Questor Insurance Travel Blog


What do you need to keep in mind when renting a vehicle this winter?

Date Created: 07 November 2017 by Questor Insurance

Winter1No matter how experienced a driver you are, the winter months can often make travelling on the roads a bit trickier – especially if you’re driving an unfamiliar car! 

However, this doesn’t mean you should avoid it, as a road trip during the winter months can be a great adventure and provide fantastic scenery and memories.

But there are things that you should keep in mind when hiring a vehicle, so read on to make sure you have a safe road trip.

Picking the car

The temptation when picking a rental car during winter can be to go for one with four-wheel drive or heated seats; while these a nice thing to have, they are not essential and can end up costing you a lot more.

Your main priority should be to make sure the car has an anti-lock braking system, as these will help stop you from sliding when you break. The important thing to keep in mind is that the car doesn’t really matter – as long as it safe and working – the best accident prevention is to be prepared and patient when you drive.

Checks before leaving

Although you may be eager to get in the car and get going, carrying out a few checks before leaving can save you a great deal of time and money. Double check the tyres to make sure they are in good condition and fit for the road, and don’t forget to give the spare one a once over as well.

Make sure you’re aware of how much fuel you have too, as you don’t want to be running out halfway to your destination or be hit with added charges when you return it.

Take out the right cover

One of the most significant things to remember, is to make sure you have the right insurance in place in the case of any accident.

It goes without saying that driving in icy or snowy conditions makes the chance of a bump or scratch on your rental vehicle much higher, so if you don’t want to be lumped with a huge excess charge make sure you get yourself the right cover.

If you’re planning on hiring a vehicle this winter, find out if you could save yourself some money by getting a quote for car hire excess insurance today.

Paris, the city of Love? Amsterdam, the city of Red Lights?

Date Created: 06 November 2017 by Joanna Phillips

Open any guidebook or travel blog and you will often find Paris mentioned as the city of love, the most romantic city in the world and the place to go if you want to impress that special person in your life. Whilst I don’t deny that, I ask that rather than going straight for that little break to Paris to climb the Eiffel Tower and eat your weight in baguettes et fromage, you give Amsterdam a try. I believe that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Amsterdam has always had a bit of a bad reputation, especially when compared to romantic heavyweights such as Paris, Rome and Venice. However, in recent years, the city has been cleaned up and revamped in to a place that everyone should visit with their loved one.

When someone says Amsterdam, you automatically think of the famous Red Light District, or RLD as it's also known. You may also think of Tulips and Anne Frank but that’s not likely to make you question whether you should go.

In my opinion, the RLD is a vibrant, fun and cultured area. It's also, surprisingly romantic. There is nothing better than walking hand in hand along the cobbled paths and across the famous bridges with the moon lighting up the river and the red glow lighting up the streets. It is like your own personal moulin rouge, which funnily enough, Paris is famous for, but has tried to step away from in a bid to become more romantic than red light.

My top 5 most romantic things to try in Amsterdam are:

  1. Get the most amazing views at The SkyLounge. A super chic cocktail bar resident in the Doubletree Hilton. If you can, get there just before sunset.
  2. Dine in ‘Heaven’ in Amsterdam. Ciel Bleu Restaurant on the 23rd floor of the Okura Hotel offers a world class dining experience. It is the only Restaurant in Amsterdam to have two Michelin stars.
  3. Take a private canal cruise. Whilst it is not cheap, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a private dinner or just sip champagne as you float along Amsterdam’s waters.
  4. On a sunny day, take a picnic down to Vondelpark and relax for the afternoon. Eating the best that Amsterdam bakeries can offer and enjoying the 19th century park which even features an open air theatre with a full programme offered throughout May – September.
  5. Leave a token of your trip on a love lock bridge. Amsterdam now has 2 bridges where you can leave a padlock locked on to symbolise your love and devotion to your other half. Many people personalise their padlocks by getting them engraved before they travel, or by simply writing their initials joined by a heart.

Five of the best Christmas markets to visit this winter

Date Created: 25 October 2017 by Questor Insurance

Christmas1It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas, especially if you’re planning to get away from it all and enjoy the festive season in a different location.

