Five things to watch out for if you’re heading away this Easter
Thousands of people are heading away for the Easter break either in the UK or abroad, but if you’re one of them there are several last-minute checks it’s worth carrying out.
Even if you’re not getting away over the next few days, but are planning a summer holiday, making sure you’re prepared for every eventuality can make travelling much less painful.
Here’s what you need to know.
Is your car ready for a long journey?
Motorists are expected to drive 1.4 billion miles between Good Friday and Easter Monday, according to Green Flag, with the average length of a round trip expected to be 102 miles. It is forecasting a 20 per cent increase in breakdowns over Easter, which could mean an extra 2,000 breakdowns per day.
Performing a few simple checks before you take to the road could help ensure you don’t encounter any issues on your journey. For example, check your tyres both for pressure and tread, as well as all fluid levels, so that you have enough fuel, oil, water and screen wash to make your trip. If you’re making a very long journey, Green Flag recommends trying to plan fuel stops in advance, so you don’t get stuck trying to find a petrol station when you’re running low. If you’re planning to buy breakdown cover to ensure you don’t end up stranded at the roadside if something goes wrong with your car, bear in mind that cover usually starts 24 hours after buying your policy.
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What protection do you have if your flight is delayed?
If you are delayed for more than a couple of hours on a short haul flight, the airline you are flying with must provide you with food and drink, or vouchers to purchase them with. If you’re taking a longer flight, it’s only obliged to provide you with food after three hours for medium haul flights and four hours for a long-haul flight, for example if you’re flying to Thailand.
If your flight is cancelled altogether, your airline must provide you with an alternative flight or refund. If you're delayed by more than three hours or your flight's cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation too. Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert website has a handy online tool to help you submit a claim.
Check your travel insurance as well - most policies provide cover for travel delay. However, this usually only kicks in if your flight is delayed by more than 12 hours and you can often only claim a maximum of £20-£50 per full 12 hours you’re delayed.
Have you packed a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?
The GHIC card (which replaces the European Health Insurance Card) entitles you to medically necessary state-provided healthcare – treatment that can’t wait until you return to the UK – when you’re visiting an EU country or Switzerland, so it’s well worth packing one if you’re heading to Europe.
It usually takes around 10 days for the card to arrive once you’ve applied for it, so if you don’t already have one, you won’t be able to get one in time for Easter, but it’s still worth getting one for future trips. You can apply for the card free of charge at NHS.uk. If you have an existing EHIC, this will still be valid until the date shown on the card.
Make sure you check your travel insurance small print to find out where you stand if you do have a medical emergency whilst you’re abroad.
Could you cut costs by booking days out in advance?
Whether you’re staying the UK or going overseas, if you’re planning a day out at a theme park or other attraction, you’ll normally be able to save money by booking online in advance. For example, consumer association Which? found an adult day pass bought on the day at Alton Towers costs £62, but only £34 when bought in advance - a 45% saving.
You might also be able to get cut-price tickets when you buy certain groceries, Accordin to Which? some Carex handwashes have vouchers for half-price entry for Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Sea Life Centres and Sanctuaries valid until May 31, 2022, whilst selected Kellogg’s cereal packs and snacks offer ‘adults go free’ vouchers for Merlin attractions valid until June 2022.
Is your property protected?
It’s a sad fact that burglars often take advantage of holiday periods and steal from empty homes, so make sure your property is properly secured while you’re away.
If you’re going away for a week or two, it can be a good idea to get a trusted neighbour to pop in once or twice to make sure everything is okay, and to put timer switches on lamps so that they go on and off intermittently in the evenings. Try not to leave any valuable items clearly on display while you’re gone, as these can often prove a tempting target for opportunistic thieves.