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Business News/ News / World/  Europe heatwave 2023: Is it safe to travel to Italy, France and Spain now? Can you claim refunds on cancelling plans?

Europe heatwave 2023: Is it safe to travel to Italy, France and Spain now? Can you claim refunds on cancelling plans?

Europe is experiencing record high temperatures, with a heatwave set to intensify. Red alerts have been issued in several countries. Travelers are advised to take precautions and consider canceling trips if they have medical conditions.

A boy pours water over his head to cool off at the fountain in Piazza del Popolo in Rome, on July 18, 2023. Europe braced for new high temperatures on July 18, 2023, under a relentless heatwave and wildfires that have scorched swathes of the Northern Hemisphere, forcing the evacuation of 1,200 children close to a Greek seaside resort.

Amid the peak travel season, Europe is witnessing record high temperature and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has predicted that heat wave in the northern hemisphere is set to intensify further in the next few days.

In a typical scene in Italy, where the temperature is expected to top 40C on Wednesday, tourists are seen trying to keep cool by splashing in fountains and standing under giant fans set up outside the Colosseum. Many have cut their travel plans short.

"(I) got a lot of pain in the head, legs and (my) fingers swelled up and I became more and more dizzy," Anita Elshoy told Reuters about her heat-related symptoms and hence, decided to cut short her trip to Rome

In southern France, a record 29.5C was recorded in the Alpine ski resort of Alpe d'Huez, while 40.6C had been recorded for the first time in Verdun in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Amid such conditions, is it safe to travel to Europe now?

If you are planning to travel to Europe now, go with the mindset that it is going to be extremely hot and hence, the experience won't be too pleasant.

Red alerts have been issued in Italy, northeastern Spain, Croatia, Serbia, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. In Italy itself, 20 cities were under red alert heat advisories on Tuesday. This will rise to 23 from today

A heatwave red alert is issued when the heat is so intense it poses a threat to the whole population

However, if you still decide to travel, it's important to protect yourself from the heat by using sunscreen, avoiding the hottest parts of the day, and staying hydrated. Drinking alcohol should be avoided as it can increase the risk of dehydration. It's also essential to have travel insurance for medical emergencies.

However, if you have a medical condition, it is advised that you cancel the trip.

Europe travel: Can refunds be claimed citing unprecedented heatwave?

Many travelers are canceling or changing bookings to cooler destinations due to health conditions or vulnerability to heat.

As per a report by EuroNews, despite the extreme temperatures, which indicates flights and package holidays continue as usual, with standard cancellation policies still in place, resulting in high fees for last-minute cancellations (up to 90-100% of the cost).

Travel companies defend this by pointing out that tourists often visit hot countries like Dubai and Egypt where temperatures exceed 40°C.

How long will the heat wave will continue?

Forecasters say the period of extremely hot weather is likely to last until around the end of July. But, high temperatures could ease in Western European countries like Spain and Portugal over the next few days.

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Sanchari Ghosh

Sanchari Ghosh is a Chief Content Producer with LiveMint. She covers news, human interest, epidemiology and personal finance stories
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