Christmas markets are a huge tourist attraction and some of the best are sprinkled across Europe, featuring beautifully decorated cabins, beer halls full of festive cheer and stalls boasting handmade gifts.

But which should you visit? Read on to discover five of the best markets in Europe and to find out why you should visit this winter.

Germany

Munich, Cologne and Berlin are some of the continent’s most renowned Christmas markets, making a visit to Germany during the festive season a must. Featuring beer and delicious bratwurst, as well as snow topped cabins, these three markets are among the most popular in Europe.

Booking during the school winter break may see prices increase, but if you’re going with some friends or a loved one, you should be able to bag a bargain if you book in term time.

Madrid, Spain

The Spanish Christmas market offers visitors something a little different but it is still a great choice for a winter break.

During the festive season the city is transformed with eye-catching displays and lights, whilst the market is ideal for foodies, thanks to Spanish lagers and delicious Chorizo.

Stockholm, Sweden

With a guarantee of snow and plenty of local food, Stockholm’s Christmas markets are a great choice if you’re looking to add some festivity to your winter break.

Due to its location, you can easily combine a visit to the market with tours around the famous Nobel Museum and some of the city’s best sights, including the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and historic Old Town.

Lille, France

You will be hard pushed to find a more picturesque setting than Place Rhiour town square in the middle of the festive season.

Featuring a giant Ferris wheel and hundreds of stalls, this market is full of eye-catching features as well as brilliant local French cuisine.

Just an hour’s drive from Calais, or accessible via Eurostar, a visit to the market in Lille can easily be made into an exciting road trip with a few friends or your loved ones.

If you do decide to drive, find out if you could save yourself some money by getting a quote for car hire excess insurance today.

How can you protect your winter holiday?

Date Created: 12 October 2017 by Questor Insurance

Sleet1Hundreds of holidaymaker’s travel plans have been left up in the air following Monarch’s collapse and Ryanair’s subsequent cancellations.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has since stepped in to offer all of those stranded a flight home, but many travellers will now have to make alternate plans and rearrange their trips.

As a result, it makes sense to protect yourself should any issues happen that get in the way of you going on your planned holiday.

Keep tabs on your flight

Depending on how early you book your flight, it can be quite easy to forget all about it until just a couple of days before travelling. This only gives you a small window to try and find a solution should something happen, which drastically reduces your chance of finding an alternative.

A lot of airlines now have apps that you can use to keep track of your flight, and you will even be notified if there are any issues.

Use a travel agent

Although this option may see you pay a little extra, travel agents will be a lot more informed about any potential issues when you are booking.

Travel agents usually have the same information as someone would at an airline desk, so should there be any sudden bad weather, they will be able to find you an alternative flight a lot quicker than you could.

Get yourself covered

Travel insurance is essential if you want to avoid any additional costs that come with a cancelled flight, especially if you selected a non-refundable seat.

The majority of airlines will offer a refund if a flight is cancelled, however very few will cover the cost of a hotel if you get stuck somewhere because of bad weather.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this winter, make sure you organise your travel insurance in advance to cover for any eventuality.

The importance of the small print in car hire contracts

Date Created: 04 October 2017 by Questor Insurance

Signature1Consumer group Which? Recently revealed that travellers are being stung by fees hidden away within the small print of their car hire contracts. So why is it important to read the small stuff and what should you look out for?

After looking at more than 40 car hire contracts from 18 different providers – both from abroad and in the UK – Which? concluded that unnecessarily complicated documentation was common practice across the industry.

Some car hire contracts were found to be up to 31,000 words long, containing additional fees like late vehicle returns or refuelling, making it easy for travellers to miss things or not bother reading it all together.

In order to avoid any issues, it pays to be precise and read through any paperwork thoroughly before signing or setting off, but what else can you do?

Do your own car checks

The first thing you should do when you’re handed the keys to your rental car is to give it a once over, and take pictures if necessary.

Make sure you document any scratches or dents already on the car, and ensure everything is working as it should. Another thing to keep in mind is that some countries require cars to carry traffic cones, replacement bulbs and a high visibility vest – have a look on the AA website if you’re unsure about what you may need.

