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Travel checklist

Six to know before you go

1. Always make sure it is safe to travel
Always check the current advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), especially as travelling against FCDO advice is likely to invalidate your travel insurance.

2. Buy travel insurance and make sure that it best meets your needs 
The main reason for travel insurance is to cover the costs of emergency overseas medical treatment which, together with any repatriation required back to the UK, can easily run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds. For example, the cost of medical treatment in Spain following a fall by a UK traveller and their emergency medical repatriation back to the UK was £124,000. In another case, treating and returning a traveller who contracted Covid while in Cyprus cost £70,000. Both these costs were paid by travel insurers.

3. Check and be aware of any COVID-19 exclusions in your travel insurance All ABI travel insurers will continue to provide cover for emergency medical treatment needed overseas, including emergency medical treatment related to COVID-19. Some travel insurance policies may cover cancellation caused by specified reasons (such as medical advice against travel), where refunds cannot first be obtained from other sources, such as the airline. However, policies are unlikely to cover cancellation due to a change in FCDO advice as a result of COVID-19, as it was a known risk when the policy was taken out.

4. Be aware of, and comply with, travel requirements for entering overseas countries
It is your responsibility to comply with any border restrictions in place at your destination country (i.e., negative COVID-19 test, vaccine, having a valid passport). If you do not comply with these requirements, then you will need to return home at your own cost. Travel insurance will not cover you for any delays in obtaining/renewing a UK passport in time for your travel (although some policies may cover you for certain additional costs you incur if you lose your passport while abroad).

5. Have your EHIC, or get a GHIC, if travelling to Europe
If you hold a current European Health Insurance Card (the EHIC entitles you to access state-provided health care when visiting the EU) this remains valid until its expiry date. After then, or if you do not have an EHIC, you will need to apply in the same way (through NHS online) for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Neither the EHIC or the GHIC is a replacement for travel insurance as it will not cover you for all medical costs, or the cost of emergency repatriation back to the UK. For example, a travel insurer paid the £10,000 cost of the air ambulance needed to bring a traveller who fell in Portugal back home.

6. Know your rights if facing travel problems
Get as much information as you can, so that, in the event of any travel problems, you know what you are entitled to. For example, check the refund policy of any accommodation provider, what you are entitled to if booking a package holiday, and what the legal obligations of the airline are if your flight is disrupted or cancelled.

If you have to cancel your travel, in the first instance a refund should be sought from:

  • the airline
  • accommodation provider
  • tour operator

Any bookings made through a credit card may also be able to have costs recovered through section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.​

If you are travelling within the European Union (EU) or with an EU based airline, and your flight is cancelled or delayed, you may be entitled to compensation from the airline under EU regulations. The Civil Aviation Authority website has more information on your legal rights.

You should check if your travel insurance covers travel disruption, which will cover certain non-refundable costs because of specific circumstances (for example, strike or industrial action and airport closures), when other consumer protections do not apply.