How To Travel With Friends and Not Fall Out – 10 Top Tips

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Simple tips to ensure you and your mates make beautiful memories instead of becoming enemies on a group break abroad.

  1. Agree on the type of holiday you’re having – Active? Retreat? Nocturnal?
  2. Decide on a destination together.
  3. Choose a “package level”: Are you going shoestring, or do you want to splurge on eating out every night?
  4. Schedule free time so you have a chance for independent adventures, or just some time to recoup.
  5. Each write a list of things to see and do and schedule an itinerary based on something from each person’s list.
  6. Nominate a group organiser for each individual adventure so the burden isn’t always on the “most organised” person in the group.

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  7. Make sure daily plans fit with each other’s personal routine – early-risers and up-all-nighters may not want to do the same things at the same time!
  8. Give people permission to say “no”, and be willing to accept they may want to change plans or do something different.
  9. Embrace the power of the unreasonable request – maybe you have a bucket-list must-do and it requires your buddies to miss a night’s sleep so you can see it! (Don’t forget number 8!).
  10. Remember your manners. Being in close confines – even with those you like the most – can be exhausting, especially if you are on a longstay adventure. Remember your pleases, don’t forget to say thank you, and keep it in mind that a hug can go a long way.

Did you know we do longstay travel insurance? Excellent for backpacking adventures, gap year experiences – and you can even get covered if you are already travelling!

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Cape Verde – The UK’s Ultimate Winter Getaway?

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Fed up of the cold winter days already? Why not book a sun-drenched winter break in Cape Verde? It’s got all the sun, sea, sand and relaxation you could wish for and is the perfect antidote to the hectic pre- and post-Christmas mayhem!

Why Cape Verde?

There are direct flights from the UK to four of the islands in Cape Verde. Travel time is less than 6 hours, and the “wintertime” will be wonderfully warm, without being too hot. Expect average temperatures of 28°C in the day in November and December (about 22°C at night), dropping to daytime temperatures of around 25°C in January/February.

Also, it is really safe – probably the safest place in Africa. There are no large or dangerous animals, and no snakes or poisonous spiders. Rarely, there are reports of scorpions having been spotted.

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Where to stay in Cape Verde 

The island of Sal is the most popular, followed by Boa Vista. There are in fact 10 islands that make up the Cape Verde archipelago, but only three of them are home to the glorious white sands that attract travellers. The others are famous for their black volcanic beaches – much like Tenerife.

  • Sal – is only 30km by 11 km, is relatively flat, and is described as a beach-lovers’ paradise thanks to white powder sands and turquoise seas.
  • Boa Vista – home to the most remote, expansive and dazzling beaches in the archipelago; quieter than Sal and ideal for the ultimate relaxing break.
  • Santiago – the largest of the islands, rich in culture, diverse in landscapes and perfect for soaking up some creole culture.
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What To Do in Cape Verde 

Many people come to Cape Verde to do, well, not much at all. Take a leisurely walk into the local town, stroll on the beach, hop in the pool, and soak up the sun. If you do feel inclined to try out some activities, here are the top things to do during your trip.

Kitesurfing 
These islands can get windy! The dependably gusty Atlantic brings with it the chance to enjoy some watersports, particularly windsurfing and kite surfing.

Snorkelling
There are some great opportunities to get up close to the marine life in the shallow waters off Cape Verde – do be warned that seas here can be rough, with strong undercurrents – keep a keen eye out for flags that indicate if it is safe to swim.

Island Hopping
Head to Fogo for dramatic volcanic landscapes with a dash of Portuguese culture and fantastic trekking. Maio is another must: almost untouched by tourists, this island is a mix of mature forests, beaches, and again wonderful walking opportunities.

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Turtle Walk
The Hatchery on Sal offers turtle releasing experiences, where visitors can watch nesting turtles and even see hatchlings being released to the sea.

Shark Experiences
Head to Shark Bay on Sal to see the relatively gentle lemon sharks. Tiger sharks and bull sharks are found in deeper waters; special excursions are available.