Check your fuel policy

This can often be an area where travellers find themselves hit with additional charges, so it pays to be on top of your policy. Different car hire companies will adopt a range of rules and requirements, some will give you the car half full, whilst others may require you to pay for a full tank and accept it returned empty.

Sort out your own insurance

Other investigations have found that car hire companies have a habit of charging customers for insurance they did not actually need, so getting your own policy sorted out before travelling might be worthwhile.

Speak to an insurer to get a quote for excess insurance for example and they can help to ensure you are covered for everything you need.

If you’re thinking of hiring a car abroad this year, keep an eye on the small print and be watchful – that way you can enjoy your trip away, even if something does unfortunately go wrong.

How can you get reimbursement from Monarch

Date Created: 03 October 2017 by Questor Insurance

Monarch1News broke at the start of the week that Monarch, Britain’s longest-serving airline brand, has entered into administration, leaving hundreds of travellers stranded with their flights cancelled.

Since then, the Civil Aviation Authority has revealed that they will aim to bring all Monarch customers back into the UK over the next two weeks.

“This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the Government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them,” said CAA Chief Executive, Andrew Haines.

Despite this, it can be a little unclear as to what exactly you’re covered for, or if you are entitled to more, so read on to find out what you can do to get home safely or reclaim some money.

Covered by ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence)

Every travel company which sells air holidays and flights is required to hold an ATOL, which means you’re probably covered and the CAA will do everything they can to ensure you do not get stranded or lose money.

If you’re unsure about whether or not you are covered, an ATOL certificate would have been issued – either by post or email – as soon as you made a payment for your booking.

Also, if your new arranged flight is set to depart four hours after the original then you will be covered ‘reasonable expenses’ by the CAA for parking, phone charges, food and drink – claims can be made using itemised receipts on your return to the UK.

Without ATOL cover

For those not protected, then you need to seek help from your insurer or card issuer if you plan on seeking repayment. In order for your insurer to pay out, you will need to have ‘travel abandonment’ cover, so, have an extensive look through your cover before making any claim.

Even if you aren’t covered, there are alternative options. You can claim under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1979, which states that if you pay for something, or even a little bit, on a credit card and it costs between £100 and £30,000, then the card company is jointly liable.

If your flight cost came to under £100, then you can try and claim using Chargeback, which is a less well-known part of card protection. Ask your card provider to do it, and they will get in touch with Monarch’s bank for repayment. While it isn’t legal protection, the major card companies – American Express, Mastercard and Visa – all use it, so they may help get your money back.

If you’re considering travelling overseas in the coming months, ensure you have you adequate travel insurance for your trip to cover any eventuality.

Why you should resist the hard sell at car hire desks

Date Created: 02 October 2017 by Questor Insurance

Redcar1Those who hire a car will often experience the hard sell stance often adopted by rental firms as they try and increase the overall cost, through added extras, such as excess insurance, sat nav’s and extra drivers.

Whilst all of these are important, and should be given serious thought, purchasing these add-ons under pressure at the car hire desk can lead to you paying over the odds.

For example, a recent investigation from the Daily Mail found that some companies have been charging higher fees for travellers renting at a desk then they would if they had looked online.

All of this can lead to a great deal of stress, which is exactly the opposite of what your holiday should be about, so it can help to keep a few things in mind before renting.

Get yourself covered before you go

If you do indeed plan on renting a car at a desk whilst abroad, it would be a good idea to get all of your insurance sorted out before you go, otherwise you risk being overcharged or simply being unware of what exactly you do and don’t need.

The same investigation from the Daily Mail found that some car rental companies adopted a hard sell tactic to selling excess insurance to those that were already covered. As a result, give yourself plenty of time to work and what you need and avoid any hassle.

Brace yourself for a large deposit

The amount car hire firms will ask for as a deposit may vary, but sum will look to cover themselves by only accepting a large amount. As a result, it can be handy to have a spare credit card at your disposal so it doesn’t eat into your holiday budget.

