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Monday, 21 April 2014

Travel Nightmares – Lost, Stolen or Damaged Possessions

When setting off on trips and holidays abroad, no one wants to consider what could go wrong, or what could happen, so we focus on the excitement and anticipation of the trip instead. However, things can unfortunately go wrong – as they can on a normal day in the UK – but when they happen in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, these holiday disasters can turn into nightmares quite quickly.

One of the biggest issues faced by holidaymakers every year is lost, stolen, damaged or delayed possessions.

Delayed Possessions

Imagine treating yourself to a whole new holiday wardrobe, only to arrive to find your case was put on the wrong flight. This would most likely leave you without a change of clothes or any essentials; unless you have money to buy new things from the holiday budget while you wait for the airline to track down your case. Alternatively, invest in travel insurance which includes cover for delayed possessions, as this will cover the costs of buying essential items while you wait for your case.

Stolen Possessions

In every country there will unfortunately be a very small number of unscrupulous people who will try to steal or scam you to make money. The key to avoiding these people is to take precautions such as;

·        Nowadays we all take gadgets away with us, but these are extremely big targets for thieves. Keep all valuables including gadgets and travel documents in your locked hotel safe or accommodation if at all possible.
·        If you have to bring valuables such as your cash or passport, use a bum bag or fanny pack under your clothes instead of a back pocket or handbag. This keeps your valuables as close to your body as possible, and will deter pickpockets.
·        Try to look as un-touristy as possible! Thieves will always be drawn to tourists who are distracted by their surroundings and are probably carrying valuables, so stay alert.
·        Take a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate location to the original, this will make it much easier to obtain a new one if yours is stolen.
·        Again, buy quality travel insurance which covers stolen possessions and gadgets.

Damaged Possessions

If your case or possessions arrive damaged, you can claim compensation from the airline. Alert airport staff to the damage as soon as possible before you leave the airport to see what they can do. If the airline won’t help, or if your items have been damaged during the trip, travel insurance can step in to cover the costs of replacing them, minus any wear and tear depending on the age of the items.

Lost Possessions

It can be easy to lose things on holiday, especially if you are trying to read a map or timetable and carry a bag, camera and water bottle for example. However, you must be really careful not to drop or misplace your items, as once they’re gone, they are usually gone. Be especially careful when on the beach, as travel insurance will not cover items which were stolen from a beach or lido, and any items left unattended.

For more information on how to protect your possessions abroad, visit Holidaysafe.co.uk.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Holiday Activities for Children

In our modern society younger and younger children are becoming extremely tech savvy and technology orientated. There are apps specifically created for kids to help them learn and develop, game stations to absorb their free time and even e-readers which allow parents to download story books.

This gadget frenzy may make parents quite nervous, and especially when it comes time to plan the family holiday - will the kids be totally miserable and thoroughly bored if they cannot bring their Playstation?

However, recent research by Eurocamp has revealed that Primary School children still favour more active pursuits like pool and beach activities whilst abroad. The survey questioned over 1,500 families to find out what activities children enjoy most, and how families felt about each other. For example, over 75% of parents said that their family bond felt strongest whilst doing activities on holiday.

The research also found that favourite holiday pursuits for under 11s had not changed much from the previous generation, with the top 10 including;

Water Based Activities
This topped the holiday wish list for children, who wanted to try swimming and diving in a pool, visiting a water park or playing in the ocean.

Beach Activities
Also popular were things like building sand castles, flying kites, collecting shells or looking for crabs.

Day trips
The children polled apparently loved visiting new places and collecting new experiences, so they enjoyed walking in the country side, visiting a castle and trying to spot lots of animals at the zoo.

Fun with Food
Try taking your kids to a new restaurant where they can feel grown up and perhaps even try some new foods (probably from your plate!) If that doesn't appeal, every child loves a good old fashioned BBQ.

Classic Games
If all else fails, why not turn to some classic games to involve the whole family, for example hide and seek or fun memory games. Alternatively, more organised parents could arrange a sightseeing activity where kids have to spot certain landmarks or holiday items to get ‘bingo’. For example, a palm tree, a famous statue, the sea etc. This could be used on long journeys or throughout the whole trip, and could result in a small prize like ice cream!

