Travel Tips

With over 20 years of advising customers on travel, we have developed a few key tips which you may wish to read to help with your holiday planning.



 

Accommodation

  • If possible, do not stay on the ground or first floor of your hotel or apartment block, as there is an increased risk from burglars. Ground floor rooms with door or window pool or beach access are considered particularly high risk.
  • Ensure all doors and windows are locked when you leave the apartment.
  • Before answering the door of your hotel room, call reception to confirm the identity of the caller and reason for their visit.
  • Do not open any packages or envelopes sent to your room unless you know the sender and are expecting the package.
  • Leave the television or radio on when leaving your accommodation.
  • Always take your room key with you rather than leave it at the front desk/reception.
  • Use caution when using public rest rooms (toilets) in hotels. These facilities are sometimes used by criminals to rob unsuspecting guests or for drug dealing.
  • Some hotels will retain passports for review by police or other government officials. To reduce the likelihood of your passport falling into the wrong hands, try to obtain its return as soon as possible.
  • Hotel employees can be an invaluable source of information. Ask them for recommendations on safe restaurants, exercise facilities and taxi operators.
  • Avoid displaying hotel room keys in restaurants, at swimming pools and in other public places where they could be viewed or stolen.

 

When your arrive

  • You are at your most vulnerable when travelling between the airport and your accommodation. Avoid wandering in car parks, garages and public places and be aware of distractions which may be set up by criminals in order to commit theft.
  • Do not leave your personal effects unattended anywhere.
  • Avoid travelling alone and be alert to surroundings at all times.
  • Familiarise yourself on the use of telephones. Check with hotel staff on operating procedures for making domestic and international telephone calls. These steps will enable you to quickly call your home country in case of an emergency.
  • Familiarise yourself with road signs and general road rules. Stop at all traffic lights and learn the crossing procedures for public streets. People have been seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle when failing to observe local traffic conditions.
  • Familiarise yourself with hotel emergency procedures.
  • If there is a 'welcome' meeting organised by your tour operator, try to attend. Use the opportunity to gather as much information as possible about the local area, customs and etiquette, banks, supermarkets and police station, safe places to go, local transport and general facilities etc.
  • When checking-in to your hotel, arrange to have personal use of a safety deposit box for the safe-keeping of any valuables, money and documents.
  • Always check that the water is drinkable, including water for food preparation as well as for cleaning teeth and ice making.

 

 At the Aiport

  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the various departure points by the designated 'check-in' time.
  • If leaving your car at the airport whilst away, remember to note the number of the car park, floor and block in which you are parked and keep this in a safe place away from your car park ticket.
  • As soon as you have checked in and your luggage has been dealt with, go immediately through security. Do not linger in public areas of the airport.
  • Never leave your luggage unattended, particularly when checking in or waiting in a secure area. In many countries, airport security or police officers will presume that unattended bags are bombs and your luggage could be forcibly opened or destroyed.
  • Camera film, videos or computer discs will not be damaged by airport x-ray machines. If you are unsure, ask the screener.
  • Watch your luggage when it's on the conveyor belt and remember to check that it is not damaged before leaving the airport. If your luggage is lost or damaged, report it to the airline immediately and ask for a written report before you leave the airport.
  • At airports, especially those in 'high risk' countries, it is advisable to keep a low profile and go directly to any transportation links.
  • Consider escaping the chaos of the departure terminal and booking into the peace and relaxation of a VIP airport lounge – few people realise these fantastic facilities are open to all travellers

 

Buy Travel Insurance

  • Don't risk travelling without insurance - it could cost you a lot more in the long run.
  • Arrange travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, this will ensure that you are covered for cancellation and curtailment.
  • Always shop around. Buying travel insurance direct from a specialist is usually better value than going to a travel agent or bank etc.
  • Does the insurance company have a Claims Charter?
  • Check the levels of excess on the policy.
  • It is important to be covered for medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, cancellation and curtailment of the trip, money/documents and baggage. Other areas of cover usually include delay, missed departure, loss of passport, legal expenses and assistance services.
  • Check the levels of cover and make sure they suit your particular circumstances. Be wary of paying excessive premiums for unnecessary cover.
  • Always declare pre-existing medical conditions and any hazardous activities/sports you may be undertaking. Failure to do so could mean that you are not covered if something goes wrong. This is important for any holiday you may be going on, e.g. winter sports/summer holiday.
  • Make sure your policy covers the full length of your trip.
  • Is cancellation cover enough to cover the cost of your trip?
  • Check that any expensive items you are taking away (e.g. video camera, jewellery) are covered either by your travel insurance or some other form of policy e.g. home contents.
  • If going on a winter sports holiday, check that the policy covers off-piste skiing, snowboarding, ski pack and ski equipment.
  • If you go away three or more times a year, investigate the benefits offered by an annual multi trip policy. It will probably work out cheaper than buying several single trip policies.
  • If buying an annual policy, is the maximum trip duration enough for your needs?
  • Read the small print. Under the ABI code of practice you are entitled to full refund within 14 days of purchase if the terms and conditions do not suit your requirements.

