As the temperatures drop here, many of us head abroad for guaranteed sunshine. Thanks to the availability of cheaper flights, wintering abroad in far-flung, exotic places has become more affordable. As well as The Canary Islands and Portugal, popular destinations now include long-haul destinations such as Morocco, The Maldives and Mexico.
But, travelling to exotic destinations can lead to exposure to some serious illnesses, while wintering abroad for longer periods can have extra implications, too. Here's what you need to consider before you go.
1. Look after your health
Before you travel, to help protect against and treat minor travel ailments, stock-up on over-the-counter anti-diarrhoea tablets, insect repellent containing Deet to protect against bites, antihistamine tablets and sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 UVA/UVB. If your trip involves a long-haul flight, consider buying flight socks to guard against deep-vein-thrombosis.
Research the health risks of your holiday destination
2. Do your research and get your travel vaccinations
Take the time to research the health risks of your holiday destination and make sure that you visit your doctor to get the necessary vaccinations and/or medication. You may need to be vaccinated against some pretty serious diseases including typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis A and/or B and, receive anti-malarial medication. Vaccination requirements can change depending on what diseases are prevalent in which areas. So, even if you've visited a country before, it's wise to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel advice pages for up-to-date health-related information.
Health professions recommend that you allow at least four weeks to complete a full protective course of vaccinations or medications.
3. Don’t write-off your EHIC just yet
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is an initiative of the European Economic Area (EEA) rather than the European Union (EU) so it isn't immediately clear what will happen to this valuable piece of plastic once we 'Brexit'. However, nothing will change until the Article 50 negotiations to separate the UK from the EU are concluded, which could be two years or more.
So in the meantime, the free EHIC is a must-have for travellers to Europe. The card entitles you to emergency health care treatment (for free or at a reduced cost) in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland. However, it will not cover the cost of medical repatriation or the treatment of any pre-existing medical conditions. Therefore, you should arrange travel insurance for your trip.
4. Buy travel insurance as soon as you book
Every year, millions of holidaymakers forfeit valuable holiday cancellation cover by buying travel insurance at the last minute. More than half (56 per cent) of the holiday makers who purchased their travel insurance through Gocompare.com arranged their cover within a week of their holiday start date. This includes nine per cent who arranged cover on the day of departure. Cancellation cover provides valuable protection against a wide range of events that could affect you between when you booked the holiday and when you leave your home.
5. Declare your pre-existing conditions
Travel insurers won't cover claims for medical treatment as a result of a pre-existing condition you've failed to declare. So, when applying for insurance be honest about any health problems you have.
6. Don't forget the 30/60 rule
If you plan to winter abroad for longer than two weeks, most home insurers will not cover your property if it is left unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days, and some will only cover an unoccupied property for up to 30 consecutive days. Check the terms of your policy and if you think you may be impacted, talk to your insurer.
- Yours Travel Club offers carefully selected holidays and travel insurance from partners we know and trust