‘The world is your oyster’ is something we hear frequently and you know what - it’s true. We can travel to more than a lifetime’s worth of different destinations, whether it be a tropical island in the Caribbean, a trek on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal or whirlwind visit to New York City. The opportunities are endless, so where to get started on your bucket list?

Where do you start if you don’t know what destination to visit next? First work out what you want from a holiday; is it complete relaxation, a cultural break or something more active you are after? Then decide whether you want to stay in one place or travel around. You also need to agree a budget and how much time you can spend somewhere.

Despite the world being more accessible than ever before, things can still go wrong, or plans might need to be changed, so travel insurance is a must. Here are some tips to help you make the most of what the world has on offer and have a stress-free holiday.

Why do I need a specific worldwide policy?

If travelling outside Europe, the costs for medical treatment can increase substantially as the UK does not have the same level of reciprocal health arrangements with other countries. If going to the USA even basic healthcare can cost into the thousands so insurance is essential. As you will be travelling further afield, the cost of repatriating you back to the UK should something happen would also be much greater than in Europe so worldwide travel insurance would cover you for these costs. In some places, you are also at greater risk of contracting certain illnesses, so it is essential to find out if you need vaccinations before you travel.

What are the risks of travelling to different destinations worldwide?

Each country will come with different risks. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides country specific advice, so you can be prepared and know of any political risks, potential health concerns and the seasons to avoid an area because of extreme weather. If you are going to the Maldives, for example, you may be at risk of contracting Zika virus but if planning to climb to Machu Picchu you may wish to avoid November to April as it can rain heavily in the Andes in this period.

Check out the government website before booking and travelling to a particular country.It may also be wise to look at local news sources to understand when is best to visit and what areas are safe for tourists at any time.

Do I need a visa to travel to different countries around the world?

It depends on the country you are visiting and what passport you hold as to whether you need to obtain a visa before travelling. If going to the USA, tourists from Great Britain need prior authorisation through the visa waiver programme, while if going to Japan you can enter as a British citizen for up to 90 days without a visa. You will also need to have a passport with at least six months remaining to visit most countries outside Europe. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides advice on entry requirements for British citizens to each country. 

Even when visa waiver programmes are available, make sure that you meet the requirements for these programmes before booking your trip. In some instances, you may need to visit an embassy or a consulate before travelling abroad. Make sure to allow ample time to apply for and receive your visa if it is a requirement for your intended destination. If you have a criminal conviction or medial issue it is especially important you check entry requirements in plenty of time or you risk being denied entry!

What if something happens before I leave?

As soon as you book a holiday you should take out an insurance policy, which covers you for missed departure or if you need to cancel your holiday. Insurance can also provide cover if anything happens to the airline or travel company you book with. Columbus Direct also offers customers free airport lounge access if their flight is delayed for more than one hour 1 so at least you can relax while waiting for your flight. 

What if something happens to me while I’m away?

If something affects your health while you are away, Columbus Direct provides free medical advice and access to a UK GP any time day or night directly from a mobile phone in partnership with Babylon, the UK’s leading digital healthcare service. You should also always familiarise yourself with phone numbers for the emergency services in the country you are visiting and know where the local hospital or medical centre is.

If you have any known allergies or medical conditions, it is a good idea to memorise how to express that in the local language in case of emergency. For example, if you have a peanut allergy or a lactose intolerance, learn how to recognise these things on a local menu and how to tell a waiter what you can’t eat. 

Lost baggage

Everyone has felt their blood pressure rise when waiting for their luggage after a flight as, no matter when you check in, it always feels like your suitcase is last to leave the plane. Often it is just a case of waiting but sometimes, unfortunately, luggage is lost or delayed getting to you. If this happens, like most travel insurers Columbus Direct has got you covered 2. Often people think of travel insurance as covering for medical emergencies and while this is of course extremely important, it is worth checking what cover you have for lost or stolen luggage before buying a policy. No one wants to spend their hard-saved holiday money on replacing a suitcase and its contents. Travellers should always make sure to travel with important and valuable items (such as precious jewellery, money and medications) in their hand luggage.

Travel with Confidence with Columbus Direct

With 30 years of experience, we know what you need from your travel insurance. You can travel with peace of mind, knowing we’re here for you and your family with cover for everything from lost baggage and flight delays, to stolen items and medical bills while you are on holiday 3.


Terms and conditions apply:

If you purchase travel insurance online you will receive a 10% discount off the price of standard cover.

Discounts do not apply to any additional medical conditions or policy options requiring an additional premium payment.


Terms and Conditions apply

(1) Policyholder needs to register their flight for free airport lounge access in the event of a delay of one hour or more. All accompanying members must be named on the policy to gain lounge access. View terms and conditions here

(2) Available with silver and gold policy only

(3) Cover for baggage and personal property available with silver and gold policy only