The European debt crisis affects not just Greece which has been continuously under the spotlight but also Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. In addition, Belgium made the news recently with its bank Dexia on the brink of collapse while the wolves are now nipping at the heels of France. Cyprus is not faring too well economically either and Hungary’s rating has been downgraded to junk status by Moody’s.
Politicians have no clue how to get us out of this mess and only seem to be able to come up with meeting after meeting that only serve to draw out the situation like a terminally ill patient who refuses to die.
But what does all this mean to travellers anyway? With the euro on the brink of collapse, travellers have to be prepared for this and for any other eventualities if ever this turmoil turns to chaos. Here’s how to be prepared.
Beware the mighty euro
With the imminent collapse of the euro, travellers had better not change all their money into this currency, especially too early in advance. While you will certainly be able to get rid of your euros when the time comes, the exchange rate with definitely not be in your favour when everyone will be trying to ditch their euros too. So wait at the last minute to change your money and even then, don’t buy more than what you need. And a word of advice: if you still have some euros left and you don’t intend to use them any time soon, you’d better change them.
With all this uncertainty across Europe, there has never been a better time to get covered with travel insurance. For peace of mind and to make sure you are prepared for anything unexpected, travel insurance will hedge your bets and a Europe-wide policy is not expensive.
Your travel insurance might cover you in case your airline goes bust or even your travel agent goes bankrupt suddenly but it never hurts to have additional protection, especially if it is free. The recent financial woes of Thomas Cook, the second biggest tour operator in Europe, are a stark reminder that even giants can fall. So make sure your travel company or travel agent is registered with ABTA, that way you’ll get your full money back if the worst happens.
Binge on credit cards
Alternatively, you can also make your bookings and purchases with a credit card as you are automatically covered if the amount is greater than £100.
If you plan your holidays yourself and book flights, hotels and car rental separately, then one or more company may not be covered by ABTA, especially if it’s a hotel. So your credit card will come in handy for extra protection. But beware of fees and commissions if you are using your credit card abroad and remember the minimum purchase amount.
Finally, it is not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of great deals to be had as businesses fight tooth and nail for your custom. So if you are looking for a good deal, whether it’s clubbing in Faliraki or skiing in the Alps, start shopping around for the best prices and as long as you are well-protected, you can book your holidays in advance and look forward to them with peace of mind.