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Here are ten top tips for travelling abroad, courtesy of Age Scotland Enterprises.
Without the restraints of school holidays, over 50s have the luxury of choosing exactly when they want to travel. This means you can go away in the off-season when it is cooler and quieter, but more importantly you can benefit from cheaper packages. If you are looking for some heat, keep an eye out for cheaper deals in May and September.
Don’t rely on your travel agent to find you the best deal. If you have the time, do some research online to get an idea of what is available and at what cost. There is nothing to say you can’t tailor your holiday to exactly what you want, and without paying commission.
Arrange travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. Ensure that you are covered for the full duration meaning you are covered for cancellation and curtailment. If you go away three or more times a year, investigate the benefits of annual insurance cover as it could work out cheaper than buying several single trip insurances. You may also need to complete entry forms such as ETAS (USA) or health documents like an EHIC (if travelling in Europe) several weeks an advance.
Take time to research different companies and policies available to ensure you find the best one for you and your trip. Be aware that cheap policies may have a high excess or a low item value essentially meaning it could be worthless and cost you more money in the long run if you were to make a claim.
To reduce premiums, take the time to research the country you are travelling to. Look carefully at the level of cover being proposed and decide what’s necessary within the policy. Check that you are not paying for worldwide cover if you are only travelling in Europe as this could reduce your costs by half. In general it is recommended that you should have at least £2m of medical cover for Europe and £5m worldwide. Although this may seem excessive, it all adds up when considering that an air ambulance to the UK from the east coast of the USA can cost up to £45,000. A flight, stretcher and doctor escort from Australia could cost between £15,000 and £20,000
You might not think that travel insurance is important for a trip in the UK but you could still be at risk of cancellations or lost baggage. If you do have cover, ensure you are not paying extra as a UK policy should be cheaper.
It is vital that all pre-existing medical conditions are declared - for example cancer, heart, circulatory or breathing problems - when buying a policy. Failure to do this could mean you won’t be covered in the event of something going wrong. Before going away, ensure you have any necessary pre-departure vaccinations. If you don’t get these and fall ill as a result, this could affect your right to claim.
If you are planning an activity-based holiday then it is crucial that the right policy is purchased beforehand. Although the UK has reciprocal health care deals with most European countries, expenses for medical treatment might not be fully met in the event of a serious accident.
Be sure that you are not paying to insure your personal possessions twice. Even abroad your belongings could be covered by your home insurance or bank.
Don’t forget to take details of your policy with you, including the emergency helpline number in case you need to make an urgent claim. If you do intend to make a claim, report the incident as soon possible. It is important to keep all receipts, accounts and documentary evidence as you will need these to make a claim when you return home.
It’s vital that, when buying insurance, you review the terms and conditions and ensure the product offers good value for money. Regardless of your age, it’s essential that you have a policy in place that provides appropriate cover for your situation and will protect you in case you fall ill or have an accident abroad.
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