Post-Olympic blues prompt rush to Europe
With many holidaymakers having postponed holiday arrangements because of the Olympic Games, August and September are set to see plenty of Brits taking their cars across the channel during the rest of August and September, according to the AA.
What's more, the Pound to Euro exchange rate is around the best it has been since the end of 2008. Excluding charges and commission, a pound was worth €1.266 (as at 14 August). Compared with its low point on 30 December 2008, someone taking £1,000 on holiday would have around €200 more to spend now.
It's also cheaper to fill your car up in mainland Europe than it is in the UK, especially if you drive a diesel. At present, a typical 50-litre unleaded petrol fill-up costs about £2.10 less than in the UK and, thanks to lower tax, £10.50 less for a similar fill of diesel.
24% don't take out travel insurance, says AA Travel Insurance
According to AA Travel Insurance, there has been a sudden rush of travellers buying single trip insurance cover following the end of the Olympic Games.
Alan Purvis, director of AA Travel Insurance, said: "Not so long ago, the pattern of travel insurance purchase was fairly predictable, but over the past couple of years it has become much more volatile. That's certainly true of 2012 and since the Olympics, we've seen an increase in single trip Euorpean policies being bought.
"This suggests that a lot of people are making a last-minute decision to hop over the Channel. Not only that, families' hard-earned cash will buy more Euros now than since 2008," he adds.
He points out that while exciting, a hurried travel plan can lead to omissions: indeed, recent research for AA Travel Insurance showed that almost a quarter (24%) set off without insurance and of those, 22% either ‘forgot' or ‘just didn't get around to it'.
More worrying is that 11% believe that an EHIC is a substitute for travel insurance.
"It most certainly is not," Alan Purvis points out. "While travellers should take out the card and present it to the treating hospital they are still likely to incur costs, so should take details of their travel insurance too.
"The EHIC won't cover you for a helicopter rescue for instance, or repatriation back to the UK if you are taken seriously ill."
Alan Purvis says that AA Travel Insurance is also aware that in many popular holiday destinations taxi drivers, hotel staff and others get a referral fee from private medical practices or hospitals to direct ill or injured travellers to them and this seems particularly common in Spain," he says. "Once there, they may be required to make an advance payment in cash or by credit card before they are treated.
"Without travel insurance, you could be landed with some pretty hefty bills for treatment."