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Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

Ten top tips for your Gap Year

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Planning a gap year? Then here are a few useful tips to make sure you get the cover you need.

Tip 1 Emergency Medical Expenses covers emergency treatment and to get you back home if necessary.  Make sure you have this cover, if nothing else.

Tip 2 If you have a medical condition(s), do tell the Insurance Company as they may decline any claim if you don’t.

Tip 3 Check the amount insured for cancellation is enough. Some Gap Year trips can cost a lot more than the insurance cover provided.

Tip 4 Check you have cover for an Airline going bust and if the Foreign Commonwealth Office warn travellers to not go to a country you are planning to visit.

Tip 5 Get a policy that provides Personal Liability cover, just in case you accidentally harm someone or something and make sure it does not exclude harming a travelling companion under the Personal liability section and also that it does cover damage to accommodation.

Tip 6 Get Gap Year insurance that covers working/volunteering and watch the small print as some will cover working but not if being paid, and some cover work but exclude many types of job.

Tip 7 Pick the highest grouping of the sports or activity you think you might do or choose a Gap Year Policy that covers all unplanned sports and activities.

Tip 8 Check how much kit you’ve got, and then check the cover provided under personal effects. Many items could be excluded, especially electrical items e.g. laptops, camera’s, etc.

Tip 9 Buy Gap Year and Backpacker Insurance when you book your flight/trip so you are immediately covered if you have to cancel due to illness.

Tip 10 Take two copies of your insurance documents. Leave one at home, take one with you and maybe scan into an internet document safe.

Tip Plus one! For parents A family annual multi-trip policy is for short trips, usually holidays and generally under 31 days for each trip and so is not suitable for extended period away. Children may have to be under 18 and many have travel restrictions.

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

Taking a holiday this Easter?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

This year, the combination of Easter, the Royal Wedding and the May Bank Holiday has offered the perfect opportunity for an extended break. For those opting to to take a holiday or trip away, 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.

Missed departure – blame it on the leaves!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Winter sees the perennial problem of leaves on the line leading to rail stoppages and delays.  As Network Rail puts it, “it’s our equivalent of black ice,” but we can imagine the raised eyebrows that this excuse receives from the general travelling public. Leaves falling onto train tracks, apparently, sticks to the rails and hardens into a substance with the same slippery characteristics as butter on toast.  Now train operators are adjusting their timetables to allow for these leaves on the line which will inevitably lead to longer travelling times during the winter months. Cynics will say that this is so that operators can protect their punctuality figures but for the kind hearted, this is probably an attempt to inform the travelling public in advance and being upfront and honest with their customers. But what do you do if you are going on holiday when this happens and you miss your flight as a result of such a delay.  Do look at your travel insurance wording in such circumstances.  Most policies will have a provision for Missed Departure.  That is, if you get to the airport late to catch your flight you might be able to claim the costs of booking a new flight to your destination and perhaps additional accommodation costs up to a specified limit.  The crucial part is whether the policy allows this so look out for mechanical breakdown or technical fault as a permitted reason for claiming for missed departure.  If it does, then sit back and ‘let the train take the strain’ as you will still get to your destination despite the best attempts of a few leaves on the line.  This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

New report highlights cancellation and lost bag concerns

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

British Airways has been branded worst national carrier in Europe for cancelling flights in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme.  According to this latest investigation into the airline industry, BA has had to cancel one in 50 of its flights to and from London Heathrow in 2008, a worse record than its biggest rivals KLM, Air France and Lufthansa. However BA have defended their record stressing that these airlines had a slightly lower percentage of cancellations than British Airways in 2007 and the early part of 2008 as they enjoy much greater spare runway capacity at their home airports. The programme also claims that “your chances of seeing your luggage on the carousel when you arrive are worse than any other European airline” adding that “since 2006, it has mislaid about 2.5 million items of luggage, that’s one for every 40 passengers.” What is clear from this is that passengers should be travelling with some form of travel insurance protection. Although under EU law, airlines are obliged to pick up the full bill for an overnight stay for flight cancellations, this is only one part of the costs faced by a passenger with a cancelled flight and lost or delayed bags. For example, let’s take a cancelled flight. If this affects you getting to your destination and the delay is unacceptable, then most travel insurance policies, after a period, normally 12 to 24 hours delay, will cover you for abandonment. What this means is that you can claim back the cost of your holiday up to the amount specified in your policy less the policy excess. You might choose to sit and wait for the next available flight, particularly if you are going on a holiday for a week or more but, for those taking the increasingly popular short or mini break, the abandonment option is a very valuable insurance to have and comes as standard in most travel insurance policies. And don’t forget those lost bags. How irritating to get to your final destination only to find your bags are still at your departure airport. Provided you have travel insurance, you should be covered for the purchase of emergency items and clothing to continue your holiday whilst you wait for your bags and, if you are unlucky to find your bag is permanently lost by the airline, then you will be able to claim for the bag and contents, again up to the limit as specified in the policy. So our best advice is don’t leave the house without travel insurance. It won’t cut the delays nor retrieve a lost bag, but it will make it easier to bear. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

