It feels good to be wearing our holiday clothes again. It feels even better to be planning trips to see friends and family across the UK this summer and booking incredible journeys overseas.

We all need some fresh air, sunlight and space after such a long time under lockdown and having to stay indoors. Even more, we need company after so many months without seeing our loved ones. Now is the time to set off again to create precious memories with those we care about.

So, whether you’re opting for a boutique hotel stay in the UK, a villa with extended family in Europe or embarking on a world cruise, we have plenty of tips to smooth the way.

Where would you like to travel to?

We ran a survey last October to see how our customers felt about making travel plans. 2,752 people answered our questions about their favourite travel destinations, the kinds of experiences they were looking to have and how long they would like to be away for.

Interestingly, travel to UK towns and cities topped the list. Nearly one-in-seven respondents said that they were only planning on travelling within the UK. Europe is still a key choice but has seen a slight decline as have South America, Africa and Asia while North America and Australasia have seen a slight rise in popularity.

We’re pleased to report that more than three-quarters say they plan to travel at least three times a year. Our survey also revealed that family breaks are of high importance, ocean cruises are most sought after, and most people want a holiday that lasts longer than a week.

47% are planning holidays with family and friends
62% are planning annual rather than single trip policies
77% are planning three trips away or more
84% are planning more than nine nights away

Based on 2,752 responses to our Travel Insurance Survey, conducted by our customer research panel, Experienced Voices in October/November 2021.

Kevin McMullan says there’s been a rise in people wanting to book holiday insurance on the back of this confidence. He says the number of policies bought not only surpasses last year’s levels, but that things are getting back to where they were pre-pandemic.

“People’s appetite to travel has seen the demand for insurance exceed our expectations since the New Year, and every time a country’s Covid restrictions have been lifted, there’s been an immediate response in bookings. It’s great to see our customers satisfy their pent-up demand for travel.” Kevin McMullan, Health and Travel Insurance Director

This is good news, though we are still mindful of Covid restrictions, so do check with the country you are travelling to for current entry requirements. Number one on a customer’s worry list is that any medical concerns are covered in a travel insurance policy.

Kevin says that insurance is now a much more integral part of travel planning, with customers more conscious of the need to get cover following the pandemic.

So what does my travel insurance cover?

No one wants to think about delays or cancellations, but the airwaves have been buzzing about setbacks within the travel industry so much, it’s hard to ignore the pitfalls.

Holiday cancellations are at the forefront of everybody’s mind as the situation can change in an instant, so being able to cancel last minute and get your money back should be at the top of everyone’s insurance wish list.

It’s important that people look at the cancellation cover on offer when choosing their policy. It gives that extra reassurance that, should something unforeseen happen, they will have the protection they need.

In this uncertain climate, it’s particularly important to have the right holiday cover in place, so here’s what to bear in mind when buying your policy.

Kevin’s top tips for buying travel insurance

Look ahead

Consider all your travel plans you have in mind for the next twelve months. If you’re likely to travel more than once, it’s often better to buy an annual multi-trip policy.

Tell all

Declare any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s important to make sure you have a policy that protects you fully in a medical emergency or for cancellation because of health matters.

Check

Ensure all the cover including cancellation, baggage and medical treatment works for you – are there limits (and any excess) per person or per policy and is there the cover you need for Covid?

Choose

Look for a brand you can trust. If you need help abroad, you’ll want expert support. Take your insurance details with you, so you can contact your insurer if needed and don’t wait to make contact if you need help.

Be sure

Don’t wait to buy insurance. Take out a policy as soon as you book your trip, so you are covered for cancellation right away.

Travel insurance essentials

You’ll need to make sure that your policy is right for you, such as including winter sports cover if you’re heading to the slopes. But here are some of the essentials to get you started…

What’s best – a single or annual policy?

If you’re going away more than once a year, it could be worth looking at an annual policy that will give you cover for multiple trips over the course of the 12-month policy. It’s perfect for last-minute trips and mini breaks, as you’re covered as soon as you book it.

A year-long policy would be ideal if you’re like the majority of our customers who say they intend to travel four or more times this year.

Cancellation cover

No one likes to think of worst-case scenarios, but it is better to be prepared. Cancellation cover starts as soon as you buy the policy and should include unforeseen circumstances such as an airline shutting down or a travelling companion, friend or family member falling ill before you go.

Emergency medical cover

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you’re covered in case you have problems while you’re away, as medical bills abroad can be expensive. Medical emergency cover will help you find and pay for treatment while you’re away.

Look for a policy that will also ensure you get home following a medical emergency if you can’t get to your planned return journey.

Watch out for age limits

Many policies have an upper age limit, so check with your provider for details.

Per policy or person?

Are your cover limits arranged per policy or per person? Per person means everyone on the policy benefits from separate cover limits individually, whereas per policy means that the cover limits are combined for everyone named on the policy. Does your policy cover the cost of your holiday and include the loss of personal belongings?

Covid cover

The pandemic is still very much on our minds. You’ll want cover that includes having to cancel or cut your trip due to a positive test, along with making sure you can get emergency medical help for Covid while away if you need it.

Keep up to date with travel information

View the latest travel restrictions by country from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

EHIC to GHIC

The European Health Insurance Card has been replaced with a Global Health Insurance Card, which you'll need if your existing card has run out.

There are similarities between the cards with both giving each of us access to basic state-funded healthcare in Europe (for more information on countries included, visit gov.uk).

However, a health insurance card is not a replacement for travel insurance.

Covid Pass

Travellers to overseas destinations can now show proof of booster vaccinations through the NHS COVID Pass.

Read the government’s advice concerning coronavirus and travelling to or from the UK.

And don't forget...

You may have packed a good book and swimwear to chill on the beach or sturdy boots and a rucksack for a hiking adventure, now all you need to do is make sure that your passport has at least six months on the expiry date for the duration of your trip abroad – this applies to European trips too post-Brexit – and you’re all set.

If you or anyone in your party requires special assistance, make sure you arrange this in advance, preferably when you first make your travel arrangements.



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