Before you go
- Buy Travel Insurance
Buy your insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. This will mean that if you have to cancel your holiday for whatever reason the cancellation cover will already be in place. Cancellation is the one of the most common reasons for a claim after medical problems.
- Research your destination
Research local laws and customs before you travel to avoid any misunderstandings or giving offence. You can also find out useful travel information for your destination from the FCO’s website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. It’s also worth learning a few language basics to help you get by.
- Order your currency in advance
Buy your Euros and Dollars before you travel. You will receive a very poor rate if you leave it until you get to the airport. You often get a slightly better rate using your bank card abroad in a local ATM, although you should check how much it will charge you.
- Check in online
Some airlines now allow you to check in up to 30 days before your flight. Checking in online and printing your boarding passes can save you time when you get to the airport.
- Choose your ideal seat
If you’re after a seat with a little more leg room then booking your seat in advance is a good idea. You may have to pay a little more but it could be well be worth the money if you’re travelling long haul.
- Notify bank and credit card companies
Call your bank or credit card company and let them know your travel plans. Unexpected overseas purchases may be flagged up and your account could be locked.
- Keep copies of essential information
Take photocopies of your passport and travel documents and keep them separate from the originals. Remember to take your travel insurance claims notification number with you. You will need this if you have a medical emergency.
- Pack sparingly
It’s tempting coming from the UK to take jackets and jumpers ‘just in case’ but taking a small carry-on size case when possible will ensure that you don’t take more than you need for that beach holiday. Decant large bottles of shampoo, shower gel, etc into plastic bottles of 100ml or less.
- Getting to the airport
Leave plenty of time to travel to the airport. Most airlines recommend you arrive two hours before your flight so allow plenty of travel time on top, particularly if you have to use one of the very busy motorways. Better to arrive with loads of time to spare than run the risk of missing your flight due to unforeseen holdups.
- Use the hotel safe
Only take out the money and cards with you that you need and leave any other money and valuables in the safe.
- Get tips from the locals
Ask the receptionist or barman at your hotel, or local people in shops or in bars, for recommendations for sites to visit, best restaurants, bars or places to watch the sunset.
- Beware when using free public wifi
Try to avoid logging into bank accounts or entering passwords when using free public wifi. Many people connect to public wifi in order to avoid roaming charges but these can be unsecured and a way for crooks to raid personal details. Ensure you connect to the correct network by checking with staff if you are in a hotel or coffee shop to make sure you are connecting to their wifi.