From lost luggage to taxi scams, roaming charges to resort fees, I’ve got 10 things to watch out for on holidays this summer.
There is nothing like that holiday feeling! I get excited putting on my out of office, let alone the prospect of exploring somewhere new. Escaping the stresses of everyday life, no matter how long or short your trip may be, is one of life’s pleasures. However, there are things to watch out for on holidays, so before you step on that plane, make sure you are well prepared.
I don’t want to kill your holiday buzz, in fact I hope this will do the opposite, and give you peace of mind that you know you have done all your research. and you can sit back, relax and enjoy that well deserved holiday abroad!
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I have teamed up with AA Ireland, Ireland’s largest broker, who offer a range of products to its 250,000 customers, including Travel Insurance. They offer annual multi trip, single trip and backpacker insurance, to singles, couples, families and groups.
Their annual multi trip policy is available from just €18* – this is a saving of 30%, which is available for a limited time only. Ts & Cs apply* – see below.
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What impresses me the most is that all travel insurance policies include access to an English speaking Virtual Doctor 24 hours a day when abroad. If you need a doctor, you can call or click using the AA ‘Doctor Please’ app, and book a video or phone appointment day or night. But that’s not all – prescriptions are sent directly to your phone or pharmacy of your choice!
AA Travel Insurance has three levels of cover, plus the option to add on separate cover for winter sports, golf, cruise etc – this enables you to choose the level of cover that suits your needs for the best price. AA Members receive extra benefits too, including unlimited emergency medical cover as well as an excess free policy.
I think we all know that travel insurance is vital when travelling, it is without a doubt the cheapest part of the holiday, but it is also the most important.
Make sure you take out travel insurance when you book your holiday, and not at the last minute, in order to be covered for cancellation. There are lots more reasons why you need insurance – I have highlighted some of the things to watch out for on holidays below, which should help you understand why.
1. Delayed or lost luggage
Unfortunately lost or delayed luggage is no longer a rarity. With airports, airlines and baggage handlers all suffering from staff shortages, this is now something that you need to consider when travelling abroad – especially during peak summer months. Fingers crossed we won’t have the same baggage issues that occurred last year, but it is better to be safe than sorry!
Where possible don’t check in a suitcase, use a lightweight cabin size case / bag instead, and if you are checking in a case, don’t forget to bring a change of clothes in your cabin bag.
If you want to know where your luggage is at all times, then it makes sense to invest in an Apple AirTag. It looks like a large coin and can be placed in your suitcase or backpack when you travel. They are available from most electronic stores or from Apple directly from €39.
In the unlikely event that your baggage is delayed for more than 12 hours, AA Travel Insurance will cover you for up to €300 expenses. (€50 per day).
2. Change in climate
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We expect high temperatures in July and August in the Mediterranean, but remember Spain recorded the hottest month on record last May when temperatures reached a whopping 40 degrees in the popular tourist resorts of Andalucia.
We experienced different issues recently, although equally as alarming, when ski resorts were forced to close because of record breaking warm temperatures.
It is important that you prepare yourself for higher temperatures than usual this summer and pack accordingly. Bring plenty of sunscreen with high SPF and always keep yourself hydrated.
3. Taxi scams
Taxi Scams can happen anywhere, but are a common occurrence for tourists. I suggest downloading UBER so you know you are not only getting a fair price, but you will also have a record of the journey and taxi driver, should the need arise.
We experienced a few taxi scams in the centre of Rome recently, but the most common one is being overcharged on the journey from the airport. Ideally pre-book an airport transfer or at least find out the approximate cost for the journey from the airport to your accommodation before you get in – remember Google is your friend. Taxi scams are one of the top things to watch out for on holidays.
4. Other holiday scams
Don’t be fooled by the charm of great sales person you meet on the street. Hola or Ciao from a friendly local can be deceiving! You may be promised the best tour guide, two cocktails for the price of one, discounted perfumes, or worse still, you could fall for an elaborate jewellery scam in Thailand – it wasn’t my finest hour I can assure you!
Take out your phone and use TripAdvisor to check if that restaurant really does have great food, or if the tour guide has good reviews.
In most cases you will find the best attractions, restaurants and bars by doing your research before you travel. I usually recommend pre-booking the top spots, especially in high season, and pre book tours and attractions to get the best choice and the best value.
5. Car hire
Getting ripped off at the car hire desk is a common complaint, and is one of the top things to watch out for on holidays. Take photographs of the car when you receive it and take note of all scratches – you will want to have proof incase you are accused of damage that you didn’t cause.
