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!
Snow, fog and floods are just a few of the weather elements that can lead to your flight being cancelled. When flights are cancelled due to adverse weather, airlines usually have a policy set up for passengers. Here’s what to do:
Contact your travel provider (airline or agent): You should be offered re-routing to your final destination at the earliest opportunity or at a later date convenient to you. Alternatively you can apply for a refund on your unused flight at the airport ticket desk or online.
Credit cards and homeowner’s policies: You can contact your card provider for advice, however coverage may often be limited depending on the type of card you used to pay or the coverage you have with your homeowner’s policy.
Booking through an agency: This can actually be to your advantage. You may be entitled to a refund from them if the flight is cancelled and the airline can’t get you on another flight in a timely manner.
Companies offering package holidays are legally bound to hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). If you book a package holiday which includes a flight, then you – and your money – are protected under what’s called the ATOL scheme, so look for companies that are ‘ATOL protected’. You can find more details at http://www.caa.co.uk
. Always check the details with your holiday provider before you book.
1. Eat well – eating regular, warm meals will help to keep your energy levels up this winter.
2. Dress in layers – instead of wearing one thick layer, you will get better results by putting a few thinner ones instead.
3. Keep active – even a small amount of exercise every day can make a difference.
4. Insulate your home – making sure you don’t let the warmth escape will also help to keep your heating costs down.
5. Hot water bottle – carry one around, keep it in your bed or even warm your clothes up on a cold morning.
6. Electric blanket – but make sure you unplug it before you go to sleep.
7. Heat one room at a time – keep one area of your home nice and cosy and enjoy your evenings with the whole family;
8. Keep your head and feet warm – putting on warm socks and a hat will help keeping your whole body warm for longer.
9. Choose wool instead of cotton and synthetics – wool will keep you warm even when it is wet.
10. Put an extra blanket or duvet on your bed – turn your heating down and enjoy a great night’s sleep.
Looking for snowy adventures, the best place to see the northern lights or just a great place for coffee? Europe offers a superb choice of winter holidays. If you want guaranteed snow on the pistes this Christmas and New Year or beyond, there’s still time to book a bargain ski break.
Here’s our opinion of some of the best winter sports holiday destinations right now:
Prague – Czech Republic
Winter is a great time to visit Prague. Discover the beautiful architecture of the snow-covered old town or the courtyards of Prague Castle.
Arlberg – Austria
Your much-awaited winter holiday will be in good hands, because of a hundred years of experience in the Arlberg’s mountain world.
Les Menuires (French Alps) – France
This beautiful resort has plenty of snow during the winter time. If you are a confident skier you will enjoy the slopes, which are mainly for intermediate to advanced levels of experience, and you’ll also find slopes for entry level skiers.
Abisco (Swedish Lapland) Sweden
If you always wanted to see the Northern Lights, Abisco is the place to go. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends, it’s a good value holiday and a great idea for a winter break.
Madonna di Campiglio – Italy
This very stylish and traditional ski resort is located between the Brenta Dolomites and the glaciers of Adamello and Presanella. After having a great time on the slope you can relax in the evening at one of many pubs or restaurants.