After A Tumultuous Two Years For The Holiday Industry, Covid-19, Brexit and More Has Changed The Travel Landscape
Planes grounded, borders shut, travel corridors, red and green lists, COVID passports; the last two years have seen an unprecedented upheaval for the travel industry.
But as the world gradually emerges from the pandemic and travel restrictions ease, many people across the UK are looking forward to their summer holidays once again.
While the days of just turning up at an airport and jumping on a plane to sunnier climes look to be over for the foreseeable future, recent data shows increased consumer confidence in taking an overseas trip during the summer of 2022.
Therefore, it’s vital that those looking forward to a holiday abroad are prepared if they want to stay safe on their travels this summer, according to Irwin Mitchell’s International Serious Injury team.
The team has vast experience of providing advice to individuals who have suffered serious injuries overseas, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputations, as well as advising families whose loved ones have sadly suffered fatal injury or illness. They say the travel landscape has changed dramatically, with the effects of COVID-19 and Brexit continuing to create a new layer of complexity around organising a break abroad and staying safe throughout it.
As such, Cheryl Palmer-Hughes, a partner at Irwin Mitchell specialising in International Serious Injury, has pulled together some key guidance for holidaymakers to bear in mind if they want to ensure that their breaks go as smoothly as possible.
Expert Opinion“It’s always exciting when you’re counting down the days to a holiday and, after the past couple of years, many people will be desperate to get away and recharge their batteries in the sun.
“However, now more than ever, it’s vital that holidaymakers are prepared for anything and everything. As we’ve seen on countless occasions, problems can sadly emerge during trips abroad and COVID-19 and Brexit have created fresh issues for Britons to consider.
“Holidaymakers need to ensure they have a proper understanding of these matters and take simple steps with them in mind. After a tumultuous two years, the right preparations should ensure you’re able to get support should you need it.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
The ongoing issues around the pandemic are likely to have an impact on many travel plans this year. However, there are simple steps you can take related to the illness as hotels begin to reopen.
Expert Opinion“The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website features a range of advice related to COVID-19 and you should check regulations around travelling before you set off. These might relate to vaccinations, having have been officially diagnosed with COVID-19 within a specific timeframe if unvaccinated, or showing proof of negative test before travelling.
“Finally, check cancellation details around your booking and ensure travel insurance is in place too.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
There may also be issues to consider in light of Brexit, such as the state of play around European Health Insurance Cards – known as EHICs.
Expert Opinion“If you are holidaying in the European Economic Area, an EHIC ensures you can access vital healthcare should you need it. However, if your card has expired, you will need a UK Global Health Insurance Card – or GHIC.
“You can get them online or at a post office for free, but it’s still important to have comprehensive travel insurance in place . After all, a GHIC may not cover all expenses if something serious happens.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
Other issues might arise around driving, as Brexit may mean you need an International Driving Permit to use a vehicle in some countries. You will also need to check rules around carrying equipment like first aid kits, while you should keep key documents like vehicle registration information and driving licences to hand. You should also check your motor and travel insurance terms to identify whether any specific requirements are set out by your insurer.
Illness problems can emerge in all kinds of situations, including at luxury resorts and on cruise ships. If issues arise, there are some key points to bear in mind.
Jatinder Paul is a legal expert at Irwin Mitchell who represents holidaymakers who have suffered serious illnesses such as salmonella, Legionnaires’ disease and other serious conditions such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
Expert Opinion“You should report any problems to hotel staff and reps as soon as possible. You should also fill out a complaint form and retain a copy for your records.
“In addition, take photos where relevant and swap contact details with other people affected. You should also get a copy of any doctor’s report. Finally, if you’re unhappy with how your issue has been handled, you could consider seeking legal advice.” Jatinder Paul - Partner
Irwin Mitchell has a longstanding history of supporting holidaymakers who have been affected by all kinds of accidents abroad. These include road traffic collisions, aviation accidents, incidents at sea, injuries around hotels and issues during adventure trips and excursions, amongst others. The team also regularly represents those who have been injured while working abroad – for example on oil and gas rigs as well as at offices, in factories and at hotels.
Expert Opinion“You should once again ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance in place, while an EHIC or GHIC is also a must. You should also look out for any safety advice or warnings around the local area, while an understanding of customs and rules could be beneficial. Finally, try to ensure you only use reputable providers for special activities and check safety standards as well.
“If something does happen, report the incident immediately to reps and staff and speak to your insurer. You should also take photos that could prove helpful, while you should also take the details of any witnesses. Finally, keep hold of any documents related to medical care.” Cheryl Palmer-Hughes - Partner
Find out more about our expertise in supporting people affected by injury or illness abroad at our dedicated international serious injury section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.
You can also listen to our podcast about recovery and rehabilitation after a serious injury abroad and how we support people and their families.