Travel to Europe on the rise among Aussie travellers ahead of key sporting events and euro summer

Aussie travellers urged to ensure adequate protection and be vigilant

3 June 2024 by Ellie Williams

A visit to Europe for the northern hemisphere summer is an iconic trip for many Australian travellers and with the UEFA Euro 2024 football championships in Germany and the Olympics being held in Paris, travel to Europe is set to boom this year. 

According to Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI), travel insurance bookings to Europe have risen week on week since March. Policies sold week commencing 13 May 2024 are up more than 150% compared with the week beginning 4 March and account for almost 40% of total policies sold by SCTI in April and May this year. 

The top ten most popular European destinations among Australian travellers, based on policies sold this year are:

  1. United Kingdom
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Spain
  5. Germany
  6. Greece
  7. Netherlands
  8. Switzerland
  9. Portugal
  10. Croatia

However, Australians are being urged to remain vigilant during their European holidays, particularly when it comes to being mindful of their baggage and personal belongings. By volume, claims for  baggage and personal items are the most common claim type, accounting for 35% of all claims from Australian travellers to Europe last year (2023). 

Jo McCauley, CEO at SCTI warns: “European cities already have a reputation for pickpockets and with events such as the Olympics happening this year, key locations are expected to be even busier than usual. Australian travellers must keep their wits about them, be mindful of opportunistic thieves looking to prey on unsuspecting tourists and ensure they’re adequately protected with comprehensive travel insurance, should the worst happen.”

The average cost of all claims by Australian travellers visiting Europe in 2023 was $1,652. McCauley says, “Common claims such as lost, stolen or damaged phones can put a real dampener on your holiday and cause significant inconvenience. We’re so reliant on or devices for travel – for payment, booking reservations, maps and so on – that we’re lost without them. However, there are a few things people should keep in mind, which could make claiming on your travel insurance easier should it ever happen to you.”

“Firstly, lost or stolen items must be reported to the police as soon as possible so they can provide a written report which your insurance provider will need to pay your claim. For any device with phone capabilities, you’ll also need to contact your service provider and block the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. Your service provider can provide proof this has been done, which you will also likely need for a claim.

“Also bear in mind your insurer will want to know you have taken reasonable care of your item, especially when out in public. If you’ve left your handbag unattended in a café while you’ve gone to order a coffee and someone takes the opportunity to steal your bag, you may find yourself unable to claim for your losses. Therefore, it’s important to keep your property close by yourself or people you trust,” says McCauley.

In 2023, SCTI paid more than $2.5 million in claims to Australians travelling to Europe and while claims for baggage and personal items were the most common, medical and evacuation claims were the most expensive.

The top three most expensive claims from trips to Europe last year were:

  1.  A traveller to Germany developed heart issues and required emergency surgery and an extended hospital admission as well as repatriation with their family. The total claim cost was $155,000.
  2.  A traveller to Greece was admitted to hospital after falling ill and subsequently transferred for urgent medical care following the discovery of a tumour. The total claim cost was $85,000.
  3.  Lastly, another traveller to Greece had a quad biking accident that required emergency transfer by air ambulance. Their claim cost a total of $72,605.

McCauley cautions Australian travellers not to take the risk of travelling without insurance: “Many Australian travellers underestimate the potential financial risk associated with things going wrong overseas. From medical incidents to stolen property, costs can quickly add up. Investing in comprehensive travel insurance is a simple yet crucial step in safeguarding against these unforeseen expenses.”

The average cost for a travel insurance policy for a two-week trip to France in July for two adults aged 40 and two young children starts from as little as $125.14 for Medical Only cover or $235.81 for International Comprehensive cover with Southern Cross Travel Insurance1.


1 Date range used for quote estimates was 3 July 2024 - 20 July 2024. Please note there may be a fluctuation in pricing and amounts included in this release are to be used as a guide.