Star Wars vacay: Top destinations to awaken your holiday force
I just saw the latest installment of the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens and it didn’t disappoint. I finally got to see what happened to Han Solo (AKA Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia and was introduced to some new characters in the form of Rey, Finn and new bad guy Kylo Ren. Plus there was plenty more to love, with the same familiar humour as the original Star Wars and far less CGI than the George Lucas prequels.
This newest edition had me thinking - what would it be like if you could actually holiday in the desert world of Jakku, the lush planet of Takodana or the snow-filled landscape of the First Order’s base?
While there’s no technology (as yet) that could transport you to a galaxy far, far away, there are thankfully some gems to be found on our own planet, Earth.
Here’s where I think the Star Wars characters would vacay if the Millennium Falcon made its way into our Milky Way…
Death Valley National Park, North America
Where can you find a sand dune landscape, that’s beauty and harshness make it just like the farthest-flung nowhere rock, Jakku? California of course!
The Death Valley is one of a kind (well of the earthly kind) situated below sea level, with the driest and hottest conditions of anywhere in America. It’s also home to some luxurious retreats like this garden resort and offers plenty of activities for the outdoor lover including hiking, mountain biking and horse riding.
Can’t you just imagine Finn, Rey, and BB-8 zipping through this barren landscape in the Falcon?
Travel insurance tip: While America is packed with plenty of holiday attractions to entice your inner Jedi, there is a major travel insurance trap to avoid - not having adequate medical cover. There have been countless holiday horror stories of unexpected trips to the hospital costing thousands, even hundreds of thousands. So I always advise Aussies to look for a policy that comes with unlimited medical cover. Even if you have to pay a higher premium that peace of mind is worth it!
Fiordland National Park - New Zealand
Takodana may be known to Star Wars fans as the planet that harbours the dubious characters of the galaxy but when I think of this planet, all that comes to mind is tranquil waters and lush landscapes - the making of the perfect holiday destination!
But which location on Earth, could match such beauty? My pick is the Fiordland National Park in New Zealand, where winding rivers weave through ancient rainforests. There’s plenty to do while you’re there too, with New Zealand’s Great Walks at its doorstep, water sports like diving and kayaking and scenic flights and cruises run daily.
Travel insurance tip: If New Zealand sounds like the perfect place to get your force on, make sure you check that your travel insurance will cover you for activities like trekking because standard policies usually have caps on the heights they’ll cover of up to 4,000 metres.
While the snowy planet of the First Order’s base is anything but pleasant in The Force Awakens, due to it’s mammoth death star, not so friendly character Kylo Ren and countless stormtroopers, as a holiday destination I could envision it as offering the ideal skiing conditions.
The closest match on the third rock from the Sun? I’ve turned to the experts for this one and according to europeanbestdestinations.com, the Best Ski Resort of 2016 is Val Thorens located in France. It’s no wonder this snow-covered landscape claimed the top spot, as it’s the highest resort in Europe and situated in the largest ski area in the world.
Travel insurance tip: If the snow fields of France are on your bucket list for 2016, make sure you check that your policy covers you financially against any mishaps on the slopes. If you think you’ll be going off-piste skiing, you may need to pay a higher premium to be covered.
Bonus travel insurance tips
1. Lock in your travel insurance early. You might assume you only need cover once you land in your holiday destination but what happens if your airline cancels your flight? While they’ll reimburse you for what you paid, buying a new flight just weeks before you leave could end up costing you an arm and a leg. But if you are thrifty and take out travel insurance early with flight cancellation cover, this would mean you’d be reimbursed in full for this extra cost.
2. Avoid pricey airline travel insurance. There’s a big difference between the cost of booking your travel insurance with an airline compared to a standalone travel insurance provider. In fact when a Mozo staffer recently crunched the numbers, she found the difference could be over $200 and the independent insurer even offered more coverage! So always do your research to find a policy that is not only affordable but provides adequate cover for your trip too. You can kick off your comparison here.
3. Inform your insurer of any pre existing medical conditions. If you have a medical condition and don’t let your policy provider know, it could void your cover. So make sure you give them a quick buzz before you take out the policy to ensure you are covered. Mums-to-be out there, it’s important to note that even pregnancy can be considered a pre existing condition.
4. Check travel advisories for the country you’re visiting. Another thing that could void your cover is travelling to a country that has a travel warning due to events like civil unrest. So before you pick the destination for your 2016 travels, head to Smart Traveller to ensure it is a safe place to visit.
5. Report incidents immediately. If you do find yourself in a pickle overseas due to theft or loss, make sure you notify the local police straight away, as some policies won’t cover you if you don’t report the incident within 24 hours. Also make sure you keep a copy of the police report for the claim application.
For more advice, read our top travel insurance tips guide here.