It seems a little strange, but Lanzarote along with all the Canary Islands follows the GMT time zone, the same as the UK, with one hour added in summer. So, you won't be adjusting your clocks for Canaries holidays! Like Spain, the Canary Islands have the Euro (In a euro there are 100 cents and coin denominations come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros. Euro notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200). Take Euros with you, but it's quick and easy to obtain more Euros from the many cash machines and banks located in the main resorts and towns across the Canaries, plus petrol stations and shops will take visa and credit cards, and often your standard cash card - but they'll usually ask you for identification either a passport or driving license when you use them so bear that in mind if you're planning to shop! The longstanding travellers cheque seems to have had its day now and there's less need for these. Pre-book and order all your car hire Canary Islands, cheap flights Canary Islands, travel and health insurance Canaries and pre-order euros online through the quick, easy and secure weblinks to the right. Or ring iknow-holidays booking line direct and we'll do all the work for you.
Driving is on the right hand side like Spain and most of Europe. Knowing a few words of Spanish will help you, especially if you're out and about in some of the smaller villages or sampling Canarian food and wine in bodegas! Public toilets across the Canaries are practically non-existant (especially in the quieter Western Canary Islands), although some are available on beaches. Toilets in bars and restaurants are where most find relief, but many now have keys to access the toilets so you'll have to purchase a drink or food alongside toilet use! Opening times for shops and banks are like Spain and fit in with the warmer climate - opening times are usually 9am to 13.00 (1pm). The Canaries does tend to use the 24 hour clock for reference. Morning hours are followed by a siesta period, then open again from 16.00 (4pm) to 19.00 (7pm). In practice though these times do vary. Shops and supermarkets in Canaries resorts tend to stay open longer, and also evening shopping times often go on till 22.00 (10pm). Apart from in the main resorts, many of the shops and museums around the Canary Islands are closed on Sundays!
Travellers to Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, are advised that the Spanish Government has now introduced new requirements for airlines to provide personnel information on passengers to the Spanish authorities prior to aircraft departure from the UK. This requirement is referred to as Advance Passenger Information (API or APIS data), and has been effective for travellers to the United States since 2005.
Spain is the first EU country to implement API, effective from 19 June 2007, but all EU countries are expected to implement API within the next year. The information you will need to provide to your airline, either at check-in or more typical when making your flight booking, are details contained on your passport photograph page such as your full name, date and place of birth and passport number. Both EasyJet and British Airways have set up facilities on-line for passengers to provide these details at booking stage, and the Department of Transport advices passengers to both check with their air carrier and to provide these details prior to arrival at airports.
For up-to-date advice on Advance Passenger Information (API) requirements affecting travellers to Spain and elsewhere see the Department for Transport web guide right.
Entry requirements for UK residents are the same as accessing EU countries - all you need is a valid passport, although if you plan to be in the Canaries for longer than three months (90 days) you will need to apply for a residence visa obtainable from the Spanish Embassy (see weblinks right). Tap water is safe to drink, but it's recommended to buy bottled water whilst in the Canaries as the tap water taste (usually it's desalinated, ie. Purified sea water) isn't that good. Crime on the Canaries shouldn't be something you'll usually have a problem with. Use common sense in the big cities (paritcularly Las Palmas on Gran Canaria) and in bustling resorts such as Playa de las Americas on Tenerife. Keep valuables well covered (not exposed in your back pocket). Take copies of important documents like passports and driving licenses and leave the copies in your hotel room.
Do good prior research on the islands, and obtain good streetmaps. If you're partying in the resorts, Spanish largers do tend to be a little stronger than English ones so watch that. The usual hazards apply and are in the areas of over consumption of alcohol, sunburn and mosquito bites (no malaria carrying mosquitos are present on the Canary Islands and no vaccinations are needed before you travel!). Top tip for sunburn (although prevention is best, build up your tan slowly, with very high factor sun creams and staying in the shade from 11am to 4pm) - if you do happen to get a touch of sunburn pick up some of the Aloe Vera products, particularly the pure juice of the Aloe Vera plant - it's the best stuff in the world for treating low level sunburn and heat or sweat rashes - it works!
Electricity on the Canary Islands is 220V, 50Hz and the plugs here have two round pins (don't forget your adapters!). The metric system for weights and measures is used on the Canaries. If you're making an international call from the Canaries to the UK you dial 00 then the country code (for the UK) - 44, then the local area code in the UK omitting the first 0, then the number. Public phones take most Euro coins, and you'll get a good few minutes chat time from 3 euros. It's a lot cheaper to use public phones than to phone from your hotel room - hotels put huge mark ups on phone calls so use the public phones, or occasional public phone booth rooms and internet points to be found in the main Canary Island resorts.
Travellers to the Canaries with pre existing medical conditions needing comprehensive travel insurance for both themselves and their fellow travellers should contact Freedom Insurance Services Ltd tel no 0870 774 3760 quoting Reference No IKM01. Freedom is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority reference number 306536, and is a subsidiary of the NW Brown Group Limited, also based in Cambridge, UK. Freedom offers quality pre existing medical condition travel insurance to suit your specific requirements and needs, including medical travel insurance for both single trips and where possible annual policies.
Freedom's aim is to allow you to enjoy your holiday with the travel medical insurance you need for full peace of mind. Freedom are especially recommended for travellers to Lanzarote with specific pre-exisiting medical conditions and they work in partnership with medically based affinity groups and entities within the NHS. Freedom employs a combination of insurance and medically trained staff, and has an emphasis on care, sensitivity and confidentiality when searching for the most appropriate pre existing medical condition travel insurance for your needs.
