Top tips to ensure a stress free ski holiday this year

A skiing trip can be great fun, whether heading to the slopes for the first time, or making an annual return to that favourite resort. Buying essentials, booking ski passes and finding the right accommodation all need to be done beforehand, though understanding what to do if things go wrong is also vital. Ensure a smooth run on your ski trip and swot up on the procedures to follow in the event of a holiday accident.

Prices are often hugely inflated in ski resorts, so make sure you pack all the essentials before you leave. The obvious items like hats, gloves and scarves should be included – and duplicates too, if space allows. A thermal layer is also important, and for ultimate comfort opt for silk garments. Helmets are a sensible idea for preventing injuries, especially if you are a novice: if on a one-off trip it’s usually more cost-effective to hire these. It may be chilly but don’t forget the dangers of the sun too, and pack a high factor sunscreen, lipbalm with SPF and sunglasses with suitable protection. An aloe face cream or aftersun is also helpful for calming sun-beaten skin. Many resorts and hotels have chic bars and restaurants for après-ski drinks and dining, so be sure to look the part and remember to pack a formal outfit or two.

To save money, time and hassle pre-book your ski pass rather than doing it on arrival. Many websites offer discounted passes and, if holidaying in Europe, these have the added benefit of allowing you to pay in sterling online, rather than Euros on location. Make sure you do this as early as possible, as many operators have sussed this money-saving trick and restrict the number of passes available in advance.

Skiing is no longer seen as a holiday option for the elite, as it once was. As such, accommodation options vary widely. An all-inclusive resort or chalet may be handy for those who have a set budget and want to know what their costs are upfront. Alternatively, if you are thinking of driving or taking the train a self-catering chalet can be a good option, especially for families, as provisions can be bought cheaply in the UK and brought with you.

The dangers of skiing should not be forgotten and accidents and illness can easily occur. To enjoy your holiday it’s important to both take preventative action beforehand and understand what to do if things go wrong. To avoid muscle pulls and strains start a fitness programme before you leave, and warm up every morning pre-ski. Always check weather conditions on the slopes and heed any warnings from local authorities. Always check your equipment is maintained to a high standard and, even after skiing, ensure you’re kitted out correctly by wearing non-slip shoes.

It is essential to take out travel insurance beforehand. Companies usually offer specialist insurance for winter sports, and the best deal can easily be found using a price comparison site. If you suffer from an accident which wasn’t your fault whilst skiing, it may be possible to claim compensation by seeking professional legal help. Being in a foreign country and not knowing the language can make things tricky, but these firms can usually be relied upon on to provide guidance at each point of your claim. If you are sick or ill whilst on a skiing trip inform your insurance company and, in severe cases, the British Embassy. If holidaying in Europe remember your European Health Insurance Card, and don’t forget the value of safety measurements, like wearing a helmet.

Top tips for choosing the right holiday insurance

Taking out holiday insurance is essential if you’re going away. While no one likes to think that something may go wrong, insurance provides you with the peace of mind that you will be covered should something happen, allowing you to enjoy your holiday without that added worry.

However it isn’t always simple finding the right travel insurance for you so here are some top tips for choosing the right holiday insurance:

  1. Its worth doing your own research online to find the best value and most comprehensive cover for you. Avoid taking travel insurance through your travel agent as often this can be much more expensive than booking directly. Look on price comparison sites such as Money Supermarket or Go Compare to find the best deals.
  2. Travel insurance though shouldn’t be booked on price alone and you should always check the cover limits to ensure you agree with the protection offered by the insurer. Buying the cheapest travel insurance may mean if you do come to claim you may find you’re not covered!
  3. Consider an annual policy if you plan to travel more than once in the year. It is often more cost effective to take out an annual travel insurance policy. Also think if you are planning to make one of those a ski holiday you would need winter sports cover so make sure you factor that into the policy!
  4. Compare excess charges. Excess means if you do claim then this is the amount you will have pay when a claim is filed and often this can almost be as much as the item you are claiming for! Some insurers suchoffer a policy with zero excess.
  5. Always declare any medical conditions you and anyone you are travelling with suffers from as not doing so may mean any future claims are void.

Potential Icelandic Volcanic Eruption Comment

With the BBC reporting that a ‘New Icelandic volcano eruption could have global impact’: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15995845 Moneymaxim.co.uk, the website which specialises in Travel Insurance covering natural disasters and travel disruption, comments:

Mark Bower, Managing Director of Moneymaxim, said: “Scientists and experts believe that the Katla volcano in Iceland could soon erupt, indicating that there has been 500 tremors in the last month alone. The potential devastation for Iceland could be catastrophic, with any resulting volcanic ash cloud bringing the world’s aviation to a halt.

“Ever since the initial Icelandic eruption in the Spring of 2010 we have been tracking Travel Insurers who will cover the impact of major travel disruption caused by Natural Disasters, including Volcanic Explosions.

“Many of those who did provide cover for the original incident no longer do so, whilst others have developed specific policies covering major travel disruption.

