Why guided tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?
Why Tours are sometimes necessary when we travel?
When I travel, either with family or solo, I tend to plan my travels beforehand and spend some time researching on the type of organised tours that are available. Often these tours act as guides to explore the areas and beyond. More often than not when on a short getaway of about three or four days, I tend to join guided tours to explore a neighbouring country or another city. There are times I join a free city walking tour and at other times, I like the city guided tours organised by third party providers. For me, it makes sense to book one of these tours and I share my reasons with you:
1 | Tours prove to be good value for money.
Foremost, organised tours such as day trips often covers more than one destination and I get to experience these hassle-free. I don’t have to think of transportation costs from one place to another. [Read about our amazing day trip to Chamonix, France from Geneva ⇒ A Perfect Romantic 3-day Itinerary in Geneva
Value for money is not restricted to just day trips – Combined tickets are also excellent value for money. I buy these beforehand, online at least a couple of days prior so I know I am covered. Purchasing tickets online is often cheaper than buying it at the ticket office on the day.
2 | Not to be disappointed when I get there.
I was disappointed in Amsterdam – [Read about my experience in Amsterdam where I missed on visiting a major attraction because I did not plan and purchase a ticket for the visit prior to visiting Amsterdam ⇒ Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 Experiences in 48 Hours. AND in Milan even when I tried to get tickets a few days prior!
With these benefits in mind, I have carefully selected some tours through a third party provider which I use when I travel. I use Get Your Guide Tour group because they offer one of the best tours with excellent value for money. I say this knowing that they do because I have personally used them to organise my own tours and none has disappoint. I hope you will find these useful too.
Please note that these are suggestions to enhance your travel experience to and in London. Of course, feel free to choose more appropriate tours to suit your needs from the vast choices that GetYourGuide provide.
Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Greenwich and London? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, Also, if there is any other interests you have in Greenwich and London which you would like to explore, please let me know, and I shall find out relevant information for you. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a splendid time exploring Greenwich and London.
A package holiday synonymous to an All-in-One holiday or an All-Inclusive holiday is one way of vacationing. The concept was pioneered by Gerard Blitz, a Belgian water polo player. He established Club Med in 1950, implementing the idea of a “package”, an all-inclusive resort. The idea took off to become a popular and fastest growing ways of vacationing. It was a brilliant concept then, and, still is today. The concept of an all-in-one package holiday is a flexible one, which could be designed to include families, couples or solo travellers.
Although I am an ardent advocate of designing your own adventure your way – a DIY vacation, I am also a believer of choosing what suits you best for the time of the year you are vacationing at the destination you will be visiting. Be it an adventure trek, camping in the mountains, slow travel or a beach holiday – you should do what best suits you. I have experienced package holidays many times in the past because it suited the occasion. I note below a few of my experiences.
My experiences of package holidays & Why I recommend it
My experiences with package holiday began many years ago when my children were toddlers. It was one of the best options for family vacation.
Our family vacation to World Disney Resort in Florida was a package holiday. The package was an all-inclusive one. It suited us well because my children were with other kids of similar age. We stayed at a resort within the park and had free popcorn and unlimited beverages. We watched the fireworks at night from the balcony of our hotel room. At breakfast, we were entertained by Disney characters. My kids had a fabulous time and many happy memories. Our trip to Disneyland Paris was also similarly packaged.
When we visited Morocco for a week, it was a luxury, an all-inclusive package. The package included three meals a day and unlimited drinks. The resort had a wellness spa centre for women which I used for a small fee.
We experienced similar positive experiences at Port Aventura in Spain, Phuket in Thailand and Penang in Malaysia.
Given all of my positive experiences with package holiday, I cannot recommend it high enough. I have put together 10 superb benefits why you will love to experience one as well.
What is a package holiday?
Before I go through all the benefits of a package holiday, we need to appreciate what is meant by the term “package holiday”.
A package holiday is a deals package with flights, transfers, and accommodation. It may sometimes include food and beverages. Packages are usually for a 7-day or 14-day in duration at a time, with a beach type destination, although not always.
For British holiday makers, a package holiday is a popular style of vacationing. They can get a low cost deal with no stress of booking at multiple sites. According to Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), about 46 per cent of holiday makers opt for a package holiday each year.
However, It is not just about the no fuss no stress deals package that makes it an attractive option. There are other upsides as well. Travellers on package holidays are generally protected financially. The protection includes certain assistance guarantees that does not come with a DIY holidays. More on this below.
The Regulations sets the benchmark for travel providers to advertise their holiday packages honestly and ensure that it is delivered as described to their customers. The customer has the right to expect that the holiday booked and paid for matches the description given when it was bought. Basically, you must receive what you pay for.
Furthermore, the Regulation sets out the travel provider’s responsibilities of care in the event should something go wrong during any component of the holiday booked with them. Essentially, the travel provider has a legal duty of care to make sure that their customers are safe, help them resolve problems and make any necessary refunds.
Therefore, if the package holiday fails to match how it was described, The Regulations gives you the right to ask your holiday provider to put it right. If the holiday provider fails or unable to do so, you can claim compensation.
Pro tip:Pay careful attention to how the package holiday is described by the travel provider in their brochure, website or via their agent.
1.2 | What is a “Package Holiday” within The Regulation?
To benefit from a claim under The Regulations, the package bought must meet the definition or have the features that of a “package holiday”. Typically it should be:
Advertised as a package or all-inclusive deal;
That the holiday was bought for an inclusive or total price;
That more than one part of the holiday such as flights and accommodation was bought from one holiday provider with one payment;
After booking one part of your holiday, you were prompted to buy another. You did not have to enter your personal and payment details again. You completed all of the transaction within 24 hours of the first booking.
In other words, if your holiday looked like a package deal when you bought it, then it probably is.