If you’re planning a family holiday, just remember to visit Holidaysafe.co.uk for quality and affordable family travel insurance. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Easter Holiday Rush

According to ABTA, around 1.6 million Brits will head abroad for the long Easter weekend this year instead of staying in the UK for the four day break.

The weather forecast is not looking great for the UK, so it would seem that Brits are heading abroad in search of some spring sunshine, with locations like the Canary and Balearic Islands proving most sought after. Other popular locations include Spain, Turkey, Tunisia and Florida. Travellers to these destinations will experience glorious temperatures of between 23C and 30C!

If you’re not a sun worshipper, other popular destinations include some fantastic city break locations, such as Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam, Rome and New York.

However, this mass exodus will of course have an effect on traffic and delays, for example Eurostar is predicting that 60,000 will be departing the UK over the weekend using their services, with the Channel Tunnel and ferry terminals also expecting to be very busy.

However, it would seem that air travel will be the most popular form of transportation, with over 350,000 expected to board flights at Heathrow, 200,000 from Gatwick. 120,000 from Stanstead, and 60,000 from Luton. Other regional airports are also expecting a large turnout of holidaymakers.

However, despite the number of people expected to leave the UK, staycations are remaining strong despite the weather forecast. Many who do choose to stay in the United Kingdom will apparently be heading to the sea side or to family holiday camps and parks.

Whether you’re heading abroad this Easter or planning a staycation, remember to purchase quality travel insurance to protect you and your trip over the four day weekend. For more information visit Holidaysafe.co.uk. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

What the Cow!?

At one point or another we have probably all scoffed at animal related excuses for travel delays and disruptions, for example my personal favourite was one particularly snowy day when all trains were cancelled until further notice, not because of heavy snow, but because a horse was ‘loose somewhere along the tracks’ – how does that even happen!

However, when animals cause your plane to make an emergency landing, this nuisance can become extremely distressing. 

A plane’s safety is always in the hands of the pilot, and therefore a pilot can make a May Day call at any time to request an emergency landing. The CAA record all may day calls, and some of the most serious have included low fuel reserves, terrorism, crew members falling ill and unfortunate birds being hit by the plane and potentially sucked into the engines. 

However, recently one plane was forced to make an emergency landing because of a completely different animal – a herd of cows. During a routine flight a fire alarm apparently started to sound from the deck where the group of bovines were being kept. Someone was sent to investigate and it was decided that the crew should put on their oxygen masks and head for an emergency landing at Heathrow. 

After investigation it was found that there was in fact no fire, but that the cows had probably produced so much heat and methane (a gas which traps heat), that this had started the fire alarm. 

Although we can’t protect you against overheated cows, we can step in if you face many other unforeseen holiday disasters. Visit Holidaysafe.co.uk for more information on quality travel insurance. 

Friday, 11 April 2014

What if Travel Insurance Covered…

When purchasing travel insurance, some people may laugh at the weird and wonderful things included in certain policies, for example ‘at least if I’m kidnapped I know I’ll be reimbursed for the bother!’ 

However, according to a recent survey by Go Compare it would seem that many travellers have a wish list of weird and wonderful things they wish were covered. In fact, over 40% of people wish they could claim for accommodation which didn't live up to expectations, over 1/3 wish they could claim for inedible food and around 15% would love to claim against rude hotel staff.

Some of the cover ideas which made the top ten most popular included;

Misleading descriptions of hotels and holiday accommodation, bad food plus rude staff
Bad weather
Annoying fellow guests including noise pollution and drunken guests
Delayed departure
Badly organised events

Unfortunately, travel insurance is not designed to protect against things like bad food, rude staff and bad events, unless they make you ill of course, as this is the kind of thing you would need to raise with the hotel or restaurant and try to arrange compensation. 

However, travel insurance can step in to cover things like annoying departure delay, by compensating you per 12 hours you are delayed with money to buy food and magazines etc. If you are delayed by 24 hours, there are also insurers who will cover you to abandon the trip entirely and reclaim the costs. 

