Insights: Spring is equal to city breaks

Spring is the high season for city breaks. When the snow melts and the temperatures slowly begin to rise in the Nordic countries, many are tempted to travel to a warmer place for an extended weekend. Is there anyone who doesn’t dream of a café au lait at a Parisian pavement café or a picnic in Central Park in New York when the first signs of spring appear?

City breaks are a popular form of travel, in particular, because it has become much easier and cheaper for Nordic travellers to make a dash on a direct flight to many cities both in and outside Europe. Airlines keep launching more and more routes on a regular basis, and plane tickets are available at lower prices – an ap­proach applied, in particular, by the low-cost airlines, which offer many routes from the Nordic capitals to both European and Transatlantic city destinations.


Spain has been one of the countries with the abso­lutely largest number of cases for SOS International for a number of years. The reason for this is that Spain is a very popular travel destination for Nordic travellers not only in the summer half of the year, but also outside the summer season.

Across the Nordic countries, there is a slight over-representation of children (20%) and the elderly (39%) in the injury statistics, which may indicate that Spain is a popular holiday destination for the elderly travellers, just as it is a preferred holiday destination for families with children during the summer high season.

Read more about safety and security on your trip to Barcelona here

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Be careful when relying on the blue European Health Insurance Card in Spain

In recent years, in a number of Spanish cases, SOS International has received bills from public sector hospitals in relation to hospital treatment provided to Scandinavian travellers, notwithstanding the fact that they had or, with the assistance of SOS International, were successful in acquiring the blue European Health Insurance Card.

Read more: Be careful when relying on the blue European Health Insurance Card in Spain

Read also: Hospital standards, rules for vaccinations and how to avoid traveller's diarrhoea


London is a favourite destination for all Nordic tra­vellers, and it is a city that is visited all year round. It is quick, easy and cheap to reach London from all Nordic capitals, and many travellers also like to go to places where they speak the local language, which applies to the vast majority of Northern Europeans.

For Great Britain, the injury statistics show a large proportion of cases involving travellers aged 20-49, whereas children and the elderly only represent a small proportion of the total number of injuries.

This may indicate that Great Britain and London are not typical travel destinations for the elderly and families with children, but rather destinations for adults without children, for example, to enjoy the culture and gastronomy of a large metropolis or outdoor travel in the rest of the Kingdom.

Read more about safety and security on your trip to London here.

Brexit: What may the consequences be for Nordic travellers?

Negotiations are ongoing between Britain and the other EU member states on an agreement for future collaboration. Regardless of the outcome, Britain’s decision to leave the EU will impact the remaining EU member states significantly and it may also influence travellers to and from Britain.

Brexit: What may the consequences be for Nordic travellers?


Rome is a classic when it comes to big city breaks and continues to be among the favourite places for Nor­dic travellers who want to have an extended weekend under warmer foreign skies.

Spring is typically rather hotter there than in the Nordic capitals, and getting there does not take too long.

The injury statistics for Italy show a varied picture, and the cases are evenly distributed over all age groups, though with a small overweight of the 40-59 year-olds.

Read more about safety and security on your trip to Rome here.

Hospital service in Italy 
The hospital standard at both public and private hospitals in Rome is high. However, travellers must be particularly aware of the fact that the level of care in connection with a hospitalization in Italy does not necessarily correspond to what they are used to at home.

Nordic travellers should be particularly careful if they receive assistance at the hotel or from a tour operator in connection with an illness or something else. They will often be reassured that they can have all expenses refunded, but this refers to private travel insurance and not to the treatment provided within the framework of the EU health insurance card, which is the basis when you need medical assistance in another EU member state.


Dubai is one of the newer destinations that top the lists, and the reason why is that it takes Nordic travel­lers a relatively short flight to be able to enjoy warm weather all year round.

Historically SOS International has not had a par­ticularly large volume of cases in this area, but this is a destination that is getting more and more popular among Nordic travellers.

Read more about safety and security on your trip to Dubai here.

Hospital service in Dubai 
Hospital standard in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates is in general high and corresponds to the standard in other international cities. In case of special treatments, medical evacuations to the EU may be necessary.

However, SOS International experiences challenges with local insurance agents in the area. Hospitals have close cooperation with local insurance agents, will not always accept international insurance policies and payment guarantees from SOS International, and ask travellers to pay for their treatment up front.

It is therefore of particular importance for the traveller to always contact SOS International before seeking medical help in Dubai, in particular, when it is a matter of outpatient treatment.

Importing medicine for personal use: You must be aware of this 
Due to new rules for admission of medicine in Dubai, it is important that you thoroughly familiarise yourself with the rules well in advance of your journey. For example, be aware that your medication must be pre-approved and that you must fill out a form on the website of the local Ministry of Health and have a medical certificate from your own doctor.

You can contact the United Arab Emirates Embassy in your home country if you have any questions or you can find more information as well as a complete list of the medications covered by the new rules on the website of the United Arab Emirates Health Ministry.

New York

In recent years, Nordic travellers have flocked to the USA – in particular, thanks to the new and cheap air services that are available.

The high season for trips to New York covers the entire summer half of the year, since the higher temperatures there in both spring and autumn are attractive to Nordic tourists.

The injury statistics for New York show that women are over-represented across the Nordic countries, where they make up 62% respectively. This may indicate that New York is a favourite among female travellers throughout the Nordic region.

Read more about safety and security on your trip to New York here.

Hospital service in the USA 
The hospital standard in the USA is high. There are also many smaller so-called ‘urgent care’ or ‘walk-in clinics’ that tourists with less serious diagnoses should opt for instead of an emergency ward where the waiting time can be very long. Tourists or Nordic travellers will frequently experience that they will not be given a priority at an emergency ward, which is why it is often faster and easier to turn to an ‘urgent care clinic’.

Avoid hotel doctors in New York 
Hotel doctors have become very common in New York, and travellers are often recommended to use them by the hotel reception desk. SOS International recommends that you avoid using these hotel doc­tors, since they rarely accept payment via a travel insurance company, but force patients to sign a binding agreement and have them pay a price for the treatment with a credit card that is often way too high.

The security expert’s helpful advice to a safe and secure hotel stay

You have just arrived at the hotel after a long flight, and you are so ready for your holiday.

However, our security experts advise you to spend a moment on hotel safety and recommend that you take several precautions to ensure that you will feel safe and secure throughout your stay at the hotel. 

Read more: The security expert’s helpful advice to a safe and secure hotel stay

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