Ger Leddin has some advice for all you football fanatics heading to Euro 2012.
This is the time of year when for many the mind turns to thoughts of holidays and travel and with thousands of soccer fans intending to travel to Poland and the Ukraine for Euro 2012, it might be a good idea to look at travel security. While travelling to exotic destinations is now becoming commonplace for many and most holiday makers enjoy their time abroad, it is still amazing how many Irish holidaymakers and travellers fall prey to theft, muggings and other assorted dangers each year.
Having a wonderful experience while abroad can be aided by following a few simple rules and good security habits.
Firstly, before you travel ensure that you have obtained all the relevant travel documentation, tickets, in date passport, visas, credit cards and vouchers. What is vital to organise is a good travel insurance policy; these can be obtained online for a small fee.
Make sure you read the small print and know what is covered; it’s always wise to ensure that all your travel companions carry adequate insurance also; at least then you have the option of experienced local agents to call on in the event of mishaps.
If you intend travelling abroad for an extended period you should liaise with your doctor and discuss the possible health risks, which might be prevalent in the area where you intend on travelling. If you are unfortunate to have a prevailing condition ask your doctor to give you a letter outlining your condition and any medication you require.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles you to free emergency medical treatment, is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. A & E departments in Polish public hospitals may not accept private insurance membership cards and may require cash if the EHIC is not produced. The EHIC is readily recognised and accepted in Poland. To apply for the EHIC, visit www.ehic.ie.
The safest way to carry money abroad is not to carry it, instead try to get by on the minimum amount of cash and use a credit and or debit card when shopping, paying restaurant bills etc. The Polish national currency is the Zloty (average exchange rate during 2011: 4 zlotys =€1). You should carry a small amount of cash for bus and taxi fares or small purchases on arrival. It is always advisable if possible to divide your spending money between at least two cards and store both separately, that way if one needs to be urgently cancelled the other can be relied upon.
Take an hour or two before you travel to make a note of numbers – passport number, credit card company emergency contact numbers, airline reservations to name but a few. Write down and store these numbers safely and email them to yourself so that they are on hand if required in a hurry.
Always let someone at home know your travel plans. You can also register your plans with the Department of Foreign Affairs by logging onto www.dfa.ie
Make a note of the contact details of the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate while you are abroad in case you need to contact them urgently.
The contact details of the Embassy of Ireland in Poland are:
Embassy of Ireland
Ulica Mysia 5 (5 Misha Street)
Ph: 00 48 (22) 849 66 33
Fax: 00 48 (22) 849 84 31
It is strongly recommended that you carry a photocopy of your passport and insurance details these again can be emailed to yourself so you can access them while abroad.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in conjunction with drinkaware.ie have published a very good advice leaflet for any one intending to travel to Poland this summer this can be accessed at http://www.dfa.ie/uploads/documents/Press/euro_2012_guide.pdf
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