MSE News

Martin Lewis: Booking an overseas holiday? Here are two must-know warnings

If you're one of the millions of people booking holidays right now,'s founder Martin Lewis has an important warning for you, which he shared in the latest episode of ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live. Watch the clip below or read on to see what Martin said.

Plus, see our Speedy overseas holiday MoneySaving checklist and 65+ travel tips guide for more ways to save and avoid pitfalls when you travel.

ITV's The Martin Lewis Money Show Live  Tuesday 17 January 2023

Embedded YouTube Video

You can turn on subtitles by clicking the closed captions icon in the bottom right of the video. The clip above has been taken from The Martin Lewis Money Show on Tuesday 17 January 2023, with the permission of ITV Studios. All rights reserved. Watch the full episode on ITVX.

Here's the full transcript of Martin's warning for those travelling this summer

Martin Lewis: "Okay, this is a warning for the millions of people booking holidays at the moment. And I need you to understand travel insurance is not just to protect you when you go away. I want you to get your travel insurance 'ASAB': as soon as you..." Audience replies: "Book!". Martin responds to the audience: "Well done, you've watched the show before."

"As soon as you book. And I want to explain why. Every spring, I get one or more emails or contacts from somebody who says something like: "I've just been diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer, or another equally severe illness. I booked my summer holiday, I'll be having my chemo in the summer, so I won't be able to go. I've spoken to the airline; they won't refund me. I've spoken to the hotel; they won't refund me because I didn't book it flexibly. What can I do?"

"And I say: "Well, your airline ticket isn't faulty. I mean, it's still available, so you don't have rights there. Go to your travel insurance." And so many people say to me: "I haven't got my travel insurance yet. I was gonna get it before I went."

Get your travel insurance ASAB – as soon as you book

"Get it [your travel insurance] ASAB – as soon as you book. Because otherwise I am left impotent, and my answer is no, there isn't anything that you can do.

"Please do not be the person who sends me that heartbreaking email this year. If you booked a holiday, travel insurance can be as little as £9. Get yourself on a comparison site, get yourself some protection so that if you can't go on the holiday, you're covered – not just if something goes wrong when you are on the holiday."

Angellica Bell (Martin's co-presenter): "Well Martin, on this subject, this has come in from Cocoa. She says: "I booked a holiday for Christmas last year but I was then medically advised not to fly. The holiday was already paid for and I hadn't taken out any travel insurance. I'm now being told I've lost all the money for the holiday. Is there anything that can be done?"

Martin: "I'm afraid I have already answered the question. What I would say is: speak to the travel agent or the hotel or the flight company, tell them your situation and ask if there's anything they will do. Will they give you vouchers so you could fly in the future on the same plane, if they won't give you a refund. Same with the hotel. Legally though, it is very unlikely you have any rights."

There's another travel must-have for those going to the EU

"While we're on travel, just another quick one. If you're going to the EU, ensure you've got a valid European Health Insurance Card [EHIC] or Global Health Insurance Card [GHIC]. What these do, is they entitle you to treatment in a state-run EU hospital or GP at the same price as a local – free for them, free for you.

"Now, what you need to do. There are 5 million of the European Health Insurance Cards that will go out of date this year; your expiry date's on the bottom. This one [on the screen] coincidentally expired a few days ago because we just got the graphic designers to do that. But many of you will be out of date. If you've got the Global Health Insurance Card, which is the new version...

"By the way, do you know how many more countries you can go to with the global one than the European one? None. It's exactly the same and they're only in Europe. Interestingly, it's actually a few less than it was a few years ago, but I won't get into the politics of that.

"They [Global Health Insurance Cards] won't be out of date at the moment. To get one or to renew one, it is always free. Go to If you go on a search engine and it puts you somewhere that wants to charge you or charge you for a fast track. They are shysters. They are not real. You NEVER pay for this. There's no such thing as a fast track. Official sites will not charge you -"

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!