Essential holiday cards for your purse or wallet

Pick the right cards to take on holiday

Pick the right cards to take on holiday

Heading on your holidays? Make sure you don’t leave home without these essential cards in your wallet or purse. Follow our guide to holiday credit cards and more… or, the plastic that’ll make your trip fantastic…

From the best card to buy your flights with to making sure you have free medical cover sitting in your wallet, you really shouldn’t leave home without reading this guide.

We’ll also give each of your cards a full health check-up to make sure they’re fit to travel. Follow this guide and you could be saving £100s.

Credit card for buying holidays and flights

Use the right card to buy your flights and holidays

Use the right card to buy your flights and holidays

Paying for your holiday with a credit card not only helps spread the financial pain, but you should also be protected against cancellation and be able to grab some great cashback deals or incentives
What to look for: Most credit cards benefit from ‘Section 75’ of the Consumer Credit Act, which allows you to claim money back from the card provider if your airline or holiday firm goes bust. Not all cards are covered, so make sure you ask the question. You should also check what cashback, incentives or freebies cards offer. For example, booking your trip with a new American Express Platinum Cashback credit card will earn you up to 5% cashback up to £125 in your first three months (on the first £2,500 of purchases). Just make sure you don’t let the perks make you take your eye off how much you’ll be paying in annual fees and interest.
A word of warning: Applying for multiple credit cards at the same time can have a negative impact on your credit rating. Only apply for cards that you need and have a realistic chance of getting.

Give your credit card a health check 1
If you’re planning to use your credit card to pay for your holiday, here are a few health checks you should perform on your card to make sure it’s fit for the job and won’t cost you more than it should.


APR check-up:

APR check-up: Have a look at the rates that you’ll be paying back. If you’ve had the card a while it might be time to do the decent thing and put it down and replace with a newer model.
Compare deals here


Credit reference:

Credit reference: Are you getting turned down for cards with preferable rates, but don’t know why? You might have a mistake on your credit reference that’s harming your chances. Go online to check your record and find out what’s going wrong.
Check your credit score here


Credit card for purchases abroad

Don't just use any old card to pay for holiday treats

Don’t just use any old card to pay for holiday treats

Do your homework and packing the right credit card could save £100s in conversion costs as you soak up the sun or hit the slopes… However, grabbing the first bit of plastic that comes your way could result in adding just as much to your final bill.
What to look for: Don’t be fall victim to a card’s ‘load’ fee. This is where many cards add 3% to the exchange rates that banks get. Choosing a specialist travel credit card that doesn’t charge this fee will save plenty of cash and leave more for you to spend on sangria and chips.
Don’t use credit card for cash: Using your credit card to withdraw cash when on holiday can cost up to £10 per £100 taken out. This is because most charge interest from the time of withdrawal and not receipt of the statement.
Our favourite: The Halifax Clarity Credit Card is our top tip for a travel credit card; it has no load fee, zero non-sterling transaction fee and no cash charge. Get more information here
Always pay in the local currency: Using your credit card abroad, then always ask to pay for goods in the local currency, this means your bank sets the exchange rate and not the retailer you’re buying from. Local rates are usually extremely high. Get currency information for euro and non-euro countries here
Travel credit card eligibility calculator: Find out your chances of being accepted for a credit card that’s targeted to give the best deals to travellers. Unlike applying directly to a provider, this tool won’t leave a record on you credit rating.
Find your chances of successful applications here
Use this tool to check your chances of bagging a travel-friendly credit card here

Give your credit card a health check 2
If you’re planning to use your credit card to pay for goods and services while on holiday, here are a few health checks you need to perform on your plastic.


Expiry dates:

Expiry dates: This might sound obvious, but the first many people know about an expired cc is when it’s refused. Don’t let passed-away plastic spoil your holiday – check the dates right now to ensure it’s valid for the complete trip.


Examine terms and conditions:

Examine terms and conditions: Go online and load the terms and conditions for your card. Do a ‘control+F’ (other operating system shortcuts are available) to search for terms such as ‘abroad’ non-EU etc… This will reveal if your card is not a suitable travel buddy.


Balance check:

Balance check: It’s really important to check your balances before you leave even if you think you’ve got enough to cover spending. Don’t forget, firms such as hire car providers will ring-fence large deposits on your credit card – leaving you in big trouble if your card hasn’t sufficient funds to cover such amounts.


Instant guide to credit and debit card charges for travellers

Simply click below to browse cards available and how much you could be charged for using them while abroad.

 

Use these tabs to choose between credit cards and debit cards. Find the full rundown on charges that you’ll be forced to pay while travelling abroad.