 

Driving Abroad

  • See whether your vehicle is due for a Service before you travel.
  • Get a fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs and warning triangle for your vehicle. Many of these items are a legal requirement in some EU countries.
  • Don't forget that a GB sticker is a legal requirement in most countries.
  • Remember to take your car registration and insurance documents, Green Card (if issued), driving licence and passport, details of any breakdown and travel insurance, together with any emergency helpline numbers - but don't leave them in the car when unattended.
  • Tell your motor insurer that you are taking your vehicle abroad. UK motor policies usually provide the cover required for the EU and certain other countries, but this does not normally include theft, fire or damage and, may not completely cover personal liability. Extend your policy to cover these areas whilst abroad.
  • Ask your insurer about obtaining a Green Card - it is recognised as evidence that your motor insurance meets the local law.
  • If hiring a car, make sure you have adequate insurance cover, especially in the USA.
  • Check that your vehicle breakdown insurance covers travel abroad. If not, extend the cover or buy an separate specialist breakdown policy for the duration of your trip.
  • Familiarise yourself with road signs and general road rules of the country you are visiting before you go.
  • When possible, drive on major roads and avoid driving at night.
  • Try and park your car in a secure parking area.
  • Parking garages can sometimes be difficult to find and may have less than adequate security and lighting. If this is the case, particularly in high crime cities, park elsewhere in a well-lit place.
  • If an attacker tries to pull you over or block your way, do not stop the car - sound the horn, flash your headlights to attract attention and stay in the locked car if possible.
  • Always keep the car locked and check inside and outside the car when getting in.
  • Avoid leaving your possessions in an unattended vehicle.
  • Never pick up hitch-hikers or strangers, no matter how innocent they may appear.
  • If you want to avoid the hassle of driving abroad then consider pre-booking a private airport transfer and leave it up to a professional driver to whisk you off to your accommodation

 

Emergencies

  • In the event of an EMERGENCY, eg death, medical incident, accidental injury or illness likely to require hospitalisation, repatriation or any major alteration to travel plans, call the a 24-hour 'emergency assistance' helpline immediately. They will advise on and/or make the necessary arrangements for the best course of action.
  • In the event of THEFT eg theft of Personal Baggage, Property, Money or Documents:
    • Report the theft to the police authority as soon as possible. If you intend to make a claim against your travel insurance policy, you must report the theft within 24 hours and obtain an official report. Contact your travel insurer’s claims department as soon as you return home.
  • In the event of Loss or Damage of Personal Baggage, Property, Money or Documents:
    • Report the loss or damage to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible (if in a public place contact the police). If you intend to make a claim against your travel insurance policy, you must report the incident within 24 hours and obtain an official report.
    • If the loss or damage takes place on public transport or in a hotel, you must report the claim in writing to the carrier or hotel within 24 hours and obtain an official loss/damage report. Contact your travel insurer as soon as you return home.
  • Keep all receipts, accounts and documentary evidence. You will need these to make a claim against your travel insurance policy.

 

While You Are There

  • Beware water! Avoid drinking untreated tap water and ice, local and uncapped bottled water and water from lakes and streams.
  • Avoid raw and rare meat/seafood - especially re-heated food.
  • Beware of strong sun. Apply high factor protection suncreams frequently, wear a hat and drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic).
  • Never leave your possessions unattended.
  • Always take your room key with you.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewellery or watches.
  • Only carry a minimum amount of cash.

 

Before You Go

  • Ensure that all the exterior doors of your home are equipped with good quality locks.
  • If possible, arrange for someone to check on your home when you're away. This will ensure that any problems are spotted quickly and action taken.
  • Place some of the lights inside your home on variable timing devices to give a lived-in appearance.
  • Check that your home owners/contents policy is up to date and that any expensive items you may be taking on your trip are insured.
  • Ensure that passports and visa are up to date and valid.
  • Make a list of travellers cheques and photocopy important travel documents including airline or any other tickets, passport, visa and vaccination records. Put them in your suitcase and hand luggage and leave a copy at home.
  • Take out proper travel insurance and check that it provides suitable cover for your trip.
  • It is important that you have all the necessary vaccinations for the country you are visiting.
  • If you are travelling to an 'at risk' area, visit www.fco.org.uk. This knowledge can help you assess the risks and take any necessary precautions during your stay.
  • Give your travel plans, hotel details and arrival/departure dates to at least two people you can trust.
  • When packing, do not put valuables in 'checked-in' baggage.
  • Cancel milk and newspaper deliveries.
  • If you intend to park at the airport while you’re away remember to pre-book your airport parking which will mean saving up to 60% off the price charged if you just turn up and pay on the day

 

Packing

  • Equipment
    • Backpack / beach bag
    • Plastic bags
    • Travel guides / maps
    • Alarm clock
    • Calculator
    • Camera
    • Film
    • Batteries
    • Torch
    • Safety pins
    • Diary/Calendar
    • Address book
    • Paper, envelopes
    • Pen, pencil
    • String
    • Sewing kit
    • Umbrella
    • Money belt
    • First aid kit
    • Phrase book
    • Books
    • Walkman / tapes
    • Travel games
    • Binoculars
    • Mobile phone / or phone card
  • Money / Documents
    • Passport
    • Insurance
    • Tickets
    • Vaccination certificate
    • Drivers licence
    • Drivers Green Card
    • Photocopy of all documents
    • Local currency / pounds / US dollars
    • Travellers cheques
    • Credit card
    • Wallet / purse
    • Visas
    • Document bag
    • Passport-size photographs
    • Copy of birth certificate
  • Clothing
    • Swimwear
    • Jumpers
    • T-shirts
    • Shorts
    • Underwear
    • Socks
    • Sandals
    • Walking shoes
    • Trousers
    • Skirts
    • Jacket
    • Sarong
    • Shirts / blouses
    • Belts
    • Hat
    • Dress
    • Tie
    • Flip flops
    • Sunglasses
  • Personal Hygiene
    • Make-up
    • Scissors
    • Watch
    • Women's hygiene products
    • Condoms
    • Perfume / aftershave
    • Soap
    • Hair care products
    • Skin care products
    • Sun creams
    • Shaving cream
    • Razor
    • Deodorant
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Lip balm
    • Laundry detergent
    • Toilet paper
    • Towel
    • Tweezers