From tax free shopping to travel insurance, if you’re planning a holiday in Europe this autumn, here are a few things to think about before you go.
After being cooped up for much of the last year, life is finally starting to show signs of returning to normal again. For many of us that means we’re going out again, enjoying restaurants, bars, museums, attractions and more. Finally, we can reunite with the ones we’ve missed and make up for lost time!
Most of us have been waiting for one final piece of the puzzle to fall into place: international travel. Now that green lists have been updated again, that autumn escape to Europe is a great way to enjoy some shopping over half term. I’ve been eyeing up flights, keeping an eye on hotel prices, and preparing to book the best deal I can find.
However, not only has the pandemic changed the way we travel, there are also some new rules to think about with Brexit too. Don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom, there are actually some real positives to enjoy too!
So, if you’re planning to travel from the UK to Europe anytime soon, here are a few things to think about before you go.
Shop Tax Free In Europe
The biggest bonus about travelling to Europe post-Brexit is that us UK shoppers are now eligible for Tax Free Shopping. Depending on where you visit, you could save up to a whopping 19% on your purchases. That’s a serious discount!
By shopping tax free, you’ll get to claim back the VAT on your shopping. It covers all sorts of items too, from fashion and beauty products, to jewellery, technology and food and drink. You could nip to France and come back with an iPad cheaper than you’d be able to buy it at home, or finally be able to afford that dream handbag you’ve had your eye on for months.
The simplest way to claim your discounts is to download the Global Blue App before you travel. It’s packed with features to guide you through tax refund process. You can use the app to find stores near you that offer Tax Free Shopping, and even add your card details to the app so your VAT refund is paid automatically to your account. Simple!
Take Out Travel Insurance
You probably haven’t travelled abroad in a while, so don’t forget to check whether you have valid travel insurance or take out a new policy before you go. It’s worth noting that very few give comprehensive cover against issues caused by Coronavirus, whether that’s travel disruption, repatriation or medical cover.
While you’ll still want to make sure you’re covered for things like if your luggage goes missing or your flight is cancelled, try to find a policy which includes Coronavirus medical and repatriation cover, Coronavirus cancellation cover as well as cover if the airline or holiday company you book with goes bust. Which? recently analysed 250 travel insurance options and found only two policies (Barclays’ Travel Pack add-on and HSBC’s Select and Cover) gave full Covid-19 cover, although lots of others are pretty comprehensive. You’ll need to read lots of small print, but it’s worth it so you have peace of mind on your break.
Book Attractions In Advance
The way we travel has changed a lot over the past year. One of the biggest differences is it’s now a lot more difficult to be spontaneous. Capacities have been reduced so you can’t rock up to popular attractions and buy a ticket on the day. You’ll need to book in advance to secure a time slot.
When you’re planning your European getaway, make a list of all the places you’re keen to visit, then check their websites for the latest information. Even free museums are requesting people book a time slot to visit so they can manage visitor numbers safely.
You might find the same with popular restaurants too, so if you’ve had your eye on a special spot for a while, book a table in advance as part of your travel planning.
Do you remember travelling to Europe years ago and racking up horrifying mobile phone bills? Then, suddenly there were amazing free-roaming agreements put in place and everything seemed to be sorted.
Well, it’s something to keep an eye on again now the UK has left the EU. There’s no guarantee that roaming charges will stay as they are, so check with your mobile provider before you jet off. A few have started to reveal they’ll reintroduce charges in 2022.
EU Medical Cover
Do you remember the EHIC cards we used to carry which entitles British citizens to medical cover in the EU? Well, it’s now been replaced by the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). I’d recommend applying for a GHIC as soon as you book your European adventure. The cards take a little while to arrive.
A GHIC will cover state-provided medically necessary healthcare when you’re visiting an EU country. That includes things like emergency treatment, visits to A&E, routine maternity care and treatment for long-term or pre-existing medical conditions. Just a reminder, you should still take out travel insurance which includes medical cover, as the GHIC doesn’t cover absolutely everything.
If you’re planning to travel to Europe any time soon, I hope this post helps with your planning. Have an amazing time wherever you go. I think we’ve all earned a good break! Don’t forget to download the Global Blue App HERE before you travel too.
This post was commissioned by Global Blue but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.