We all look forward to holidays with childlike anticipation. When we think of them, we imagine the incredible memories and experiences that await us, not thinking for a second that anything could possibly go wrong.
But the reality is that for tens of thousands of people every year, the worst is what unfolds. Crippling flight delays, cancelled holidays, accidents, illness, terrorism, political unrest and natural disasters can all contribute to turning your dream holiday into a disaster. There are ways of mitigating against some of those issues, but where do you begin? Well, here are four ways to disaster-proof your holiday.
1. Understand the risks
Choosing a destination is a big part of any holiday, but some will bring with them more risks than others. Before you decide where you are going on your next adventure, read up on the Foreign Office’s advice on that particular country.
They constantly monitor and update the risks in various countries to ensure they reflect the latest situation on the ground. It is worth trusting that advice and using it to help you make a decision. It is unlikely that the Foreign Office will advise against all travel, except for war-torn countries such as Syria, but there are likely to be a series of recommendations that will help you understand the risks, wherever you are travelling.
You should also do your own research on your destination. Make sure you understand and appreciate the local customs and culture. It is worth reading Ben Groundwater’s country by country guide before you set off, so you understand exactly where you are going and what to expect.
2. Don’t skimp on travel insurance
This is an important one. It can be tempting to think you can save money by not investing in travel insurance. After all, you probably didn’t use it on your last holiday, so why will you need it on this one, right? Wrong.
This is a major error and something that you will only understand at the point where everything goes wrong and you have absolutely no help. So, set aside the 15 minutes or so it takes to complete the online form and book your travel insurance. You won’t regret it.
3. Pack the essentials in your hand luggage
Arriving at your destination without any luggage is the worst possible way to start your holiday. So, remove the risk completely by carrying your essentials on the flight with you. Check your airline’s hand baggage restrictions and then pack accordingly. It may mean you need to take a few less items with you, but you will know for sure that they will arrive when you do.
4. Watch out for car hire scams
Hiring a car can be stressful. And in many cases when you reach your destination you are given the hard sell. Some customers are asked to pay holding deposits of £5,000 plus when they decide against paying for the car hire company’s own excess insurance, while others try and sting you on the fuel. It is the last thing you need after a long flight. So, plan ahead and take out your own excess insurance before you leave home and you should head off the worst of these scams.