Whale Watching
Catamaran cruises are just one way to head out into the ocean where you could be rewarded with the wonderful sight of a humpback whale.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like. Many activities are covered as standard.

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EHIC and Brexit: Will Your EU Health Insurance Card Still Be Valid?

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Unfortunately there is no yes/no answer. Currently, the official line on the .gov website says that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal “your EHIC might not be valid anymore.”

So, what are UK travellers expected to do if travelling to an EU destination after Brexit?

The official recommendation is: “Buy travel insurance that comes with healthcare cover before you travel.”

EHIC Vs Travel Insurance – What’s the difference?

The NHS and the Government have always recommended that travel insurance should be purchased by anyone travelling to an EU country. The new advice is for travellers to make sure that the travel insurance has comprehensive medical cover.

EHIC benefits:

  • An EHIC provides access to state healthcare in your destination EU country either free or at a reduced rate.
  • An EHIC can be used for getting treatment for some existing medical conditions.

An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and should always be used in conjunction with a travel insurance policy.  For example, the EHIC would never cover transport costs to return home in the event of serious illness or injury.

If EHICs become invalid, UK residents will no longer be able to access free or reduced-cost medical treatment in EU countries.

How will comprehensive Travel Insurance help UK travellers after Brexit?

Travel Insurance with comprehensive medical cover provides cover for injury, illness, and repatriation – all of which can be costly.

Did you know? The average cost of medical treatment in Spain is just over £8,000, and in France nearly £11,000. The most common things that require treatment are broken bones, heart conditions and food poisoning.

Travel insurance with healthcare cover, for a premium, can also take into account pre-existing conditions, and risks associated with any activities you may have on your holiday agenda, such as skydiving or bungee jumping.  In addition, travel insurance covers you for things related to travel such as lost or stolen passports, and delayed or cancelled flights.

To find out what kind of travel insurance you might need if your EHIC is no longer valid call our team on 01892 833338. We offer comprehensive options for all single trip travel insurance, multi-trip travel insurance, longstay travel insurance – and on some of our policies kids go free.

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what3words App Review – Travel App of the Month September 2019

what3words app travel app reviewIf you like to travel off the beaten track, it can be easy to a) get lost and b) difficult to meet up with people. In fact, in an unfamiliar destination you probably don’t have to go far off the beaten track to get lost or lose friends! Thankfully there is a novel way to pinpoint your EXACT location and share it, anywhere in the world!

What is the what3words App?

This app is essentially a map of the world, dividing the planet into a series of 3mx3m squares (that’s 57 trillion squares!) and each with a unique three-word address! For example: the entrance to the Taj Mahal is at straddled.sprayer.sponsors; the best place to take a photo at Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland is decode.delirious.abdomens; and the Queen’s residence is fence.gross.bats.

What does thewhat3words App do?

The app gives what the developers describe as a “simple and accurate way to talk about location”. Not only are the unique addresses easier to remember than any other location identifying technique, but they are also more accurate, more reliable, and can also be used in 35+ languages. The addresses can also be easily shared, saved, and navigated to.

what3words app travel app review

what3words app travel app review

What makes the what3words App a great travel app?

Many places in the world don’t have an address, or have an inaccurate address, and even in modern cities the traditional address system can just get it wrong. What3words makes it easier to meet up with friends, discover and tell others about amazing places, and explore the world without getting lost.” This makes it as easy to hook up with friends, tour guides etc in a specific yet remote patch of the Sahara Desert (Erg Chebbi Dunes anyone? Meet you at regroup.warranting.costume!) as it is at the Louvre (seasons.sharper.scan), and you can even find your tent in a field at the Burning Man festival using this app. Lonely Planet is also using the system to pinpoint points of interest in remote locations such as Mongolia.

The icing on the cake for us though is that it can be used offline, and its technology has been saving lives. If you’re lost abroad – on a hike, in an unfamiliar town, up a mountain, anywhere at all – you can tell friends, family, your guides, emergency services your what3words location.

