accepting an alternative flight. If a passenger accepts a refund, the airline will have fulfilled its obligations.

If you accept an alternative flight, the airline is responsible for meals and refreshments, hotel accommodation and two telephone calls or emails. If the length of time until the next available flight is unreasonable (the number of days is not specified), the airline should book passengers onto another airline though this rarely happens. Most European airlines will not pay for a flight on another carrier.

Instead, they will insist that passengers wait for the next available flight. Some airlines organise accommodation, others will refund the cost of a budget hotel. Should your airline advise you to buy your own food and accommodation, keep all receipts, and keep such costs to a reasonable minimum, before making a claim when you get back to the UK. If you choose to make your own way home overland, it is highly unlikely that airlines will be responsible for the costs of alternative travel arrangements.

The situation is better if you are on a package holidays as passengers should be looked after by their tour operator, and the operator is legally obliged to get you home. Customers will usually be allowed to stay in their original hotel or will be moved to one of a similar standard on a half-board or all-inclusive basis. The exact situation will depend on the operator’s booking terms and conditions.

If you have travel insurance, check your policy wording as you may be able to claim for travel delay at the airport and be eligible to abandon your holiday once you have been delayed for a certain number of hours, generally after 24 hours delay. Some policies have different levels of cover for a “consequential loss”, such as a hotel booking made independently. You will need to check the terms and conditions which apply to your policy directly with your insurer.

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

Travel insurance for holidays at home – worth considering

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Most cheap travel insurance bought in the UK is aimed at people resident in the UK and, indeed, will require customers to indicate that they have lived in the UK for a period of six months.  It is also a fact that most people buy travel insurance for trips and holidays abroad but insurers do offer policies for travel just within the UK.  It is not uncommon to find that Ireland will be included in this definition.  The big advantage of UK only cover is that the premiums can be ridiculously low – well below £5 for a 3 day break is very common place.

But is it worth taking out in the first place?  The answer really depends on the type of holiday planned, the length of stay and whether you want to accept the risk of not being covered if something does go wrong.  It is also worth remembering that UK travel insurance cover is generally included if you take out the more expensive Europe of Worldwide cover, though do check the small print rather than assuming that this is always the case. 

A Europe or Worldwide annual multi-trip travel insurance policy will be more expensive as an initial payment up front but will cover you for an unlimited number of trips abroad and in the UK, throughout the year, provided the length of stay of each trip does not exceed the policy limit, normally around 31 days away per trip.

So is a UK travel insurance policy worth considering?  Probably, yes, if only one or two short breaks a year are planned and it will be inexpensive to purchase for the cover provided.  This can be very useful should you subsequently cancel a trip, say for illness, as your holiday costs will be reimbursed subject to any excesses to pay.  Your personal belongings 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 emergencies and expenses as insurers argue that the NHS is available for such instances and will point out that travel insurance is not a substitute for private medical insurance.  The lack of medical cover in UK only travel insurance policies is the main reason why insurers can offer these policies for the very low prices on offer.

On balance, travel insurance for UK holidays and short breaks is probably a good buy for those holidaymakers who tend to stay at home for their breaks away and there is an increasing number of people who are doing this.  One final word of warning though is do check the small print as many, if not most, insurers do require you to have proof of booked accommodation for a minimum stay of normally 2 nights away for the policy to be in force so the Sunday ‘trip out’ is definitely outside this definition.

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

Why take the risk? Get covered for wintersports.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

As British holidaymakers prepare to head for the slopes in 2012, Foreign Office figures reveal that almost a third of people in the UK admit to not taking out travel insurance for their winter sports holidays. In addition, less than one in five people (16%) say they always read the small print of their travel insurance policy before going skiing. The Foreign Office regularly issues warnings to skiers and snowboarders that they risk huge medical bills if they don’t properly cover themselves by taking out travel insurance.  Their data highlights the average cost in Andorra for a leg injury and repatriation to be £6500 rising to a whopping £28,000 for the same injury in Canada.

Everyone appreciates the thrills of Wintersports but not everyone appreciates the dangers that are associated with it. The Ski Club of Great Britain has reported in the past that more than half of British skiers take to the slopes without a ski helmet, despite the risks of sustaining a serious head injury. Head injuries account for almost a quarter of all ski injuries sustained on the slopes. Research in Canada and Sweden has also found that snowboarders are up to four times more likely to have an accident on the slopes than skiers, while men are more likely to get injured than women.

Alarm bells should be ringing here, not just against the rise in the accident rate on the slopes but also that a high number of people are still going abroad without any travel insurance. 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.

This article is provided by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.