Coronavirus Update & FAQs

We are currently experiencing extremely high call volumes, so if you need to know more about your cover and the COVID-19 outbreak, please read more here: FAQs

Travelling with Asthma

Asthma is a common condition and with the right preparations, shouldn’t be a reason not to travel. Planning ahead is essential in ensuring that you can enjoy your holiday to the max.
Follow our handy checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your time away:

    Health check:

  • Book an appointment with your GP and go over things like your personal asthma plan and what to do in an emergency, so you’re up-to-date and can inform anyone you’re travelling with what to do too.
    Order extra inhalers should any get lost or stolen on your trip.
  • Take a print of your prescription with the generic medical names of your prescriptions as they are easily translatable for foreign pharmacists.
  • Research medical facilities and how to get help at your destination, in case of an emergency
  • Planning:

  • If you use a nebuliser, make sure it’s been serviced and is working well. Make sure you have a mains adapter to suit the electricity supply at your destination. You can buy portable battery-operated nebulisers for on the plane whilst you travel.
  • Invest in some quality travel insurance that provides adequate cover for your condition and what you want to do.
  • Bring your own pillows if feather-filled ones make your asthma worse, or ask your hotel/resort for an alternative. Similarly, if you’re sensitive to smoke, ask for a non-smoking room – smoking rules differ from country to country.
  • Air travel:

  • If you’re short of breath, even when resting, you may need evaluation before you fly because of the reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes.
  • Carry all your asthma medicines as hand luggage, in case your checked-in luggage goes missing or your medicines are damaged in the baggage hold.
  • Under current security restrictions, you cannot carry containers with liquids, gels or creams that exceed 100ml in your hand luggage.
  • You can carry essential medicines of more than 100ml on board, but you’ll need prior approval from the airline and airport and a letter from your doctor or a prescription.
  • All asthma medicines taken on board should be in their original packaging, with the prescription label and contact details of the pharmacy clearly visible.

Travelling after having a stroke

Having a stroke is life-changing and can leave you feeling like normal life is over. However, with therapy, treatment or rehabilitation, many people can resume their lives, including travelling and going on holiday. Below are some points to take into consideration before you go away:

  • Before you go away, check with your GP that you’re fit enough to travel, and if you intend on flying, make sure you’ll pass any fit-to-fly evaluations. Ask about medication, treatment or any vaccinations you’ll need before you depart on your trip and discuss going on holiday with them – they may be able to offer advice specific to your medical situation.
  • Booking your holiday can be difficult even without having the effects of a stroke.
    If your stroke has left you with mobility problems, check with your accommodation provider, travel provider and holiday company whether they can provide the right assistance, care and/or equipment. For example, if you’re in a wheelchair, are there any disabled parking spaces? Is the door to the bathroom wide enough for you to get in and out with ease? Is there wheelchair access?
  • Make sure you research medical facilities local to your destination as they may be different from home and in case of an emergency you may need to access them. Find out where they are and what the local emergency number is.
  • Invest in a good travel insurance policy that covers you and your condition for what you want to do on holiday.
  • It may sound silly, but ‘train’ for your trip. You always plan on doing more on holiday than you do for the same amount of time at home, so gently push yourself and build up your stamina for all the sight-seeing you’ll be doing but don’t over-do it. If you feel tired, take it easy.
  • Take extra copies of the itinerary and plan times for leaving and arriving at different points on your trip. This should make you think a bit more about any extra time you need in between things because of mobility issues, toilet breaks, food breaks etc.
  • If you’re coping with aphasia as an after-effect of having a stroke, sight-seeing can be particularly difficult whilst on holiday. Tour guides can have accents, talk fast and quote names, dates and numbers at a pace which is hard to process. Get through this by picking up any brochures which are likely to have similar information in, or ask a travel companion to write things on a notebook so you can understand what is being said.

Medical Care Abroad

Going abroad usually means you are leaving the safe umbrella of the NHS, and medical costs overseas can often be more expensive than we realise. Whilst travel insurance can help us with these high costs after we’ve had an accident or become ill, it also covers costs that the free or subsidised medical treatment you’re entitled to, might not.

EHIC – Europe

If you’re planning on travelling somewhere within the European Economic Area (EEA), including Switzerland, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to get state healthcare subsidised or for free. It will cover any emergency medical attention and medicines which are needed to allowed to continue your stay until you plan to return. It also covers you for the treatment of any pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, just so long as you’re not going abroad to give birth.

An EHIC renewal or application is entirely free of charge. However, other unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them.

Apply for a new EHIC card here.

If you’re having difficulties with the online application form, you want to update your personal details or replace a lost or stolen card, call the automated EHIC application service on 0300 3301 350.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement – RHCA in New Zealand

If you are travelling as a visitor in New Zealand, and seek medical attention, you will be enrolled in this system, any medical treatment you receive will be subsidised by the New Zealand Government’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA).

The New Zealand Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with Australia, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. Meaning Australian residents can get help with the cost of medical treatment whilst visiting these countries, and residents of these countries can get some essential medical treatments whilst visiting Australia.

