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Should you risk travelling overseas in July?

I’ve seen several comments on social media and in the press about people planning to go travelling overseas in July if flights resume. Frankly if you are one of these people, flight availability should be the least of your worries. Instead, you should be focusing on these five things.

Foreign office advice

If the foreign office advise against all but essential overseas travel this will likely invalidate your insurance. If you choose to ignore the advice and fall ill or sustain an injury, your insurance company will not foot the bill. This is equally true, even if your claim is not Covid related. Insurance claims for hospital cover cost on average £1,368 (Source: ABI) so this could be a costly blunder.

Travel insurance browser on a phone
Travel insurance is a must have!

Travel insurance statistics

If you need medical repatriation, costs could run into thousands. 2018 statistics from the ABI highlight a whopping 153,000 Brits needed medical treatment abroad. Total costs for this treatment? A mere £209 million! To emphasize how quickly these costs can mount up, the ABI points to a number of examples. For instance, a cruise shop passenger suffered a stroke onboard. Emergency helicopter evacuation and treatment in the United States cost £118,000.

Despite this, ABTA estimates that in 2019, 38% of British holidymakers planned to travel without insurance. Their research found that 37% thought ‘they did not need insurance.‘ According to the FCO, 16% of travellers believe travel insurance to be unnecessary as they believe the UK government will pay for treatment!! Uh, why should the British taxpayer bail you out if you are stupid enough to skimp on a £30 policy!!

Emergency evacuation be helicopter
Repatriation can be expensive!!

This infographic highlights some key misconceptions about travel insurance. However, let me be clear. If you cannot afford travel insurance, you should not travel!!

Insurance_Infographic_v5

Travel insurance

Keeping with the theme of travel insurance, this is not a luxury accessory, but rather an absolute must. Just check out this insurance post to see why. I’ve been rather unfortunate on my travels. I have needed hospital care on a few occasions. One time, I broke my collar bone which resulted in early repatriation. Another time, I needed additional airline seats due to a torn ACL. These treatments would have cost a fortune and for the sake of less than £100, why take the risk?

I usually book mine through Holiday Extras who will search the best deal for you but note, they will not offer terms currently due to the FCO advice to avoid all but non essential travel worldwide.

However, even if you set out to be a sensible adult you may find your plans thwarted.

Existing travel insurance policies

There have been some reports that insurance companies are refusing claims on the grounds of Covid. This is downright naughty and it will be interesting to see whether this is borne out in the quarterly complaints data from the Financial Ombudsman. My insurance company, Coverwise, contacted policyholders to let them know they WOULD be covered but many are not so customer focussed.

That said, many claims will fail due to exclusions which might incorporate a global pandemic. The infographic below shows that few people read their travel policies. Don’t be one of them as this could be a costly mistake!

FCO travel insurance infographic
FCO travel insurance infographic

New travel insurance policies

If you don’t currently have a plan in place, things are somewhat different. Some companies have withdrawn from the travel insurance market for now. Others have introduced tighter wording and exclusions for anything Covid related. This is probably a minor risk given infection rates but a risk you nevertheless need to weigh up. If you don’t have spare cash reserves to dip into should the worst occur, you should seriously reconsider your plans.

If your insurance will not cover this, how will you cover the cost? Do you really want to put your life in the hands of strangers on a crowdfunding platform?

Travel insurance sign
Do not travel without travel insurance!

Quarantines

The other big issue with travel currently is the imposition of quarantines by certain countries on arrival. For instance, this article on BBC highlights the requirement in both Greece and Ireland for mandatory quarantine on arrival. The British government is also still suggesting that you will need to quarantine for two weeks upon your return. A one week holiday could potentially require five weeks of leave. Who will cover the cost of quarantine in the destination country? Furthermore, do you really want to use all your annual leave in this way?

Get Your Guide has put together a one stop shop for holidaymakers who want to know which countries are open for visitors. It highlights which countries impose a quarantine but note, circumstances can change rapidly. Just look at this scenario that played out in New Zealand

Entertainment options

On a more practical note, we travel to visit museums, enjoy the sun and indulge in great food and drink. A trip to the UK at the moment for an overseas visitor would seriously lack appeal with no bars and restaurants yet open. Even as lockdown eases, there may be few places open where you can eat and drink. Your dream holiday destination may turn out to be seriously dull!

To help you decide on a destination if you do decide to travel, Get Your Guide have created the Recovery Index. This tracks cities showing positive signs of recovery and may help to point you in the right direction.

A vastly changed travel experience

Finally, travelling in July is not going to be normal. You can expect to find much longer than anticipated queues due to social distancing measures and sanitation requirements. Many airport facilities may either not be open or have long queues to enter.

I’ve already seen a distinct lack of consideration for social distancing in our local village. How will airports cope when people experience their first taste of freedom in months? How do you fancy having to hunt for one of the few seats that are available due to social distancing restrictions?

Social distancing in airports
Social distancing in airports

Would you travel yet?

So much as I love my travel I think I will hold off to see how things settle. I see little point in wasting valuable holiday to go overseas and be quarantined on arrival. I also do not wish to risk my health by travelling uninsured.

But what would you do? Feel free to share in the comments.

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of Frommilestosmiles. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 90 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money-saving travel tips

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3 comments

  1. Holding off for now, as neither the journey nor the destination really sound like much of a holiday at the moment. Nevermind the return!!

    But I have booked to go back to where we were supposed to go this April – for next April. No insurance yet, which is not how I normally do things…

    • I don’t blame you. Jason is pretty much saying the same thing. We just have South Africa (in theory) at Christmas. I am desperate for a break though as just seem to work and work!! Are you working at the moment?

      • Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be travelling and may well be doing something when travelling becomes more of a pleasure and less of a chore. We just don’t have anything else booked for now

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