Bank of Scotland Cashpoint*

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • N/A

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50 minimum fee

Bank of Scotland Platinum & Premier

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum
  • £4.50 maximum fee

Barclays

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50 cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50
  • Non-minimum fee applies if withdrawing cash from any ATM that is not Barclays

Clydesdale Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • N/A

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • 2.75% purchase fee/£1.50 minimum

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3.75% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50 minimum fee

Co-operative Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum fee

Halifax

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • £1.50 purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50 cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

HSBC Advance

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

HSBC Premier

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

HSBC (all other accounts)

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.75 minimum
  • £5 maximum fee

Lloyds Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • £1 purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum
  • £4.50 maximum fee

Marks and Spencer Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

Metro Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee within Europe
  • 1.9% outside Europe

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee within Europe
  • No purchase fee outside Europe

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee within Europe
  • £1 cash fee outside Europe

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

Nationwide

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1 cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

Natwest

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • N/A

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • 2.75% purchase fee/£1 minimum

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum
  • £5 maximum fee

RBS

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • N/A

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • 2.75% purchase fee/£1 minimum

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum
  • £5 maximum fee

Santander UK

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • £1.25 purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.99 minimum fee. This fee is waived if using Santander cash machines in Spain

Tesco Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

TSB

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • £1 purchase fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 1.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

    • £2 minimum

£4.50 maximum fee

Yorkshire Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • N/A

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • 2.75%/£1.50 minimum

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3.75% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £1.50 minimum fee


Aqua Advance

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Bank of Scotland

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Barclays

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

Clydesdale Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Co-operative Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Halifax

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Halifax Clarity Card

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • No cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

HSBC Premier

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.99% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

HSBC (all other accounts)

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.99% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Lloyds Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Marks and Spencer Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.99%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.99% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Metro Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • Within Europe – no fee
  • Outside Europe – 1.9%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • Within Europe – no fee
  • Outside Europe – no fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • Within Europe – no fee
  • Outside Europe – £1 cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • N/A

Nationwide

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Nationwide Select

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Natwest

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Post Office

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2.5% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

RBS

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Sainsbury’s Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Saga Platinum**

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • No fee

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 2% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £2 minimum fee

Santander UK

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Tesco Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.75%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

TSB

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee

Yorkshire Bank

NON-STERLING TRANSACTION FEE

  • 2.95%

PURCHASE FEE(PURCHASES)

  • No fee

CASH FEE(WITHDRAWALS)

  • 3% cash fee

MINIMUM/MAXIMUM CHARGES (WITHDRAWALS)

  • £3 minimum fee


* Cashpoint card is available for those ages between 11 and 18 year olds and can be used in shops, online or over the phone and at Cashpoint® machines. ** Available to people aged 50 and over.

Debit cards

The wrong debit card could cost you lots of cash

The wrong debit card could cost you lots of cash

Along with the cards that should be booking a slot in your suitcase, there are some that should be left at home – and debit cards fall firmly into this category. In everyday life at home, they often provide a cheaper, safer option to credit cards, but this stops the moment you pass the airport metal detectors.
What to look for: A 2014 survey by MoneySavingExpert found that for every £1000 of spend on a debit card, holidaymakers could expect to be more than £60 better off by swapping it for a specialist credit card such as the Halifax Clarity. Major debit cards can add up to £4.00 per cash withdrawal and transaction fees of up to £1.50 for each spend. In most cases, using your credit card will make more financial sense than presenting your debit card.

Give your debit card a health check
If you’re planning to use your debit card to pay for goods and services while on holiday, here are a few health checks you need to perform on your plastic.


Don't take these debit cards:

Don’t take these debit cards: Heading abroad, then put these debit cards at the top of your do-not-pack list. Using these on your hols will provide a seriously unwanted financial souvenir from your trip.

CardSpending penaltyLoad feeCash withdrawal fee
Halifax Debit Card£1.502.75%£1.50
IF Debit Card£1.502.25%£1.50
Santander Debit Card£1.252.75% 1.5% min £1.99
Bank of Scotland Debit Card£1.002.99%1.5% min £2/max £4.50
Lloyds Debit Card£1.002.99%1.5% min £2.00/max £4.50
TSB Debit Card £1.002.99%1.5% min £2 max £4.50

Correct at time of current publication (August 2015)


Consider a credit card alternative:

Consider a credit card alternative: It’s most likely that a credit card will bring cheaper holiday spending, so check here for what’s likely to be on offer for you. Find your chances of successful applications here


