FAQs about travel
I’ve picked the most common questions that I get asked. This is not a comprehensive list!
- Is my passport valid for travel to Europe/USA/South Korea? Your passport only needs to be valid for the duration of the trip for many countries, including those in the European Union and the USA. For South Korea (if you’re planning a last-minute trip to the Winter Olympics), you have to have a minimum of 3 months on the passport validity, from the date of entry. For the best advice go to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and search for the country or countries that you’re planning to visit. I would always advise that you keep a minimum of 6 months validity on your passport. When you renew your passport, time left on your existing passport is added to your new one, up to a maximum of 9 months.
- My flight was delayed. Can I claim compensation? According to Simon Calder – “That depends. To qualify for compensation of €250 to €600, you must be flying from an EU airport or flying from a non-EU airport on an EU airline. You must have arrived (as opposed to departed) at least three hours late. And the cause of the delay must be within the airline’s control, rather than an “extraordinary circumstance” such as weather, strikes or a security alert. (Whatever the cause of the delay, though, airlines must provide meals and accommodation as appropriate.) Some airlines will readily pay out for delays, but others will defend claims robustly.”
- What medication or jabs will I need when travelling abroad? Again, it all depends on many factors – where you’re travelling to, where you’ve been recently and your own medical history. It’s best to contact your GP, they may have a Travel Clinic within their practice. http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx gives some good advice – but always check with your GP as well.
- Will I need a visa? When you book your holiday, I’ll advise if you need a visa if you hold a UK passport. Some countries, e.g. USA and Canada, have a visa waiver scheme. However not everyone will qualify for the visa waiver – under certain circumstances, you may need a visa. For the USA, in these cases, please allow enough time for the visa appointment and decision process – it can take months. The USA visa waiver (ESTA) website is https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ and it costs $14 per application. The ESTA for the USA is valid for 2 years, but needs to be updated if you travel again during this period.
- Do I need travel insurance? I have an EHIC Card, surely that’s enough? Yes you need travel insurance – it covers more than just medical expenses. I can’t stress enough that you need it! Take it out as soon as you pay a deposit on a holiday as you’re covered from the moment you get the policy, not from when you travel. Even better, consider an annual policy. If you travel more than 2 or 3 times a year, you could save money this way.
- Can I travel to a Muslim country during Ramadan? Yes, but you need to be more sensitive about local customs during this period. No eating or drinking in public, restaurants and hotels may have screened areas. However you will encounter a fascinating cultural experience. Traditions vary from country to country, but the fast is broken at sunset with iftar and then often you’ll find lots of parties and socialising. In 2018, Ramadan begins in the evening of 15 May and ends in the evening of 14 June (although these dates may vary slightly).
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