The summer holidays are finally here, so before you start packing and embark on your travels, have you checked that you have everything you need? It’s amazing what we forget when we’re eager to get away. So, we’ve pulled together a handy checklist with a few useful tips to help you enjoy a stress-free holiday…
1. Do you have the lowdown on where you’re staying?
Okay, this sounds obvious, but do you really know much about where you’ll be staying? If you’re a busy working professional, you may have relied on a travel agent or a partner to organise your break. However, it’s a good idea to gain some awareness of your holiday location. This includes hotel facilities, local amenities, and the location of your nearest shops, pubs and restaurants.
If you’re travelling to an exotic location, make sure you know the location of the local hospital and pharmacies – just in case… If you have children, check out what activities are on offer at your hotel or nearby. Find a variety of ways to keep young minds stimulated to prevent boredom and the inevitable tantrums!
2. Do you have everything you need?
It always happens…just as you walk out of your front door, you remember something you forgot to pack. So, here’s our holiday ‘must haves’:
- Your passport!
- Copies of your travel insurance, flight tickets and hotel booking confirmations.
- Credit and bank cards (always try to take two different providers, e.g. a Visa and a Mastercard, in case of any issues) and any foreign currency.
- Sunglasses, sun hat and sandals (unless you’re skiing or hiking!)
- Sun cream, sun burn ointment, and any mosquito repellent and anti-malarial tablets (this could be vital if you’re travelling to the tropics).
- Comfy shoes for the airport – you’ll be surprised at just how far you may end up walking to get through security and to your flight gate.
- Scarf or lightweight blouse/shirt – perfect for covering burnt shoulders or for cooler evenings. If you intend to visit any religious monuments, then you may be required to cover your shoulders (and possibly your knees too, always check!).
- Swimwear – take a spare in your hand luggage just in case you have any issues with your main baggage.
- Underwear – again, take a spare set in your hand luggage. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination to find your luggage has been lost or delayed and you’re without a clean pair of undies!
- Nightwear – even if it’s hot, you may find you need some summer PJs if you have ice-cold air con in your room!
- Clothing – depending on how long you’re away for – and whether you have any laundry facilities – aim for a couple of pairs of shorts, skirts, dresses, trousers, several tops (especially if it’s likely to be very hot), a warm sweater/lightweight jacket (in case it’s cold in the evening or when you’re on the airplane), and a few nice outfits for those special evening meals.
- Toiletries – toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush/comb, razors, make-up, and moisturisers. Don’t forget to place any small toiletries (100ml max per item) in a clear, plastic resealable bag (20cm x 20cm), if you need these on your flight.
- Medicines – we’ve already mentioned antimalarials above, but it’s a good idea to take a variety of medicines and a mini first aid kit with you, especially if you’re travelling to a tropical location. Essentials include paracetamol, antiseptic cream, plasters and dressings, and don’t forget to take some diarrhoea treatment! Even if you’re not travelling too far, a change in water can cause an upset tummy, so always pack some diarrhoea tablets and rehydration sachets to soothe any stomach issues.
3. Helpful holiday apps
Nowadays, there’s no limit when it comes to the usefulness of modern-day technologies. Here are three of our favourite holiday apps:
- Ready Set Holiday! This useful app enables you to create holiday checklists and reminders, as well as itineraries for sightseeing, trips and tours. You can even search for flights and accommodation.
- TripAdvisor – one of the world’s most popular apps, which has multiple functions including comparisons for holiday deals. You can also design a specific holiday itinerary, saving all the best-rated cafes, restaurants and activities. This can prove very useful for getting around, as you won’t waste any time trying to find somewhere to eat. And, always check hotel reviews before you book!
- Flightradar24 – keep track of your flight by watching the plane’s flightpath in real-time. This app is a real godsend if your flight’s been delayed and you’re waiting on that dreaded tannoy announcement…
4. Last minute checks….
Have you told your credit card company and bank that you will be away? Some banks and credit card companies ask you to advise them of your travel plans – this helps to avoid freezing your account when they detect a potentially suspicious transaction. Have you given any emergency contact details to a family member or a trusted friend? It’s a good idea to give someone your flight itinerary and accommodation details, just in case they need to get in touch with you urgently.
And finally, have you effectively secured your home? There are many ways you can create the sense of someone being in your home to elude any potential burglars. At the very high end, sophisticated smart tech can allow you to switch on lights and even draw curtains and blinds using a mobile phone app. On the lower end, you can buy lightbulbs with timers to mimic the usual times of the day when you would be switching on room lights and table lamps. If you have a trusted neighbour, kindly ask them if they wouldn’t mind taking out and bringing in your wheelie bins, as this can also give a sense of someone being around.
To conclude – whether you’re staying in the UK or travelling overseas, a bit of advance planning goes a long way. Enjoy your holiday!