If you’re one of the thousands of people taking a trip this spring, then good for you.
To make your sojourn as relaxing and stress-free as possible – even if things go awry - consider taking the following steps.
Oh, and don’t forget your toothbrush…
Consider paying for your flights and hotel with your credit card
Airlines going bust, volcanoes erupting, governments falling, slight dustings of snow at Heathrow airport – yes, the past few years have seen political, geological and meteorological occurrences scupper the holiday plans of untold travellers.
Travel insurance should be able to help you out, but for extra protection, consider paying for your holiday with your credit card. Your credit card company can help with getting you home safe and sound thanks to a wondrous piece of legislation called the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
In fact, the protection given under the Consumer Credit Act means that your credit card can be an incredibly useful tool to take on holiday. For instance, any gifts or souvenirs you buy between the value of £100 and £30,000 will be guaranteed by the credit card company - providing you've bought them with your credit card, that is.
So, if an item you’ve bought is faulty then the credit card company will reimburse you, even if the company you bought the item from won’t.
Bear in mind that credit card companies often charge to use a card abroad, so check what the charges are before you leave. It's also wise to notify your provider that you're going abroad before travelling, so your card isn't frozen for being suspected of being stolen. The same applies to your current account.
Are you covered for travel in the UK?
Are you taking a break in the UK this spring? Heck, what with our consistently amazing weather and low, low prices, why wouldn’t you?
If you are, it’s worth checking your home contents policy to see breakages, thefts or losses to any expensive items you take with you (phones, laptops, tablets, cameras – you know the score) are covered when you’re out of the house.
If your cover doesn’t extend to this, then it may be worth investing in some travel insurance for your British break. In fact, if you’ve got robust annual cover – possibly worthwhile if you take more than one trip per year – then you probably won’t have to worry about this.
Get yourself an EHIC…but be aware of its limitations
Having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – formerly known as the snappily titled E111, prior to 2006 – can be a boon, particularly if you've got a pre-existing medical condition.
It will entitle you to the same state medical care as a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country that you visit, including Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. (Unless you’re a resident of the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, curiously).
However, it’s not to be confused with a substitute for travel insurance. The provision of state care varies from country to country and the EHIC won’t cover you for repatriation – something which can be hugely expensive.
There have also been recent reports that hospitals in Greece, Spain and Potrugal are blocking EHIC usage.
To obtain a EHIC, visit the NHS website. Some travel agents also offer them.
Sort your documents out
What do you do when you arrange your travel insurance? Print a copy out on A4 and stick it in your hand luggage? Well you certainly won't be alone.
But to save yourself a frenzied scramble if you need it, save a copy of your travel insurance documentation to your phone. If anything goes wrong, you’ll have a copy to hand. Well, except in the instance of your phone getting lost, stolen or broken, but you get the idea.
If you’ve got any spare passport photos lying around, put them in your luggage in case any of your documentation needs to be replaced.
On the subject of passports, make a photocopy of yours and place it in your luggage, in case anything happens.
Search for the best deal on your travel insurance
Travel insurance isn’t something to be skimped on, but there’s no point paying over the odds when you could enjoy extensive cover for less money.
Gocompare.com’s travel insurance comparison service can help you find a great deal on travel cover and allows you to quickly and easily see the benefits and limitations of policies from many different insurance brands.