The world has plenty of different cultures and experiences for travellers to explore and expand their horizon. There are plenty of destinations to go to, whether it be a tropical island in the Caribbean, a trek on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal or a 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 that you are after? Then decide whether you want to stay in one place or travel around. You also need to estimate a budget and how much time you can afford to 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 if something happens would also be much greater than in Europe, so worldwide travel insurance would cover you for these costs.

What types of travel insurance policies can I get?

If you are planning to go on just one trip over the next year, then single trip cover might be the cheaper option for you. It can cover a single trip abroad up to 365 days in length. Alternatively, you can get an annual multi-trip policy which covers you for all of your trips over the one year period, as long as each of them isn’t longer than your chosen trip limit of 31, 45 or 60 days.

Our policies also include 150 activities that are covered for free, including zip-lining, scuba diving, and kayaking. If your planned activities aren’t included, you can also get an adventure sports add-on which includes white water rafting, land yachting and high diving, among others.

There is also optional winter sports cover to give you extra protection for skiing and snowboarding trips, including helicopter rescue and protection for your equipment if it is lost, stolen or damaged.

You can also choose to get individual, couple or family travel insurance. With family cover you would all be protected for the trip with single trip insurance. If you decide to get an annual family policy then you would all be covered for multiple trips throughout the year, even if you travel separately for a holiday. This means that your children could travel with friends or other family members and still be covered for the trip, while you could also travel on your own if you want a break away from your kids.

If you are planning to go on an extended holiday then you can also get backpacker travel insurance, which can cover you if you plan to be away from home up to 365 days. It includes cover for emergency medical care, as well as lost baggage and working abroad.

Man sitting down and resting his legs on his suitcase at an airport

What are the risks of travelling to different destinations worldwide?

Each country will come with different risks. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides country specific advice, so you can be prepared and know of any political risks, potential health concerns and the seasons to avoid because of extreme weather. If you are going to the Maldives, for example, you may be at risk of contracting the Zika virus. If you are 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 safer for tourists.

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. You will also need to have a passport with at least six months remaining to visit most countries outside Europe. The FCO 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.

In some places, you are also at greater risk of contracting certain illnesses, so it is advised that you find out if you need vaccinations before you travel. The NHS provides health advice for travellers, including recommended vaccines and illnesses to be wary of during your trip. You can also talk to your GP to see if they have any health recommendations ahead of your holiday.

Man standing at airport

What if something happens before I leave?

As soon as you book a holiday you should take out an insurance policy, as you will then have cancellation coverage immediately. Columbus Direct also offer free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed for more than one hourso at least you can relax while waiting for your flight.

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

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.

Do I need to declare medical conditions?

You should inform us of any pre-existing medical conditions when getting a travel insurance policy with us. This is to ensure that your conditions are covered by your policy, otherwise you could end up facing unwanted medical bills when you’re abroad. 

Our online application makes the process simple – all you need to do is enter your medical conditions and answer a few short questions about them. We will then be able to tell you if we can cover your condition and if you will need to pay any additional premiums.

If you don’t declare your conditions, then anything that arises from a pre-existing medical condition that you didn’t tell us about might not be covered.

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 holiday2.

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