Prepaid cash cards

Cash passports can help control spending

Cash passports can help control spending

In effect, these cards work like debit cards do when you’re at home. You can only spend what you’ve got in the ‘bank’ because you pre-load them before flying. You can also top them up while abroad and dodge expensive local exchange rates. They’re often the cheapest way to spend while abroad, but some will include charges. Make sure you choose a specialist travel card, rather than a pre-pay card that’s designed to act as credit card equivalent for those with a poor credit ratings.
How do prepaid cash cards work: You simply pay for euros or any other foreign currency and the money is loaded onto a card that can be used to pay for goods and services, while also letting you withdraw cash. Another benefit is that the only exchange rate that matters is the one available when you loaded the card. There’ll be no dubious exchange rates charged later on when you buy goods or services abroad. Most travel-targeted prepaid cards won’t charge a ‘load’ fee (where many credit and debit cards add 3% to the exchange rates that banks get) because you’ve already converted your cash to the local currency. Watch the market and buy when the pound is strongest against your destination’s local currency.
Don’t pay in pounds: Some establishments will offer you the chance to pay for services or goods in pounds – don’t do it, you’ll pay a second commission to change your local-currency cash card back to sterling.
Why use a prepaid cash card: Why not just take cash, you ask? For a start, prepaid cards can be replaced rapidly (usually for a small fee) if lost or stolen, whereas cash is virtually impossible to recover from insurance companies. You’ll also get the best rates when buying one of these cards. Ordering your card in advance can give you an extra €4-5 compared with exchanging cash at the airport itself. Many providers also offer a free second card option. Some cards, also pay cashback on your holiday spending.
Get your prepaid cash card here

Give your prepaid cash card a health check
If you’re planning to use a prepaid cash card to pay for goods and services while on holiday, here are a few health checks you need to perform on your plastic.


Charges:

Charges: These are rare for specialist travel pre-pay cards, but the provider might add the following charges. Find one that won’t charge instead, there are plenty out there…
Joining fee: Some card providers might charge a fee of up to £10.00 to get a prepaid cash card. However, many specialist travel cards won’t so make sure you hunt around and check the terms and conditions before you buy. .
Replacement fee: This is a fee – typically around £5.00 – that some providers charge if you want to carry on using your card and spend any cash balance after its expiry date (usually 12 months). Choose a free card, spend the balance and this won’t be an issue.
Spending fee: Some cards charge a fee every time you make a transaction. Again, many travel-targeted cards – such as the Mastercard Cash Passport – will not apply this charge.
Monthly fee: Highly unlikely for a prepaid cash card but be sure to check just in case.
Cash withdrawal: Most providers of travel-related prepaid cash cards will charge a fixed fee for withdrawing cash from UK ATMs (usually £1.50), but offer the service for free while you’re abroad.
Inactivity charge: Some prepaid cash cards will charge a monthly fee – usually a couple of pounds – if a card is not used after 12 months.


Photocard driving licence

Don't let a sick driving licence photocard prevent you hiring a car on holiday

Don’t let a sick driving licence photocard prevent you hiring a car on holiday

This might sound an obvious candidate for an automatic slot in your holiday wallet for those hiring a car, but this summer will also see the abolition of the driving licence paper counterpart – and the potential for big delays when you pick up your car. So, if you want to beat the queues, you’ll need to know the new system and ensure your photocard licence is in tip-top condition. Here’s what you need to know…
What is the paper counterpart: The paper counterpart is the paper document that currently accompanies your photocard. It lists your entitlements to drive along with any endorsements you have. Hire car companies currently use this to check you’re entitled to drive the class of vehicle you’re hiring, along with investigating your driving record.
So what’s the issue: The paper counterpart has been abolished and you’ll need a code number for hire companies to access an online system to check your driving record. Turning up without this could mean you’ll lose you hire car – and your cash.
What’s the solution: Read our guide, below, which explains what you’ll need to do before you travel – to ensure you don’t get refused your hire car.


At-a-glance guide to hire car licence changes: All you need to know here

What is the problem: The DVLA axed the paper counterpart section of your driving licence on June 8.

But how does this affect collecting my holiday hire car: The paper counterpart contains information on penalty points and other traffic offences that hire companies need to check before supplying you with a car. This will now be held on the DVLA’s database and need to checked online.
So how will hire car companies check my record: Travellers will need to log on to the DVLA’s website the day before they travel, enter their driving licence and national insurance number to obtain an access code that’ll allow a car hire company to check their details via the internet when they arrive.
How long does the code last for: Originally, the code was valid for just 72 hours, but this was extended to 21 days after complaints that the short validity was causing too many problems for people hiring cars for just part of their holiday. It was also causing periods of high demand on the DVLA’s website and causing it to crash,

Is there any other way: Yes. If you have access to a computer you can download your driver ‘record’ on a PDF document, print it out and show it to the hire car company. However, some motoring organisations are concerned firms could be reluctant to accept this.

What if I forget to get an access code or to download a PDF: Arrive at the hire car desk without any of the above and the operator could be forced to ring the DVLA’s premium rate helpline, which costs up to £3 a minute. Or they could just cancel your booking because you haven’t adhered to terms and conditions.

I have the old-style paper licence – is that okay: Yes, old-style paper licences are still legal and providing they are up to date, should be accepted at the hire desk as proof of your driving record. However, if you need to update and details – such as address or endorsements – you will have it replaced with a new-style photocard (and not paper counterpart, of course).

Where can I get the hire car code: Simply use the following methods

Online: Logon to the DVLA website, enter your driving licence number and National Insurance number. You will receive a code to give to the hire car company when you collect your car. Don’t lose this code.
Log on to the website here

Print: Logon to the DVLA site, as above, then download and print a copy of your record to give to the hire car company.

By post: If you don’t have internet access, you can write to the DVLA in advance of your trip and request a print-out of your licence record for the hire car company. Please allow plenty of time for this request to be processed.

Send the following information to the address below:

  • your full name and address
  • your driver licence number (or your date of birth if you don’t know your driver number)

Driver Licence Validation Service 
DVRE 
DVLA 
Swansea 
SA99 1AJ

Don’t forget: Take your driving licence and National Insurance number with you – just in case you lose your access code or have a change of plans and decide to hire a car.


Give your driving licence photocard a health check
If you’re planning to hire a car while on holiday, here are a few health checks you need to perform on your photocard.

Incorrect address: How to change it

Incorrect address: Are you one of the 2.6million drivers who haven’t updated their licence with a current address – and risking a £1000 fine? Simply change the address now.

Change address here

How much: Free

Wrong name: Just married - or divorced

Wrong name: Changing your name on your licence is simple – and it’s free. You’ll need to complete a D1form – which you can get from the Post Office or by ordering it here. You’ll need to send supporting information such as a marriage certificate, decree absolute or Deed Poll certificate. All documentation must be original. You’ll also need to send your photocard and counterpart (if before June 8, 2015), or your old-style paper licence.
How much: Free

Medical change: Tell the DVLA now

Medical change: If you’ve suffered a medical problem that could affect your driving, you are required to inform the DVLA. It will then decide if any changes need to be made to your driving licence. These range from giving a shorter licence of 1, 2 or 3 years, telling you to adapt your car or even stop driving.
Find out about your medical condition and how it might affect your licence: Contact the DVLA here
How much: Free

Out of date photo: Change it or pay the fine

Out-of-date photo: Around 40,000 drivers are currently at risk of a fine for failing to update the photo on their photocard licence. Updates need to be done every 10 years and while a reminder is sent out, many people claim the correspondence is confusing. So, check the valid from date on your licence then add 10 years – this is when you need to renew your photo.

How to change you photocard photo:

By post: Get yourself a D1 form from the Post Office or call the DVLA to order one on 0300 790 6801
How much: £17.00

At the Post Office: Take your renewal letter or completed D1 form along to the Post Office – not forgetting a passport style photograph, too.
How much: £24.50

Online: To use this service you will need a valid passport – because this is the photograph that will be used on the licence. Click below to get full details.
Change your licence photo online: Do it here
How much: £14.00

Expired licence: Here's how to renew or exchange... and how much

Expired licence: Around 2million Brits have an expired licence, according to research from Direct Line – equating to around £2billion in potential fines. Reasons for this could be anything from age to the type of vehicle being driven, so make sure you know when yours need renewing. Here are some costs involved: (These prices are set to fall from 0ctober 31, so will be updated then.)

Reason for renewingFee
Renewing an expired driving licence£17.00 by post or £14.00 online
From age 70Free
For medical reasonsFree
Bus or lorry driversFree
After disqualification£65.00
If disqualified for some drink-driving offences where the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) needs to arrange medical enquiries£90.00
After revocation (under the New Drivers Act)£50.00

Reason for exchangeFee
Add entitlement to full or provisional licenceFree
Paper licence to photocard with change of details (eg, name or address)Free
Removal of expired endorsements£17.00 by post or £14.00 online
Full Northern Ireland licence to a GB licenceFree
Full European Community, European Economic Area or other designated foreign licence, if a previous GB licence heldFree
Northern Ireland licence with a GB test passFree

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

 

