- Expensive bags are more likely to get stolen: Consider whether you really need to flaunt your designer bags, or whether you can keep it subtle and fly under the radar of the baggage thieves.
- Label outside: Use the label that comes with your suitcase, and clearly include your name, address, telephone number (mobile is best, especially if it works abroad) and email address. Also use the elastic tie tag that you will likely be given at check-in. Always have a hand luggage bag too, with your passport, some cash, and items you can’t risk losing.
- Label inside: Tape a label, with the same information as above, to the inside lid of your case. Also tape your itinerary there, so that your luggage stands the best chance of getting back to you if it is lost.
- Take off the old tags: Make sure any old tags or barcode stickers are removed from your luggage, otherwise your bag could accidentally make its way to where you went on holiday last year!
- Colour code your bag: Have a bright tag on your case, or some easily-identifiable marker like a sticker or a piece of coloured string tied around the handle. That way you can easily pick your bag from a sea of similar bags on the luggage carousel or the coach.
Also warm at this time of year, and perfect for those who love a bit of culture mixed in with their beach holiday, is Cyprus. The Tombs of the Kings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are over 2,000 years old, and are ornately cut into the native rock. You can also see Roman mosaics in the villas of ancient Roman noblemen. You’ll find the Paphos mosaics in Kato Paphos, near the harbour. While you’re in the area, you can also visit Paphos Castle, a listed building which always proves a popular backdrop for photographs. If you still have time for the beach after all that, the temperature can reach highs of 21 degrees C (70F) in April, and 24 degrees C (75F) in May. More information on Paphos.
One of the most fun travel tales we’ve heard this month comes from a customer who visited Lanzarote and had dinner cooked on a volcano! They went to the El Diablo restaurant in the Timanfaya National Park, where a grill is placed above the hot rocks. Apparently the food is delicious! Lanzarote is one of the Canary Islands, south-west of Spain and actually parallel with Africa. As you would expect, during April and May, the temperature will usually reach a comfortable 23 degrees C (73F). We’d recommend Costa Teguise as the resort of choice for most EHICPlus customers. More information on Lanzarote.
According to the Foreign Office, only 14% of British people know that the equivalent of dialling 999 when you are in Europe is dialling 112. You will usually get through to a call centre with English-speaking operators.
If you’re fond of winter weather, Norway and Sweden can be stunningly beautiful in February and March, with cross-country skiing, dog-sledding and ice fishing all available.
February is also one of the best times of year to see the Northern Lights in Norway, a stunning natural spectacle in the sky.http://www.visitnorway.com/uk/What-to-do/Attractions-Culture/Nature-attractions-in-Norway/Let-there-be-northern-lights/
At this time of year, European city breaks to take in a spot of culture are also popular. Alongside the obvious delight of Paris, we’ve heard good reports from many people who have recently been to Barcelona: the Spanish city is well-liked by most British people who visit, due to its beauty and wide range of cultural activities.
Finally, if you want to enjoy the beauty of Amsterdam without the stag-dos, now is a good time to visit. Amsterdam is a relaxed, friendly and picturesque city, very different to London, and it’s a great place to unwind for a few days.
If you’ve been shivering in the British snow, take a trip to Tenerife to warm up! According to the Met Office, the next few days will see temperatures of 18-20C (65-68F) – not surprising when you consider that the Canary Islands are south-west of Spain, and are actually as close to the equator as African countries like Morocco and Egypt! However, by going to Tenerife you can avoid political instability and take advantage of low-cost European travel insurance with EHICPlus. You’ll also find that Tenerife is not as humid at this time of year as it is in the summer months. For maximum warmth, head to the south of the island. There are still things to do in Tenerife at this time of year, with colourful parades and carnivals in February and March. If that’s not quite your thing, feel free to stay on the beach!
With the weather being so cold, there’s a chance your flight could be cancelled. See our Christmas newsletter for some good advice; here’s some more:
1. Queue at the gate desk, but phone your airline’s customer service number at the same time. Then you can speak to whoever you reach first.
2. If you or someone you are with has a Twitter account that you can use on your phone, post tweets about your situation. Make sure you include the name of the airport and the airline. Stay polite! Some airlines have customer service staff who monitor Twitter and can respond quickly to you (as much to avoid bad publicity as anything else!)
3. If the airport has a wi-fi internet connection, you might be able to rebook your ticket online using the airline’s website. You will most likely then be able to print out your new boarding passes at an airport kiosk.
By the way: don’t forget to make sure your checked-in travel bags are taken into account and will find their way to you!