Furthermore, if your accommodation is uninhabitable due to a natural disaster such as flooding, or if you need to cancel your trip due to ‘bad weather’ such as a natural disaster like ash cloud, some policies will step in to help you.

For more information on travel insurance to cover ‘most’ eventualities, visit Holidaysafe.co.uk. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top Marathons in the World

 Marathons are something many of us may have considered in our slightly more active moments; however every year thousands of people run miles for charity, medals and personal satisfaction. To be officially a marathon, runners must complete a distance of over 42 kilometres or 26.2 Miles! A great distance which requires training, fitness, stamina and determination to complete. 

Marathons are actually one of the more original Olympic events, and the name comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek Messenger who ran from the Battle of Marathon all the way to Athens. 

One of the most famous Marathons is The London Marathon, which is held in the Capital every April. Nearly 40,000 people compete in the gruelling road race, which takes them on a tour of London they will probably never forger – many in humorous but impractical costumes to raise great sums for charity.

If you’re looking for a new training goal and are considering competition in a marathon, we’ve listed our favourite events from around the World; 

• The New York City Marathon, November – extremely popular with international runners, New York is the perfect marathon if you want to combine big city feel with heartfelt motivation and support from the crowds. Why not extend your trip into a city break!

• The Berlin Marathon, September – if you’re a runner who needs to be engaged by his or her surroundings then Berlin is perfect for you. Run through historical sites which map Berlin’s interesting history while large crowds cheer you on.  This race is perfect for normal runners and record breakers.

• The Chicago Marathon, October – although not yet as large or popular as other US marathons, the Chicago Marathon offers a superbly fast course and great race management which focusses on novice runners as well as the experts. 

• The London Marathon, April – of course we can’t leave out the London Marathon! Perfect for disabled and able bodied runners looking for a new challenge close to home, plus the fantastic atmosphere and support will help when you hit those mental walls.

Whichever marathon you decided to partake in, just remember to invest in quality Marathon Travel Insurance before you depart. Without specialist cover you could find yourself vulnerable to holiday disasters like injuries which mean you have to cancel your trip, lost running kit and equipment, or medical emergencies during the race. For more information on running travel insurance visit Holidaysafe.co.uk. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Airline Delays and Cancellations – Know your Rights

In the UK we are faced with union and employee strikes on a regular basis, from teachers marching in protest and closing schools for a day to train drivers delaying our journeys home from work. Whether you support their right to strike or not, these walk outs can cause a certain amount of annoyance for people who rely on these workforces. 

Recently airline staff at Lufthansa staged a three day walkout to strike against their employers, and this caused mayhem for passengers wanting to travel abroad. In preparation for the strike, Lufthansa cancelled nearly 4,000 flights affecting nearly half a million travellers.

Lufthansa worked to rearrange travel for their customers, with 20,000 taking a train instead, 25,000 rebooking their flight online and others finding seats on partner airlines. However, many customers struggled to get through to Lufhansa as their call centres were stretched to the limit – taking 80,000 in one day when their average is usually 5,000.

This strike is now over, however it serves as a serious reminder that travellers should know their rights, and what to do in these kinds of situations. 

• If strike action is called you should be alerted by your airline. As above, it is their job to get you on another flight (perhaps on a different day) or refund your tickets.  Try to be patient and polite, as the airline will most likely be dealing with thousands of passengers and becoming rude will not help. 

• If your flight is delayed, then try to find someone of authority who can keep you updated on the issues affecting your flight. Remember that if you have travel insurance, you will usually be entitled to benefits if your flight is delayed over 12 hours. This should be enough to get some food or magazines without eating into your holiday budget. 

• Also keep in mind that you can seek compensation from your airline if your flight is delayed over a few hours (the longer you are delayed, the more you may be entitled too). 

• If your flight is cancelled, it is the airline’s responsibility to get you on another flight or to refund your money. 

For more information on travel disruption insurance, visit Holidaysafe.co.uk. 

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