1. Know the rules
- Take a note of the number of bags you can check-in at the airport. In most cases it’s one piece per passenger, but make sure you’re not over the weight allowance – on EasyJet you can check in up to eight pieces of luggage but their combined weight isn’t allowed to exceed 20kg (44lb) and if it does you’ll be asked to pay a hefty fine for the extra weight. Weigh your luggage on a scale before you leave home so you aren’t greeted by any unexpected costs.
- You’re allowed to take more than one piece of hand luggage with you on a plane, but size restrictions still apply. For British passengers, bags larger than 56cmx45cmx25cm are forbidden. For further information, please visit www.gov.uk
- If placed in your hand luggage, any gels, liquids, creams and pastes have to be in containers of no more than 100ml and placed in a transparent resealable plastic bag no larger than 20x20cm.
2. Buy the right suitcase
- Size is crucial. If the bag is too big, your case might not fit into the boot of the hire car or taxi; too small and you’ll have to sit on the lid to close it, which makes it more susceptible to breaks. An expandable case can help solve most space issues.
- A hard shell on a case can add up to 10lb of dead weight, but it does offer the contents of your luggage more protection from damage, thieves and sudden downpours. A soft-shelled case will look smarter for longer and is easier to manipulate in terms of storage space.
- 70% of suitcases on any given luggage carousel are black. Make yours stand out – but just to you. Don’t advertise your bags to thieves, but make your case easy to identify.
3. How to pack and unpack
- Whether you fold, roll or bundle or wrap in tissue or plastic, the key is not to over-pack. Squashed clothes are creased clothes and the same is true of clothes that are too loosely packed, as they crease from rolling around inside the case against one another.
- Don’t put wrapped gifts inside checked luggage. If your case is opened for inspection, wrapping will have to be removed.
4. Keep it safe
- A suitcase is easily parted from its luggage label. Always put on more than one with details of your flight and destination inside.
- If two or more people are travelling, split belonging between checked luggage so if one case goes missing, each of you will still have a change of clothes.
- If you’re late to check in, the chances are your luggage won’t make it onto the flight, even if you do.
- Always lock your checked bags – an unlocked suitcase could invalidate your insurance.
- If you are travelling to America, you must use cases fitted with Transport Security Administration-approved locks, or a TSA-approved padlock or strap. For further details, please visit www.tsa.gov
- There are loads of tracking services for luggage available, research some and see if they would suit you.
Remember, should the worst happen and you lose your luggage:
- 85% of all lost luggage is found within 48 hours
- If your case has not appeared by the time the carousel stops, check the tag of any unclaimed case similar to yours, someone may have mistaken your case for theirs.
- If your luggage is missing, even if you’ve been told it’s on the next flight, you have to fill out a Property Irregularity Report before you even leave the airport.
- Check your travel insurance to see if lost or delayed luggage is covered.
With so many things to remember before you travel, it can be hard to think of everything. insurancewith have created this travel checklist to give you a helping hand:
- Check the travel alerts from the FCDO of the country you intend on visiting. Follow @FCDOtravelGovUK on Twitter to get the latest travel updates and advice
- Find out where the nearest embassy will be
- Sort out travel insurance – insurancewith provide cover for customers with pre-existing medical conditions, allowing you to go on holiday without having to pay excessive premiums.
- If you’re travelling within the European Economic Area, from 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it.
- Check with your doctor whether you’ll need any vaccinations before you travel
- Make sure you’ve got the correct visas for the country you intend to visit
- Most importantly, check your passport is valid at the time you intend to travel – it takes up to six weeks to apply for or renew a passport, so checking well in advance might save time later on.
- Tell friends and family where you’re travelling to and leave them your contact details, travel insurance policy details and your itinerary as this will make it easy for them incase of an emergency
- Make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies
- If you intend on driving abroad, make sure your licence is current and valid. Make sure you’re aware of the driving laws in the country you intend on visiting.
- Sort out your hand luggage
- Check with your airline for flight delays
- Keep all tickets, visas, foreign exchange and passports safely in a travel belt or bag and keep these with you at all times.
- Check your house is safe before you leave – check all switches are off, water is turned off to prevent pipes from freezing, and securely lock all windows and doors.
When it comes to your holiday money, there are plenty of options. For added security and flexibility take a mix of currency, cards and cheques – that way if you lose one, you have other options.
Credit and debit cards
- Only take the cards you intend to use with you; leave others at home.
- Check that your type of credit card is valid in your destination.
- Tell your card provider that you’re going away so they don’t block your card. If they notice foreign activity, they’ll normally assume it’s fraudulent and block your card.
- Before you go, make a note of your credit card numbers and expiry dates. Leave this at home or with someone you trust.
- Take 24-hour emergency card cancellation phone numbers with you.
- Remember that using your credit card for big purchases – for instance booking flights, hotel or car hire – gives you extra financial protection if goods are faulty or not delivered.
- Check your card provider’s fees. Some charge a loading fee of around 3% foreign exchange commission (giving you a low rate) besides a 3% fee on ATM withdrawals, and immediate interest on cash withdrawals, whereas some cards charge spending fees for every purchase.
- If you travel frequently, consider choosing a card with no charges or a very competitive rate.
- Remember it’s often cheaper to withdraw a chunk of cash at the beginning of your holiday rather than small amounts as you go. This way you avoid paying withdrawal fees each time you draw out cash or make a purchase. Any money you withdraw in the local currency can always exchange back when you return home.