What do the what3words App reviews say?

People are loving it, not just for travel either. This is one app you could download for your next adventure and not want to delete once you are back.

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Autumn Adventures in Essaouira, Morocco: Travel Guide

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The port city of Essaouira is the perfect place to enjoy some warm autumn sunshine, while absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of one of Morocco’s more low-key – yet undeniably beguiling – cities. Since EasyJet stops direct flights from Luton outside summer months, reaching Essaouira requires a little more planning in autumn, but combining flights with EasyJet, Ryanair, Transavia and/or Royal Air Maroc will do the trick.

From Marrakech

Essaouira is also the ideal chill-out location if you’ve already been exploring Morocco’s more high-tempo tourist targets: when the hubbub and hard-sells of Marrakesh get too much, it’s time to hop on a bus to Essaouira. Located just two-and-a-half hours away, this laid-back seaside town is Marrakesh Lite: You get the buzzing medina and cafe lifestyle – but without the hassle.

Things to do

Known as “Africa’s Windy City”, Essaouria is buffeted by stiff seawinds – which take the edge off the warmer days. These dependable gusts have made the city’s beaches a mecca for wind and kite surfers – although they’re not ideal for swimming. If you enjoy a dip, you’re best off booking a riad (hotel) with a pool.

Other popular activities include sailing tours (10:30 to 14:30) from the port, but these are weather dependent. Spice shopping is another big draw, with saffron topping the shopping lists of many tourists (although it’s still tough to track down!). And if the aroma of all those spices get you in a culinary mood, why not book a cooking lesson at ’Atelier Madada, where Chef Mouna will show you how to create mouth-watering tagines and patisserie delights.

But if you’d rather someone else cooked…

Essaouria offers many exciting dining options, ranging from French-Moroocan fusion to vegetarian. The famous tagine is available everywhere, based around meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. If you love your seafood, head to the Port Grills where you’ll find a tantalising selection of catches: shrimp, langoustine, sardines and giant crab are on offer for as little as 120 dirhams (£10).

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Things to see

The Ramparts – Explore the pink-red hues of the ramparts, a defensive wall built by the Portuguese, complete with old cast iron cannons. Game of Thrones fans may already be familiar with the walls – they provided the backdrop for scenes in the third season. Take a look at the arts and crafts for sale in the archways underneath.

Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum – Explore the history of Essaouira through ancient pottery, jewelry, tools and weapons, showcased in a beautiful former riad from the 19th Century.

Music

Essaouria’s relaxed atmosphere is made all the more so by the plaintive sounds of traditional Gnaoua music. Heavy iron castanets known as qraqeb and three-string lutes are the chief instruments. You can hear this music played in cafes and on the street.

Costs

Essaouira is cheaper than much bigger cities like Marrakesh and Rabat, not least because you’re less likely to face inflated prices at the hands of taxi drivers, street vendors and barbers – since the locals are more genial than in urbanised parts. In general, Morocco remains a low cost holiday destination, despite the pound’s ongoing wobbles – and a hugely rewarding one.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Kids are covered for free on some of our policies!

A Quick Guide To Staying Safe Abroad

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Take a quick look at this little list to maximise enjoyment on your next break abroad!

1. Don’t Get Robbed

  • Invest in a slash-proof backpack.
  • Keep valuables locked up in a hotel safe.
  • Or better yet – leave valuables at home unless they are essential for your travel plans.
  • Research travel scams for your destination.
  • Carry a second “fake” wallet or purse.
  • Beware of what you wear, it could be a sign of wealth even if you don’t think it is that valuable or just scream “tourist”, making you way more vulnerable to scammers and opportunistic thieves.
  • Keep your bag attached to you at all times, either with a carabiner or with a strap wrapped around you.

2. Don’t Get Lost

  • Make sure all maps are available offline.
  • Take a hardcopy map in case you lose your ‘phone or it runs out of power.
  • Tell someone your itinerary and keep friends and family updated with travel plans.
  • Pay attention to where you are going!
  • If you are travelling on a package holiday have the helpline number handy.
  • If you aren’t on a package, make sure you have a phrase book to help you ask for directions and/or help.

3. Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance – it can cover you for:

  • Medical costs in case of illness or injury.
  • Repatriation.
  • Cancelled or missed flights.
  • Lost or stolen passport.
  • Lost or damaged belongings.

At worldwideinsure.com we can tailor a policy to suit your needs and situation – whether that is travelling with expensive equipment, or an existing medical condition, or making sure you are covered for specific activities and excursions.

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4. Don’t Get Injured or ill

  • Pack a first aid kit.
  • Use a filtered water bottle.
  • Check any bottled drinks you are given have not been previously opened.
  • Only eat peelable fruit.
  • Avoid salads, opt for fully cooked food.

5. Be Prepared

  • Write down emergency contact numbers.
  • Have digital copies available somewhere of all essential info such as passport info and travel insurance emergency number.
  • Hide emergency cash in a chap stick/hairbrush/underwear.
  • Learn basic self defence.

Why Autumn Breaks Are Better: 4 Amazing Destinations

Summer is wonderful, but if you haven’t managed to squeeze in a holiday this year, fear not – autumn is a fantastic season to get away. In fact, you won’t experience the blistering temperatures of midsummer, and you’ll pay less for flights and hotels. What’s more, autumn in the northern hemisphere is a beautiful time to travel – with fallen leaves of red, gold and brown blanketing the landscape.

Here are four amazing autumnal experiences for your short list….

Seville, Spain

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If you had visited this unique Spanish city in July or August, you may well have found it too hot (40 degrees is not uncommon). But arrive in October or November and you’ll be rewarded with warm, pleasant temperatures and the fragrance of orange blossom in the air. The city’s flat topography makes it a walker’s dream: saunter between shaded plazas, taking coffee and tapas when the mood grabs you.

Don’t miss:

  • The Moorish architecture – particularly the Royal Alcázar of Seville.
  • The Plaza de Espana: this opulent landmark square has far fewer tourists in the autumn months.
  • Relax in the autumnal beauty of the city parks – Parque de Maria Luisa is one of the largest.

Ontario, Canada

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For a more intense autumnal visual experience, consider Ontario, Canada, where the leaves change colour in eye-popping style from September to late October. Visit the vast Algonquin Provincial Park near Toronto for fiery autumn scenes that stretch out for hundreds of kilometres. Here you’ll also find lakes and rivers, where you can hire a canoe and glide through cool waters that reflect the soul-calming colours of the season.

Don’t miss: The Niagara Parkway (aka Niagara Boulevard) – You can hire a car and take what Churchill called “the prettiest Sunday afternoon drive in the world” – to one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the world. Expect a dazzling impressionist landscape of bright reds and yellows, and with a speed limit of 37mph, you can take your time enjoying it.

Mount Fuji, Japan

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If a summer of work – and no holidays – has left your coffers full, then why not head to the Far East and enjoy views of the iconic Mount Fuji framed in foliage of deep reds?

The colours of the maples and cherry trees are so intense they even dreamt up an event to celebrate it: the Fujikawaguchiko Autumn Leaves Festival.

Don’t miss: Ascending Fuji. Deservedly one of the best-loved vistas in Japan, it’s worth making time to climb Fuji itself. Rise up through Lake Kawaguchiko’s haze as you move up the perfectly formed (and assuredly dormant) stratovolcano and be mesmerized by the dark rock as it gives way to the blazing whites of the snowy peak.

Iceland

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If you prefer even fresher temperatures and the freedom of unpeopled landscapes, then Iceland could be your perfect autumn destination. Visiting in October and November will be decidedly cheaper than summertime, and the vistas no less stunning.

If you visit in November you can experience kaleidoscopic colours day and night: Thingvellir National Park presents dazzling autumnal shades, while trips to see the Northern Lights will fill your evenings with awe-inspiring light shows.

