World trouble spots. How ‘essential’ is your holiday?
You’d have to have been hiding under a rock to not know that things have not been going well in Egypt recently. It is a dangerous place to be right now.
Actually, let’s make a correction. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office might have advised against all travel to certain parts of the country and against ‘all but essential travel’ to most of the rest of the country, but they have not advised against travel to Red Sea resorts and some transit areas between resorts, airports and monuments.
So, if you have a holiday booked in Egypt (or anywhere else that’s been in the news for the wrong reasons) what should you do?
2. Check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Your first port of call should be the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Their advice on trouble hotspots is what influences tour operators and insurers like ourselves and we take their advice very seriously. If they advise against travel, they mean it. Their website, Know Before You Go, offers essential advice and information about travel to all corners of the world and includes information on 255 countries and territories around the world that won’t make the news. For example, at the time of writing they report that there is a lifeguard strike in Tenerife. Did you know that? Probably not. But, it could well change your mind about going – especially if you are a parent with pre-school children hoping to make the most of post-summer prices.
See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.
Follow the FCO on twitter HERE.
2. Check with your tour operator or airline
Most travel organisations follow the FCO’s advice to the letter. So if you are booked to go to Egypt or somewhere else that has hit the headlines, check that your tour operator is still going to take you. Many of them were reported as offering alternative dates and flights for Cairo last week and some have cancelled flights altogether. However, many of them are still flying to destinations such as Sharm El Sheikh, which is an eight hour drive from the trouble spots in Cairo, and may not offer alternative dates, no matter how worried you are about being in the country.
3. Check with your travel insurance provider
Like travel and tour operators we also follow the FCO’s advice. In fact we are ‘Know Before You Go Partners’ with a specific mission to encourage our customers to use the Know Before You Go website, whether the area they are travelling to has been in the news or not.
So, it’s important to talk to us too. At the time of writing the advice we are giving to travellers worried about going to Egypt is as follows: If you are booked to go to Egypt then we will happily transfer your policy dates to a time when the country becomes safe again. Our cancellation cover only provides cover if you are unable to travel due to illness or injury and doesn’t cover riots or civil unrest – so it’s all the more important to contact your carrier or travel agent to make alternative arrangements. At the moment the FCO is advising that the Red Sea resorts like Sharm El Sheikh are safe – they are about 8 hours from Cairo – which means that people with holidays will still be able to go as planned. It also means that insurance won’t cover cancellation if you get cold feet and don’t want to go.
If the FCO advises against all travel and you decide to go anyway, then your travel insurance will be invalid. But, if you were booked on a flight to Cairo at the time when the FCO advises against all but essential travel and the airline is still flying, where would you stand? The first thing to do would be to think about how essential your trip is. If it’s for a holiday jolly, you might have to reconsider and talk to your airline. How much do you need that holiday? However, if you are visiting a very sick relative, things may be different. So, talk to us too. We’ll be happy to advise you
What if your holiday turns into an FCO black spot?
If you are already in Egypt, and were prior to the FCO advice changing, and you are leaving the area and are inadvertently hurt as an innocent bystander then you will have cover for emergency medical treatment. However, if you decide to stay in an area that the FCO advise against travel for longer than is deemed essential, then your cover will be invalid. So, if you stay you will need to assess how pressing your need to remain is. Again, the best advice we can give you is to talk to us. We’ll always do our best to help.
The final word from World First?
If you are booked to go, talk to us. We will always be able to advise you whether or not your holiday cover is valid based on the advice we get from the FCO.
You can call us on 0845 90 80 161 between 0900 and 1730 Monday to Friday and between 0900 and 1600 on Saturdays.