There’s no worse feeling than driving four long hours from home to the airport, only to have that sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten to do something. You thought you’d done everything – fed the cats, turned everything off from the mains, left keys with your sister – but you didn’t lock the front door.
To make sure you are well prepared to head off on your holidays, here are 10 things you shouldn’t leave home without doing.
Check your tickets
The names on any tickets must match those in your passports, and any spelling mistakes could end up in you not being allowed to board your flight. If you do need to make any changes, do these as soon as possible – most airline websites have an online account section where this can be done.
If the worst happens, you don’t want to be left out of pocket by foreign medical charges – make sure you get good travel insurance that covers medical fees, delays and lost luggage. Double check that your insurance covers the country you are heading to as some European policies do not cover Turkey. If you are heading to Europe from the UK, don’t leave without your EHIC card as it entitles you to free healthcare across the continent.
Leave someone in charge
By having someone check in on your home every day, not only will the cats be fed, but it will not look empty. Ask your neighbour, or whoever you’ve given your keys to, to turn a different light on every day too – you may have good home insurance, but the hassle of having your home broken into is stressful, upsetting and can be avoided.
Call your bank
Due to tough anti-fraud schemes that are in place, you may find yourself without access to your funds if you do not inform your bank that you are going on holiday. This is due to banks and credit card companies keeping an eye out for irregular spending patterns – they may think your card has been stolen when you’re actually having a weekend away inAmsterdam.
Weigh your luggage
Make sure you check weight and size limits on your luggage before you load up the car as most airlines have very different limits and charges. If you’re flying with a budget airline, you could find yourself paying up to £40 extra if your bag is deemed too big or too heavy.
Book airport parking
If you book your parking in advance, you can save up to 50% more than if you just turn up on the day. It is also worth shopping around to see if there are airport-parking alternatives – these will work out much cheaper and often offer to drop you off and pick you up from the airport itself.
Change your money up before you get to the departures lounge, as the exchange rates here are usually a lot less reasonable than those on the high-street or online. Make sure you ask for some small change if you get your holiday money over the counter as a local taxi driver probably won’t be able to change up a large denomination note. Or take out cash when you first arrive at your destination and you’ll usually get a decent exchange rate via your bank.
Make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after your return date, as well as updating your next-of-kin’s details if needed. It is also a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport and insurance documents, and keep them in a separate place to the originals, just in case they get lost or stolen. You will also need to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country, how much it will cost you and if you can get it at the border.
Do some research into your destination and their local customs – for example, Muslim countries frown upon too much flesh being on show, so packing a suitcase full of short-shorts and tube tops won’t go down too well in your city break to Marrakech.
Before you get excited, you’ll need to check what vaccinations you’re going to need. Many countries require you to have certain injections and a certificate of proof, before being allowed into the country. Others, such as rabies, are not mandatory but are highly recommended when heading to Africa andAsia. Don’t forget to check malaria risks too, as this is one of the biggest threats to travellers, and locals, in developing countries.0