- Exchange rates and commission vary on the high street and online, so shop around to find the best deals.
- Exchange some cash at least a week before you go – this can be cheaper than drawing out money once you’ve arrived and it means you’re prepared for taxi or bus fares on arrival. Once in your destination, if you’re given the option to be charged in pounds or the local currency, choose the local currency – you will get a better exchange rate.
- Don’t carry more money that you need when you’re out and about.
- If you need to carry a big amount of cash, split it with a family member or travelling companion.
- It’s also a good idea to divide your cash; keep some in your wallet, some in a money belt and some in an inside pocket. If you’re leaving cash in a hotel room, lock it in your room safe – along with credit cards, traveller’s cheques and passports. (Don’t forget to check the safe in the hotel room is secure)
Prepaid card tips
- A prepaid card is a pay-as-you-go card that you top up before leaving the UK.
- Buy prepaid cards from banks, the high street or online; you can add euros, US dollars and sterling.
- Some prepaid cards mean you can avoid ATM withdrawal charges.
- Use them in shops and ATMs where you see the Visa or MasterCard logo.
- A prepaid card helps you stick to a holiday budget.
- Check the card’s fees, terms and conditions.
- If you lose your card the money is protected but you may have to pay for a replacement card.
Traveller’s cheques are pre-printed cheques for particular amounts in pounds or foreign currency. You can use them to pay in hotels, shops etc. or to exchange for foreign currency at banks and bureaux de change. Traveller’s cheques don’t expire, so if you don’t use them all on one trip, you can hang on to them for your next holiday.
Traveller’s cheques are secure because you sign each one on receipt. When you use a cheque you sign it a second time, in front of the person accepting the cheque. Each cheque is also numbered; make a note of these serial numbers to keep separately. Lost travellers cheques can be replaced as long as you have a note of the serial numbers.
Remember that in some countries, travellers cheques aren’t widely accepted; you may have to cash them in. You may also find that some banks won’t exchange them, as more and more travellers use credit and debit cards instead.
Traveller’s cheques do incur commission fees if you’re changing them into currency and some banks will charge an additional fixed minimum fee per cheque. Exchange rates vary so compare before you buy. You can also buy travellers cheques in currencies including euros and US dollars, which may save you paying commission.
Snorkelling in the Cayman Islands, kayaking past hundred-foot tall glaciers in the Arctic, spotting wildlife on the coast in the Hebrides, cage-diving with sharks in Cape Town – there are hundreds of great excursions that cruise ships offer their passengers, and there’s usually something to provide everyone with a memorable experience on their non-sailing days.
Once you’ve booked your cruise, you’ll be able to browse through and pick excursions offered to you, and customise your trip to your tastes at additional costs. Most shore excursions are hugely popular and they book up fast as they operate on a strict first-come first-served policy. To avoid disappointment, InsuranceWith advise you either book early or book through one of the several excursion operators available in each port, which you can book through independently online.
If you are unable to make your planned shore excursion due to illness, cabin confinement or trip cancellation, InsuranceWith cover any excursions that were booked and pre-paid for before you embarked on your cruise, allowing you to deal with any unforeseen event with peace of mind that you won’t be left out of pocket.
Below are some tips on excursions:
- Make sure you’re aware of local laws and customs before you arrive. Some countries can be offended by certain states of dress or behaviour.
- Stay with the group you intend on spending the day with. If you deviate from the main group, make sure you’ve arranged a place or time to re-group.
- Make sure you have a copy of all your important documentation – such as your Passport & Visa- just in case something happens.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, and if you must, split it with a travelling companion, friend or family member. Divided cash is safer. Don’t advertise your cash either – put it in a bag that crosses across your chest so you’re not an easy target for thieves.
- Make a list of important emergency phone numbers should you get lost, ill, injured or are late. For example, the ship, the guide, other people you’re travelling with and your insurance company.
- Make sure you have good travel insurance cover, should something unexpected happen you can rest assured knowing you’re not losing any money.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough bottled water to stay healthy and hydrated.
- Try to avoid walking alone or in small groups at night or down smaller streets, as this makes you an easier target for thieves and pickpockets.
The sun is warm and wonderful when it’s shining down on us, and with some forethought and care we should be able to enjoy it to the full without being burnt or permanently damaged by it. However, the sun’s UV rays can be incredibly harmful and cause skin cancer.
Here are some tips about suncare:
- Avoid the strongest rays of the day and long periods in the sun, so from 11am to 3 pm find shade, rest inside or find some shelter. Alternatively, if you don’t have a choice, put on a higher factor sunscreen.
- Keep covered up – even a t-shirt can lose up to half its UV protection when wet, so always cover up with some dry clothes after venturing into the water.
- Cloudy days are deceptive – UV rays can travel through clouds too, and especially with wind, you might not notice the heat or the rays, so keep an eye out.
- Make sure you use a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection and one that is waterproof.
- Comfortable sunglasses that wrap round are ideal for protecting eyes, and make sure you’re more likely to keep them on. Sunhats with fabric that covers your ears and neck are also great at keeping the sun off the bits more likely to burn and harder to reach with the sunscreen.
- Cover up at the slightest hint of it getting hot – better to be safe than be burnt and it ruin your day.
Experts recommend you use SPF 30, 40 or even 50 on children. Choose a coloured spray so it makes the application process more fun for them, and you can ensure you have total coverage.
Reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, apply generously and don’t forget your lips, face, hands, ears, neck and feet!