You can still benefit even if your holiday does not fall within the above features provided it can be a ” Linked Travel Arrangement”
1.3 | Linked Travel Arrangement
A Linked Travel Arrangement is when you buy one service from a travel provider and you are then prompted to buy another but on this occasion your personal information and payment details aren’t transferred. Also, you must buy the additional services within 24 hours of each other for them to be considered a Linked Travel Arrangement. The first travel provider has the responsibility to inform you that it is a Linked Travel Arrangement.
The Linked Travel Arrangement provides limited protection – you get your money back only when the provider goes into insolvency.
A Package Holiday – When you book more than one part of your holiday through the same travel provider or website
A Linked Travel Arrangement – When you buy one part of your holiday and then you are prompted to buy another part within 24 hours but your payment details aren’t transferred.
The Regulation – only apply to packages sold or offered for sale in the UK.
Does not apply to business trips.
2 | ATOL and ABTA Protection for package holiday
The other two elements of your holiday protection are ATOL and ABTA.
2.1 | ATOL
Under UK law, your holiday is protected if it is a package holiday. Every travel company incorporated in UK that sells air holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL.
ATOL – Air Travel Organiser’s Licence is a UK financial protection scheme and it protects most air package holidays sold by travel businesses that are based in the UK. The scheme also applies to some flight bookings, usually those where you book flights (including UK domestic flights) but do not receive your tickets immediately.
ATOL bonding scheme is where a £2.50 ATOL fee is built into the cost of your flight that guarantees you a refund and/or a flight home if the airline goes bust.
In addition to ATOL, there is also protection afforded by ABTA.
2.2 | ABTA
ABTA is the operating name of what was formerly known as the Association of British Travel Agents. It is UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators. ABTA enforces standards and provide insurance for holidaymakers in the event of financial problems for travel companies.
ABTAhas been a trusted travel brand for 70 years, offering advice and guidance to the travelling public, as well as leading the travel industry in supporting high service standards, working with our Members on health and safety, and promoting responsible tourism at home and abroad.
Our offer of support, protection and expertise means you can have confidence in ABTA; and a strong trust in our Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that you remain confident in the holidays and travel experiences that you buy from our Members.
An easy booking process is evident when you do a package holiday. On an online booking, all it takes is a few clicks, and you are done.
You do not have to go to different websites to book your flights, accommodation and transfers separately. You do not worry anymore about searching and matching the cheapest flights with the best hotel deals.
Meals and beverages are often included In an all-inclusive deal. This means you do not have to search for restaurants in the vicinity.
Everything is arranged for you by the travel provider under one transaction. You receive one confirmation. You have all your essential information in one place. You do not have to keep track of various booking confirmations.
Another key benefit of most package holidays is that some destinations come with an in-resort representative. This ensures help is at hand if there are any problems while you’re away.
4 | Saves time
Along with an easy booking process, a package holiday saves you time as well. A package alleviates the need to book individual components which is time consuming. You can basically book the whole package with a few clicks, and you are done.
5 | Stress free
With everything done in one booking, it alleviates the stress of looking and matching various deals. Worries are off your shoulders. You only now need to ensure you are packed on the day to board your flight.
6 | Cheaper prices and Great value for money
Cheap does not necessarily mean good value. Package holiday tend to work out cheaper than a DIY holiday in most situations. This is because many holiday providers struck deals with airlines and hoteliers, and buy flight seats and rooms in bulk to create their package. They benefit from huge discounts and they pass these on to their customers. The package or bundles such as “flight + room” is not available for public purchase.
However, a package holiday also comes with good quality accommodation and facilities. Holiday providers will try and provide the best package because they have stiff competition in the industry. You are likely to get the best value package and the best quality accommodation for the holidays you select.
For skiing and other winter sports holidays, package deals are usually better value. Holiday providers usually run their own accommodation in the mountains, offer lift passes and equipment hire in the package.
Buying a package holiday is also a great way to save money. Often, the package includes meals and drinks, in which case there are no additional expenses involved. Moreover, as flights, accommodation and maybe meals/transport are paid upfront, prices are more transparent from the outset, allowing for effective budgeting during holidays.
7 | Facilities and Entertainment
In general, each resort and hotel at the package holiday destination offer various facilities and entertainment for their guests. These usually consists of cultural nights, comedy shows, or live music nights.
Some of these high-end hotels and resorts offer sports facilities such as golf or tennis, a well equipped fitness zone and a spa and wellness facilities where you can pamper yourself for a small fee.
8 | Affordable luxury in a myriad of options
There is no denying that holiday providers specialising in package deals offer a myriad of options. From high-end five star luxury holidays, glamorous ocean cruises, to three-star average experiences or budget alternatives. The high-end ones are often affordable and therefore doable for many which would otherwise be an unreachable experience.
There are many types of package deals to suit everyone’s needs and financial plans. You just have to decide which one is best suited for you.
9 | Safety
Safety is not something often thought of when vacationing but it is also not too far off from anyone’s mind when travelling to a precarious zone. if a situation should arise, for example, a local coup or a natural disaster like the volcanic ash clouds, you know that you are not alone. The package holiday provider has a duty to safeguard you and your family and ensure your safe return home. You mat also be within reach of a representative.
Moreover, if you decide to visit a dangerous zone, then being in a resort which is usually a secure area will be the best option.
10 | Opportunity to socialise with people who share the same interests
Last but not least is the opportunity to socialise with people who share the same interests as you. For example, if you opt for a family package, it offers you the opportunity to meet other families as well. This makes a great occasion for kids to play together and make friendships. In a way, you know you have more sets of eyes watching the safety of your kids than just you. Moreover, a family vacation destination usually organise activities for kids or they may have kids club where parents can take a breather while leaving their kids in a safe and secure environment.
