Hol­i­day pro­tec­tion — be­yond sun cream

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

DON’T JET off this sum­mer with­out fi­nan­cial pro­tec­tion. While sun cream and beach­wear may top the list, a lit­tle bit of plan­ning can save se­ri­ous cash and pre­vent prob­lems while you are abroad.

EURO­PEAN HEALTH IN­SURANCE CARDS

Check if yours is one of four mil­lion Euro­pean Health In­surance Card cards ex­pir­ing this year. The free EHIC gives you ac­cess to EU (plus a few other na­tions’) hos­pi­tals or doc­tors. Even if you have travel in­surance, get one if go­ing to Europe and keep it on you. Chil­dren re­quire their own. The card is free so be­ware of web scams. There are sites dis­guis­ing them­selves as the real thing and charge around £20 for bo­gus “fast track” ap­pli­ca­tions. To ap­ply, go to www.nhs.uk/NHSEng­land/Health­careabroad/EHIC.

AIR­PORT PARK­ING

Slash the cost of air­port park­ing. Al­though pub­lic trans­port is of­ten the cheap­est travel op­tion to air­ports, that is not al­ways the case for fam­i­lies and groups. Don’t leave book­ing un­til the last minute, or you will face higher charges. The quick and easy way is to check on com­par­i­son sites like Hol­i­dayEx­tras or Sky­park­se­cure, or go via my www.mse.me/air­port­park­ing guide, which has dis­count codes for com­par­i­son sites.

FOR­EIGN CASH

Don’t buy hol­i­day money at the air­port. They know you’re a cap­tive cus­tomer and charge you far more. If you’ve left it too late, at least pre­order on­line for air­port pick-up and you will get a bet­ter rate.Or use the www.trav­el­money­max.com com­par­i­son tool which finds you the best rates.

The cheap­est way to spend abroad is on a spe­cial­ist credit card. With one of those you get per­fect ex­change rates.

SAT-NAVS, APPS AND AC­CES­SORIES

The www.navmii.com free iPhone/ An­droid app turns your phone into a sat-nav. You can down­load maps for about 50 coun­tries — though do it be­fore you travel so you aren’t charged data roam­ing costs once there. I’m also a fan of the free WordLens apps where you can hold your phone over text and it au­to­trans­lates within the im­age — great for check­ing you’re not be­ing ripped off.

Don’t wait un­til touch-down to turn off smart­phone data roam­ing. Even if you don’t use the web, apps can down­load data in the back­ground, rack­ing up bills of £100s, es­pe­cially out­side the EU. So turn off data roam­ing be­fore you go (it’s in “set­tings” on most phones) and only turn it on if you specif­i­cally need it. And if you want ac­ces­sories like travel plug adapters and neck cush­ions, don’t buy at the air­port, where they cost a for­tune.

An­droid app turns your phone into a sat-nav

TRAVEL IN­SURANCE

Sort travel in­surance out now. A quar­ter of peo­ple travel over­seas with­out in­surance, tak­ing a huge risk both to a wal­let and health. Al­ways book in­surance as soon as you book the trip. Oth­er­wise, if it’s can­celled you won’t be cov­ered.

If your trip is your only hol­i­day of the year, then the firms with rea­son­able cover lev­els vy­ing to be cheap­est are www.uk.pro­tec­ty­our­bub­ble.com and www.hol­i­daysafe.co.uk. Cover for a week in Europe (age un­der 45) can be as lit­tle as £6; ris­ing to £54 for a fort­night in the US for a fam­ily (with no one aged over 55).

If you travel more of­ten than that, go for an an­nual pol­icy. These can be as lit­tle as £13 for a sin­gle trav­eller in Europe. For a full list of the top picks, check out the www.mse.me/trav­elin­sur­ance guide.

Be warned that los­ing pos­ses­sions or hav­ing an ac­ci­dent after a sur­feit of al­co­hol — or some­times even just be­ing merry — could ki­bosh your cover.

CAR HIRE

Book car hire as soon as pos­si­ble and save £100s. If you’ve left it late, book­ing a cou­ple of days in ad­vance rather than do­ing it once there can still save cash. Here are three quick steps to fol­low:

Find cheap­est via com­par­i­son sites. My top picks are www.kayak.co.uk, www.car­rentals.co.uk and www.trav­el­su­per­mar­ket.com.

Hire a ve­hi­cle for three or more days and some firms will make you pay for a full tank in any cir­cum­stance. That can work out up to £100 ex­tra if you don’t drive far. To avoid this, both www.auto-europe.co.uk and www.trav­el­su­per­mar­ket.com al­low you to fil­ter by the fuel pol­icy of the car rental firms.

When you pick up the car, the hire firm will try to sell you a fur­ther £20-a-day ex­cess cover on top of the stan­dard in­surance. In­stead, you can buy cheap ex­cess in­surance be­fore you go for as lit­tle as a few pounds a day. Full best-buys at www.mse.me/ carhire.

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