With the summer break nearly here, we are all counting down the days until our long awaited holiday. However, even the most seasoned of travellers can get caught out; so here are some suggestions to help your trip run smoothly and what do if things don’t quite go as planned.
Driving and car hire
To hire a car abroad, you now need a special code from the DVLA, as the paper part of the driving licence has been computerised. Go to www.gov.uk or call the DVLA on 0300 790 6801. The code is only valid for 72 hours, so you may need to do this whilst you are away.
Before you travel, check that the photo card part of your driving licence is still valid as it expires after 10 years.
Car hire companies often offer excess waiver insurance when you collect your car. However, this insurance can be £25/day. Instead you may be able to arrange an excess policy from a standalone provider before you travel for as little as £2/day.
If you are travelling with kids, make sure you know whether or not they must use a car seat. Each country has different rules and regulations so check using the AA website www.theaa.com.
If you are taking your own car, the AA website also gives details of compulsory equipment you must have in your car – for example a breathalyser in France.
Insurance and Medical Care
A European Health Insurance Card is completely free and entitles you to state funded medical care in all 28 EU countries. You need to apply for a card for each member of your group, including babies. They are only valid for 5 years, so check it has not expired. It is NOT an alternative to travel insurance. You can apply online at www.ehic.org.uk/
Make sure you have adequate travel insurance. You may be covered under your household policy or sometimes as an extra benefit of a bank account or credit card, so check before taking out a standalone policy. Shop around using comparison websites to make sure you get a good deal.
If you booked flights for a child aged under 12 before 1st May you may be entitled to a refund of the air passenger duty. Go to www.moneysavingexpert.com for airline by airline information on how to get your money back.
If you get delayed at the airport, know your rights. If you are travelling in the EU and your flight has been cancelled or delayed for more than two hours, your airline must look after you. For more information go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/travel-leisure-and-food/holidays/problems-with-flights/
What to do if things go wrong
For comprehensive information on what you can do if your holiday plans are disrupted or there is an accident or emergency while you are away go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/travel-leisure-and-food/holidays/