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Spreading your wings

Travelling in later life

With retirement in sight or the kids flying the nest, you might have more time to jet off. Here’s our guide for smooth sailing.

Thanks to advances in travel and information technology, the world has never been more accessible. And now you may have more time for leisure, why not make the most of it? But with such a wealth of destinations on offer, how do you find your perfect getaway? Here are some tips to help you plan your holiday.

Planning and preparation

Maybe you’ve been dreaming of your perfect trip for years, or maybe you’re seeking new experiences. Either way, researching your options is a good idea to help avoid unwelcome surprises or disappointment.

You can find a wealth of fellow travellers’ reviews, tips, itineraries, excursions and more. Just look online for traveller review sites to find an engaging community to join. Some services are available as apps, so you can use them on the go.

Where you stay can be as important as where you go. If hotels are your preference, sites like Expedia will show you what’s available, often with exclusive deals

What’s more, you can get up to 6% cashback if you book your holiday with Expedia, when shopping through us via Barclays Mobile Banking1 or Online Banking. T&Cs and exclusions apply.

For an alternative to hotels, a range of travel hosting sites give access to a worldwide community of people offering their own places to stay – from a single room with a family to entire houses – there are lots of options to choose from. Again, user reviews and ratings will help you find your perfect place.

There are lots more travel apps that can be really useful before you go and while you’re away. Read our round-up of the best on offer.

Travel money

From paying for your trip, to spending while you’re on it, there are ways to help protect your money and avoid fees.

When booking a package holiday, always make sure whoever you use is ATOL certified. This means that the money you spent is usually protected if it has to be cancelled for reasons out of your control – eg an airline going bust. If booking online, look for the ATOL stamp, often in a webpage’s footer.

Using a credit card to pay can help protect your money if your holiday firm or airline goes bust as well as provide the same consumer protection for goods you buy overseas as if you’re in the UK.

It’ll also help to be prepared if you’re asked how you’d like to pay a bill or withdraw cash at an cash machine – and face a choice of the local currency (eg euros) or sterling.

You’re usually better off paying in the local currency because the exchange rate is set by Visa and is competitive. Choose to pay in sterling instead and the rate – set by the retailer or local bank – may be much more expensive.

Here are some more guides and services for secure spending while on holiday:

The following paragraph contains a marketing message about Barclays travel insurance products.

Insurance and healthcare

While travelling is by and large a fun, exciting and rewarding experience, as with everything, there can be risks. But with a small amount of preparation, you can make sure you’re covered and focus on relaxing and enjoying yourself.

Our Travel Pack combines worldwide travel insurance with comprehensive RAC breakdown cover. And for a bit more comfort, our Travel Plus Pack offers extras like entry to airport lounges, for a more relaxing journey away from the crowds. The Travel Pack and Travel Plus Pack are available to new or existing customers who have a Barclays current account. Minimum 6-month term. Terms and Conditions apply.

If you already have travel cover, before you go anywhere, it’s a good idea to check the policy to make sure it covers any health changes you might have experienced as you get older.

And on the topic of health, depending on your destination, you might also need vaccinations. The NHS fitfortravel website has an exhaustive list of destinations, and tells you which jabs you’ll need for each.

NHS choices has information on where you can get vaccinated before you go. Getting a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you go is also a good idea, for trips to countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. It will mean you’re covered for the cost of state-provided healthcare should you need it while you’re there.

Holiday extras

Even if you’re jetting off to an exotic location, keep in mind that there are still savings you can make while still in this country. There are almost as many different ways to get to an airport as there are destinations to fly to from it. Price-comparison sites can help you get the best deals on airport transfers.

If you’re driving to the airport, parking needn’t cost you a fortune either. Again, look online for great value services local to your airport. 

If you’re eligible, Premier Rewards also has parking discounts and other offers.

Checklist

Have you researched your destination to make sure it’s right for you?

Have you secured your preferred accommodation?

Have you covered yourself by booking using a credit card or with an ATOL certified agent?

Do you know how to securely get the most out of your foreign spending?

Do you have insurance? Is it valid for your personal circumstances and destination?

Have you had any necessary vaccines?

Have you shopped around for the best transfer and airport parking deals?

You’re now ready to take advantage of a world of adventure.