Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Tips To Prepare For A Summer Vacation

So the Summer is nearly upon us, and before long many of you will be going on that much needed vacation. There always seems to be so many things to remember to be prepared doesn't it? So to prepare you for your summer vacation here is a checklist of things you need to do.


1. Travel Insurance

I know it may sound boring but you should get travel insurance from the minute you book your holiday to cover you for any unforeseen circumstances. When you are looking for travel insurance there are two main things to consider in my opinion - do you want basic cover for emergencies or do you want cover for everything? This will of course impact on the price.  

If you are taking part in certain sports such as jet skiing or kite surfing check that this is covered on your travel insurance too.

2. Travel Documents

Check that your passport is up-to-date. In some countries they require you to have 6 months left on your passport. If you do need to renew your passport or apply for your first passport, don't leave it to the last minute as in the busy summer months it can take weeks to get your new passport - any remaining months will be added on to your new one.

If you are travelling to Europe and are within the E.U. don't forget to apply for a EHIC which will cover you for emergency medical treatment.   

It always a good idea to take photos of all your paperwork in case you lose them, I save mine on my phone. If you are old school a photocopy will also suffice.

3. Health Care

Do you need any vaccinations for the country you are travelling to? Boots has a good vaccination checker and health advice service so you can see if you need any boosters or vaccinations before you travel. Alternatively your GP or practice nurse can advise you, and some may be free but some they will charge for.

When preparing what you need to take consider basics like painkillers, insect repellant, antiseptic cream, plastics, anti-diorrhoea medication, suncream, sunburn treatment and antihistamines. 

4. Currency

If you are travelling abroad you will need local currency, so consider the benefits of using cash, a prepaid currency card or using your credit card. I find I use a combination of all three. This article on travel currency from Money Saving Expert is useful for hints and tips. 

It is generally cheaper to order your currency in advance than pick it up at the airport or in the destination. You can order a prepaid card like the Post Office currency card or FairFx card and load money onto it before you go. This has the added benefit of getting the rate at the time of money load so if the exchange rate is strong on that day you will benefit. I use the Halifax Clarity credit card when I go abroad as it has an excellent exchange rate and it doesn't charge a foreign exchange fee.  

5. Packing

Pack for the weather in the destination you are going too.  I use Accuweather or the weather app on the iPhone to tell me the weather in the destination but as the weather can change I always try to take emergency items like a light pack-a-mac style raincoat if I have room. I also find the air-conditoning can be fierce in hot countries so I pack a cardigan or two as well. 

Check the airlines restricted items, size of hand luggage and weight of checked baggage so you comply with their requirements. If you are taking liquids in your hand luggage, current advice is containers must hold no more than 100ml, and containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm.

6. Technology

Don't forget travel adaptors or a universal charger. These can be picked up cheaply on Amazon, but if you forget you can always get them at the airport. Ensure your items are charged before you get to the airport. If you are going through US security they can check if your items are charged and if you have a mobile boarding pass don't forget to have your phone charged too. 

Check your data roaming package as well, as you don't want to be hit with a high phone bill on your return. My mobile provider is Three, which has the Feel At Home scheme which means you can use your phone in many European countries as well as the USA and Australia at no extra charge to you. For more details check out their website. If you do have high data roaming charges, to get around this use free Wi-Fi when available or buy a local sim.  

7. When Away

When you are away see if a relative or neighbour can check on your home, water your plants, collect the mail and any parcels to make your home look lived in.

Alternatively you could consider housesitting where someone looks after your home and your pets. We recently tried being house sitters ourselves and it's a great way of travelling the world for free. The benefits to you if you are being house sat, is that your home looks lived in, your pets are cared for and your home is looked after too. 

Before you go away cancel any deliveries  check that the windows are closed, all doors are locked, any timers are set for lights and the heating is turned off. 

8. Airport Travel 

Finally get to the airport on time. So if you live a distance away, check the driving time on Google Maps, or how to get there on public transport and book your train or bus in advance,   
If you are driving, Google Maps is brilliant as a SatNav as it will update with real time traffic advice and show you alternative routes if there are delays.

Pre-booking parking at the airport is always cheaper than not doing so. Holiday Extras have a great comparison site for airport hotels and airport parking.  We often like to stay at a airport hotel overnight to take the stress out of getting to the airport on time and to start the holiday relaxed and refreshed.

So these are my tips on how to prepare for a summer vacation. Do you have any?

* PR collaboration 

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11 comments

  1. We went abroad last summer for the first time in over 10 years. I was diagnosed with a dental abscess the day before we travelled... and we had forgotten all about applying for the EHIC. The cards arrived just before we got home! So I would agree that this is a must. And fortunately I didn't need any more dental treatment while we were out of the country.

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    1. Ah, EHIC are invaluable aren't they? Glad you didn't need any treatment in the end

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  2. Really good tips. I always try to keep an eye on the passport as between us they are 5 with different expiry dates. Adaptors and chargers are always straight in the bags the kids would be very upset if we left the ipad charger behind.

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  3. Great tips! We went to Spain last year and I got tonsillitis half way through the trip. Was so pleased that I had insurance so that I could go to the local doctors rather than going the national one that was 40 mins away!

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    1. Insurance is so essential to cover emergencies as well as for peace of mine

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  4. These are fab tips which most of us heading for a holiday overlook. Travel insurance is so important now especially with so many people experiencing lost baggage and delayed flight.

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  5. Currency is very important! It's hard not to bring enough money with you when you are out of the country and so having a different currency!

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  6. Great tips, especially about packing for the weather of your destination I always pack too much lol!

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    1. I try not too pack too much and always check the weather in advance although it does change

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  7. I forgot my camera charger on one holiday and it was just awful

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  8. These are tips are fantastic and will come in handy for so many people.

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