The Easter holidays are coming up. Perhaps you’re thinking about going on holiday to a ski resort? Booking a lads/girly holiday to Europe? Organising your Year Abroad? If you nodded your head to any of these then read on…
Sure, we all feel like we’re impervious to harm. The notorious attitude of ‘it won’t happen to me’ always springs to mind when we hear these terrifying stories of what happens abroad to droves of unlucky tourists. However, below is a tale of how something so little and avoidable could turn into quite the pickle.
‘Lads, do we need to get our travel insurance sorted? My mum keeps banging on about it but it just seems a bit too much of a pain to sort out and I haven’t got much time between now and tomorrow.’
‘No mate, we’ll be fine, we’re only going away for five days. I think I have mine sorted, just printed something out from my bank website – haven’t really read it to be fair’.
‘Sweet fella, that’s what I keep telling her but you know what my Mum is like – always worrying. I haven’t packed yet, can’t even find where my passport is. I do this every time.’
So goes the travel preparation of a group of students… Bags in hand, the lads went off for an end of exam holiday to Greece to blow off some steam. Six out of the eight of them not having sorted out travel insurance; two of them presumed they did, but whatever! They had gone to relax and enjoy themselves. No need to think about these things.
It came to the last day of the holiday. They were all having an awesome time. Everything was going smoothly, of course it was. With money running low, the lads decided to get a meal at a restaurant which looked pretty ropey, but what the heck! They just wanted to get some food. The food came surprisingly fast but this was perfect – they were starving. Not thinking about it, they wolfed the food down and went on to enjoy their last night before returning to reality.
Later that night, four of the lads were complaining of a dodgy stomach but naturally they thought it would calm down soon, and anyway, they were going home tomorrow. A couple of hours later though, the pain was unbearable and off to hospital they went only to be told they would need to be hospitalised for two days, which meant missing their flights home.
In retrospect, what a silly idea it was to not take out travel insurance. Not only did they lose out on money by needing to book a new flight home, but what they didn’t realise was that they would also have to pay hospital bills as well. A few hundred pounds out of pocket and with the end of the holiday soured, the lads began to regret their flippant attitude to their travel preparations.
This yarn of youthful naivety is far from a fairytale. In fact the ‘I’ll be fine’ attitude is echoed throughout the land. However, stories like this, or much worse, are unfortunately not uncommon. When travelling anywhere abroad, even if it is just for a short period of time, always make sure you have taken out comprehensive travel insurance. Not only this, always check the wording of your individual policy and print out your documents, keeping them somewhere safe. Make sure that your insurance policy covers you against all the activities you are going to be participating in before whizzing off on a quad bike or similar. You don’t want to find out your policy will not pay out for such activities after you’ve landed yourself in hospital. This is particularly pertinent if you are going to be participating in any sports, including but not limited to skiing. If you’re travelling anywhere within the European Union be sure to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as well as your travel insurance, as this will allow you to access state provided health care. For more information about the EHIC, check out the FCO’s advice at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/staying-safe/travel-insurance/ehic
No matter where you’re travelling, you should always check out fco.gov.uk/travel before you go for up to date information and advice. You can get tips on the go by following FCO travel on Facebook (facebook.com/fcotravel) and on Twitter (twitter.com/fcotravel).
For any of you who have a smartphone, there is a great free app called Plan.Pack.Explore which gives you all the info you might need before going. It is also available on their website at www.fco.gov.uk/publications.
Follow these simple steps and your holiday is much more likely to have a happy ending.