Booking a holiday can be a stressful time, with so many things to remember. Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you don’t forget the all-important things:
1. Check your passport and visa requirements
You don’t want to arrive at the airport only be turned away at the check-in desk. Always check your passport validity (and that you picked up your own passport) as well if you need a visa or anything else to enter the country. You should do this well in advance of your trip, so you have plenty of time to visit the embassy in person or process your application online.
2. Print out your documentation
Just in case your mobile phone battery dies or you can’t get online, a screenshot and a printed copy of your documents is well worth the effort. Be sure to check the latest restrictions as there may still be additional entry requirements in some countries due to COVID-19. Whether it’s a Passenger Locator Form, COVID vaccine pass or ESTA information, give your printer a dust off before you leave for the airport.
3. Find travel insurance
It’s important to buy travel insurance as soon as you have booked your flights or holiday, just in case something happens before your intended date of travel. You can purchase additional cover for natural catastrophes and many policies now cover cancellation due to COVID. Double check what cover you’ll get before you click the buy button.
4. Book your currency
You might want to keep any daily log on fluctuating currency rates for the country you’ll be travelling to. Checking rates with a few foreign exchange providers will give you a fair idea of who to book with, but make sure you look out for any hidden fees and high commission rates.
5. Arrange your transfers
Just a little bit of research about how to get from the airport to your hotel means less stress on your arrival. Some hotels offer free airport transfers, but usually require you to book in advance. You may be able to get a train, bus or taxi easily at the airport, but plan your route ahead, especially if your flights land late in the evening.
6. Plan an itinerary
If you’re not a big planner, it’s fine to go with the flow. But it’s often a good idea to have a rough guide of what you’d like to cover whilst you’re away. Whatever floats your boat, keep in mind how many days you have to cover all you want – whether it’s sightseeing, relaxing in a sun lounger or jumping out an aeroplane. Don’t forget to factor in your hotel check-out time and the airport check-in time on your return.
7. Pack your suitcase
Always check if you have paid for hand baggage only or a checked bag and what your weight allowance is. If you have connecting flights, recheck the allowance for each part of your trip. Packing can be the biggest pain of going away, but rolling up your clothes saves plenty of space. If you’re struggling to fit it all in, you may wish to consider using vacuum pack bags, so you can pack it all in. Oh and don’t forget your toothbrush!
8. Essentials in your hand baggage
If you’ve booked a hand baggage only flight, remember your liquids must be under 100ml and fit into a single plastic bag. You can’t take more than one bag, so share the load with your fellow travellers if you can’t fit it all in. And just in case you get stuck at the airport or your bags go awol, keep your essentials with you, including your phone charger and any vital medication with you.
9. Free up your phone or camera storage
Flicking through photos many years later is a fun way to bring your holiday memories alive. So make sure you have enough space to snap away, be it on your mobile phone or digital camera. And when you’re back, remember to save a copy on USB or the cloud, just in case you inadvertently lose them.
10. Keep your home safe and secure
If you’ll be away for a while, RoyalMail Keepsafe can hold onto your post to prevent it piling up at your door. If you are expecting any subscription deliveries, ask the company to drop parcels off to a friendly neighbour or hold off until you’re back. Ask a friend or relative to check up on your house from time to time and set up a timer switch to come on and off in the evenings.