Road and Rail – Whatever your mode of transport, make sure your trip is covered

31 March 2014
As Spring approaches with its abundance of bank holidays, many of us are looking to book our next holiday. ABTA's Travel Trends Report 2014 shows that more people are considering something different than just getting on a plane for a beach holiday. With this in mind, Columbus Direct, the travel insurance specialist, advises how to ensure you are covered for all modes of travel.

The ABTA report showed rail holidays are becoming increasingly more popular with 7% of consumers considering using a train during their holiday in 2014. Whether it's as an alternative to flying or the views as the train meanders past rivers, valleys and mountains, the growth of high speed rail, particularly across Europe, is proof that the journey is an important part of the overall holiday experience.

However, according to the British Transport Police, theft of gadgets such as iPads and Kindles had increased by 10% last year across the UK's rail network.  Lookout Mobile Security also reported that $2.5 billion worth of smartphones are lost every year around the globe, proving the growing need for people to protect their gadgets on their travels.

Most people will do some driving when going on holiday, even if it is just to the local airport. For self-drive holidays, studies have shown that drivers, on average, will cover 250 miles and be behind the wheel for five hours. They then cover another 125 miles of road whilst out on day trips or driving between locations. With around 20% of motor accidents believed to be caused by fatigue, anyone planning a long drive to their destination should make sure they are well rested and plan for rest stops on the way.

Not surprisingly European countries have some different laws that people should research before they travel to avoid unnecessary fines. It is also reported that the DVLA provides European councils details of more than 3,000 UK motorists a month so that they can be tracked down for motoring offences such as parking and speeding fines.

Greg Lawson, Head of Travel Insurance said: "It is great to see travel seeing an upturn this year. However, we would, as ever, urge holidaymakers to put some time aside to understand the risks and things to be aware of on their trip.

"Many rail travellers may be surprised to learn that leaving valuables in your suitcase on a rack, out of sight, could mean that your valuables would not be covered. We recommend keeping any valuables such as money, jewellery or electronics in your hand luggage or on you. As for your luggage, whilst not always easy on a crowded commuter train, you should always try to keep it in view of where you are sitting as a preventative and protective measure. If travelling with a backpack, a good deterrent is to clip your bag to your seat or other immovable objects.

"Drivers should take regular breaks to ensure they stay fresh and alert on the roads. It's also recommended that you take a European motor breakdown policy to get the necessary help if something happens to the vehicle.

"If you are planning a driving holiday, you should be aware of the different international motoring laws that need to be adhered to. Most countries require carrying a warning triangle and reflective jacket in your vehicle but, in France you are now required to carry a breathalyser test in your vehicle. In Spain, if you need glasses then you are required to carry a spare pair in the car otherwise you'll be seeing a fine for that too.

"You should also be aware that criminals often target cars with British number plates or cars that have a hire company sticker. Try to park in well-lit, populated areas and don't leave any items on display to thieves. If you have to leave your belongings in the vehicle, lock them away out of sight. Always take valuables with you when leaving your car as these will not be covered, even if they are locked away.

"At Columbus Direct, our priority is for customers to feel relaxed, whether they are taking a "plane, train or automobile". If you are unsure of what is covered, we recommend travellers contact their insurance company and check before heading off."  

For more information please contact: