essential things to remember before your holiday

Essential things to remember before your holiday

Holiday coming up? If so, here are five essential things to remember before you set off:

With your holiday just a few weeks away, you’ve been busy writing lists, searching for sun cream deals and trying to decide which towel best suits your swim gear. But, there are other important things to bear in mind to guarantee an enjoyable, stress-free trip…

Currency exchange rates

The value of the pound had been climbing* against the euro and dollar in the run-up to the recent snap election. We’re still waiting for the dust to settle following the results, and while the pound may weaken slightly in the short-term, this just means we need to hunt for the very best currency exchange rates for our holiday money – so:

  • Consider using a travel money comparison tool to compare currency rates
  • Familiarise yourself with currency jargon, such as sell rate, buy rate, etc
  • Think about getting your money exchanged with a currency specialist, who tend to offer better deals than the high street
  • To give you time to find the best deal and compare online ordering with high street bureaux de change rates, avoid exchanging currency at the last minute
  • Steer clear of changing your money at the airport – exchange rates are notoriously poor

No more shock bills!

Post-holiday blues are bad enough, without coming home to an eye-watering phone bill because you forgot to turn off data roaming. But, following the EU’s decade-long campaign to tackle the issue of high roaming charges, as of 15 June, travellers won’t need to worry about racking up huge bills.

The European Commission has put this law in place, so regardless of which network you're on, you'll no longer face extra charges for making calls, sending texts and using the internet when roaming in EU countries (with Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway soon to join the list). So, we can roam free whether we’re in Bristol or Barcelona!

Make sure you’re covered

Travel insurance is an absolute must, whether you’re holidaying abroad or enjoying a staycation. We all like to think “it won’t happen to me,” but with insurers paying out £1 million every day* to travellers in need, you should prepare for the unexpected.

You might be after a bargain deal for your sun cream, but don’t skimp on travel insurance as it might not provide you with the level of protection you need.

If you’re travelling within the EU, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) only covers standard, state-run emergency treatment. It won’t cover you if you require specific medical treatment or need to cancel your trip. To give you an idea, Which? recommends* taking out insurance that includes at least £2 million of medical cover for Europe, or £5 million worldwide.

Get covered with Zurich

If you’re looking to protect your trip, why not take a look at Zurich’s travel insurance? It’s available in three tiers and can cover single or annual holidays. We also offer a range of optional extras you can add to your policy, including golf and cruise cover.

Driving abroad

Travelling by car is a great way to explore a country and gives you more freedom than having to rely on taxis or buses. Every country has its own driving rules and regulations, so – if you’re intending to drive on holiday – you’ll need to familiarise yourself with them ahead of your trip. Make sure you know:


Research typical speed limits for each type of road – bear in mind that speeds are likely to be shown in km/h rather than mph if you’re visiting a European country. Countries such as Germany also impose lower speed limits in reduced visibility.

Also, know your drink-drive limits. There are severe penalties in place in countries such as France – you could lose your licence or face imprisonment if you were found to be over the limit.


Check if there’s any equipment you’re legally required to carry in your car. In France, for example, it’s compulsory for drivers to carry a breathalyser; while in Italy you need to pack a warning triangle and reflective jacket in your boot.

Passenger laws

If it’s a family holiday, bear in mind that laws for driving with kids varies between countries. In Spain, for instance, children under 12 and less than 4’5’’ tall have to sit in a car seat in the back of the car, unless all back seats are already occupied by children.

If you’re taking your own car abroad, review your car insurance to make sure it covers overseas travel. This is also a good opportunity to book in for a service – you don’t want to break down on the way to the beach!

Make your home secure

Worse than coming home to a sky-high phone bill would be coming home to the realisation that you’ve been burgled. Summer is notoriously known as break-in season, with thieves taking advantage of unoccupied homes while owners holiday in the sun, blissfully unaware.

If you were burgled whilst you were away and were found not to have taken adequate steps to secure your home, it could invalidate a claim. So, you make sure you safeguard your home by:

  • Installing timers on lights to give the impression someone is home
  • Avoiding posting on social media that you’re going away
  • Purchasing a security system
  • Asking a trusted neighbour to keep an eye out for anything suspicious

Now could be a good time to review your current home insurance policy to make sure it offers enough protection for your property and belongings. For peace of mind that you’re protected when you’re both at home and away, choose home insurance from Zurich.


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