Tip: While there are plenty of Northern Lights trips, these are essentially only taking you to locations where light pollution is low enough to see the light displays – which means if you have a hire car you can drive out by yourself. You’ll save cash and you won’t have to keep to the tour guide’s schedule!

It can get rather chilly in autumn, so pack plenty of warm layers. But you can retreat to the cosy cafes and bars of Reykjavik if it gets too cold.

And if you’re a light sleeper, an autumn trip here could be perfect: the nights are long and, as Björk might say, oh-so-quiet.

 

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Make sure you are covered before you jet off on your next trip!

Skyscanner App Review – Travel App of the Month August 2019

skyscanner travel app review logoCheap flights, alerts on upcoming deals, no booking fees… it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not – welcome to a flight, hotel, and car hire app that is used by more than 70 millionpeople worldwide!

 

What is the Skyscanner App?

It’s a portal that promises to make finding and booking your holiday, or various parts of your holiday, really easy. It covers flights, hotels, and car hire, and is known for presenting some of the best deals going. It’s also a wonderful tool for tracking prices, with a handy alert if what you are looking for comes up at a bargainous price!

What does the Skyscanner App do?

  • Connects you with best deals on flights, hotels, hostels, apartments, resorts, and car hire
  • Lets you book your whole trip in the one app
  • Suggests activities for your destination
  • Provides travel inspiration with an “explore” feature
  • Shows price comparisons between hotel, flight, and car hire providers
  • Has a custom search function
  • Has a loyalty option in profile for collecting miles

All with no booking fees, sweeeeet!

skyscanner travel app review

skyscanner travel app review

Who is the Skyscanner App for?

Its multifaceted functions means that it ticks the box for just about everyone who is looking for a deal, but it is those who like to travel often that will probably get the most benefit – especially the tracking feature for securing the best prices on flights, and insights on the cheapest times to travel.

What do the Skyscanner App Reviews say?

The fact that 70 million people are using this app says it all. Sure, there are a few glitches here and there, and some features that people would like to see added, but the app certainly seems to do what it says and is well maintained!

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The Safest Holiday Destinations in the World 2019

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Can’t decide where to go on your next holiday? Why not take a look at the Global Peace Index? It is used to rank the safety of 163 countries worldwide, a great tool for picking your next family-friendly holiday spot! Here are the top 10.

Iceland

For the 11thyear in a row, Iceland has been declared the safest place in the world to be. For family fun, we recommend heading to this glorious country in the summer. You’ll be able to enjoy a healthy dose of fun-filled outdoor adventures around the clock as the sun barely sets this time of year.

New Zealand

While the long haul flight might not be child friendly, New Zealand has plenty to offer for families with young children. Top tip: head to Ngarunui Beach where the kids can learn to surf on some of the most gentle waves going in full view of the life guards.

Australia

With deadly critters roaming on land and sea, you might be surprised to find Oz in the top 10 safest places in the world, but here it is. Why not head to Kangaroo Island with the kids to enjoy getting up close to a diverse range of wildlife on this secluded island, over a third of which is a nature reserve.

Australia Safest Holiday Destinations

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Portugal

Head to central and western Algarve for all the best kid-friendly family fun. From Lagos in the west through to Vilamoura in the east, you’ll find plentiful zoos and waterparks that will keep the kids entertained the whole holiday. Its popularity with families does however mean that it is a pretty chokka place to holiday during the summer break!

Denmark

If you are heading to Denmark with the kids, there is no way you can’t stop for a bit in Billund, the birthplace of Lego and home of the original Legoland theme park and resort. Billund also has an impressive activity park, Lalandia, and Givskud Zoo, making the place a perfect paradise for kids of all ages.

Canada

For a winter break the kids will remember forever, book a stay at Whistler. This place has a ski-scene like no other, and the vibe will definitely impress older kids in the group, especially if you are there during one of the many ski and snowboard festivals or competitions. Plus, if the older kids are entertained, you might find time for a bit of après–ski fun or relaxation without them!