More Eurostar travel disruption

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The cancellation today of Eurostar services to and from Brussels and Lille because of a 24-hour walk-out by public sector employees is the latest blow to hit the service after a major fire broke out in the tunnel under the Channel, halting its use for several weeks. The current industrial action has led to the closure not only of Eurostar services to the Belgian capital but has also spread to the rest of the Belgian rail network. Eurostar have said that passengers should change their travel plans though services are expected to be back to normal as soon as the strike ends. For those caught up in this unexpected strike, you can limit the financial loss by taking out adequate travel insurance which will provide financial cover and compensation if caught up in such industrial action. To start with, all travel insurance policies should have a travel delay section, generally to pay a fixed amount for each 6, 12 or 24 hours delay experienced. This is what is termed as a benefit so does not require receipts to claim but you will need a note from the Rail Company or station, such as St Pancras if departing from the UK, to confirm the number of hours delayed. Secondly, most travel insurance policies will have a section for Abandonment. This is just another term for cancellation which permits the traveller, once they have experienced the required number of hours travel delay, to cancel their travel and holiday in its entirety and claim back the costs. Whether you choose this option will depend on many factors, such as the length of your trip away, how long the delay will be and personal preference but it is a very valuable addition to have in any travel insurance policy. One word of warning, all travel insurance policies will have a clause that excludes any claim from being paid if the strike had been known about before the trip had been booked so it always prudent to check before you go firm on any travel plans. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Computer glitch causes travel delay

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Passengers whose flights were cancelled when a computer glitch shut down the UK’s main air traffic control centre have been faced with  trying to rescue ruined travel plans.  The fault occurred at one of the systems at Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre in Hampshire and although the problem was fixed within hours, airlines had already been forced to cancel some flights and airports were facing a backlog of flights waiting to leave and land. Departures were grounded at Cardiff and London’s City airport and airports including Heathrow, Luton, Gatwick and Cardiff saw cancellations. British Airways said because planes were likely to be stranded in the wrong place and passengers could suffer a knock-on effect over the next few days. If you do miss your flight due a situation such as this, then do try and get written confirmation from the airport or airline to substantiate the reason for the disruption in case a travel insurance claim is necessary. Likewise, if your airline delays flights, then do keep receipts of any expenses you are forced to make as a result of the delay and approach your airline for compensation for meals, refreshments and accommodation. If your flight is cancelled, ask your airline for a refund or an alternative flight. Missed departure and travel delay are key components of most travel insurance policies but do shop around before buying and do check the terms and conditions to ensure there are no exclusions that could affect you. Travel insurance is there to assist when it goes wrong so it makes sense to have some cover in place whenever you travel.  This article is brought to you by travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Protect your holiday

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

The nightmare scenario for any holidaymaker is being stranded when their airline or tour operator goes out of business. A year ago we would have said that fortunately this was not an everyday occurrence,  but 2008 is turning out to be very different with a spate of airline and tour operator failures.  The latest, XL Travel, has resulted in thousands stranded abroad and more at home with their holiday dreams in tatters. Regrettably, these situations do happen with little or no notice so it is important to ensure that your travel organiser can provide sufficient evidence of security for the refunding and repatriation of customers in the event of insolvency. We are all used to Kite marks and Corgi approved engineers to provide a level of consumer protection in our everyday life but what about when we go on holiday? So who or what is out there? Some insurers offer Passenger Protection Insurance sold separately or part of a travel insurance policy but always check the small print if this is offered because these are quite often restrictive in their cover. You can reduce the risk further by organising your travel through tour operators and agents covered by ATOL or who hold bonding through an approved body, such as ABTA or AITO. What is ATOL? This stands for Air Travel Organiser’s licensing and is a protection scheme for flights and air holidays, managed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and protects the customer from losing money or being stranded abroad when a tour operator goes bust. All licensed firms have to lodge bonds with the CAA so that, if they go out of business, the CAA can give refunds to people who can’t travel and arrange for people abroad to finish their holidays and fly home. And ABTA? Members of the Association of British Travel Agents are required to provide financial protection for their customers which means that you can book your holiday knowing that if an ABTA member fails financially while you are on holiday, you can continue your holiday as planned. If your holiday has not started, then you will receive a full refund or be given help to make alternative arrangements for the trip to proceed. Likewise AITO, or Association of Independent Tour Operators to give it its full title, require their members to protect their customer’s money in the event of an AITO member going into liquidation. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in ethical travel insurance.

