Getting to remote ski resorts requires numerous stop offs and different modes of transport, all of which can be affected by terrorism and impact your holiday
Most ski resorts are remotely located. For example, travel to Avoriaz in France or Zermatt in Switzerland by train requires five changes. Numerous stop offs mean many opportunities for trains to be delayed or cancelled if affected by a terrorist attack.1 Flights can be delayed or cancelled if your connecting or destination airport is impacted. Additionally, any onward car or train journey can be severely delayed with roads being shut down.
With this in mind the team at Safe Journey, the UK’s first terrorism travel insurance, have put together some tips to make sure your ski trip goes as smoothly and safely as possible:
Travelling by car
Reduced costs, scenic views, and the chance for an overnight stay are some of the benefits that driving to your chosen ski resort can offer. Whether you are driving all the way from the UK or hiring a car when you arrive at the airport, there are important safety precautions for travellers to consider:
- Ensure you have the correct equipment: driving in the snow can be dangerous. Winter tyres with a wide tread are a must and keeping snow chains in your car is vital if you are driving up the mountain and get caught in a snow storm.
- Be prepared for emergencies: always keep a survival kit in the boot of your car in case you get stuck in the snow overnight. The kit should contain blankets, torches, warm clothing, snacks and water. This will ensure that you and any passengers will be warm and safe.
- Be road-smart: map out your drive in advance, don’t just rely on sat nav. Research which check points will require you to show documentation or pay a tariff and ensure you have key items like currency, passport or driving licence to hand.
- Plan your overnight stay in advance: where possible, avoid leaving it until you arrive to find your accommodation for the night. Whilst flexibility is tempting, travellers would be wise to remember that the availability of hotels in cities can be unpredictable, and during the ski seasons rooms in stop-over towns and villages can get booked up early.
- Keep checking ahead: this will ensure you are aware of delays, accidents and incidents in Dover, Calais, Paris etc. and give you the opportunity to reroute, to avoid traffic jams, or postpone, should a situation arise that makes your journey dangerous or untenable.
Travelling by train
Catching the Eurostar from St Pancras offers British travellers access to some Alpine resorts in less than 10 hours, with the chance to take in stunning scenery. However, all train routes require a transfer (with some routes to Austrian resorts involving up to five), which poses a potential risk to travellers.
- Always keep a copy of your itinerary to hand: this will protect you should you miss a connection or a query or problem arise regarding your route.
- Try to get to know the terminals: as far as is possible, gather information regarding platforms and ticket collection points, in advance. This should help to ensure that the transition to and from each checkpoint is as smooth as possible.
- Be aware of the specifics of your route: many French, Swiss or Austrian routes involve a short city transfer across Paris (Paris Nord station to Pairs Lyon station) or Brussels (Brussels to Brussels midi) and some longer train routes (for example, London – St Anton) require an overnight stay. These city-crossings provide a prime opportunity to enjoy the buzz of a new city and squeeze in some extra sightseeing. However, travellers should be mindful that their luggage might mark them out as a potential target, and should take extra care in busy tourist areas and when using public transportation.
- Remember to leave plenty of time to complete the crossover journey: this should keep reduce stress and minimise the chances of missing your connecting train.
Travelling by plane
Usually the speediest way of reaching your resort, air travel is often favoured by skiers but there are some key points of information for travellers to bear in mind:
- Keep your luggage near you at all times: unattended luggage leaves travellers vulnerable to theft, fraud and loss, all of which can cause considerable distress and delay.
- Know your plan for when you land: where possible, have a bus route researched or a transfer booked in advance. If you plan to take a taxi, exercise caution: make sure it is licensed, research the going rate in advance and agree a price up front.
- Check ahead as regards your route: travelling by plane seems extremely simple, sometimes deceptively so. Whilst passengers don’t usually experience issues, it is important to bear in mind that there are a still a few stages to your journey, with different considerations attached to each. There are the journeys to (the departure airport) and from (the arrival airport), for example. Both could be disrupted by any number of issues including traffic, strikes, weather, accidents or public incidents such terrorism.
Safe Journey & ITHC Managing Director, Kate Huet, commented: “Travelling to a ski destination can involve many stop offs, whether it is by plane, train or car. It’s important to keep your safety as your top priority and be mindful of any suspicious activity. With so many stop offs, the potential for disruption is heightened. Thorough planning is essential in order to ensure the journey runs smoothly. It’s also a good idea to know what your travel insurance covers, should things go wrong. Most standard policies exclude terrorism, which can cause huge disruption, indirectly impacting many travellers. A top-up terrorism policy such as Safe Journey can provide you the reassurance that you will be financially protected and have assistance if caught in a nightmare situation.”
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