The opportunity to socialise is also present when you book a ski package or beach holidays.
What do you think? Is a package holiday your kind of vacation? If so, you will find some practical resources to use for booking your dream all-in-one package deal below.
Practical resources to booking your package holiday
Get great value and know the cost upfront so you will have a worry free holiday. Browse through some of the best package deals offered by On the Beach and Jet2Holidays.
A Complete Guide to Travel Insurance | Everything you need to know about Travel Insurance – the Why, What & How to select the best
About this post on Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is the Most Important thing you will need besides your passport and money when travelling. You never know what could happen because we don’t think about the unexpected when we are on holiday. Most health insurance plans don’t cover you when you travel abroad. Travel insurance cover injuries or illnesses so you would be able to seek medical attention. It also covers accidents that might happen to your belongings such as if your camera falls into a lake or river while you are photographing plus situations where it might be stolen. It covers trip cancellation or delays and personal liability as well. What all these means is that a Travel Insurance is an absolute must when planning your holidays.
The type of cover you need will depend on the countries you’re visiting, the activities you’ll be doing and the length of your trip. You’ll also need to decide whether you want travel insurance for a single trip, multiple trips or for backpacking. With so much to consider, I decided to put together this list of considerations so it is clear what to look out for when purchasing a holiday insurance.
A synopsis of this post on travel insurance
First up in this post you will find reasons why travel insurance is important and why you should not leave home without it. I make a brief mention of what you need to consider when purchasing and offer suggestions on the type of cover and factors relating to the type of holiday insurance you may need, With so many insurers offering so many different cover, it can be overwhelming to come to a conclusion. I have researched and have noted a comprehensive list of what makes a good travel insurance policy, and concluding with a summary guide to getting the right cover for the right price. I sincerely hope that this post will be of value to you.
1 | Why is travel insurance necessary?
When you are planning your holiday, you rather not be thinking about all of the things that might go wrong on your trip. However, these things can and do happen. If the unexpected does happen, you would want to be protected from hefty costs and hassle free resolutions. A primary reason why holiday insurance is important and necessary is because it covers you and your family on the trip. Medical attention in a foreign country can be very expensive. Depending on the country visited, medical facilities can be very basic. Signing up to the right policy can be indispensable. I found 13 reasons how the right policy will cover you:
1.1 | 13 reasons to consider why travel insurance is necessary
When you get sick and need to see a doctor;
When your medical condition worsens and you need urgent care;
When you need to be helicoptered out of somewhere;
When you need to be sent home;
When you have to cancel your trip;
When you experience delays and cancelled flights;
When your passport is stolen or lost and needs to replaced;
When you have to stay longer while awaiting your passport to be replaced;
When your money is stolen;
When your personal belongings are stolen such as your camera, laptop or any other electronics;
When your personal belongings are damaged and need to be replaced;
When your luggage is delayed or lost;
When you undertake sports or high risk activities such as skiing – accidents do and can happen in circumstances beyond your control such as an avalanche or volcanic eruption;
Given the importance of travel insurance and with so many providers out there – how would you choose the correct provider to suit your needs? I will lay out all the factors which I discovered in my research and share them with you in this post.
Now that you are aware why holiday insurance is necessary, the next step is for you to think about what factors you may have to consider when purchasing your travel insurance policy.
2 | What you need to consider when purchasing travel insurance
Obtaining the right travel insurance cover to suit your needs is important. It is important because you need to ensure that you are adequately covered for any eventualities for you and your family plus you don’t want to pay through the roof on a premium where you could pay less if you had done your research. The following are factors you may wish to consider when purchasing travel insurance: and will aide your decision when purchasing.
2.1 | Affordability
There are so many insurance companies offering products where the premium varies. Some are astonishingly cheap while others are exorbitantly expensive. Like all things you buy, you get what you pay for. You may not need all that is included in the policy. You need to choose a cover that you can afford and one that suits your needs;
2.2 | Peace of mind
Choose a policy that covers all eventualities in your given holiday such as emergency medical for extreme sports; suitable alternate accommodation in the event of floods, airline strikes and volcanic ash cloud. Ensure you are covered for disruptions and cancellations due to volcanic ash cloud.
In April 2010, the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud caused wide scale disruption to thousands of holidaymakers where their holidays were cancelled, having paid for expensive holidays which they could not take. Many found themselves stranded abroad not knowing when or how they would get home. Holidaymakers also discovered that the delays and cancellations due to volcanic ash cloud was NOT covered by their travel insurance policy. Learn more about the volcanic ash cloud insurance from an article by moneysupermarket.com here
2.3 | Hassle free process
You would want to purchase a policy from a provider that is recognised for its customer relations’ quick processing of claims. You will want money or electronics replaced quickly while on holiday; You will want to have a simple and user friendly platform without having to fill out lengthy forms when making your claim.
You should be able to make a claim online and/or abroad while travelling instead of when you return home.
3 | What type of travel insurance cover is best for me? – Choosing the right travel insurance policy and cover to suit your needs.
The type of travel insurance policy and cover that is suitable to your needs will really depend on the following considerations:
3.1 | Where you are going
Policies are usually set by area.:
Worldwide excluding US; and
Tip – Cross-border travelling: You need to ensure that if you choose to do day trips that these are covered, for example if you are travelling from Greece into Turkey, Gibraltar to Morocco or the USA to Mexico.
3.2 | How long are you going away for
Annual and single trip policies covers you for 90, 120 or even 180 days. If you plan to be away longer, a long-stay policy provides you with up to 18 months of cover.
3.3 | The type of holiday you are taking
Is it business, family, single, backpacking or group travel. Each type of holiday will offer you a different premium.
You will need to consider specialist insurance for the following:
Backpacking; Volunteering; Golfing; Winter sports such as skiing; Cruises.
