Large groups of 18 to 35 year olds travel around Europe together to far off climes. They are attracted by the promise of sun, sea and sand. As well as carefree days away from the stresses and strains of their daily lives. But the problems associated with travel ensure that the young-set are not immune to the effects…
WHILST the upwardly mobile may be more resilient to the problems that they face, managing to find solutions, many are also unaware of their rights and the dangers that could be experienced.
Here’s some points to guide you through some of the pitfalls:
1. Travel Insurance: Many people now push that holiday experience into adventurous water or airborne sports. Whilst such activities might look exciting from the beach there is a serious question as to whether or not you would be covered by your travel insurance if something went wrong. Always anticipate before you travel; ask yourself the question: ‘Am I likely, or is there a possibility that I might want to take part in any sporting activity?’ If the answer is a ‘yes’ or a ‘possible yes’, then make sure that your travel insurance covers you for that activity; even if you are on holiday and decide to do this, call your insurer and get them to extend your travel insurance. The consequences of failing to obtain adequate cover could be financially disastrous!
2. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): This card allows you access to free or reduced cost medical treatment in the EU area; never leave home without it (it can be obtained here for free). However, don’t assume that you can save costs on not buying travel insurance because if you needed medical treatment you could still be left with a bill! Carry the card, but also either buy top-up travel insurance to the card or purchase fully comprehensive travel insurance.
3. Delays and cancellations by coach/bus, train, sea and air: There is extensive EU Regulation which obligates coach, bus and train companies (international travel), airlines, ferry and cruise companies to take care of you, if there is a delay or cancellation. In some cases you can even obtain compensation. All transport companies are obliged to inform you of these rights and you should not be shy in asking for them!
4. Package Holidays: There is much argument about what is or is not a package holiday. A lot of people are savvy enough to make their own travel arrangements by booking each component separately, however, if something goes wrong, your rights are bound by each contract’s terms and conditions. If you booked through a travel company or agent, the chances are that you have booked a package holiday and therefore have rights under the Package Travel Regulations. These rights set out the information you should be provided with, brochure descriptions, what happens if they have to change your holiday before departure, what happens if what you have bought cannot be provided when you get there. You should be informed of who has ultimate responsibility to look after you and what their responsibility entails if something goes wrong. Carry these regulations with you and use them to argue your rights if something goes wrong!
5. Personal Safety: Of all the serious complaints we receive, most sadly come from the experiences of the younger traveller. Deaths, rapes, indecent assaults, robbery, scams and drugs are just some of the more serious elements that travellers face. It is not as some newspapers portray in that it is all about the excesses of 18 year olds. Many within the 18-35 age group of holidaymakers are often decent men and women but find themselves unwittingly exposed to extraordinary situations. If you chose to travel to these high profile resorts, follow some basic rules:
a. Let people at home know where you are going each day
b. Always travel as at least a pair
c. Do not accept ‘extra’ drinks. People don’t often know what’s in them or where the drink has come from!
d. Take care that your drink is not tampered with, choose one of your group to be the look-out for the evening
e. Stay in well-lit public areas, do not be tempted to stray!
f. Always take care at a cash till. In fact draw your cash out during the day and in a public area
g. Do not hand your credit card over to staff in any nightclub or bar more could be taken without you knowing it
h. If you feel under threat, call the police or your travel rep and always take the UK Embassy telephone number with you for the country you are visiting and call them if you find yourself in a difficult situation requiring police help