Holiday season will be here before you know it. There are many temptations on-line and in the glossy travel brochures.  Before you get too carried away don’t forget to check the expiration dates of your travel documents such as an EHIC Card, passport and travel insurance. While you have the documents to hand it’s a good idea to check that your passport is in good condition and has some free pages.  (A damaged passport could be a problem with today’s heightened airport security, and it is mandatory to have a number of blank passport pages to enter some countries).

Millions of European Health Insurance Cards are due to expire, so don’t let yours be one of them. The EHIC is valid for up to five years and is free.   You can renew it up to six months before the expiration date.  Beware of websites that charge for this service as there is no need to pay!

The EHIC entitles the holder to free or reduced price healthcare services in participating EEA countries.  However, we suggest that you carefully review the information and FAQ section on the NHS Direct website.  Click here and follow the link at the bottom of the page where it says ‘apply on line here’.

Whether your next trip or holiday involves a quick hop across the Channel to Europe for a sunshine break or a long-haul flight to exotic lands we always recommend a visit to the website of the FCO.  They provided updated and detailed travel information and advice, as well as passport and visa requirements and other important information.

It is important not to use the EHIC as a substitute for travel insurance (okay, we are slightly biased, but it is true!)  The EHIC alone does not cover many potentially expensive travel mishaps covered under most travel insurance policies, such as medical repatriation (being flown back to the UK by air ambulance), scheduled airline failure, mountain rescue, lost and stolen property, cancellation and curtailment, legal expenses and much more.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the consulate or embassy will pick up the bills for you because they will not.  Without the EHIC and/or travel insurance any bills will be your responsibility – or they could become the burden of unsuspecting family members.  Would you really want that to happen?

Be a smart traveller and travel with peace of mind!

Flickr cc: MadeByMark

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