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Traveling During Holiday Season

Travel tips to keep your holiday on track and on schedule during the busiest time of the year

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Travel tips for the one of the busiest times of the year... holiday season!

Ahh, holiday travel. Who hasn’t fantasized about bursting through the door with an armload of presents on Christmas Day, getting back home for Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe even just using that time off-work to get away? At World Nomads, we’re huge fans of travel during November and December… especially if it’s done right.

A little forward planning can be the difference between a vacation you’ll always remember and a trip you want to forget.  Here are a few tips for making the most out of that precious Chinese New Year, Hannukah or your other favourite holiday season.  Don’t forget: If ever the advance planning goes awry, travel insurance may be able to help.

1. Get to the airport early

Yes, yes, we all love a sleep in, but flight day is not the time to do it.

  • Allow for traffic, and then double your estimates during holiday season, because there are few things more nightmare-inducing than hearing ‘Final boarding call’ as you run with a suitcase toward a gate that’s slowly closing.
  • For the same reason, consider checking-in online before you leave, take public transport or get a lift with friends to avoid traffic jams… or if you really want to drive consider reserving airport parking in advance. Remember to account for lines at the airport too!
  • If you can survive with only carry-on (which may be hard if traveling in December with Xmas presents), many airlines close check-in and bag drops early, but allow pre-checked in passengers without luggage to arrive at the gates just prior to boarding. During public holidays and peak travel season when check-in times can blow out, this could be an option to save some time. It also reduces the risk of lost baggage… and your Christmas presents too!

Travel insurance tip: Travel insurance can detangle you from a lot of holiday hassles but arriving too late to the gate – by your own fault – isn’t one of them. Give yourself the time you think you need to get there, then double it. Unforeseen reasons for missing your flight, however, such as getting into a car accident en route, may get you some coverage.

2. Be prepared for flight cancellations and delays

Unless you own a magical sleigh with near vertical lift, long distance holiday travel between Thanksgiving and Christmas often means crowded airports and the potential for cancellations and delays. Consider traveling on direct flights if you can, as the fewer airports you go through (and fewer planes transferred) the smaller your odds of being delayed. Then there’s the holiday weather – hopefully wonderful where you’re headed, but sometimes not that great at the point of departure. The period between Thanksgiving and New Year sees winter storms across much of America, cold snaps in Europe and cyclones over the Asia Pacific.

Travel insurance tip: When booking flights, look into your airline’s contract of carriage for the policy on delayed flights. Some carriers provide hotel accommodation, meal vouchers and ground transportation if things go wrong. Depending on your country of residence, travel insurance may protect you from some out-of-pocket expenses but make sure you get the right level of coverage you need and remember benefit limits and sub-limits apply. Be sure to keep your receipts and any documentation.

3. Think before you drink! (and after, too)

Sure, everybody laughs when Uncle Wally launches into song after one glass too many at Thanksgiving, but it’s another thing to have those holiday drinks and then jump on a quad bike or hit the slopes (après-ski, meaning after skiing, is called that for a reason!) Here at World Nomads we see people every holiday season who are seriously injured and have to cut their holiday short because they did things under the influence they would never do sober. Three words: Know your limits.

Travel insurance tip: Exclusion alert! Remember – travel insurance won’t cover you for claims that occur when you’re intoxicated, even if you think that’s the best time for trying karaoke-while-swimming or that double back-flip on skis you’ve never been able to pull off.

4. Take safety seriously on (and off) the slopes

Holiday vacations are a great chance to get out and hit the snow – it’s one of the few times a winter cold snap is actually welcome (at least, before you get there!) But a frosty frolic could take a not-so-fun turn into an accident or injury. Take, for example, one of our Nomads who tumbled down the mountain and blew out her knee. Thankfully, a passing skier called the ski patrol team who came to her rescue within minutes and her medical costs were covered by travel insurance.

Travel insurance tip: World Nomads’ plans provide travel insurance cover for more than 150 adventure activities from snow sports to beach sports and a lot in between. Check the level of travel insurance you’ll need for your planned activities – depending on your country of residence they may not be covered by your policy or you may need to add the activity or upgrade your cover at the time of purchasing to make sure you’ve the level of cover you want. Many activities also have specific conditions and exclusions you should read up on before you go. If something isn’t listed, contact us and we’ll tell you if we’ll cover you.

5. Get your gear in gear

Sometimes renting skis, surfboards, bicycles or whatever else you intend to use on your holiday adventure is easiest on location. But during the busy season, make sure that what you want is available. Ringing to book your equipment in advance not only saves walking from store to store looking for that last remaining item, but also locks down prices in a time when skis at Banff or scuba gear in the Caribbean are in demand. Of course, sometimes you’ll want to take your own equipment! Personal equipment -especially if you’re an enthusiast - can also be of much higher quality than a rental.

Travel insurance tip: If you’re a fan of toting your own equipment, your travel insurance may cover your sporting equipment if yours is delayed or damaged in transit by a common carrier. Check your policy as benefit limits apply.

About World Nomads

World Nomads polices are designed by travelers for travelers to provide simple and flexible travel insurance – and it’s often cheaper than you might think! Featuring coverage for more than 150 activities, quotes are fast, free and you can do it all online at All of the information we provide about travel insurance is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Did you know travel insurance covers...

You can also buy away from home or buy more cover if you extend your trip. Plus, you can claim online anytime, anywhere in the world.

True Claims Stories

  • Never travel without insurance. This was the first time I ever purchased travel insurance and I am so glad I did. A few days into my trip to Spain I twisted my foot heading down to the metro. Thanks to World Nomads I was able to get medical attention in Spain and since, as luck would have it, I had a fracture that required surgery, they got me a flight home the next day. Filing a claim was surprisingly easy and when the claim was finally processed, I was reimbursed for all of my expenses including things like the extra week in the hotel I didn't get to take advantage of.
    U.S. resident in Spain
  • I recently had a serious injury traveling on my own & the team was amazing. Being confused with a brain injury they took care of everything. Claiming was no problem, they were on the phone constantly to see if all was OK. I can't recommend them enough. Absolutely fantastic & l will always travel with World Nomads Insurance. Thanks guys for getting me home safely.
    Australian in Thailand
  • I was bitten by a monkey at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur. I went to a nearby clinic and they gave me a rabies shot, antibiotics to take for 4 days, pain medicine, and anti-inflammatory medicine.
    Canadian in Malaysia

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Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.

World Nomads Travel Insurance was reviewed on Trust Pilot on 1st August 2017 and rated 4 stars

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Aurelie Menard,
Emergency Assistance, World Nomads