For independent travellers and intrepid families, you may want to consider World Nomads.
World Nomads travel insurance are designed by travellers for travellers and offer policies to cover 150 plus activities in their adventure list. With World Nomads, you can buy travel insurance on the road! Extend cover over activities you’d forgotten to do initially. In essence, they are flexible, and provide a smart way of travel.
3.4 | What activities you will be doing
Will you be doing any winter sports or adventurous activities? There are a number of policies specifically for winter sports that covers injuries and piste closures. If you are doing anything adventurous, it may incur additional cover. Obvious adventure activities include bungee jumping and scuba diving as well as less obvious adventurous activities such as horse riding and canoeing.
3.5 | Your age – Travel insurance for Over 65s
If you are over 65, you will need a specialist policy. Some policies may be more expensive than others for the same cover. You need to shop around. The following are links which you may want to use to research further before making your final decision:
3.5.1 | Which?
Which? sets out a list of suggested best buy insurers for Over 65, often with the latest information.
Who are Which?
Which? is a UK brand that promotes informed consumer choice in the purchase of goods and services by testing products, highlighting inferior products or services, raising awareness of consumer rights and offering independent advice.
Here are the links from Which? for you to research on:
Tip:To get the best deal. you may want to consider a multi-trip policy instead of a single one as this will work out cheaper for you in the long term. In addition, taking out a specific policy that relates to the activity you will be doing for example, cruising, may work out cheaper than a single trip.
3.6 | Your medical condition:
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may be charged a slightly higher premium because of the risks involved.
A pre-existing medical condition is an illness or injury that exists before, or at the time, you take out an insurance policy. Common medical conditions are:
high blood pressure
respiratory problems including asthma
joint & bone inflammation
chronic illnesses such as cancer or stomach problems
Anxiety or depression should be disclosed as well.
You must disclose any and all pre-existing medical conditions at the time you take out your policy so that it is not invalidated.
Look up these websites for advise and be informed on pre-existing medical condition:
Travelling with family or friends gives you the following options:
Single parent cover;
Couples cover provided both are at the same address;
Family holiday insurance that covers two adults and up to four children travelling together provided children are under 18 and living with you.
Couple and child cover is a cheaper family policy if you are a couple and travelling with only one child
However, take note that a “family” policy can be invalid if members are travelling independently. Family policy may not include children/step children who do not ordinarily reside with the policy holder.
3.8 | How often will you be travelling over a 12-month period;
Annual multi trip?
If you plan to travel more than once over a 12 month period, it will be a good idea for you to purchase a multi-trip policy instead of a single trip. Premiums work out cheaper that way.
A single trip policy covers that just one holiday and ends when you reach home. A multi-trip holiday covers as many trips as you wish to take in a year – the 12-month period begins with your first trip. Each trip may be limited to 31 days or 60 days, depending on the provider.
3.8.1 | Annual OR Single Trip – How would you decide?What is best?
When considering whether a single or an annual policy is suitable, the thing to bear in mind is whether the multi trips over the year are “of a kind” or of different types. If you are planning a skiing holiday and a summer beach holiday, it will be more appropriate to get a specialist holiday insurance policy to cover your skiing holiday and then to get a separate single trip policy for your summer vacation. This may work out cheaper in premiums for you.
NB: Always research thoroughly before purchasing your policy. There are website links listed below for you to use.
No matter your circumstances, there is a choice of policies available to suit your needs. A good policy will have you covered, giving you optimum cover:
4 | What makes a Good Travel Insurance Policy?
As there are so many travel insurers out there, policies vary a great deal. Insurers offer varying features covering different losses. To ensure you are on the right track to getting a good travel insurance policy, ensure the following features are provided for by the insurer:
4.1 Medical Expenses
A good policy will provide cover towards the costs of emergency medical and surgical treatment while you are away.
£1 million or more for travel to Europe £2 million or more for the USA
4.2 | Repatriation
An automatic cover to bring you home in cases of emergency.
If you have to cancel or shorten your trip, this clause covers you for any travel and accommodation costs you have paid and can’t use or claim back. A good policy will cover you for £2000 and more. You need to read the fine print as some policies will only cover in certain circumstances.
4.4 | Missed departure
Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond your control, you may miss your departure flight, boat or train for example if your car breaks down on your way to the airport. In these situations, you may be covered for £500 or more.
4.5 | Delay
Again, if due to circumstances beyond your control, your travel plans are delayed, you may be covered for £200 or more. There will be separate limits for the first 12 hours of delay and for every 12 hours after that.
4.6 | Travel abandonment
Policies cover certain situations of abandonment where if you have to abandon your trip and cancel your journey, your travel and accommodation expenses will be reimbursed. Cover is £2000 or more. Check the T & C’s.
4.7 | Baggage cover
Policies cover baggage lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed. £1500 or more. There are usually separate limits for single articles, valuables and baggage delay. You will need to report all losses within certain time periods and get a written report from your airline if they lose your baggage.
4.8 | Personal liability cover
This cover is for when you are liable to pay damages due to accidental bodily injury to someone or for loss or damage to someone’s property. Cover is £2 million or more.
4.9 | Dental emergency
This covers the cost of emergency dental treatment, £250 or more.
4.10 | Money
This cover replaces money or equivalent (like travellers’ cheques or pre-paid tickets) if it is lost or stolen. Cover is for £500 or more but you need to ensure that you report the incident to the local police within 24 hours and obtain a police report.
4.11 | Cash
This covers you for loss of or damage to money held as cash. £300 or more.
4.12 | Terrorism
Full cover is provided. Some insurers do not cover baggage. Read the fine prints here.
4.13 | Loss of passport
This covers additional travel and accommodation expenses as a result of needing to replace a lost passport. £250 or more. Ensure you have receipts.