Canada Safest Holiday Destinations

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Czech Republic

Another great winter destination for families, especially near Christmas. The Christmas Markets in Prague are some of the best in the whole of Europe, lit up by thousands of lights, and selling everything that makes the festive season magical, from gingerbread treats to glorious gifts.

Singapore

This is the most family-friendly destination in Asia. It is sparkling clean, the public transport is great, and it seems that everywhere is buggy friendly. The place is packed with eye-catching attractions, lots of activity parks, and of course a Universal Studios Theme Park, but our must-do is Singapore Night Safari, open from 7.15 pm to midnight daily.

Japan

Give the kids a high-tech holiday in Tokyo, it’s packed with futuristic fun. If your kids enjoyed Spirited Away or Howls Moving Castle, go to Studio Ghibli, it has a museum guarded by a 5 metre robot! A trip to Honda Plaza and the kids can meet ASIMO, the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. Or take a trip on the bullet train, which connects Tokyo to most major cities at speeds up to 200mph!

Ireland

With a culture steeped in fairy tales and folklore, Ireland is the perfect place to wow the little ‘uns on holiday. Top Tip for parents is to become National Trust members. While most places, such as the fantastic Giants Causeway are accessible to the general public, you have to pay to access the visitor centres. This is where you can find out the folklore and facts behind such amazing natural wonders in an array of interactive displays.

KIDS GO FREE! Did you know that on some of our family travel insurance policies, the kids are covered for free? Call us to find out more!

Driving in Europe Post-Brexit – Advice for UK Holidaymakers

Driving in Europe Post-Brexit – Advice for UK Holidaymakers

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Without a withdrawal agreement, no one is really sure what driving in Europe might mean for UK holidaymakers later in the year. However, it is almost certain that there’ll be no more hopping in your car in the UK and driving off the ferry or Eurostar the other side without additional paperwork in place. As such, UK holidaymakers planning to enjoy the scenic routes of Europe by car or camper after 31st October are being advised to look into getting a Green Card, and an IDP (International Driving Permit). Here’s what you need to know.

Green Cards For Driving In Europe

A Green Card is a certificate issued by your motor insurer that provides proof to authorities that you have adequate motor insurance cover. It is required in a number of countries worldwide, including all the countries in the European Union. Drivers should apply for a Green Card from their current insurer a month before the planned travel. Be aware that there may be a small admin fee.

Travelling Without A Green Card

At present, it is not a requirement for UK drivers to have a Green Card to travel in Europe, but in the event of a no-deal Brexit (or should a last-minute deal go ahead that states Green Cards are required), it would be wise to have one just in case.

In the event you don’t have a Green Card when you do need one, authorities could seize your vehicle and/or issue a heavy fine.

Green Cards and Car Hire

It is thought that if you hire a car in Europe, then the rental from the hire company should cover you. However, if you hire a car in the UK to take over to Europe, you will need to get a Green Card.

Car Hire Excess Insurance

While we are on the topic of car hire, we should remind you that it would be prudent to take out Car Hire Excess Insurance. This insurance means you don’t have to take out the excess insurance from the car hire company, which usually provides extremely limited cover, and comes with an array of exclusions that almost guarantee you have to pay something when you return the vehicle. For more insights on why you need Car Hire Excess Insurance and other top tips when renting a hire car for your holiday, see our Car Hire Travel Tips post.

International Driving Permits

It is likely that UK driving licences will not be recognised in the European Union Post-Brexit, which means that you will have to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Europe.

IDPs are available from the Post Office, and if you are traveling through more than one country you may need more than one IDP. For example, a 1968 IDP is valid for France and Germany, but if you plan to head to Spain, you’ll also need a 1949 IDP.

Having said all that, there are quirks and anomalies across the board – for example no IDPs are needed for Switzerland, and won’t be even in the event of a no-deal withdrawal; also in Spain, you wouldn’t actually need one until 1stAugust 2020, and only if you are staying for more than 6 months.

Do be aware that IDPs are only valid for a limited period, and this varies between countries – the Post Office online IDP checker gives full details, as does the .gov website.