Anyone who’s passionate about sport will always look forward to key dates in the sporting calendar. Whether you’re a football fanatic, a petrol head or someone who’s keen on golf, cricket or rugby; there’s plenty of action to ignite your passion every year.
In 2017, the Rugby League World Cup and the Ashes took centre stage. In 2018, the FIFA World Cup will be held in Russia – showcasing football to a global audience. There are also other annual sports events which always draw plenty of interest, including the Champions League final, the Tour de France, golf’s US Masters at Augusta and the Ryder Cup, the Australian and US Open in tennis or the Monaco Grand Prix in F1.
Most of us will look on from afar as avid armchair fans. But those people who prefer to be a bit closer to the action may already be planning, or getting ready for, their sports tour holiday.
With many world-class sporting events taking place in attractive locations around the globe, it’s now more popular than ever to combine our sporting passions with an overseas holiday. This often involves a lot of pre-planning and a considerable amount of expense.
If you’re saving up for a sports tour holiday, there are certain simple steps you can take (before setting foot on the plane) that will make sure you enjoy a trip of a lifetime rather than endure a holiday from hell.
Should the worst happen – and you suffer an accident, injury or illness abroad – following this advice will give you complete peace of mind that your rights are fully protected.
Always book with a reputable travel company
Unfortunately, not all holidays which are sold come with the same levels of protection – so it pays to be savvy and shop around.
Book with a travel company that’s an ABTA member and they have to adhere to a code of conduct which ensures holidaymakers receive choice, value and quality. Using a travel company with an ATOL logo and number will also provide you with guaranteed financial protection from the Government in the event that they experience trading difficulties or go bust.
Book your sports tour holiday as a ‘package’
Package holidays don’t just give you a great choice of deals and locations. They also come with the added consumer rights offered by the Package Travel Regulations – a powerful piece of consumer legislation which give you a greater level of protection.
As an experienced travel litigation solicitor, I’m a big advocate of package holidays. In my opinion, it’s worth spending a few extra pounds on a ‘package’ because, if an accident occurs or something goes wrong, the Regulations increase your rights as a consumer.
Always be aware of what you’re buying – especially if terms like ‘flight plus holiday’ or ‘tailor-made holiday’ are used by your sports tour provider. Until the Package Travel Directive comes into force in 2018, these types of holidays are not classed as a ‘package’ and do not come with the added protection offered by the Package Travel Regulations.
Learn why the Package Travel Regulations offer holidaymakers peace of mind
Only book with a financially-sound travel company
It pays to be careful and do some research before you book, especially if you’re committing a large sum of money to the holiday of your dreams. You don’t want to hand over your money to a company only to find it’s gone bust before you’ve set sail. Otherwise, you may have to give up your hopes of going to the big game and watch it on the TV like everyone else!
In 2017, more than 300,000 bookings were cancelled when Monarch Airlines went bust – despite being in business since 1967. Use this free search tool to see if your travel company is in danger of being wound up or has any ongoing financial issues. Look out for stories in the media too as this can make you aware of any warning signs.
Paying for your sports tour holiday on a credit card can be a good idea as this gives you added financial security because of the insurance and added legal protection that card providers include on most purchases.
Know the different standards and customs that apply to your destination
When you go abroad on holiday, don’t just assume that everything will be the same as at home. It’s important to know what will be expected of you because there are a number of unusual laws that holidaymakers fall foul of.
All too often, UK travellers find themselves in situations which could have been avoided if they’d taken a little bit of time to do some research about the destination they were visiting beforehand.
In a number of countries, taking pictures of government buildings, churches and sometimes aircraft is illegal. In Cyprus, it’s illegal to honk your horn when near to a hospital. In Singapore, you can be fined for chewing gum.
The ordeal of British woman Laura Plummer, who was held in an Egyptian prison for trying to take painkillers into the country, should serve as a reminder to travellers that many medicines which are routinely prescribed or available over the counter in Britain may not be legal abroad.
If you’re unsure about anything, it’s best to check before you travel to ensure that you don’t fall foul of any local laws.
Take out travel insurance tailored to your needs
First of all, I strongly recommend that anyone that is travelling takes out travel insurance. But don’t try to save a few pounds by going for the cheapest travel insurance policy. Take out travel insurance cover that’s best suited to your type of sports tour. If you buy the most basic package, you may not be covered in certain circumstances or could only be covered up to a certain amount.
Travel insurance will usually cover lost luggage, help meet any medical expenses or in the event of a cancellation. However, it will NOT compensate you for loss of earnings, any pain or suffering you experience or any care package or adaptations that may need making to your home in the event of a serious injury. These are the main reasons why you should seek legal advice if you are involved in an accident abroad.
If you’ve been injured, involved in an accident or fallen ill on holiday as a result of someone else’s negligence, we’ll help to get the justice you deserve.
The first priority in every case we handle is to ensure that all of your rehabilitation needs are met. Once you’re on the mend we will pursue a claim against those responsible – leaving you to focus on following the sport you love.