Martin Lewis issues warning to holidaymakers over passports and bookings
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has offered useful advice for holidaymakers amid passport and travel chaos to make sure they're not stung by extra costs. It comes as passport applications are taking longer than usual, which has left tourists having to delay or cancel holidays.
There is currently a 10-week target for passport applications to be processed, and ministers hope this will not need to be extended further, with queues at airports also set to ease,
The founder has now revealed hacks, tips and tricks for travellers, including when and why to cancel and rebook your hotel, and the huge savings that can be made by pre-booking your airport parking.
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According to the Mirror, in the latest MoneySavingExpert newsletter, Martin highlighted that many Brits had booked their holidays ahead of the cost of living crisis setting in.
He said: “The cost of living crisis may now be firmly in play, but millions had already booked summer holidays earlier in the year.
“Around 60% of the 60,000+ who replied to my Twitter poll last week said they plan to leave UK shores and holiday abroad this year (or already have). So with the first big post-lockdown holiday season fast approaching, it's never been more important for your pocket to prepare.”
Here are five tips from Martin - for his full breakdown of holiday cost-cutting measures, check out the latest MSE newsletter.
Since the Brexit transition was completed, British travellers can no longer visit the EU on a passport that's about to expire. Under Schengen area rules, your passport must be less than 10 years old on the day you enter, and valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave.
Many other countries - including the United States and Australia - require you to have at least six months left on your passport. If you do need to renew your passport, be aware of long processing delays right now and get your application in as soon as possible.
Keep an eye on hotel prices to see if you can get a better deal. If the price of your hotel has dropped, and you have free cancellation with your booking, then you can simply rebook for less.
If you do have to pay for cancellation, then tally up whether you'd still save money if you take into account the cancellation fee compared to the new price.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is being replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). These cards give you access to state-run hospitals or GPs in EU countries for the same price as a local.
If you have an existing EHIC, it will remain valid until the expiry date runs out - after this, you'll need to apply for a GHIC card. Non-UK nationals living in the UK before January 1 2021 can still apply for an EHIC.
4. Check if you need to pay for a seat
Martin warned how a family of four could pay up to £240 extra to guarantee they sit together on return flights. But some airlines - including easyJet and Norwegian - will allow you to sit together for free, providing you wait until you check-in.
Ryanair is the anomaly, as it always sits groups separately and on a "random" basis unless you pay for seats.
Compare airport parking prices - and always book as far in advance as you can - to avoid being stung by expensive on-the-day charges.
Martin said: "Turn up at Manchester Airport's long-stay car park and it's £350/week, yet prebooked on the day, park & ride is just £58/week."
Each airport website will have information on its parking charges.
You can read all of Martin's 18 tips on his MoneySavingExpert website here
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