Tourists stranded as travel firm folds

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Nearly 2,500 British holidaymakers are stuck in the Mediterranean after the collapse of package tour firm, Seguro Travel. The company, which offers package deals to Gran Canaria and Costa Brava from airports in Kent and Ayrshire, blamed the cash troubles of the Spanish airline, Futura, which operated 80% of its flights. Futura cancelled flights and launched insolvency proceedings in Palma on Monday, blaming high fuel costs. Seguro directors Rachel Elliott and Richard Burke said: “Futura’s collapse was totally unexpected as an airline with over 30 planes, having a good reputation and being one of Spain’s respected airlines”. As customers of a package tour firm, they will benefit from the protection which is not offered to passengers on airlines, which goes bust – such as Zoom, which failed last month. The CAA, under its ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing) scheme, is making arrangements for customers abroad to complete their holidays and return to the UK and to fully refund those with forward bookings. The CAA is currently issuing the following advice to Seguro Travel’s customers.  Those customers still due to travel on a Seguro Travel air holiday or flight you should submit a claim to the CAA. Claim forms are available on the ATOL website at www.atol.org.uk. You should not go to your departure airport as all holidays have been cancelled. For customers currently abroad on holiday, the CAA will be making arrangements to ensure customers on Seguro Travel holidays remain in their holiday accommodation and fly home as planned. This news is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in Ethical Travel Insurance.

Travel insurance – read the small print

Monday, September 8th, 2008

The reason why we take out travel insurance is to provide that ‘peace of mind’ should something go wrong and we can get our money back or part of it anyway. But life is never that simple and many of us are disappointed when our claim is declined, all because of obscure clauses in the policy small print which, if we are honest, none of us have bothered to read in the first place. This is both irritating and costly when it happens and, unless there is very strong mitigating circumstances, insurers are very unlikely to back down. So what can we do to ensure that our claim does not suffer the same fate? It really is important to read the small print as this will not only tell you what you are and, more importantly, not covered for but will also make you more conscious of what might happen whilst away on holiday and how to deal with it. As they say’ forearmed is forewarned,’ and it will help ease what otherwise could be a stressful situation if things do go wrong. What are the common errors that make it easier for an insurer to decline a claim? Firstly, pre-existing medical conditions. Have you declared these when taking out your travel insurance policy? And it is not just restricted to you and your travelling companions. Most policies are very strict here and ask you to declare a pre-existing medical condition on anyone who could subsequently get you to cancel or curtail your trip. If you don’t declare it and it subsequently appears on the medical certificate, which the insurer will ask you and your GP to complete, then it is possible that you won’t get any money back. Secondly, with baggage claims, for loss, theft and damage, you will be required to get a report within 24 hours of the incident, from either the local police for theft claims, from the airline for lost, damaged or delayed baggage and from the hotel or tour representative, often for all three types of loss. Without these reports, it is probable that your claim will not be upheld. Travel insurance policies also require original receipts to be sent in to prove proof of purchase and to indicate purchase price. As most policies do not offer ‘new for old’ cover, a depreciation index is applied so what you get back is normally less than what you paid and this index is harsher if no receipts are provided and could be capped at a maximum amount per item. Whilst on baggage, do remember to take particular care over valuable items and money. Valuables and personal money have even stricter rules applied to them and need to be looked after with greater care. Money for instance should be in a locked safe if not on your person (a locked drawer in your room is seldom ok). Likewise valuables should NEVER be left in ‘checked in’ luggage as this will definitely invalidate your claim. It can be a minefield out there designed to trip up the unwary but with a little bit of preparation before you take out your travel insurance and sensible precautions once on your holiday, you can substantially improve your chances of coming home not out of pocket. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in Ethical Travel Insurance.

Travel costs to USA on the rise

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

How time flies!  Only a month ago, travel commentators were shouting from the roof tops that the good value of the pound against the dollar was encouraging Britons to head to the States in record numbers with 2008 set to become the biggest year ever for UK travel to the USA, possibly as high as five million visitors. A recent survey by independent guide book publisher Lonely Planet also saw British and Irish tourists name the USA as their favourite holiday destination, despite the country’s traditionally heavy-handed immigration officials and the introduction of fingerprinting in many airports. However the dollar exchange rate has strengthened by 10% in the last month, helped in no small way by recent gloomy comments from the Chancellor of Exchequer. At the end of July, tourists could get $1.91 for £1 but the tourist rate has slid to below $1.75 and predicted to fall further.  As a result, the price of a week’s holiday to Florida for a family of four has risen sharply. Booked locally, costs such as hotels, car hire, tickets and eating out have all risen substantially because of the pound’s fall. Families planning holidays to the US face paying more than £250 for their trip than they would have done just a month ago due to the falling value of the pound against the dollar. One way to reduce this is to book your holiday in the UK.  The reason for this is that tour operators might be able to insulate travellers from the worst of the pound’s slump because they buy bulk deals on costs like hotel rooms and car hire in advance. However get in quick as the worsening exchange rate will start to affect package holiday prices next spring, if the pound does not bounce back. This article is brought to you by Travelandinsure.com – specialist in Ethical Travel Insurance.