Failing to check some of these could cost fans thousands of pounds
With several home nations set to play in France next week, Gocompare.com is warning the thousands of UK football fans heading to watch Gareth Bale, Kyle Lafferty and Harry Kane in action, to not get caught out with these seven common pitfalls.
If you're thinking of drinking while you're away, it's important to keep in mind that doing so excessively could invalidate your travel insurance.
Alex Edwards, travel insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "Insurers tend to take a common sense approach to alcohol while you're abroad. Typically they'll understand you're looking to have a good time while you're away and therefore drinking in moderation is unlikely to be a problem.
"However, if you do drink excessively or have an accident where it is deemed that being intoxicated was the main contributing factor, it's possible you'll have your claim rejected which could result in a hefty medical bill.
"French officials have also stated that alcohol will be banned in stadiums and in certain public areas such as fan zones and streets on match days. This means not only could consuming alcohol in public could land you in hot water with the local police, but by going against the advice of the local authority you may not be covered under your travel insurance policy should you have an accident, lose possessions or require medical attention."
For more information, Gocompare.com has created a guide on How to avoid travel insurance claim rejections.
Rip-off car hire companies
Most car hire companies are perfectly reputable and should have clear, transparent pricing. However, many people will have heard horror stories of overseas agents charging sky high excesses or even loading the policy with hidden fees and add-ons.
Alex Edwards commented: "One of the most common surprises people face at the car rental office is how high the excess is. The excess is the amount you will need to pay should you have an accident in the car and, in the case of hire cars, it is common for the excess to come to thousands of pounds.
"If you find that the excess charged by your hire provider is particularly high, it could be worth looking at standalone excess cover. This is an insurance policy that covers you for the excess liable should you have an accident in your hire car, and is typically available for just a few pounds.
"It's common for hire car companies to try and sell excess cover as an add-on when you rent your car. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the excess cover offered by the rental company rarely represents the best value for money and that there are several providers who offer this cover separately, so be sure to consider your options as you'll likely find a better deal elsewhere.
"Like with any form of insurance, cover and exclusions can vary by provider, so if you're considering excess cover make sure that the levels provided are suitable for your needs.
"Other simple things you can do to avoid additional fees include inspecting the vehicle thoroughly before you drive off and if necessary take photos. Ensure that any minor damage is documented by the hire company as the salesman who is quick to disregard small scratches and knocks when you pick up the car, may not be quite as relaxed when you come to return it."
For more information visit Gocompare.com's guide to car hire.
Get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) AND travel insurance
If you're travelling anywhere in the European Union a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is an essential item. The EHIC, which is a successor of the E111, entitles the holder to the same level of emergency healthcare as a national of the country they're visiting. However, this does not mean free medical cover and as with any holiday it is strongly encouraged that travellers take out travel insurance for their trip.
Alex Edwards said: "An EHIC is an absolute must-have if you're travelling to France for the tournament this year. However, while an EHIC entitles a traveller to the same level of emergency healthcare as a French resident this by no means gives the holder free healthcare.
"In France, paying for treatment is common, especially if you are taken to a private hospital and you may even be charged for the ambulance trip. Even with an EHIC you may be asked to pay a percentage of the cost of treatment which means, depending on the severity, you could be seriously out of pocket. An EHIC also doesn't cover medical repatriation, something that can easily cost thousands of pounds.
"Travel insurance can cost as little as £3.95 a week, and offers cover for medical issues, cancellation and lost or stolen passports and baggage. Some insurers will even waive the medical excess if you also use an EHIC, which should make getting a policy a no-brainer for any travelling football fan.
For more information on the EHIC and travel insurance, Gocompare.com has created a dedicated guide page.
French driving laws and compulsory equipment
Football fans who are driving to the games should ensure that they have brushed up on French driving laws and have the necessary equipment and insurance cover for driving in the country.
French driving laws require motorists to be at least 18 years old and to have third party insurance as a minimum. Additionally, drivers are required to carry a host of equipment in their car, including a breathalyser and warning triangle. For a full list off all the French motoring requirements, including a printable compulsory equipment and driving law checklist, visit Gocompare.com's free European interactive driving map.
Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: "In addition to the compulsory equipment needed, it's worth bearing in mind that the blood alcohol limit in France is slightly lower than in England and Wales and is just 0.05%, the same as in Scotland. There are also severe penalties including fines, licence confiscation and even prison for those who are over the limit and it is unlikely any French police officers, who are authorised to carry out random tests, will let things slide even if your team has been knocked out in the group stages."
How to avoid hefty card fees and get the best exchange rates
While it's usually a good idea to carry at least some cash on you while abroad, credit cards are becoming an increasingly popular option. However, whether paying by cash or card the difference between the best and worst options could cost football fans significantly.
Matt Sanders, head of money at Gocompare.com, said: "The right credit card can provide the most cost-effective way of spending while you're on holiday, with some cards providing fee-free spending and bureau-beating exchange rates.
"With warnings in place for pick pockets at busy stadiums, another benefit of taking a credit card with you is the extra security they can provide, along with protection on your purchases. They're also a good way of ensuring you have access to the funds you need, without the risk of leaving large amounts of cash in your room, or in your pockets.
"However, not all credit cards are suitable for overseas spending so don't assume your existing card is the right choice for you. Some can charge hefty fees for foreign use and cash withdrawals, and debit cards in particular can be an expensive option. Be sure to get online and have a look at what's available to you on the market and remember, not all towns are as card friendly as in the UK, so consider taking some cash as well just in case.
"For those who don't want to take large amounts of cash away with them, but are also uncomfortable taking a credit card abroad, another popular option with travellers are pre-paid cards. However, it's worth bearing in mind that using a pre-paid card will still have the same limitations as taking a credit card abroad when it comes to how widely it will be accepted, especially in rural areas. As such, carrying a combination of cash and card could be a good idea.
For information on foreign use cards, visit Gocompare.com's foreign use credit card guide.
For football fans taking their own car abroad, whether it's reliable on the road or breaks down more often than Jack Wilshire, ensuring they have European breakdown cover should be a key consideration.
Cover can cost around £54.90** for an annual policy that will cover you in the UK and Europe all year round, typically covering your vehicle for trips abroad of up to 30 days at a time. The cost of taking out European breakdown cover is likely to be the cheapest option to fix your car should it break down while you're abroad, and should be less stressful, especially if you're not fluent in French.
Matt Oliver added: "While European breakdown cover can be a smart investment, especially if you split the price among your friends, it's worth bearing in mind that some providers may have a cooling off period of up to 14 days, so if you're planning to drive to the early games, it's worth checking you'll be covered first."
For more information on European breakdown cover, visit Gocompare.com's breakdown cover guide.
Notes to editors:
*Cover for one week in France for a 30 year old traveller with no pre-existing medical conditions.
**Annual cover for a three year old vehicle with six callouts per year including local recovery, nationwide recovery, European cover and onward journey cover