“However with every eruption we get calls from travellers who have left it too late to buy their insurance and are facing significant financial losses if their airport were to close. Whilst there are policies that can be bought after an eruption has occurred they have significant limitations and we definitely recommend buying now and then being safe in the knowledge you are protected if the worse happens.”

Student Travel Insurance Tips – 7 Big Hints!

Travel insurance has always been a tricky subject. With so much small print it’s hard to know if the cover you’ve got is sufficient and if it will cover the places and activities that will be involved in your trip. For students, the emphasis is certainly on budget and this opens many potholes as you risk ending up with a policy that doesn’t cover your requirements. Below are 7 tips that should make getting student travel insurance a bit more straightforward…

  • Get annual cover. In the long run you’ll often find that an annual policy is better and more cost effective than buying separate policies every time you go away.
  • Do your research! Unsurprisingly, doing a bit of research and comparing costs of policies online will save you a lot of money.
  • Buy in numbers. If there are a group of you going away then try and get your policies together. Buying in bulk can often bring cheaper prices
  • Declare medical issues. Trying to hide any medical issues could result in your claim being void – the last thing you want is to be stuck in a foreign hospital and no insurance.
  • Read the small print. As with everything, the key issues are in the small print so you can’t miss them. It’s boring, but it could be crucial!
  • Plan your activities. Don’t waste money on activities you aren’t going to do. If you’re not skiing, don’t include it on your policy.
  • Check the excess. You don’t want to end up with an excess that will void all your belongings. Check what you’re getting and plan accordingly.

Following these 7 hints should hopefully make getting student travel insurance slightly less of a drag!

Travel to the Isle of Man: reciprocal health agreement extended

Passengers travelling between the UK and the Isle of Man will be breathing a sigh of relief after the UK Government’s announcement that it is to extend its reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man.

The reciprocal health agreement, which has been in place for 60 years, was due to end on 31 March 2010, however, the UK Health Secretary Andy Burnham, has announced that the agreement will be extended for a further six months to allow for further negotiations.

Mr Burnham said: ‘After further discussions with Chief Minister Brown, I have given further consideration to the ending of the reciprocal health agreement.

‘Together we have agreed that from 31 March, we would adopt an interim position for a period of six months.

‘While we will cease the payment of any allocation to the Isle of Man, this will ensure arrangements for travellers on temporary visits remain the same as they are today.

‘The situation will remain under review and we will consider whether or not this could form the basis for a new agreement which we will discuss in the autumn.’

Related post:

UK reciprocal health agreement with the IOM ends 31 March 2010

Cruise holidays: check your travel insurance

A cruise is just another type of holiday and provided you have travel insurance you should be covered no matter what, or are you?

According to the AA travel insurance, many customers may be unaware that cruise travel insurance is not always included in their standard travel cover. A spokesperson for the AA said ‘Cruise ship customers often overlook the fact that cruises may not be included as standard on cheaper travel insurance policies, which are designed to cover land-based holidays. As a result, they may not be properly covered and could end up footing the bill for expensive medical treatment.’

Cruise ship holidays are seen as a bigger risk than land based holidays by many insurers, due to the higher risk of being at sea, as well as the cost involved in airlifting someone to shore following an accident. Many insurers have a dedicated cruise policy which can be significantly more expensive.

UK reciprocal health agreement with Isle of Man ends 31 March 2010

Many British holiday makers believe that when they are holidaying in the UK the do not require travel insurance to cover medical bills, after all, they’re covered by the NHS, or are they?

There’s lots of confusion. Many people believe that the UK covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. Even some insurance companies, when asked, include the Isle of Man as part of the UK, so it’s not surprising lots of us get confused.

However, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not part of the UK and, while it seems just a bit pedantic to highlight this, it’s very important when it comes to travel and travel insurance.

The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are crown dependencies and are self-governing with their own laws and, more importantly, their own health services.

In the past, a reciprocal health agreement between the UK and the crown dependencies meant that residents of the UK visiting the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, and Channel Island and Isle of Man residents visiting the UK could receive free NHS treatment should they require hospitalisation.

On 1 April 2009 the UK government ended its reciprocal health agreement with the Channel Islands meaning that travellers between the two destinations now require travel insurance to cover medical bills.

Not content with just axing the Channel Islands’ agreement, the UK government has switched its focus to the Isle of Man and will axe its reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man at the end of March 2010.

From 1 April 2010, all travellers between the Isle of Man and the UK will require full travel insurance to cover medical bills in the event of an accident or illness.

Up until and including 31 March, visitors will be covered by the existing reciprocal health agreement, residents in the UK visiting the Isle of Man and Isle of Man residents visiting the UK are entitled to free NHS treatment should they be taken ill and require hospitalisation during their stay.

After 31 March 2010, if a visitor between the two countries falls ill, or has an accident, free treatment will only be available in Accident and Emergency departments or ‘walk in’ centres, any subsequent treatments or operations must be paid for by the patient.

While the ending of the reciprocal health agreement should not prevent travel between the UK and the crown dependencies, travel insurance that covers medical bills should be regarded as essential!