4.14 | Winter sports
Covers winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Cover for your own or hired winter sports equipment, loss of ski pack, piste closure and avalanche delay.
4.15 | Excess amounts
Some insurers might apply different excesses depending on the type of claim. For example, amounts might differ according to whether a claim is for cancellation, baggage loss, abandonment or personal liability. However, a good policy will offer for one excess to be applied per claim.
4.16 | Overseas days + trip duration
A single trip duration during the policy is 30 days or more and the maximum number of days covered when overseas – 120 days or more.
The features above should guide you to choose the type of policy you need and the cover that you need to look out for. To get the right cover at the right price, you need to shop around for best deals and do some research. I sincerely hope that this post has helped you in that area. To summarise all of the above research which I did, I can honestly say that the following should be your guiding steps to buying the right cover for the right price:
5 | Summary Guide to Travel Insurance – Getting the right cover for the right price.
How to get the right holiday insurance for the right price – 6 considerations
Consider a multi-trip policy – as mentioned earlier, this depends on how much travelling you do in a year. It is worth buying an annual cover than to buy each time you travel. In addition, you don’t have to research for new policy each time you travel. Not only does multi trip policy saves you money but it also saves you time.
Look for multiple cover – best to buy for a couple or family under one policy.
Check the policy limits – Some insurers set unnecessarily high limits for medical cover, baggage and cancellation. Some policies set high excess limits. Ensure you check these details.
Watch for exclusions – check for activities that are covered and not covered.
Check for age limits – over 65’s? Consider points discussed above at 3.5 above.
Choose a good provider.
6 | Resources and links to choosing a good travel insurance provider
Finding a good provider of travel insurance will always be challenging because there are just too many of them. What is suitable for one traveller may not be suitable to another. You have to choose the provider that best suites your needs. My research shows there are a few which you could explore:
6.1 | Learn more about the best and worst travel insurance companies from the experts
NB: The cheapest quote does not mean the best quote for your needs. You must dig deeper on the fine prints so you are not caught out.
6.3 | Specialist Travel Insurers
6.3.1 | Holiday insurance for over 65s
Insurance for over 65s tend to get a little more expensive. It always pays to research well in advance for the right cover for the right price. Here are some links to aide your research:
Avanti Travel Insurance – This provider has no restrictions on age for single trip policies. However, for annual cover, the age is limited to 70.
Flexicover – This provider has no restriction on single or multi trip policies but has an overall age cap at 85.
Providers with no upper age limit restrictions for single or multi trip policies:
JD Travel Insurance
Specific points for over65s to consider:
Check activities – make sure the activities you intend to do are covered.
Cut cover – sometimes eliminating some cover may reduce your premium
6.3.2 | Backpacking
Backpackers travel a little differently because of their low budget lifestyle and exploring off the beaten path tracks. They still need to protect themselves with a comprehensive travel insurance cover.
Safety Wing is said to provide the best cheap backpacker insurance. It offers $250,000 in emergency medical coverage, $100,000 in medical evacuation and $5,000 for trip interruption.
For me, the best overall travel insurance for backpackers is provided by World Nomads. World Nomads cover the widest number of countries and more than 300 activities, with 150+ activities in their adventure list. They are affordable as well. What makes them unique is that the policies are curated by travellers themselves – some being backpackers themselves in their lifetime. They have been there and done that. Check out their policies that offer $100,000 in emergency medical coverage, $300,000 in medical evacuation and repatriation, $1,000 for stolen or lost baggage. Furthermore, they offer flexible plans to suit your needs – there are plans with higher coverage.
BIBA represents the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers by campaigning on all aspects of insurance to ensure the industry is united and working for brokers and customers alike.
Travel Checklist-25 Top Tips for a Stress-free Vacation
Travel checklist is an absolute “must” for me! In my last blog post, 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is Important, I wrote about how planning helps you to consider your budget, think about priorities, allocate time for attractions and the “must see”. I know how important it is to plan the “must see” attractions before hand because of my own experience in Amsterdam.
My weekend break in Amsterdam was the one time where no travel checklist was used. Although it turned out to be an amazing weekend, and you can read about Amsterdam in a Nutshell – 18 experiences in 48 hours here, I missed out on one of the most important tourist sights – Anne Frank’s House. Tickets for Anne Frank’s House sold out weeks before I arrived and I was on the waiting list for the limited tickets released each morning. I was disappointed but it did not overshadow the rest of my experiences. Amsterdam is a place I can return to as it is only a little over 4-hours journey on the Eurostar and I will embed Anne Frank’s House into my itinerary.
A travel checklist is important because it embodies all the necessary steps that needs to be taken before your vacation to ensure you have a stress-free time. The last thing you need is a bad experience because you have forgotten to obtain the appropriate visa, or you left your passports or you ran out of cash!
In 5 Reason why travel planning is important, I had mentioned that I like “lists”! My travel planning consists of a pretravel, travel and post-travel checklists. So, in this post, I shall share with you what considerations goes into my pretravel checklist. Some of my suggestions may be obvious but I like to include them so that I do not miss it – which is the whole point of having a plan, or a checklist, right? There may be some that I have missed which you may think of. You can add it to the list, and you may want to write and let me know too, so I could update mine.
You can use this Travel Checklist in all situations, scenarios, whether you are family, couple or solo travellers and adapt it to suit. The checklist is useful for overseas travel. Please remember that these are suggestions only and not absolute.
So, here goes…
Travel Checklist – 25 Top Tips for a stress-free vacation
1 | Travel checklist helps to determine a budget & a buffer
Travel involves money and this is a sensitive subject. However, it is an important one. It is best to decide at the outset how much a vacation will cost, put thoughts to paper and see the numbers. Once you have the figures, you can then shop for best deals on airlines, accommodation and an itinerary of activities.