If you’re travelling within New Zealand and have to seek medical attention, find a public state hospital and make sure you have proof of UK residence with you, which can be any one of the following:

  • UK passport including the Channel Islands
  • National Health Service Medical Card
  • Certificate issued by the Social Security Committee of Jersey
  • Proof of insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority OR other proof of residence in the Baliwick of Guernsey
  • A valid and in-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC card) bearing the initials ‘UK’

Reciprocal Health Care Agreement – RHCA/Medicare in Australia

Medicare is a publically funded health care system available to citizens and ordinarily resident individuals throughout Australia. If you are travelling as a visitor in Australia, and seek medical attention, you will be enrolled in this system and any medical treatment you receive will be subsidised by the Australian Government’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA).

The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with New Zealand, the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. Meaning Australian residents can get help with the cost of medical treatment whilst visiting these countries, and residents of these countries can get some essential medical treatments whilst visiting Australia.

If you’re travelling within Australia and have to seek medical attention, find a public state hospital and make sure you have proof of UK residence with you, which can be any one of the following:

  • UK passport including the Channel Islands
  • National Health Service Medical Card
  • Certificate issued by the Social Security Committee of Jersey
  • Proof of insurance issued by the Guernsey States Insurance Authority OR other proof of residence in the Baliwick of Guernsey
  • A valid and in-date European Health Insurance Card (EHIC card) bearing the initials ‘UK’

Travelling With Kids

Kids can be a nightmare to travel longer distances with. With a bit of forward planning, travelling with children shouldn’t have to be a hassle and whilst it might make more work for parents, by taking everything into consideration you can focus on the holiday ahead and family bonding as opposed to trying to separate the fight in the seat behind you.

Below we’ve provided guidelines for each form of transport you could be taking to your chosen destination:

If you’re travelling by car:

  • Do not let your children know if you are lost – it’s incredible how upset and distressed they get if they see you panicking, so pack a satnav, a spare map and study the route before you leave. Write out directions if you’re not fluent in reading maps, they can be easier to glance at rather than following a squiggly line when the car is moving.
  • Start your journey by night or late evening, so that your children will sleep through the majority of the journey (hopefully) and the constant movement of the car will keep them drowsy, especially on motorways – so use these as often as you can. Pack blankets and cushions to help make them comfortable.
  • Mobile technology is a great way of keeping kids entertained whilst you’re driving – the days of I-Spy are long gone and games and films which are readily available capture their attention for much longer. Portable DVD players can hook over the back of your seats, or mp3 players and ipPods can be used with headphones freely in the back without you having to hear kid’s audiobooks on a loop.
  • Take snacks, preferably the non-sticky kind. A hungry travelling child is a lot harder to travel with than a content one. Take a change of clothes too, just as a precaution. Spilt food is more likely to happen in a confined space which is more wobbly than your kitchen table.
  • If your journey has a deadline, make sure you leave plenty of time for kids to blow off steam inbetween long periods of being strapped in and being bored. Take breaks at service stations which have plenty for kids to do and to re-stimulate their brains.
  • Car sickness – If car sickness is severe, ask your GP or pharmacist for any medication that might help prevent or stop the feeling of nausea. As a general aid – keep your children looking in the direction of travel, as it lets the brain know what movement to expect. Play games which involve them looking at passing landscapes and traffic, and pack a few plastic bags, just in case.

If you’re travelling by plane:

  • For a young child, flying experiences, especially for the first time, can be terrifying. Pick flights earlier on in the day as they are less likely to be delayed and you have less chance of distressing your child or having to endure them being bored, fed up, hungry or tired whilst waiting to board a delayed flight.
  • It’s normally the two hour wait before check-in which is draining for both parent and child – so prepare.
  • Get them to suck on a sweet or bottle throughout the ascent and descent of the flight
  • Try and fly as close to their bedtime as possible – if they sleep through the majority of the journey, they’re much less likely to get upset. Also, don’t keep them up for the flight and disrupt their sleeping pattern – you’ll end up with an overtired but awake child who is a nightmare to travel with.
  • Take plenty of toys. You could use all the normal distractions until their patience has almost run out, then bring out a new toy to keep them occupied for a long while after.
  • Make sure your baby or child has had all of their jabs before you travel.

If you’re travelling by boat:

  • Boats hold a fascination with children as they’re the object of many pirate and adventure stories, so letting kids wander round (supervised) without being strapped down like a car or a plane can be great for entertaining them on the journey.
  • The novelty of being on a boat is also accompanied by other people to interact with, and other children to socialise or play with.
  • Check the weather before you leave – sailing through gale force winds won’t make more it a fun journey for anyone, and sea sickness can set in.
  • Sea sickness – Make sure you take any anti-sickness tablets before you leave land, and bear in mind that it’s generally better to be outside on the deck rather than enduring it sat down inside, or at the part of the boat with the least amount of movement. If that doesn’t work, lying down with your eyes closed helps your brain unscramble the mixed messages it’s receiving. Acupressure and salty snacks are also said to help with nausea at sea, but it tends to be dependent on the person.
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