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New research reveals over half of Brits risk their gadgets on holiday

Posted on November 23, 2023 by Rebecca Munns
Mature adults looking into camera and laughing at photos on holiday.

From smartphones and tablets, to laptops, cameras and handheld games consoles, gadgets have become an indispensable companion for many Brits on holiday.

We asked 2,000 people about their attitudes to travelling with gadgets. It revealed a worrying trend: over half of British travellers are putting their valuable devices at risk by not taking out gadget insurance.

Here’s what we found.

Source: Staysure survey of 2,000 participants, 2023

1.  89% of people travel with gadgets, with nearly half travelling with over 3 gadgets each

In a world that’s always on, 88% of people we spoke to won’t travel without their mobile phones – an answer that was more popular with women (51%) than men (48%). 

Looking good on holiday is also a key factor swaying the packing decisions of many. 31% of people divulged that they always pack their hairdryer, straighteners and curling tongs.

26% of us also take our laptops away on holiday, a figure could be explained by the popular ‘workcation’ trend that continues to dominate social media platforms like TikTok.

‘Workcations’ encourage employees to take advantage of remote-based roles by travelling abroad and working from hotel rooms, cafes and restaurants by day, before enjoying evenings and weekends in the destination of their choosing.

And for almost 1 in 10 of us, a holiday isn’t a holiday without packing a games console – an answer that was more popular with men (63%) than women (36%). Many pack games consoles in order to keep children entertained during long journeys.

2. Almost two-thirds of Brits can’t travel without their devices

In our survey, almost 60% of respondents admitted they’d find going on holiday without any tech devices tricky. Almost three in ten (28%) of us are more worried about losing our phone than our purse or wallet (13%).

Perhaps these figures aren’t too surprising, with many of us using our mobile phones to store our boarding passes, have on hand to call people in emergencies, and use virtual wallets to pay for goods and services when out and about.

Almost half of people (45%) said that having gadgets on holiday made them feel connected, with 37% reporting they made them feel more organised, and 29% more reassured. 

Man sitting on a rock, looking at his tablet, surrounded by a beautiful lake.

3. Nearly half of British holidaymakers estimate they travel abroad with £500+ of technology, but it could be more

We asked our survey respondents to estimate the total cost of gadgets they take away on holiday. The mean amount was £692, although answers varied drastically.

Participants aged 25-34 and 35-44 averaged the highest estimated value of items, with a mean amount of £815 and £809, while those aged 55+ valued the total of their holiday gadgets at £569.

But as most of us travel with more than one gadget, potentially 50% of those surveyed could be underestimating the value of their devices. According to U-Switch, as of 2023, 98% of adults in the UK had a smartphone, with Apple contributing to over 50% of UK mobile phone sales. The cheapest Apple handset in 2023 costs £449, with some phone handsets retailing for as much as £1,199 if bought outright.

Breaking or losing a particularly expensive and replied upon device on holiday could, without insurance, rack up a hefty bill to replace – larger than many of us think.

Source: Staysure survey of 2,000 participants, 2023

4. Over half of jet-setting Brits aren’t safeguarding their tech  on holiday

Despite the high value of the tech travellers are taking away with them, in our survey, over half (53%) of the people we spoke to admitted that gadget insurance is not always something they factor into their travel insurance decision-making process.

A clear pattern to attitudes emerged in our survey. 54% of those aged 16-24 and 51% aged 25-34 consider the insurance of gadgets high on their list of priorities, compared to 42% of 35-44 year olds, and 34% of 45-54 year olds. Of holiday-goers aged 55+, just 28% think that covering gadgets and tech ahead of a trip is important.

Even more worryingly, a quarter (25%) of those polled said they would think about heading abroad without having any travel insurance at all. This rises to more than three in ten (32%) among men and a staggering 41% of 16-34 year olds thinking about holidaying without cover. As travel insurance covers things like emergency medical expenses, and cancelling or cutting your holiday short, it’s really important to have.

5. Almost 1 in 5 travellers have lost or damaged a device on holiday

Although more than half of us don’t think gadget insurance is crucial when buying travel cover, 10% of the people we spoke to had previously damaged a device abroad. Another 10% had reported one lost.

When you think about the high net-worth of the gadgets that we take away with us, it’s clear that gadget insurance is important and can save you money in the long-term. If devices are lost, stolen or damaged, the right insurance can cover the cost to replace or repair your tech.

You can also get extra protection for accidental damage, liquid damage, and unauthorised data usage if your phone is stolen.

It’s really important to check the small print when taking out travel insurance to make sure that your gadgets are covered and that there are no hidden setbacks further down the line.

Couple looking at phone for directions.

How does gadget cover work? 

Many travel insurance policies will protect your tech up to a certain value, but if you’re planning on taking a number of gadgets on your holidays, you might need to take out extra cover.

Specific gadget cover can be added on to your travel insurance policy and is designed to protect your possessions while you’re on holiday.

Most additional gadget protection options offer cover against theft, accidental damage (sometimes including liquid damage), and unauthorised/call data use if your phone has been stolen. Staysure’s Signature policy includes gadget cover of up to £2,000 per person as standard. You can find out more about what gadget insurance covers

Kelly Johnstone, Travel Insurance Expert, adds: 

“It’s not surprising that the research shows that our tech plays such a big part in our holidays. We all use technology in one way or another in our everyday lives so why should holidays be any different?”

“As the findings of the study suggest, the average amount of money spent on gadgets and electronic devices often runs into the high hundreds. Sometimes it runs into the thousands, which could lead to a huge dent in bank accounts should they be lost or stolen. While paying for the right cover is an extra cost initially, it could save you significant amounts of money further down the road.” 

Kelly’s top safety tips for protecting your gadgets on holiday:

  • Make sure you have gadget cover as part of your travel insurance policy
  • Make sure you are clear on all the tech you’re taking and cover the overall cost of your gadgets
  • Store any tech in a secure place such as a locked safe in your hotel room
  • Think about the tech you take away with you – are all your gadgets needed? If not, it may be worth leaving them at home
  • Avoid using your devices in public places. If you need to, pack them away in a secure bag straight after use
  • If you’re visiting a hot country, keep any devices cool and in the shade. Ideally, keep any devices face down and out of direct sunlight. Hot weather could cause permanent damage to the batteries in your gadget
  • Double-check your devices are waterproof before taking them near water! Water could cause major damage to your tech so keep any devices dry while by the pool or on the beach. 


Through the research platform Censuswide, we surveyed residents of the UK to assess how important gadget insurance is across the country. The data collected was based on an online survey sample of 2,000 nationally representative UK adults and seventeen questions were asked. The data analysed was broken down by region, city location, and by age and gender.

by Rebecca Munns

Rebecca Munns is Staysure's Content Manager. She's always looking for her next getaway, and loves sharing data-driven travel tips to make exploring that little bit easier.