If something does happen and you do not receive the full deposit back, then your car hire excess insurance can come into effect and save you hundreds of pounds.

If you’re planning on renting a car for your holiday, organise your car hire excess insurance in advance to put your mind at ease.

Why excess insurance cover can keep you protected

Date Created: 29 September 2017 by Questor Insurance

Crash1Excess insurance, also referred to as excess waiver insurance, is an optional extra when you hire a car that protects you against any additional charges that you may have to pay if your rented car is damaged.

The excess is the amount that you will be forced to pay to the rental company if you get into an accident whilst driving, and it can add up to quite a hefty sum.

An example in the Guardian highlights just how expensive it can be and why it is really important to get yourself covered.

A couple hired a car from Enterprise and were hit from behind by another driver – even with a signed statement admitting to responsibility, the couple ended up having to fork out £780 to cover the rental company’s costs.

If this couple had been covered by excess insurance then they would only have needed to pay for the cost of the policy, saving hundreds of pounds in the process.

However, car rental companies often tend to see additional excess as a way of inflating the basic cost of hiring, so that the headline price can be as small as possible.

Some companies will set the excess price that you would have pay astronomically high, with Right Cars in Cyprus setting it at nearly £1,100, for example.

As a result, you should shop around for quotes on car hire excess insurance and don’t feel that you need to accept the one quoted by a hire firm.

You may well find that having the peace of mind of knowing that you are fully covered might actually make you feel more relaxed on your trip as well, meaning you can sit back and relax on holiday!

If you’re planning on renting a car for your holiday, make sure you organise your car hire excess insurance in advance to avoid any problems.

Why you do not always need everything when hiring a car

Date Created: 27 September 2017 by Questor Insurance

Steering1Travellers looking to hire a car abroad should be watchful of added extras that they do not necessarily need, especially as many will push costs up.

However, this doesn’t mean you should be put off. If you know what you are looking for and are willing to be flexible, then you can quickly make hiring a car a simple and cost-effective process.

So, read on for tips on how you can make savings on your car hire to ensure it doesn’t eat too much into your holiday budget.

Make savings on sat-nav

If you’re renting a car abroad, it goes without saying that a sat-nav can come in handy, particularly if you’re not familiar with the route you will be taking. As a result, car hire firms will tend to offer you a device for an added cost, but this is where you can make a saving.

A study from kayak.co.uk found that some car hire firms at airports were charging more to rent a sat-nav than it would actually cost to purchase one yourself. For example, to hire a sat-nav for a week some companies charge £92, however one can be brought for as little as £39.

Adding an extra driver

Although this may be unavoidable, especially if you are travelling long distances and are going to take it in turns, having more than one driver is going to dramatically increase the cost of your car rental.

If you can leave the responsibility to one person then you will be able to save a decent amount of money – you just might need to make it up to them!

Hiring a child seat

The same study from Kayak found that car hire firms are also charging travellers a significant amount (£71) to add a child safety seat, even though one could be brought locally for just £37.

Kayak travel expert John-Lee Saez said the research highlights that buying an extra item rather than renting it can mean huge savings for travellers.

Should you purchase anything you need, you can always use it again on future trips too, so it is vital that you look around before purchasing anything to find the best prices.

If you’re planning on hiring a car on your holiday, you may want to consider car hire excess insurance to ensure you are protected in the event of needing to claim – get a quote today and see if you could save.

How can planning ahead save you from car hire woe

Date Created: 25 September 2017 by Questor Insurance

Fiat1In recent months, the news has been filled with investigations into car hire companies adding charges, hiding costs or increasing deposits, making hiring a car abroad seem like risky business.

However, this shouldn’t put you off, as hiring a car can give you the freedom you need to explore at your own pace while on holiday, allowing you to make it one to remember.

The key to avoiding any car hire trouble is to plan ahead – it’s easy to run into trouble when you start doing things last minute as you can end up missing key information that can prove quite costly.

Early discounts

Let’s face it, we all love saving money, and planning ahead gives you a much better chance to save a few pennies. Having more time means you can scout around and find the best deal possible.

