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Travel checklist

Six to know before you go

1. Always make sure it is safe to travel

Check and follow the latest foreign travel advice on GOV.UK from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), especially as travelling against it 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 what cover and exclusions are in your travel insurance  
Most policies will have a maximum single trip duration limit, with some excluding participation in certain specified hazardous activities, as well as any claims caused by excess alcohol. Policies are likely to have some exclusions relating to COVID-19. So always check the scope of cover before you buy, and read your policy to ensure you know exactly what is covered and what is not. If you are planning to do any activities, such as winter sports or scuba diving, ensure that these are included in your cover.

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. visas, vaccines, 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 (available for free through NHS online) for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Neither the EHIC nor 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
Gather 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.