Get free or discounted medical assistance

Get free or discounted medical assistance

The EHIC card is free and entitles the holder to gratis or discounted medical help in all EU countries and others besides – yet half of Brits don’t have one and more than 5million current cards are due to expire in 2015. Here’s all you need to know about the EHIC…
What is it: If you’re holidaying in Europe the EHIC entitles you to free or discounted treatment at state-run hospitals. What they cover is different in individual countries, so check here for a list of what’s included in a country-by-country guide.
Who can get one: All UK residents, but inhabitants of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man don’t qualify.
Do they cover families: No. Each individual will need to be in possession of their own card – and that includes children.
Make sure you carry it with you: If you need medical treatment, you’ll need to have the card with you – so carry it at all times. If you find yourself in an emergency situation without your card call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on 00 44 191 218 1999 for help.
Does this mean I don’t need travel insurance: No. The card only covers state-run medical centres and hospitals, which can be few and far between. Travel insurance will ensure you have far wider access to assistance and cover items such as extended hotel bills and repatriation.
How much and how to apply: The EHIC is free and can be applied for safely in the following ways:

Online: EHIC website ehic.org.uk
Phone: Call 0300 330 1350.
By post: Get the form from the Post Office or download here then complete and send to:

NHS Business Services Authority,
European Health Insurance Card,
EHIC Applications,
Bridge House,
152 Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle Upon Tyne,
NE1 6SN

Give your EHIC card a health check
If you’re planning to a trip abroad, here are a few health checks you need to perform on your EHIC card.


How can I tell if my EHIC is valid:

How can I tell if my EHIC is valid: Your EHIC card is valid for five years, so you need to check it’s still in date before you travel – you’ll be refused free treatment if it’s out of date. Around 5.2 million Brit cards are due to run out in 2015, so check you’re not one of them. Find the expiry date on the bottom right of the card. You can apply for a new one up to six months before the current one runs out.


Don't get scammed:

Don’t get scammed: Looking to apply for a shiny new EHIC? Don’t simply tap a request into Google or you could end up getting scammed and paying for the card which is free. Only use the methods we list above and this website: www.ehic.org.uk


Medical alert card

Make sure foreign medical professionals get the right information - quickly

Make sure foreign medical professionals get the right information – quickly

If you or someone in your family needs regular medication or suffers from a condition such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, allergies, or stroke, then carrying a medical information card could be a life saver while on holiday.
How do they work: Most of these cards are offered by private companies and include all essential medical information and an emergency contact on a handy smart card that can be carried in a wallet or purse. Falling ill in a foreign country can be problematic when pre-existing conditions need to be considered – so having all the information on a card can help local medical professionals deliver the correct treatment without dangerous delays. Many firms also offer wrist bands to alert medics to the card’s existence.
Where can I get one: A provider such as medipal.org.uk charges £7.99 for a card and life membership of the scheme, with medical updates at £5.99. Find more details at MediPal.org.uk

Give your driving medical alert card a health check
If you’re planning to obtain a medical alert card, here are a few health checks you need to perform first.


Talk to your doctor:

Talk to your doctor: Show the card to your doc to ensure you have the correct medical details on it.


Privacy check:

Privacy check: These cards are mostly produced by private firms, so check they comply with data protection laws and won’t share your medical details.


Passport card – if you’re Irish

The Irish get the chance to buy a passport card

The Irish get the chance to buy a passport card

From July 2015, Irish passport holders aged 18+ will be able to buy this new credit card-sized document. Designed to sit alongside the holder’s traditional booklet-style document, the card will cost €35 (around £26) and last five years – or until the main passport runs out. The card will be accepted by airlines for travel in EU countries (as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and make a useful back-up for anyone who loses their main document or simply wants to travel light.

Irish nationals can apply for the passport card by taking a selfie then making the application through a smartphone app. Security features include transforming the photo mug shot into an embedded holographic image.

Give your passport card a health check
If you’re planning to obtain a passport card – you can’t!


Lobby for one:

Lobby for one: Sadly the passport card is not an option for those in the UK, but we want one! Having a similar option for UK passport holders would be a great help for travellers. The card makes a handy back-up for lost passports for anyone travelling within Europe, or those who simply want to travel light. Sadly, the UK currently has no plans to introduce such a card – despite its obvious advantages.

Do you agree? Email your local MP and tell him so
Find your local MP’s email address here


Send an old-school postcard

Send a postcard from phone to postbox

Send a postcard from phone to postbox

The digital world is great, but we all love receiving a postcard through the post, so what could be better than downloading a smartphone app that will let you take a photo on the beach, write a message and press send… from where it’ll be printed-out and popped in the post by app fairies in the UK? It’ll be just like the old days. The app’s free and each card will cost £1.49.
Download here

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