Wherever you’re going for your winter sun abroad, follow these tips from CEGA, the international assistance and claims company. They’ll help you have a safe and healthy holiday, that you remember for all the right reasons.
· Check the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice for the country you plan to visit, at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
· Buy a good travel insurance policy that covers you and any family members for all the activities you want to do while you’re away. At the very least this should cover the costs of cancellation, emergency repatriation, essential medical treatment and lost or stolen possessions.
· Tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions that you or close relatives have. You may not be covered in an emergency if you don’t.
· Find out from your GP or local travel clinic if you need any vaccinations, at least six weeks before you set off.
· Apply for any visas that you may need.
· Check your passport is in-date. And bear in mind that some countries need passports to be valid for six months after arrival.
· Scan important documents, such as your passport, travel tickets and insurance policy and e-mail them to yourself and a trusted friend or relative. You’ll need these if the originals are lost or stolen.
· Research the place where you’ll be staying. Find out about the nearest chemists, the prevalence of muggings and burglaries, the transport networks etc.
· Make sure you know the local emergency services number.
· Pack a first aid kit with essential medication - and take extra, in case your trip is longer than you plan. Also include insect repellent, sunscreen, antiseptic and plasters.
· Remember your phone charger.
· Ask your airline about restrictions on items allowed in hand luggage.
· Where possible, keep your valuables and any essential medication with you.
· Drink plenty of water to reduce jet lag.
· Keep the assistance helpline that comes with your travel insurance with you at all times – then you can access help quickly in an emergency, either on your journey or during your holiday.
· When you arrive, lock up your valuables in your hotel safe, don’t flaunt expensive devices, jewellery or cash, and make sure your bags are zipped up when you go out.
· Check the windows and doors in your room are secure and that the phone works. If not, tell the hotel manager.
· Slap on the sunscreen during the day, wear a hat, and drink plenty of bottled water so you don’t get dehydrated.
· If there’s any risk of mosquito-borne diseases, guard against bites with loose-fitting clothes that cover your arms and legs, use insecticide treatments day and night and keep bedroom windows screened.
· If tap water isn’t safe, drink bottled or boiled water to avoid gastroenteritis and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis. Raw salads, ice cubes in drinks and ice creams carry the same risks, so avoid them.
· Be sensible about how much alcohol you drink. Travel insurers don’t usually set specific limits on alcohol, but if it’s obvious an accident has been caused by excessive drinking, they’ll be reluctant to pay a claim.
· If you’re staying in a risky area, use ATMS inside shopping centres or banks and avoid going out alone at night. If you’re mugged, don’t put up a fight - you could be badly injured.
· In less developed areas, stick to recommended pharmacies for over-the-counter medication such as painkillers, so you’re sure you’ve got what you asked for.
· Reduce the risks of road traffic accidents by using licensed taxis, wearing a seatbelt and being extra careful when you’re crossing the road. Bear in mind that cars won’t always stop for you.
· Stay away from stray animals if there’s any risk of rabies.
Did you know?
A recent ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) survey showed that 25% of British travellers set off abroad without travel insurance in the last year. ABTA says, “some hospitals may refuse to treat patients if they do not have holiday insurance or sufficient funds to cover their treatment.”