Numbers on paper and shopping for best deals may give you a good idea of your travel budget. However, from my experiences, a vacation sometimes had taken me beyond my budget. This had mainly been due to unexpected expenses and additional costs to what was budgeted for. There were occasions when I added an additional sightseeing trip to my itinerary, a theatre show or treat ourselves to a lovely dinner in a local cultural setting which we did not previously think of. Sometimes, it can be the costs of transportation from one place to another. For all of these additional expenses, I embed a buffer in my budget.
A budget buffer is the extra cash you set aside for the unexpected expenses whilst on holiday. I suggest a buffer of 30% of total travel expenses minus the cost of flights to be ideal. These are funds which you should have immediate access to if need be. Of course, if you can afford more, all the better 😊
2 | Determine an emergency fund
An emergency fund is not to be confused with a budget buffer. The emergency fund is solely set aside for unforeseen dilemmas beyond your control when you are travelling. It is difficult to come up with a figure here because every situation is different and calls for personal judgement. However, as a guide I would suggest 30% of total travel expenses plus cost of flights. I include the cost of flights because I need a cushion if situations were such that I may need to get out of the country, or get alternate flights due to strike actions etc.
3 | Destination
Decide on your travel destination, whether it is a City break, an adventure in the mountains or sandy beaches and blue skies. It is also important to decide if travel involves one destination or multiple destinations. The place and type of holiday is important as it directly correlates with your budget.
This is also a perfect opportunity to think of your activities and how your itinerary is going to be.
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It is important to decide on the duration of your vacation because this will dictate how much of the destination you are able to see, how much money you will be needing, what it will cost for the sightseeing trips which you may want to include in your vacation and how many meals you will need to pay for etc.
5 | Book your flights/trains
Look-out for early birds offer or worldwide sale by airlines. Usually early January/April or May will fetch you a good price.
Utilise comparative sites such as Skyscanner for flights. Sometimes, you can get a good deal directly with some airlines.
6 | Travel checklist helps to consider mode of getting around when at destination
Think about transportation and the system. Will you be using the local transport, or will you be walking most of the time? Familiarise yourself with the system and check reviews to see what tourists have to say about your chosen destination.
7 | Accommodation
Consider the following when deciding on accommodations:
7.1 | When travelling with kids, look for family-friendly sites.
Often, you can find adjoining rooms or large rooms where you can have a baby-cot or an additional bed. You can also have twin-beds at no extra cost.
Search also on what kids-club activities are available on-site. Sometimes these activities club are included in your stay but most times it is not. I have used them liberally when my kids were young to break the day so they can have time with other kids of their age. This also meant that I can have a bit of me-time while they were having fun in a safe environment.
You can look-up recommended best family hotels in the world 2019 by CNTraveller here.
Investigate if the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and/or other sightseeing sights. Places like Orlando comes to mind. We also had a shuttle service when we were in Niagara Falls, from the hotel to the restaurant. It is worth checking.
7.3 | Pet-friendly
With a boom in pet ownership and if you are one of them, you may want to travel with your fur-babies. If you do, you may want to check for pet-friendly accommodations. Click on the links below to find out more on the best pet-friendly accommodations, offered by skycop and CNN Travel.
7.4 | Is breakfast included? Plus, what cuisines are on the menu?
Always go for breakfast included! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and when I am travelling, I always make sure I have a good and a healthy start. This is a good habit to get into because your day may be filled with activities and you may only have time for a sandwich or a bag of crisps before your next meal in the evening.
Most hotels offer a great selection for breakfast – lots of fruits in addition to continental breakfast. Some hotels may offer more, for example their local breakfast in addition to continental or English breakfast.
I would have a quick browse through their menu, just to be aware of the choices, pricing and whether it meets any dietary requirements I may have.
8 | Type of accommodation
The type of accommodation you choose must meet your needs. Starting early on your search, say before the peak season, will give you greater choices both in the types of accommodation and its prices. Early search helps in securing better deals. Sometimes, it is a challenge to find a property that is 100% suited and to have a certain degree of comfort that you want. As for me, I need that little luxury when I travel. I am quite relentless at what I want, so I persevere to get the closest to suit. I use various search engines to compare availability and prices but over the years, I have come to rely on booking dot com.
booking.com is a travel search engine for accommodations, that offers you a choice of hotels,homes and apartments and B&B’s in 120,000 destinations worldwide – instant confirmation and no cancellation fees. With such a vast choice, I am certain you will find accommodation to suit your needs, whether you are a solo traveller, couples or family. There is something to suit every budget. You could do a search below and discover what comes up.
9 | Safety
For the most part, the world is a safe place to be. We cannot control everything, no matter how well planned we are because things do happen, and these are sometimes out of our control. At this stage of pretravel plans, I suggest that you check whether the country you are travelling to is safe in relation to its political climate. No-one wants to be caught out!
There are several websites and travel blogs that provide comprehensive travel safety advise which you can check. Below you will find two links, one from the US Bureau of Consular Affairs and the other from UK Government offering most up-to-date travel advise. There is information on which countries are safe to travel to, what to do in situations if you are caught-out and how to stay safe.
You may want to check these when making travel plans.
The US Bureau of Consular Affairs click the link below.
Valid passports with at least 6 months left to expiration.
Visa requirements – if travelling to multiple countries, obtaining a valid visa to each of the country before you travel.
If you are travelling to the USA, you will need ESTA
ESTA – Electronic System for Travel Authorisation
ESTA is a mandatory travel authorisation which you need if you are visiting the US either by Sea or Air for under 90 days. Your visit can be for either tourism, business or just visiting friends and family. Most importantly to be aware is that you need ESTA even if you are in transit. Most travellers are caught out by this because we assume that travelling VIA may not require an entry authorisation, but we do!
