Out of the pandemic lockdowns, there’s a greater emphasis on wellbeing and wellness, with holidaymakers increasingly incorporating these aspects into their travel and tourism plans. But when it comes to truly relaxing your body and mind, make sure you buy the right travel insurance for your needs.
More than nine in 10 people (93%) say being on holiday improves their mental health and wellbeing, according to ABTA, The Travel Association’s Travel in 2023 report.
And, in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic lockdowns – as the travel industry returns to normal – many holidaymakers are specifically incorporating wellness and wellbeing into their getaways.
Indeed, one in five YourMoney.com readers (18.4%) said wellness travel is the tourism trend most suited to them.
As more and more holidaymakers focus on their mental, physical and emotional health, the most important step for real peace of mind is to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your retreat.
The wonderful world of wellness
Whether it’s for relaxation, healing, self-discovery or a self-care getaway for solo travellers, couples or groups, one in three holidaymakers will take part in activities to improve their wellbeing.
This could include yoga, pilates, meditation, spa days, massage or holistic therapy such as reiki, chakra balancing or ayurveda healing. For others, a wellness retreat could incorporate a detox, nutrition-focussed break or more physical activities such as walking or hiking to fully immerse in nature and the great outdoors.
As holidaymakers take time out from the stresses of everyday life and switch off their tech, ABTA reveals wellness trips are up 20% globally since 2015, with an estimated 1.2 billion wellness trips taken each year globally by 2022.
Most wellness holidays are taken in Europe, but travellers could stay closer to home in the UK or venture further afield to exotic or secluded sanctuaries in Asia and Malaysia.
Take tranquillity from travel insurance
Holidaymakers plan to spend almost four and a half hours each day on average participating in wellness activities, according to ABTA.
But, before you even step foot from train to treatment table or plane to pilates mat, it’s vital you buy travel insurance as soon as you book your wellness break – no matter how far in advance it may be.
This is because travel insurance protects you before you go away, such as if you experience pre-trip illness and need to cancel, as well as during your holiday itself.
Seven in 10 YourMoney.com readers say comprehensive cover for medical emergencies is the most important factor when it comes to travel insurance. Meanwhile, one in five say cover for cancellation or interruption to their trip was essential. As such, buying appropriate travel insurance for your needs to cover the full holiday experience is essential to protect you at all stages of your physical and spiritual journey.
In fact, latest data from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveals travel insurers dealt with 362,000 claims in 2022 – one every two minutes – a figure which is up 148% on 2021. Total claim payouts stood at £352m, a 230% surge from the £107m paid out in 2021.
There were 129,000 cancellation claims and 112,000 medical claims, with the average claim of £973 also being the highest on the ABI’s records.
Therefore, don’t be too relaxed when it comes to preparing for your entire wellness break.
Award winning travel insurance from Post Office
Post Office won the Best Travel Insurance Provider category at the YourMoney.com Personal Finance Awards 2023 for the third year in a row. It provides both single and annual multi-trip cover options as well as backpacker cover. For those planning to take more than one trip within a 12-month period, the multi-trip cover may be more suitable.
Its Economy, Standard and Premier travel insurance include varying levels of cover for trip cancellation and curtailment (cutting short a trip), as well as cover for your personal belongings, so you can choose the right level of protection for your needs.
Emergency medical expenses and repatriation (getting you back home) are also included as standard – up to £10m on the Premier level of cover – as are emergency dental treatment and lost or stolen cash and travel documents across the three tiers. Policies also include personal accident cover as standard.
Rest assured, anything you’ve pre-booked for your getaway – whether car hire, coach travel or separate treatments – is covered (up to the policy limit) if you need to cancel due to illness or bereavement.
Every policy – no matter the level – comes with free Post Office Medical Assistance Plus which gives you access to a GP appointment abroad via a remote consultation, in person at your accommodation or at a GP clinic.
There are also optional add-ons for an additional premium. These include protection for trip disruption due to natural catastrophes, air space disruption and terrorism. There’s also an enhanced Covid-19 cover option to protect against further scenarios that may occur.
Further, while it’s typical to pay an excess when making a claim, Post Office offers an excess waiver that can be applied to any policy.
It’s important to be open and honest when it comes to applying for and buying travel insurance cover, particularly around any pre-existing medical conditions or any medication you’re taking. Depending on your age, health and the wellness activities you’re planning, you may also want to consult your doctor.
Take cards and take cover
While those visiting an EU country or Switzerland should have their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or its replacement GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), they do come with limitations.
The EHIC/GHIC entitles travellers access to medically necessary state-provided healthcare, meaning you pay the same as locals or nothing at all if it’s free for residents. However, not all state healthcare is free within the EU or Switzerland and these schemes may not cover all health costs. Repatriation costs are never covered. Watch out for copycat websites charging you for an EHIC or GHIC – they’re completely free from the NHS website.
An EHIC or GHIC can bolster your protection, but it’s important to understand these aren’t a replacement for travel insurance as they won’t fully cover you on your wellness break or before your trip takes place.
With holidays so important to recharge and rebalance, make sure buying travel insurance is top of your to do list so you can truly kick back and relax on your wellbeing retreat.