Remember that you’re not only looking for the best car hire deal, as other add-ons like excess insurance can be a lot less costly if you can get everything sorted in advance.

Avoid additional cost

Even if it’s not your first time hiring a car abroad, it can still be tricky working out what cover you need. Most companies will offer car insurance alongside your rental, but a third party option might be a lot cheaper, and even give you additional cover!

For example, buying a stand-alone car hire excess insurance policy rather one at a rental desk could save your around £15-20 a day.

Peace of mind

Running around frantically trying to get things sorted before you take off is no way to start your holiday, and it certainly won’t help you relax.

Planning ahead means you can have peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of, leaving you free to chill out and enjoy your holiday.

Once you’ve sorted your main holiday insurance, you may also want to see if you can save elsewhere too. Get a quote for car hire excess insurance to see if you could save.

Holidaymakers stung by small print and huge deposits on car hire services

Date Created: 22 September 2017 by Questor Insurance

Travellers are being charged hundreds of pounds to cover additional fees that were placed within the small print of their car hire contracts.

Sky-high deposits of up to £4,600 and additional fees – including refuelling or late vehicle return – are being charged to travellers after being included in the small print of contracts.

This is not uncommon but issues arise as some of the contracts can be up to 31,000 words long and the payment clauses can easily missed by travellers.

An investigation from Which? looked at more than 40 car hire contracts from 18 providers in the UK and abroad and found that complicated documentation was common right across the industry.

Hiking up deposit costs was also common practice among companies, and one of the worst examples showed that Goldcar had increased one of theirs in Malta to €2,500 – an increase of €1,300 from 2015.

Del Paso – a Spanish car hire company – meanwhile were charging one of the highest deposits, requiring travellers to cough up as much as €5,000.

Traffic jams could also have travellers reaching into their pockets, as many faced additional charges when a vehicle was returned more than 29 minutes late. Some UK companies were found to have set a £12 fee, as well as the cost of an extra day’s car hire.

The investigation is just one of a number that point towards over charging within the car hire industry, after Europcar was accused of overcharging customers for repairs earlier in the year.

Another investigation found that some companies had been urging customers into purchasing excess insurance, even though they were already covered.

Goldcar was also accused of increasing the cost for petrol and diesel, whilst several other companies bumped up the price for hiring at the airport instead of online.

In order to combat the possibility of any unexpected costs when hiring a car abroad, Rory Boland, travel editor of Which?, has urged travellers to read their contracts through carefully.

He said: “Few people have the time or inclination to read these lengthy, clunky contracts. Alarmingly, this could lead to consumers being slapped with steep, unexpected charges that can ruin a trip.”

If you’re set to hire a car in the near future, you may want to consider car hire excess insurance to provide protection in the event of needing to make a claim – get a quote today and see if you could save. 

How can you avoid being scammed by a rental car company

Date Created: 18 August 2017 by Questor Insurance

CarKey1Investigations have shown that hiring a vehicle for your holiday can be filled with potential trouble, as companies look for ways to add extra costs and charges to your bill.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid hiring one altogether, as having a vehicle at your disposal during your holiday provides the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Knowing what to look out for and how to avoid being lumped with extra charges can therefore help you to make the most of your time-off!

1)      Give yourself plenty of time

As with anything, the more time you give yourself to find the right deal, the better off you will be. Leaving everything to the last minute is only going to cost you more, as prices will rise the closer you get to your departure date.

Some extra time will also allow you to have a proper look at the deals on offer – the key is to remember that the lowest price does not always guarantee the best car hire service. Some policies will come with a mileage limit, whilst some will only accept the vehicle back if there is a full tank of fuel, so make sure you read the small print.

2)      Keep things simple

If you’re looking to save money on your car hire, then the basic package is the way to go. Car rental firms often try to add charges through add-ons or by charging a premium for excess cover, so make sure you look to avoid these by keeping your hire plan as simple as possible.

On-airport operators can often be the best option; not only are they convenient but you can also find deals where hire car is included within your holiday package, meaning a lot of the hard work is done for you.

