There’s a phrase that’s become too popular these days: ‘I need a holiday to recover from this holiday’. While it’s blissful to be out in sunnier climes enjoying good weather, good food and good company, the organisation and logistics around it can undo the relaxation opps.
To make your holiday as smooth and enjoyable as possible, the Flexicover team are here to help you out. We’ve done the hard thinking for you to come up with a checklist of things to remember before your next travels. So before you jet off, have a skim and make sure you’re all set for a hassle-free holiday, with no last minute panics.
1. Check the government’s latest advice
The government’s foreign travel advice is a wealth of a resource. For each country, it offers easily-digestible and authoritative advice about safety, visas, local laws and customs, whether it’s prone to natural disasters as well as useful contacts in the country. It’s worth checking before booking a holiday, and intermittently afterwards, in case of updates.
If you’d like to double check how safe a country is, the OECD provide detailed information – we’re sticklers for checking how safe people feel at night, as this is a practical guide on how vigilant to be (spoiler alert: Norway feels like the safest country, and South Africa, the least safe at night).
2. Go through your itinerary
It’s worth double checking your arrangements a few days before travelling just to make sure that you’re 100 percent clear. We all know someone who turned up to the airport on the wrong day, or booked a hotel a year in advance. Carefully check dates, times, arrangements, and make sure you’ve got emergency contact numbers in case you need them. Transfers are one thing that’s often left behind in the logistics, but even a quick online glance at transport options from the airport can help avoid confusion on arrival.
3. Take out travel insurance
Because no one expects the unexpected, travel insurance is helpful for peace of mind on holiday. Depending on the insurance you opt for, it can cover you for missing your flight because of unforeseen road blocks, or if you get pickpocketed abroad. Another vital element is that it can cover you for emergency medical treatment which is key in countries like America, where medical costs can run into six-figure sums. Check you’ve got insurance before you leave for holiday, and that it covers you throughout your travels. If you jet away a few times a year, annual multi-trip insurance often works out cheaper, and is less hassle than arranging cover for every trip.
4. Organise your money
Don’t let the ease of the Euro allow complacency: it’s important to set out a plan of how to pay in advance. Check how much your debit and credit cards charge to withdraw cash in foreign places, and how much transactions cost: it might be reasonable, it might be prohibitive. Either way, it’s a good idea to have at least some cash in the local currency for tips, drinks, taxis, and in case an ATM isn’t readily available (in many countries they’re still a rarity). You can get or order currency from your bank, post office or foreign exchange desk – compare exchange rates and costs to get the best deal. Also don’t forget to check how much cash your travel insurance covers – it should inform the mix of cash, traveller’s cheques and card purchases you use. See the Money Advice Service for more detailed information.
5. Find out about phone roaming charges
It’s far too easy to rack up a hefty mobile phone bill without realising it. Check with your network to see how much incoming and outgoing calls and texts will be at your destination, and most importantly, how much data costs. Outside of the EU it’s usually an eye-watering amount. It’s wise to turn mobile data off and use Wi-Fi instead – you can always turn it back on for a short time if you need it and are willing to pay. Your network can help you to do this and to understand their price structure.
6. Gather your emergency medical kit
Assuming you’ve already got the necessary vaccines, it’s wise to assemble a travel medical kit, with things like painkillers, insect repellent, antihistamines and bandages – see the NHS’s advice for travel first aid kits and the Civil Aviation Authority for cabin bag restrictions. However often it’s used, take all your prescriptions and medications in case they’re needed as proof. If you have asthma, make sure you have an inhaler and a spare as new allergens, smoggy cities, high altitude or exertion can make symptoms worse.
While thinking about health issues, make sure you have an EHIC card, which provides health care in Europe and is used in addition rather than to replace travel insurance. Find out more about the card via the NHS.
7. Secure your home
So you can truly forget about everyday life while sipping cocktails on a beach, don’t forget to think about your empty home in advance. There are easy steps to ensure your house is looked after, like locking valuables in a safe, shutting all windows, using time switches on a few internal lights and giving your keys and alarm PIN to a very trusted relative or neighbour so they can do small things to make the place look occupied. See The Crime Prevention Website’s holiday checklist for more detail.
8. Look into offsetting your carbon footprint
Air travel takes its toll on the environment, so the most responsible travellers offset the carbon footprint left by each holiday. A return flight from London to the Caribbean costs from £6.72 to offset, which makes a small but significant difference. Calculate and offset your flights at carbonfootprint.com.
Most importantly, enjoy the time away. Follow these few tips to prepare for all eventualities and there’s every chance you’ll have a hassle-free holiday you’ll be remembering fondly in years to come!
A good travel insurance policy is an essential part of any traveller's itinerary. You can subscribe to the Flexicover newsletter for 10% off on your travel insurance policy, as well as receive news and updates on locations to travel to, as well as best travelling practices. You can get a travel insurance quote here.