Freedom specialises in finding insurance solutions for people living with pre-existing medical conditions. We aim to provide security and peace of mind thereby allowing the policyholder to enjoy their holiday in the knowledge that they are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy should an emergency arise. Although our product is especially designed for those who have undergone recent surgery or are unfortunate enough to be living with a medical condition, families, friends and traveling companions can also take advantage of the scheme.
The Freedom project works in partnership with several leading medical charities, entities within the NHS, leading travel agents and High Street financial services companies. Contact Freedom Travel Insurance Services Ltd on Telephone Number 0870 774 3760, Quoting reference number IKM01.
Holiday travel insurance cover for Canary Islands holidays is a must as there are many accidents, incidents and emergencies that could occur during your holiday, for example lost luggage or stolen passports. In the event that your holiday is cancelled or shortened because of illness or injury, or if your money is stolen Travel Insurance is an imperative back-up. You'll need to check the small print on all travel insurance policies to see exactly what you are covered for.
A range of Canary Islands Travel Insurance policies are available, (check the Holiday Travel Insurance weblinks right for details and booking online). Double check you've the right travel insurance policy to suit you and your family. Cheap travel insurance is not always best, although most will opt for it. If you're undertaking some extreme watersports or a Canary Islands activity holiday check you're covered for all possible risks or accidents. Check the weblink right for cheap holiday insurance with 'Insure and Go'.
Huge costs have been incurred to individual holidaymakers who have discovered that cheap travel insurance policies did not cover particular accidents and emergencies. If you're planning to undertake watersports such as jet skiing or para-gliding, or other potentially dangerous sports it's advisable to ensure you're covered for such activities in the event of an accident (the company providing the rides is likely not to have inclusive insurance cover. Holiday makers have been caught out here, thinking the 'Spanish' document they sign before the ride covers them for potential accidents. It's more likely to be an indemnity document saying you agree that the company has no responsibility should you injure yourself!).
The EHIC health card will only cover you for basic health care, not for things like repatriation or air ambulances if needed. You could end up with a health care bill of 20,000 pounds or more. The risk isn't worth it! Check the health advice for travel weblinks to the right for advice on travel insurance cover, and additional health insurance cover. The NHS 'Fit for Travel' website is particularly useful for health travel advice, and taking out travel and health insurance.
All British Citizens with UK passports travelling to the Canary Islands will need one of the new European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC). These have now replaced the old E111 form! EHIC cards are free, and very easy to obtain, either online via the weblink right, or by obtaining an EHIC form from your local post office. EHIC entitles UK travellers to emergency medical treatment whilst in Spain (or in Spanish territory which the Canaries fall under) on the same terms as Spanish nationals. However, the EHIC will not cover things like on-going medical treatment, medical repatriation or non-urgent medical treatment. The Department of Health (see weblink right) advises additional comprehensive medical and travel insurance alongside obtaining your EHIC.
Travellers to the Canaries with particular medical conditions are advised to take out additional health cover, to insure health cover for all eventualities. Check the NHS 'Fitness for Health' website (to the right) which offers excellent advice on things like taking care in the sun and dehydration and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption. For advice on lost or stolen passports whilst in the Canary Islands, and what to do in an emergency check the British Consulate weblinks right.
The most bog standard health hazards you're likely to encounter in the Canaries will be connected with alcohol, sunburn and the occasional insect bite - be prepared and prevention is the obvious cure here. Take mosquito plug ins with you to get rid of the blighters from your room, wear insect repellant when you go out at night, don't drink too much and watch for dehydration (drink plenty of water throughout the day), and use high factor sun creams and stay in the shade during peak sunshine hours (the locals do!).
British Consulate, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Plaza Weyler 8, 1, Santa Cruz de Tenerife 38003. Telephone: (34) 922 28 68 63, 28 66 53. Open Mon-Fri: 0800-1530, July and August: Mon-Fri: 0800-1430.
British Consulate, Las Palmas Gran Canaria, Edificio Cataluna, Calle Luis Morote 6-3, 35007 - Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, (Postal address: PO Box 2020, 35080 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria). Telephone: (34) 928 262 508. Opening Hours (GMT) 0800-1530 Monday-Friday, 0800-1430 Monday-Friday (July and August).
Embassy of Spain, 39 Chesham Place, London SW1X 8SB. Tel: 020 7235 5555. (weblink is to the right)
In the unlikely event that your passport is lost or stolen whilst in the Canary Islands, an Emergency passport will be issued by the British Consulate nearest to you (there is one on both Gran Canaria and Tenerife - details above). All you will need to do is fill in the form - LS01 - Lost and Stolen passport form (available from the Consulate), as well as a C1 Passport form. You'll need to present these forms to the Consulate together with two passport photos plus a Police Report called a Denuncia. If you are involved in any accident or assault incident whilst in Spain including the Canaries you'll need to report this to the Police. Check the British Consulate advice on the weblink to the right for further details. The fee for Emergency Passports permitting one return trip to the UK is around 70 Euros. For useful advice on what to do in the event of lost or stolen passports, check the excellent advice on the 'Online Travelsafe' weblink to the right.
Another holiday essential you may want to consideris pet sitting services for your pets whilst you are abroard. Pet sitting services are becoming extremely sophisticated, to the extent of not just pet sitting but also offering other services such as taking care of your business whilst you're on holiday, a live in pet sitting service and keeping an eye on burst pipes and other household emergencies. Absentia Pet Sitting Service is an excellent pet sitting company choice (see their website link to the right). They offer individually tailor-made pet sitting packages to suit your needs and requirements. For advice on pet travel, obtaining pet passports and general advice on taking your pet abroad check the DEFRA pet travel weblink right.