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Winter Sun – Six essential tips for Brits planning to get away from it all this winter

09 November 2016

As the temperatures drop in the UK, many Brits will heading abroad for some winter sunshine.

As well as The Canary Islands and Portugal, popular destinations now include long-haul destinations such as Morocco, Antigua, The Maldives, Mexico, Cuba and Thailand.

To ensure they stay healthy and safe, Gocompare.com Travel Insurance has come up with six essential tips for winter sun seekers to consider as part of their holiday and travel planning.  

Alex Edwards from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance commented, “Thanks to the availability of cheaper and more direct flights, wintering abroad and holidaying in far-flung, exotic places has become more affordable.  As a result, more heat-seekers are heading further afield for ‘guaranteed’ sunshine.  But, travelling to exotic destinations can lead to exposure to some serious illnesses, while wintering abroad for longer periods can have extra implications too.”  

Look after your health

Before you travel, to help protect against and treat minor travel ailments, stock-up on over the counter anti-diarrhoea tablets, insect repellent, antihistamine tablets and sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 UVA/UVB.  If your trip involves a long-haul flight, you may also want to consider buying flight socks to guard against deep-vein-thrombosis.

Do your research and get your travel vaccinations

Take the time to research the health risks of your holiday destination and make sure that you visit your doctor to get the necessary vaccinations and/or medication.  You may need to be vaccinated against some pretty serious diseases including typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis A and/or B and, receive anti-malarial medication.  Vaccination requirements can change depending on what diseases are prevalent in which areas.  So, even if you’ve visited a country before, it’s wise to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel advice pages for up-to-date health-related information.

Health professions recommend that you allow at least four weeks to complete a full protective course of vaccinations or medications.

Don’t write-off your EHIC just yet

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is an initiative of the European Economic Area (EEA) rather than the European Union (EU) so it isn’t immediately clear what will happen to this valuable piece of plastic once we ‘Brexit’.   However, nothing will change until the Article 50 negotiations to separate the UK from the EU are concluded, which could be two years or more.

So in the meantime, the EHIC is a must-have for travellers to Europe.  The card entitles the bearer to emergency health care treatment (for free or at a reduced cost) in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland.  However, it will not cover the cost of medical repatriation or the treatment of any pre-existing medical conditions.  Therefore, you should arrange travel insurance for your trip.

Buy your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday

Every year,millions of holidaymakers forfeit valuable holiday cancellation cover by buying their travel insurance at the last minute.  More than half (56%) of the holiday makers who purchased their travel insurance through Gocompare.com arranged their cover within a week of their holiday start date. This includes 9% who arranged their cover on the actual day of departure.  Cancellation cover provides valuable protection against a wide range of events that could affect you between when you booked the holiday and when you leave your home.

Declare your pre-existing conditions

Travel insurers won’t cover claims for medical treatment as a result of a pre-existing condition you’ve failed to declare.  So, when applying for insurance be honest about any health problems you have.  Gocompare.com’s travel insurance comparison service enables you to enter common pre-existing conditions and receive quotes from insurers that are prepared to provide cover on that basis.

Don’t forget the 30/60 rule

If you plan to winter abroad for longer than two weeks, remember; most home insurers will not cover your property if it is left unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days, and some will only cover an unoccupied property for up to 30 consecutive days.  Make sure you check the terms of your home insurance policy and if you think you may be impacted, talk to your insurer.

Alex Edwards continued, “Travel insurance - which provides financial protection against medical expenses, the cost of replacing lost baggage and documents, cancellation and delays - is a must for any foreign holiday.  But, it will only protect against the unforeseen.  Therefore, if while on holiday you fall ill with a preventable disease for which you should have been vaccinated against or suffer from a pre-existing condition, your insurance may not cover your medical treatment - which would really take the shine off your winter break.”

See Gocompare.com's dedicated guide page for more information on travel insurance.

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