ESTA is available only for travellers whose nationality is derived from countries covered under the Visa Waiver Program.
You can read more on ESTA by clicking the link below.
Failure to obtain an ESTA can lead to denial of entry at the border and a large fine. You are advised to apply as soon as possible.
I have a personal experience in this respect where I was not allowed to board my flight in Tokyo bound for US, which is a whole blog post itself.
However, in other instances, I obtained my ESTA within 72 hours, but apply as soon as you know of your travel plans and don’t leave it till the last minute.
*Have a look at the country’s respective immigration website for information
11 | Vaccinations
Depending on the countries you are travelling to; you may require vaccinations against:
Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
Please check your country’s National Health website for more information.
12 | Travel insurance
Ensure you are fully covered for the duration of your journey including valuables and equipment. Check whether your home insurance covers your equipment such as your camera.
When considering travel insurance, you will also want to consider whether it is flexible – meaning, whether you can make a claim while you are travelling and the speed at which a claim can be resolved – you will want to be paid as soon as possible!
You need to inform the bank and the credit card company that you are travelling abroad and the country you are travelling to.
This is to ensure that the use of your card abroad is not viewed as suspicious. If viewed as suspicious, there is the possibility that your card will be blocked. You will not be able to use it until the ‘block’ is lifted which can only happen when you get in touch with the Fraud Team of the respective financial institutions. You would not want this stress, I am sure. So, inform your bank/credit card company. It only takes a phone call.
Additionally, you may wish to consider using a cash card, top up as and when you need to. Especially so if you are travelling to remote places and you do not want to risk losing cash or your credit cards. Losing your credit cards runs the risk of it being misused by the thieves.
14 | Foreign currencies
Foreign currencies – it is always good to carry some local currency in cash with you. Keep a look-out on the exchange rates and buy them at a rate when it is favourable to you, even if this means a couple of months before the actual travel date.
It is advised not to use your bank card to withdraw cash at a foreign ATM because you will incur charges for the transactions. In some countries such as China, major credit cards may not be accepted. Only local credit cards are accepted. Best to check before you go.
15 | What to pack?
I am not the best person to advise on what to pack!
I shall share with you the following famous quote of Susan Heller which has helped me of late. I say, of late because I was the sort who would take a suitcase for a weekend getaway instead of a hand luggage – why, because I prepare for various weather conditions, different shoes etc. I am better now, much, much better 😊.
These are the wise words of Susan Heller:
“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money”
16 | Enable mobile roaming
I don’t think this is applicable very much these days and would depend on your carrier and the price plan you have. However, just to be certain, ensure mobile roaming is enabled so that you will be able to use your mobile phone when abroad.
Something you may want to consider when you are travelling for a longer period and unfamiliar countries is to rent a portable mobile wifi device. I found this to be incredibly useful during my stay in Japan
17 | Cancel regular deliveries
This is something that can be easily overlooked – regular deliveries! For example, regular fresh milk delivery. Also, these days, regular grocery orders from local large grocery stores such as Asda/Walmart are more popular. Be sure to cancel these.
18 | Mail delivery
Depending on how long you are away, and if you are away for several weeks, you may want to consider diverting your mail to a P.O. Box. This is helpful to ensure all your mail is in one place, safe and secure and not clogging up your letter box.
19 | Security of your home
Security of your home while you are away on vacation is paramount. You do not want to return to a home that has been ransacked or burgled. A reliable security system in place will give you peace of mind. Alternatively, consider arranging for a trusted person to look into your house every so often while you are away.
20 | Emergency contacts at destination
Ensure you have the phone numbers of your embassy in the country that you are travelling to. You will need this in the event of emergencies
21 | Emergency contacts at home
Ensure you have the contact details of family or friends at home whom you can contact in the event of an emergency.
22 | Hand-luggage restrictions
Hand luggage is the bag you carry through security and keep with you all through your journey. So, please carry only the minimum and what you absolutely need.
Ensure you are fully aware of your hand luggage restrictions.
Only One piece of hand luggage. Most airlines allow passengers to carry a handbag too. It is best to check with your airline to make sure.
The hand luggage must not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.
Your hand luggage must not contain any prohibited items, and these are listed below:
Flammable liquids and solids
Oxidisers such as bleaching powders
Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders
Infectious substances such as live virus materials
Wet-cell car batteries
Instruments containing mercury – however, thermometers with mercury are permitted in hold luggage (but not hand luggage) only, if they are carried in a protective case
Instruments containing magnets
Toy/replica guns (metal or plastic)
Firelighters, lighter fuel, paints or thinners
Poisons, arsenic, cyanide or weedkiller
Radioactive materials, acids, corrosives, alkalis or caustic soda
Creosote, quicklime or oiled paper
Vehicle fuel system parts which have contained fuel
You may only carry small amounts of liquids, gels, creams and pastes. These must be in containers marked 100ml or less. These should be placed into one transparent re-sealable bag, measuring 20cm x 20cm which will be screened separately at security.
This is a great list of things to check before travelling, Georgina! I agree that it really pays to do your homework. I would add to the prohibited list for hand baggage water or any liquid over 100 ml, scissors and penknives. I always read the airline information with great care and pack to the ‘weakest link’, i.e. the airline leg of your journey with the least size and weights or both hold and hand baggage. I also recommend checking if you are staying in an airport hotel for a stopover whether you will be allowed to pick up your hold baggage. In most middle-eastern countries you are not. Your hold baggage has to be checked through to your final destination and you need to pack all your needs for an overnight stay into your hand baggage.
Ensure all your bags, both hold luggage and hand luggage are identified with suitable Name tags. You are advised to have your name and contact details. This is important so that the luggage can be traced back to you if it goes missing.
