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Heading on a winter break? Plan ahead!

Heading on a winter break? Plan ahead!

Category: Travel insurance

Updated: 18/11/2015
First Published: 18/11/2015

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The clocks have gone back and winter is well and truly setting in, which means it's the time of year when many of us are longing for a bit of sunshine. But, if you're lucky enough to be jetting off on a winter break, make sure you're prepared! From having the right insurance policy to seeing how you can save a bit of extra holiday money, a bit of forward planning can make all the difference. Here are a few top tips to help make sure you're in full-on winter break mode.

  • Research the area. Once you've chosen your destination, the first thing you need to do is research the area thoroughly. Are there any free attractions you can go to that will help your spending money go further? What about things like tourist passes? Make sure you know what to expect in terms of public transport, too, and if possible, try to find out a few things you can do off the beaten track – tourist areas will always be more expensive, so if you can find a restaurant that's loved by locals, for example, you could save a small fortune.
  • Travel insurance. Once you've got the fun research out of the way, it's time to start thinking practically. Making sure you've got suitable travel insurance is an absolute must – to some it may seem an unnecessary expense, but what if you lost your luggage, your wallet or your flight was cancelled? It's even more important if you're faced with unexpected medical costs, and while you'll of course need your European Health Insurance Card if you're travelling to the continent (incidentally, now's the time to make sure it's up to date), it'll only do so much. Having the right kind of travel insurance can give you complete peace of mind in knowing you won't face an unwelcome bill or unexpected outlay should things not go quite to plan.
  • Specialist insurance. For many people, a basic level of travel insurance will be all that's required, but some will probably need a bit of extra cover, particularly if you're heading off on a ski trip. Some insurers will add ski cover as an additional policy feature but you'll need to discuss the specifics with them, and you may find you need to get specialist cover if you're doing anything particularly adventurous.
  • Currency exchange. You'll need to start thinking about your currency needs well in advance if you want to get the best rates, as leaving it until the last minute and exchanging cash at the airport will mean you'll be left with far less spending money! The right exchange rate can make all the difference, so make sure to spend the time comparing providers to boost your spending power as far as possible.
  • Travel/pre-paid credit card. While you'll always want to head to your chosen destination with a bit of cash in your wallet, you probably won't want to carry around too much. That's where a travel credit card can come in – unlike versions that are designed for UK use, these cards typically don't charge you anything extra for using them abroad, and can be ideal for foreign travellers. Pre-paid travel cards work in the same way yet they're loaded in advance, meaning you can't spend more than you were planning to or risk getting into debt.
  • Gas and electricity. You've sorted your holiday finances, got the insurance policy and researched the area, and it's almost time to head off. But wait! Don't forget your heating. You'll still want to keep your home warm to prevent issues such as frozen pipes, but that doesn't mean you'll want to keep the heating on for the duration of your trip – just think of how unnecessarily high your energy bills could be! That's why you'll want to look into putting your heating on a timer, perhaps for an hour or two a day to stop a chill from setting in, and if you set it for an hour before you get back you can return to a warm, cosy home to keep the winter blues at bay.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.