3)      Get your own cover

Vehicle and excess insurance can often be an afterthought when it comes to holiday rental, but you can save a great deal of money and hassle by doing it yourself. When you rent a vehicle, the price generally includes cover for a major crash or injury, but will leave you with the bill for any small damage such as scratches or scrapes.

You can avoid paying this by getting yourself fully covered by an independent insurance provider – plan in advance and they should be able to ensure you are fully covered no matter what you plan on getting up to.

If you’re thinking of hiring a car abroad this year, be sure to organise your vehicle hire insurance in advance

Brits forced to deal with extra charges for Spanish car rentals

Date Created: 15 August 2017 by Questor Insurance

Key1British travellers who hire cars in Spain are being lumped with additional fuel charges and excess waiver insurance, according to an investigation.

Carried out by MoneyMail, the study found that car hire firms have been adding extra costs at rental desks and are even pressuring customers into buying excess insurance, even if they are already covered.

Goldcar was found to have overstated the cost of petrol and diesel in the investigation, whilst both Thrifty and Budget quoted hugely inflated prices for rental on the day.

A number of companies were involved in the report, which took place at Malaga Airport, including Firefly – owned by Hertz – and Europcar.

Travellers who rent a car and end up damaging it have to pay an excess for any repairs needed, which usually comes to around a few hundred pounds. However, many rental firms at major holiday destinations have driven those costs up to around £1,000.

As a result, travellers have chosen to take out excess waiver insurance through a third party before departing on their trip to avoid paying out such a huge sum.

The results of the investigation come just a few days after travellers were being caught out by misleading repair practices, which have driven up the cost of holiday car hire and insurance.

A number of companies including Enterprise, Hertz, Budget and Avis also revealed that they did not always fix the minor damage that they had charged drivers for.

However, the firms involved insist that they agree on a lower price when they rent the vehicle because of the damage.

The investigation shows the need for travellers to think ahead and to make sure they have the right cover in place when hiring a car, motorhome or motorcycle.

Drivers should consider exactly what cover they need, and should be prepared to stand their ground if offered additional extras that they do not believe are required.

If you’re thinking of hiring a car abroad, be sure to organise your vehicle insurance in advance 

It’s Questor Insurance’s 10th Anniversary!

Date Created: 01 August 2017 by Questor Insurance

cakesBeing the brainchild of Andrew Lawrence our CEO, Questor Insurance was launched in August 2007!  Starting from humble beginnings, Questor Insurance is now a successful insurance intermediary employing almost 30 members of staff operating on a global scale.

Our main product offering still remains Car Hire Excess Insurance, but over the years many additions have been added to the portfolio including Travel Insurance, Motor Excess and Gadget.

Throughout the month of August, we have lots planned to celebrate our first decade!  We have online competitions on our social media channels as well as an exclusive 10% saving via our website when using our anniversary code!  Get saving and celebrate with us this month!

Thank you for all your support and custom over the past 10 years, we are excited what the next decade will bring and hope you will be part of our journey.

From all the team at Questor Insurance.

Summer getaway still a priority amongst British travellers

Date Created: 06 June 2017 by Questor Insurance

Sand1Online spending on travel is expected to continue to grow this summer, after the market recorded a strong start to the year.

The Adobe Digital Index (ADI) 2017 Online Travel Industry Report revealed 14% year-on-year growth for the period of January to March 2017 in online travel.

Meanwhile international and domestic flight reservations made by UK travellers have nearly doubled since January 2015.

Across Europe, online travel spend for hotels and flights is expected to hit nearly €70 billion (c. £61 billion) this year, with the summer months accounting for €19 billion (c. £16.5 billion) of that total.

The figures show that cruises have benefited the most from traveller’s increased spending, with cruise website visits doubling over the course of the last three years.

Spain continues to be an extremely popular summer holiday destination for Brits, closely followed by Italy and Ireland, while those preferring a long-distance break tend to opt for the US and Canada.

Data from the report also shows that the best time to book a flight for a holiday is 36 days before, no matter the destination.

In terms of hotels, booking 29 days in advance was shown to give travellers the best price on their stay.