[Hope for the best but always be prepared for the worst]
24 | Combination locks/suitcase padlocks
Ensure your hold luggage is secured with either combination locks or suitcase padlocks. You will want to have everything you packed at home to be there for you when you arrive at your destination.
25. DON’T FORGET YOUR PASSPORT
You know what it means if you do!
In a nutshell
Well, as you can see, my list is comprehensive. 25 considerations may seem a lot but believe me, it is worth it. It is worth doing all the research, the prep and the mental calculations before you board your flight so that your vacation is stress-free. Even if you face certain challenges while on holiday, you will be in a good place to resolve it.
Is this travel checklist valuable to you in planning your vacation? If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.
Travel planning is essential! No matter what anyone says to me, planning your travel before you decide on your destination and purchase your tickets is essential for a stress free vacation, hence well-being.
Why is it important to plan your travels? Here is a simple, sensible, practical and a comprehensive list which I hope will become a traveller’s resource and help make travel experiences less stressful, contributing to our well-being as travellers.
In this post you will find 5 Reasons Why Travel Planning is important. Before I take you through the reasons, I’d like you to know that I appreciate travel planning can be daunting sometimes, especially if it is your first time to travel. You wouldn’t know where to start and it’s easy to get overwhelmed over what is step 1, step 2 and so on. I remember my family trips when my kids were still in diapers, and what helped me then and still does, is that I always had a list, to ensure that I do not miss anything important, like their favourite toys or a little character cushions that they can’t do without. Space had to be made for these. All you Mums out there know exactly what I am talking about 😊. You can read more About Me here.
I have planned many travels, long-haul, short-haul and within UK. I have done so in a personal capacity for my family, friends, colleagues as well as business trips. I always had a list! I like lists 😊, I guess I am just wired that way! Don’t get me wrong…I am all for the “unplanned”, off the beaten path kind of adventure too but I think you do need to have a plan to do the unplanned and off the beaten path kind of adventure. When you think about it, travelling is not as easy or simple as choosing a destination, booking your flight and off you go! Although sometimes you can if it is within the same country or when you are familiar with the destination where you do not have to research so much. However, there is more to travelling!
There is more to travelling
There is more to travelling because it is about making a trip, a trip that is stress-free, a trip without major hitches, or even if you come to face certain “hitches”, how you could cope with it. So, for me, in my plan, I have a pre-travel, travel and post-travel list of things to do. All three lists are important because they are inter-related. It has helped with many of my vacations and I am sure that it will help yours too. I know, I know…it sounds daunting and pedantic but believe me, having a list which embodies a plan is so worth it. It’s the know-how and the basic framework that will make travelling look like a piece of cake and make you feel less stressed. I am certain that you will agree with me when you have gone through reading them.
Follow the list on the blogs as I publish them, and you will discover Why. If you disagree with me, make sure to let me know in comments below and I am happy to be convinced otherwise 😊
So, to start with, in this post, I will list the reasons why I think travel planning is important. I will follow up with a Pre-travel Planning list – the “Know before you go” list with suggestions of 25 Top Tips for a Stress-free Vacation.
The 5 reasons why travel planning is important are:
1 | Travel Planning saves time
Some may dismiss planning as too time consuming and that it is okay to plan on the go. Well, it may be okay but if you spend a little time on your to-do list, it helps you to think about priorities, allocate time for attractions and consider your budget.
As well, it is an opportunity to have flexibility built-in for unforeseen circumstances such as weather or traffic conditions. In addition, when you are on vacation, I am sure your goal is to maximise your experiences at your travel destination instead of spending time googling places to visit or figuring out what to do. So, spending a little time to plan will maximise your time when travelling. To do so, will enhance your experiences.
2 | Travel planning helps you prioritise and maximise your experiences
Depending on your destination, you may have a lot of attractions or just a few. Whatever there may be, prioritising what you want to experience will play an important role in how many of these experiences you can have during your vacation. While you are prioritising, you may also consider attractions that are close together where you can visit in a day or half a day. Prioritising may help free-up time for a spa or a little down-time, which sometimes gets overlooked because it is not embedded into our travels.
3 | Travel Planning stretches your pound or dollar
Travel is not an open-cheque vacation, I am sure. For me and for most of us, we have a budget with a little fund set aside for emergencies. It is within this budget that we seek to maximise our experiences–accommodation, attractions, food and transport. Researching on the attractions, local delicacies, local crafts and other “must see” will help with budgeting. You can dismiss the least important attractions and visit or do some off the beaten path exploring.
Transportation from one place to another will also impact on your budget, so researching on how best to get around your destination will help. You can also research on free entry attractions. Purchasing tickets in advance and online will help with budgeting. Stretching a pound or a dollar means more experiences and planning helps you do that.
4 | Travel Planning means essentials are not forgotten
Planning helps you to think about the necessary essentials you may need on your travel. For example, the type of clothing for the weather at the time you are travelling. Travel vaccinations, medication and any bug-sprays which you may need.
5 | Travel Planning prepares you for immigration issues and emergencies
When travelling abroad, you must comply with the immigration rules in the destination country. Planning helps you to ensure that you have the required visa and meet any other requirements necessary for entry. You need to ensure you have the phone numbers of your embassies in case of emergencies. Remember also to have phone numbers of emergency contacts at home.
In a nutshell
My conclusion in a nutshell, Get Travel Planning! How your vacation should be is important because you want it to be a positive experience, stress-free and fun. I believe Planning your Travels can help you do just that. It saves you time,stretches your money, maximises your experiences and a hassle-free vacation. I hope this post was helpful in deciding why planning should be embedded into all travels.
Wherever you are, wherever travel takes you, have good fun, Always!
February 2021, Update
Photo credits to: rawpixel.com, Andreas N from Pixabay & Public Domain Pictures
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