Photo Credit: Photo credit: Juana Mari Moya
Europe Heatwave: Exploring Refund Options for Travel Cancellations Amid Scorching Temperatures
A scorching heatwave is gripping southern Europe, with record-breaking high temperatures expected to persist for another week. Countries across the Mediterranean, including popular holiday destinations like Spain, Italy, Croatia, and Greece are experiencing extreme heat.
Parts of southern Italy and Greece could see temperatures surpassing 40°C as the heat intensifies. Meteorologists caution that the previous European temperature record of 48.8°C, set near Siracusa in Sicily last year, could be surpassed. For summer vacationers heading to southern Europe, this heatwave poses significant implications.
How Safe Is It?
The Charon heatwave, formerly known as Cerberus, is causing scorching temperatures in affected countries. In Italy, twenty cities are currently under red alert heat advisories. Red alerts indicate extreme heat that poses a risk to the entire population, not just vulnerable groups. This number is expected to increase to twenty-three tomorrow.
Italian authorities advise people to avoid direct sunlight from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The UK’s Foreign Office has issued travel warnings for Italy, Spain, and Greece. The warning urges travelers to check NHS and foreign health ministry websites for safety advice.
Traveler recommendations include the use of sunscreen, avoiding the outdoors during the hottest parts of the day, staying hydrated, and refraining from consuming alcohol. The heatwave has strained local medical facilities, emphasizing the importance of having travel insurance. Intense temperatures, reaching nearly 40 degrees Celsius, have affected many cities in Italy.
Due to the extreme heat, some travelers are opting to cancel their holidays or change their bookings. Particularly, those with health conditions or vulnerability to heat are at greater risk of an overseas medical incident. However, flights and package holidays are proceeding as scheduled, and standard cancellation policies apply.
If you choose to cancel last minute, you may be charged a fee ranging from 90-100% of the total cost. Travel companies argue that tourists often visit hot destinations like Dubai and Egypt, where temperatures regularly exceed 40°C.
If you have a medical condition exacerbated by the heat, your travel insurance may provide coverage, but this is not guaranteed and may require a doctor’s certificate for a claim. The recommended course of action is to contact the company you booked with and explain your circumstances.
When Will The Heatwave Be Over?
Southern Europe experienced the impact of an anticyclone named Cerberus last week, characterized by high pressure and originating from the Sahara before moving across northern Africa and into the Mediterranean. On Sunday, a new anticyclone named Charon emerged, named after Greek mythology’s ferryman of the dead, exacerbating the weather conditions across Europe. Forecasters predict that the extremely hot weather will persist until the end of July, although temperatures may ease in Western European countries such as Spain and Portugal in the coming days.
Attractions Closing During The Heatwave
The scorching heat in certain regions has forced popular attractions to close temporarily due to safety concerns, with reports of tourists collapsing in crowded areas. The Acropolis in Athens, Greece had to shut down during the hottest part of the day, and similar closures have occurred in recent days as the stone structures heat up under the sun.
Italian authorities are also considering implementing access restrictions to historical monuments during peak heat hours. In response to the extreme temperatures, working hours for the public sector and many businesses in Athens and other Greek cities have been adjusted to avoid the hottest times of the day. Additionally, power outages have affected parts of Rome as electricity grids strain under the high demand from air conditioners.