Interestingly, many decided to travel to tick off a country from their bucket list or to experience a different culture, rather than simply relaxing.

Social media is playing an important part in determining where travellers visit, with the term ‘travel’ mentioned 14 million times a month on average.

Travel companies are also turning to new technologies to attract more customers, with many opting to use virtual reality to showcase popular destinations.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality had a 13% year-on-year increase in holiday mentions, and references to wearables – such as the Princess Cruise’s Ocean Medallion wristband – increased by 44%.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your last-minute travel insurance in advance 

Disney unveils plans for first official Star Wars themed hotel

Date Created: 08 May 2017 by Questor Insurance

Disney unveils plans for first official Star Wars-themed hotel

Disney has unveiled plans to open the world’s first official Star Wars-themed hotel at its Walt Disney World Orlando resort.

An important part of the new Star Wars Land theme park, which is scheduled to open in 2019, the hotel is set to be built in the image of the famous Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Those who decide to stay in the hotel will be able to take part in some narrative events as they develop, including mixing with various characters from the film who will be walking in the corridors and public areas.

Guests will also be given secret missions which will involve them completing tasks either ‘on board’ (in the hotel), or ‘on planet’ (in the theme park).

The hotel will include a fitness centre, Water Park and pool area, while meals will be served in a canteen by droid butlers with live music taken from the popular films.

Rooms will be available for up to four people and will feature windows that give occupiers views of the galaxy.

Available for only two nights, rooms will cost around £700 to £780 per person, and will include all meals and admission to the theme park.

Spread out over 14 acres, Star Wars land is the company’s joint-largest single-theme land expansion, with the other being a similar Star Wars theme park at Disneyland Park in California.

Details about the hotel were revealed at an annual fan gathering to celebrate Star Wars, but fans will have to wait until 2019 to visit, as the hotel will be opened in conjunction with the release of Star Wars Episode 9, the final film in the trilogy.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet.”

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year, be sure to organise your long-haul travel insurance in advance

Use your brain to make your holiday last longer

Date Created: 13 April 2017 by Questor Insurance

The human brain can be easily fooled when it comes to how quickly time goes by and now a neuroscientist has suggested new ways that we can all make our holidays seem to last longer.

A growing body of evidence suggests this trick can be pulled off and David Eagleman, a best-selling author as well as the scientist in question, has set out how to do it in his essay 'Brain Time'.

Temporal illusions

“Time perception, just like vision, is a construction of the brain – and shockingly easy to manipulate,” he suggests. “We all know about optical illusions, in which things appear different from how they really are; less well known is the world of temporal illusions.”

A temporal illusion is anything that distorts our perception of time and the good news is they are all around us. “When you begin to look for temporal illusions, they appear everywhere,” Eagleman says.

When experiencing something extraordinary, different and exciting, perception of time slows down and there is now plenty of research to support this claim. So an active holiday spent bungee jumping, skydiving or snorkelling will seem to last longer than if you simply lounge around the pool.

Mindfulness

However, there is still good news for holidaymakers who are looking for something more relaxing to last longer. Dr Steve Taylor, a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University, believes there is another way to slow down our perception of time by paying conscious attention to the experiences we are having.

“Time perception is related to information processing so the more information our minds and our senses take in, the slower time seems to go,” Dr Taylor explains.

The unfamiliarity of new experiences slows down our perception so even walking around a new city can work, as long as you make a conscious effort to be aware of your surroundings. This is called mindfulness.

“We only get a certain amount of holiday each year so it’s very important to make them last as long as possible and expand our time perception as much as we can,” adds Dr Taylor.

If you’re thinking of travelling abroad this year and thinking of hiring a car? Be sure to organise your Car Hire Excess Insurance in advance.

Best Western urges customers to book direct for best deals

Date Created: 21 March 2017 by Questor Insurance

With the travel industry still struggling to adapt to the changes in customer behaviour brought about by the internet, a major franchise hotel group has now told customers to book direct and bypass agents.

As if the emergence of sites such as Airbnb and the constant efforts of airlines to encourage passengers to take a DIY approach wasn't enough, Best Western Great Britain’s new campaign could change the way even more people book their breaks and holidays.

