With the British weather delivering a few days of heat, a few days of cold and a few days rain during the average summer, it is quite easy to see why so many people holiday abroad. In fact, over 58% of us in the UK will consider going on holiday abroad this year, and even with the current troubles in some countries, more and more UK residents will be planning their holiday in sunnier climates this year and next.
If you are one of the lucky ones and you are going abroad for your holidays, we offer 10 really simple tips for travelling overseas, which will hopefully save you money and time and also remove a bit of the stress that your pre-holiday weeks can often bring!
Book Your Accommodation Early
The early bird catches the worm and never has this been so true when it comes to accommodation and travel (which we cover next), as the sooner you book your accommodation, the more money you are likely to save. Hotels, guest houses and privately owned accommodation / villa owners want to get their calendars full well in advance of the peak season, which means that you can often find some really good savings if you are prepared to commit and book early. The longer you leave it, the more expensive it often becomes, and you also face the risk of not being able to find anywhere to stay on the dates that you have available, especially in the school holiday peak season.
Sort Your Flights Early
Booking your flights early often guarantees two things – a seat on the plane and a much cheaper price than if you left it until the last minute. Many airlines will continually increase the price of the seats up until the departure date, meaning that sometimes you can get last minute discounts, but generally, you will end up paying more if you book a few days before than if you book a few months before. As soon as you know where you are going and the airline has released seats, book them, as leaving it to the last minute will often cost you far more, even if you are hoping for a last minute bargain.
Arrange Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a must and travelling without it is one of the worst things you can do, as if you or your family fall ill, then you could either end up footing a mammoth bill when you get home or the hospitals could even refuse treatment. We are so lucky with the NHS in this country that we just assume it will be the same wherever we go, but more often than not most countries offer private healthcare, meaning that unless you can prove you can pay, you could be in big trouble. Travel insurance is often so cheap and most banks offer it as part of their premium accounts, so no matter how you get your hands on a travel insurance policy for you and your family, just make sure that you do.
Getting To The Airport
If you are driving to the airport then you are usually going to need a parking space and if you are getting the train then it makes sense to make sure you know which trains you are getting and book well in advance, as you can often save money and at least acknowledge and deal with any routine railway maintenance work that could affect your journey or arrival times.
Do You Need A Hire Car?
If you need to book a hire car then make sure you give yourself enough time to do your research and find not only the best possible price but also a hire company that is not going to let you down. The last thing you need is to book a rental car and turn up to find there is no vehicle for you to drive or even worse, get a car that is not safe to drive. Research thoroughly and do not just opt for the cheapest, as paying just a little bit more might just allow some extra comfort as you drive around your holiday destination.
Start Packing Early
We have all been in the situation where we come to pack the day before, only to find the three or four items we really had our hearts set on taking are not washed and we have literally no chance of washing and drying them before we set off. To avoid this, identify all of the key items of clothing you want to take, wash it the week before and put it straight into your suitcase when dry, then there is no risk that you might be tempted to wear it and then have to go without it on holiday. Try to make sure you have all of your essentials ready to pack a few days before, as this then gives you adequate time to grab any last minute items that you might have forgotten about when you do your final check list.
Sort Things At Home
Although a very obvious point to be made here, just assuming that your local kennels or cattery will have room for your beloved pet can lead to much heartache and frantic searching for other options should they be fully booked because you left it too late. Remember to sort this very early, as the sooner they are booked in, the more you can relax in the knowledge that is just another thing taken care of. Also think about all of the things you need to do before you leave the house, write a list and then tick things off as they are done, as this will then avoid any last minute desperation when you realise something has escaped your attention.
Get Your Money
If you need some Euros, Dollars or Turkish Lira (or indeed any other type of currency), you can either get it nice and early and give you the warm feeling of having everything sorted, or you can wait until you think you are getting the best rate and then see if you can get some more for your Pound. Generally, as long as you do not forget to exchange your money then however you wish to play it is fine, but waiting for the best possible rate can sometimes backfire, as rates change frequently, so often it is a gamble and is just important to make sure it is sorted before you set off on your holiday.
Got Kids? Think Entertainment!
Children, no matter how young or old, can be hard to keep entertained on even the shortest journey, so imagine if your plane got delayed by a few hours. Make sure you take things to keep them entertained throughout your journey, else you are just going to end up with some very frustrated and demanding little ones that might just take the shine off of the start to your holiday. Luckily, technology has made entertainment that little bit easier, with iPads, Smart Phones and many other devices helping to keep little hands, eyes and minds occupied, and whilst you might not normally want your children sat in front of a screen, remember, it is holiday time and it might just give you that all important 10 minute break!