Car hire firms make all their profits by selling you add-ons, which are usually outrageously expensive. Car hire excess charges are some of the highest fees, and in some cases are more expensive than the car rental fee itself.
When you rent a car, the price generally includes accident cover but usually leaves you with an excess fee which can be high depending on the value of the car. Did you know that you can add car hire excess insurance on to your AA Travel Insurance policy? You don’t need two separate policies.
Taking out car hire excess insurance before you travel will equate to a large saving, as rates are only €3.29 per day for Europe or €3.99 per day worldwide. Annual multi trip policies are also available from €49.99 and €59.99 respectively.
If driving on motorways ask your rental company about an electronic toll tag. Toll charges can be high so it is best to have them pre paid. Car rental companies may charge a premium, so I suggest comparing the cost online before you buy.
Check the fuel refill charge. Petrol stations are always positioned close to the airport, it may be cheaper to refill the car yourself.
If the last few years are anything to go by, you don’t need me to tell you that the chances of someone in your party getting sick while on holiday is fairly high. We had to visit a doctor numerous times on holidays, especially when the children were small, and it wasn’t always easy finding a doctor close by.
Luckily you won’t need to, as all AA Travel Insurance policies include access to an English speaking Virtual Doctor 24 hours a day when abroad. If you need a doctor, you can call the AA Virtual Doctor, and book a video or phone appointment day or night. But that’s not all – prescriptions are sent directly to your phone or pharmacy of your choice!
AA Travel Insurance covers emergency medical and repatriation up to €10,000,000. All polices include Covid cover too – cancellation, curtailment, medical expenses and additional accommodation expenses are covered if you contract COVID-19 while abroad and are unable to return home as planned.
If you find yourself sick before you travel, AA Travel Insurance will cover up to €6,000 for lost travel and accommodation costs if you have to cancel your trip.
7. Holiday Theft
Pickpockets are usually more prevalent in large cities, but there are other things to watch out for in holiday resorts. Robberies are not uncommon, particularly in apartments where there isn’t a 24 hour reception. Make sure you use the room safes provided, and that all doors are locked when you go outside.
Take photos of important documents and passports before you leave home and upload to Google Drive or your iCloud account.
If you are popping in for a swim, don’t leave valuables unattended at the beach. It is best to leave valuables at home, although please don’t post on public social media channels that you are away if your house is unattended – remember you can post your sundowner pics to ‘friends only’.
However, if you do find yourself victim to theft on holidays, AA Travel Insurance will cover Baggage & Passport up to €2,000 and Personal Money up to €500 on their Essentials policy. Note gadgets such as mobile phones and valuable items will need to be specified on your home policy or in a separate gadget insurance policy.
Top tip: If you are unlucky to have items stolen on you, make sure you call the police. You will need an official police report to make a claim.
It is fairly easy to spot fake Louis Vuitton bags or Rolex watches, but sometimes not all fakes are obvious. Sometimes electronic shops can sell fake goods, and when the gold necklace turns your neck green, its not a good look – all that glitters is not gold!
If travelling within the EU, roaming charges are no longer one of the things to watch out for on holidays. However, if travelling outside the EU, make sure to check roaming charges. I recommend contacting your phone provider before you travel to check the exact costs.
Make sure your phone is on airplane mode when you are flying or at sea. Pre purchase WiFi bundles when you cruise, regardless of destination, or alternatively only use roaming when in ports. It is also possible to pre purchase local sim cards or eSims before you travel.
10. Resort fees and Room Charges
Resort fees and hotel taxes are common in many countries now. Sometimes it can depend on the standard of the hotel, but there is usually a daily charge. Check these in advance, as well as any parking charges, so you don’t get a surprise when checking out.
Those nice bottles of water that are conveniently placed in your room on arrival may not be free – check if there is a charge. If you are staying in an all-inclusive resort, there may be charges for premium drinks, and for drinks and snacks from the Mini Bar.
Ts & Cs
*AA Travel Insurance Annual Multi Trip Value price covers one adult under 50 to Europe with private medical insurance. 30% discount based on AA Travel Insurance Annual Multi Trip Value policy of €26.50 for one adult under 50 to Europe with private medical insurance who purchased a policy between December 1st 2022 & December 21st 2022.Get a quote here
This post on things to watch out for on holidays was sponsored by AA Travel Insurance.