Staycation

As international travellers get more used to booking their own flights and hotels direct with the providers, Best Western are launching a national UK marketing drive aimed at encouraging customers looking for a staycation to do the same.

The 'Better Book Direct' campaign from the franchise hotel group is designed to let customers know they can get the lowest prices in the market by booking directly via its website, by using the company's call centre or directly contacting the hotels.

Reward loyal customers

Sarah Fussey, Director of marketing at Best Western said: “HSBC's recent report on the Anatomy of the Consumer states that 51% of people asked say they think booking through an online travel agent presents them with the best deal.

“What's frustrating is that that we know this is isn't the case and that's a perception that our Better Book Direct campaign is looking to break.”

Best Western is Great Britain's largest collection of independent hotels, and as part of its efforts to match products and services with customers, it has introduced new 'Rewards Rates' to give direct bookers discounted rates which are unavailable elsewhere in the market.

Customers who want to make bookings using the Rewards Rates will need to become Rewards members and they can then also earn points for rewards including free night stays.

If you’re thinking of travelling this year, be sure to organise your Travel Insurance in advance.

Travel Extras

Date Created: 14 March 2017 by Rakim A Dixon

We have teamed up with Holiday Extras to offer you great savings on all your must have travel extras. So, let us take the hassle out of planning your next trip away!

Options include airport parking and car hire to airport lounges, resort transfer and hotels. Why not take the opportunity to book your insurance with us, one of the market leaders for car hire excess insurance and then book your travel extras with our market leading partner Holiday Extras…? You’ll definitely be in safe hands.

When you book you holiday, you expect everything to run to go smoothly. However, there’s a lot more than the flights and hotel to consider. For example, if you’re driving the family to the airport with your luggage in the back, where will the car be parked while you're away on holiday? Airport parking is definitely not something to leave to the last mminiute as prices can rocket, for the best discounts and a guaranteed space near the terminals you are set to fly from, it should be booked at the same time as the flights. 

Why not head over to our Travel Extras page now to get a quote!

So, what do we offer?

Airport Hotels – start your trip at the airport

Airport Parking – Save up to 60% on airport car parks

Airport Lounges – relax at the airport in style

Car Hire – Great savings on car hire

Resort Transfers – Hassle free transfers

Top tip for nervous flyers - choose a big aircraft

Date Created: 08 March 2017 by Questor Insurance

Although the trend for airports located in smaller cities or places with short runways has revolutionised tourism, for nervous flyers feeling every bump and movement of a smaller aircraft can be unsettling.

A smooth or rough takeoff can be influenced by many factors, including weather conditions and pilot skill, but the CEO of Safety Operating Systems, Captain John Cox, says the laws of physics and the design of the airplane itself have the most impact.

“Pilots can make some difference,” Captain Cox explained, “But the takeoff procedures are rigid, making pilot differences pretty small.”

Shape, size and weight

How much lift an aircraft is capable of depends on its shape, size and weight, together with the speed it can achieve.

“Large airplanes have more mass, they weigh more and, therefore, accelerate slower,” says Cox, before going on to point out that this ability for a slower acceleration can result in a lift-off that feels smoother.

Another reason a large plane can make a smoother ascent in the skies is because it has more engines. Most large commercial airplanes have four and smaller planes usually manage with two.

“Large four-engine airplanes climb slower than modern twin jets,” Cox says. ”With a four-engine airplane there are three other engines to provide thrust for the climb, in a twin there is only one. This means that twin jets have a higher power-to-weight ratio than three or four engine jets.”

Tricks of the mind

It isn't all just physics, as Cox also suggests a visual trick may help the perception of a smoother takeoff because passengers are further away from the ground, sitting higher on a larger plane than on a smaller one.

Comparing the experience to a ground level one of going the same speed on a bus or a low-slung sports car, Cox thinks that in a small plane your eyes trick your brain into feeling takeoff is more intense.

Want to find out more about a product or have a question regarding a policy? Click here to visit our FAQ page or contact a member of the team by email assistance@questor-insurance.co.uk or call us on 0333 323 0090.

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