Are you planning a family holiday this Easter? If so, then why not check out our ten top tips to help you limit the holiday preparation stress and enjoy a getaway with a lot less hassle!
1) Check you have all essential documentation before booking your trip
Checking you have suitable and valid travel documentation is a good way to begin the holiday planning process. Making sure essential travel documents, such as a passport or EHIC, or GHIC, are still in-date ahead of booking a trip means that you will have time to apply and wait for any new documents to arrive, should they be required.
It’s also particularly important to understand what (if any) other travel documents are required to enter the country you intend to visit ahead of time. For example, will you need to apply for a VISA? If so, when should you apply for this? And what’s the cost? Do you need proof of a negative Covid-19 test? If so, what is the time frame that the negative result must fall within? And which types of tests do the country accept e.g., PCR, lateral flow?
You must have the necessary travel documentation to hand as failure to arrive in a country without the correct documents – and as a result be refused entry – is not something your travel insurance provider will cover you for.
2) Book a package holiday with a travel agent or tour operator, where possible
Booking a package holiday that is ATOL protected through a travel agent or tour operator can be a good option for those who want a little more financial protection. Tip: A package holiday is where you have booked at least two different types of services through one holiday provider. For example, flights and accommodation.
The benefit of booking with an ATOL-protected provider is that should the holiday not be able to go ahead or be cancelled, you are entitled to receive a full refund of your trip costs within 7 days. Or, of course, you can instead rearrange your travel dates at little or no extra cost.
3) Pay for your trip with a credit or debit card
Another way to make sure your trip is financially protected – should it be unable to go ahead – is to book with a credit or debit card.
If your trip cannot go ahead and you cannot get your money back through your tour operator, airline, or accommodation provider, and you paid for your holiday on a credit card, you can often claim costs back under ‘Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act’ through your credit card provider.
Additionally, some debit card providers also allow customers to claim unused costs back through a scheme called ‘Chargeback’. However, this is not always an option so anyone wanting to claim through their debit card will need to discuss this with their bank.
4) Protect your trip with travel insurance – as soon as you book
So, you’ve booked your holiday. Now what? The first thing you need to do is to protect your holiday with suitable travel insurance. Travel insurance products vary from provider to provider so it is important to do your research and understand what different providers offer.
For example, some providers offer Covid-19 cover as standard, while others require you to buy a Covid-19 extension. Our advice is to buy based on the cover most suited to your trip and needs – and not based on the policy price. Often, cheaper policies come with less protection and much higher excesses.
Once you’ve found a policy that suits your needs you must declare any medical conditions that you or anyone listed on the policy has. Now, some medical conditions can cause the price of a policy to increase slightly. However, you must not purposely miss these off to lower the price, as should you need emergency medical treatment while abroad, which is linked to the condition you did not declare, your travel insurer may refuse to cover the costs – leaving you to foot a hefty medical bill.
Lastly, while this tip is not essential, it can save a lot of hassle later down the line. If you are travelling as a group or with others – make sure that everyone is on the same policy. The reason is that if you need to cancel your trip and are not all on the same policy – then individuals will have to submit separate claims to their differing insurers and will only be able to claim for their proportion of the holiday.
5) Check if you need any vaccinations
In the coming months before your trip, it is a good idea to research whether you need any vaccinations ahead of your departure. Preparing in advance will give you enough time to make a GP appointment and receive the necessary vaccinations.
It’s always worth keeping proof of the vaccine alongside your travel documents, just in case.
6) Plan your route to the airport
Life is slowly returning to normal, which means the chances of coming across some form of traffic jam while on the road is possible. Being caught in traffic can be very stressful – especially if you’re on a tight deadline to reach the airport ahead of your departure. Now, most travel insurance providers will not cover a missed departure as a result of traffic delays, strikes, or industrial action as standard.
However, travel insurance protection is available if plans are disrupted due to heavy and unexpected traffic – provided that enough time was left to reach the airport before travellers set off on their journey. This type of cover is not included in most policies, so we would encourage anyone who would like this protection to check their policy wordings to see if this is included. And if not, a trip disruption extension may be available to purchase through the travel insurance provider.
7) Consider how you will be spending your holiday money
Will you be paying for things with cash on holiday? If so, we recommend keeping an eye on the exchange rates and either ordering or exchanging your holiday money ahead of your trip. Leaving travel money to the last minute can sometimes mean that you won’t be getting the best deal.
It’s also important to check the cash limit that you can claim for in your travel insurance policy, should your money become lost or stolen while you’re away. If you can only claim up to £500 then it could be sensible to take some money in cash and use a bank card for the rest.
That being said, if you’re planning to use a debit or credit card abroad, it’s important to let your bank know that you’ll be travelling as any sudden overseas spending or activity can sometimes prompt banks to become suspicious of fraud and block your card – without any prior warning. This could leave you without any means to pay for essentials on your trip!
8) Arrange additional medication, if necessary
Depending on how long you’re travelling, it may be worth booking an appointment with your GP to arrange for some additional medication. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if your medication is likely to run out while you’re away, or if you just want that extra peace of mind knowing that you have emergency supplies should you misplace your medication, there’s no harm in asking!
We’d also recommend checking that the medication you take is legal in the country you’re visiting and arranging for an alternative prescription if so. It sounds silly but some popular medications are banned in certain countries abroad and will be confiscated upon arrival if found.
9) Check your mobile providers roaming charges
Since Britain left the EU, some mobile phone providers decided to reintroduce roaming charges. At the time of writing, Three, Vodafone, and EE are the three main providers to introduce these charges.
This means that, for some, free data roaming services while abroad will end and travellers may need to increase their holiday budgets to cover the cost of internet usage, as well as calls and texts to the UK. This is something to consider if you are holidaying in Europe and are a customer of any of the above brands.
10) Separate your luggage between bags
So, it’s almost time to pack for your holiday. Now one thing we would always recommend is to split your belongings across two or more checked-in bags. For example, this might mean putting half of your clothes in one bag and the other half in your partner’s case and vice versa.
This means that should one of your bags go missing, you should at least have some clothing and toiletries to get you by until you are reunited with your possessions. It’s also worth checking the amount of time your luggage must be delayed before you can submit a claim to your travel insurer. as this will vary between providers.
And if your luggage does go missing, you must report it to your transport provider and complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) – as you won’t be able to submit a claim to your travel insurance provider without this evidence.
And lastly… enjoy your holiday!
On a final note, the best tip we can offer you when it comes to travelling this Easter is simply to sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday. After the year we’ve had, you deserve a break.
As always, we’re here to help with any concerns you may have. So, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our team will do their very best to assist!