Whilst most holiday destinations are generally strife free, it still pays to check before you travel. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has up to date advice on all countries and to log on to www.fco.gov.uk/travel is a wise precaution, particularly if you plan to travel to parts of the world off the beaten track.
Take one destination in the headlines at the moment – Tibet. With the run up to the Olympic Games this summer, not only is the FCO cautioning against travel to Tibet but the Chinese authorities are placing entry restrictions on tourists hoping to visit this province and other neighbouring provinces within China with a significant Tibetan population. Should you become caught up in what is neatly termed, civil commotion or civil unrest, you need to be aware that most travel insurance providers include this as a general exclusion in their policies. The impact of this is that you may not be as well insured as you think you are. If in doubt, do check with your travel insurance company before you travel and look at your policy wording. Generally, medical expenses and medical repatriation will be included but if you want to be covered for all eventualities then you will have to pay an increased premium for this. Thankfully the chances of being caught up in these types of incidents are still very slight, and even when they do strike, they tend to be away from the main tourist destinations. So if you do plan to visit Beijing and take in the Olympic Games this summer but also take in other parts of China, do look at your itinerary and check with your tour operator beforehand who may be able to offer alternative destinations away from the troubled areas. For the independent traveller, be wise and avoid those areas where a heightened tension exists.
Keith McGregor is a partner of Strawberrysoup, a web design agency with offices in Chichester and Bournemouth. Strawberrysoup specialise in creative web design, content managed websites, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and graphic design