Wednesday 3 January 2024

Essential Summer Holiday Preparation - 25 Ways to Ensure You are Ready

pool in Spain

We've booked our summer holiday already. The kids are really excited and I'm on countdown but we are feeling very well prepared so I thought I'd share with you the things I do to ensure I am fully ready for my family's summer holiday.

Once you've booked the holiday itself it would be easy to just sit back and think that you're sorted but there any many more things you can be doing in advance that will help you save money and ensure that your vacation goes really well.

At Least 3 Months in Advance

1.  Check your Passport and if you need a Visa
Depending on where you are travelling to will dictate whether you need a visa or not. This site is the best place to start. Also make sure you check your expiry date on your passport as travel to some countries will require you to have at least 6 months left on your passport once you re-enter the UK.

2.  Do you need any Vaccinations?
Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website, so make sure you check their about health and vaccination information relevant to the country you are visiting.

3.  Think about House or Pet Sitters/ Book Kennels
It's never a great idea to leave your house looking as if you are away on holiday, so consider asking friends to house sit for you. Or at least organise for someone to pop in and water the plants, remove the post from the door and adjust curtains/ lights etc. Also, now's the time to get your furry friends sorted, be that booking dog sitters, family or perhaps kennels.

4.  Make sure your Travel Insurance is in place
Shop around for the best travel insurance deal possible and make sure you read the policy as they really can vary and if you have any pre-existing health ailments they should be declared at this point so you don't nullify your insurance if you need to make a claim.

A Month Before You Go

5.  Make all the last Travel Bookings
If you haven't already made all those essential travel bookings, then now is the time to do it. Leave it until the last minute and you risk paying a premium. Car parking at the airport? A hotel for the night before you fly or sail? A transfer once you land in your destination country? A cross-country train for travel in the country?

6.  Check your Cases/ Bags
I made this mistake last year and left getting my cases out until the night before and then found the zip didn't work on one of them, luckily for us, a neighbour helped us out. Far better would have been to have checked and purchased a new case if one was needed.

7.  Investigate the Resort/ Campsite where you'll be Staying
Now is the time to have a good surf and see what you can find out about the local area where you'll be staying. What does Trip Advisor say about the restaurants locally? Should you email and request your unit to be close to the beach or can you have a high floor for your hotel bedroom? A little bit of planning and research can really pay off when you are away and if nothing else you'll build that sense of anticipation.

8.  Book Tickets for Local Attractions
Once you've found all the places you fancy visiting once you are in the resort why not book ahead and get the best deals. You nearly always save money when you book directly and book online.

twin girls on holiday

9.  Check the Local Weather

Don't forget to check the local weather too and then you can make sure you have packed correctly. What do you need? A roll-up rain mac, closed-toe shoes, hat, sun cream?

10.  Shop for any new Clothes/ Equipment that you need
If the seasons are changing you might need to invest in some new clothes or shoes or maybe buy equipment like hiking boots or waterproofs if it is your first time taking this kind of holiday. Don't just assume that you still have your adapter, headphones or travel pillow, check and buy new if necessary. You don't want any last-minute panics.

11.  Double Check your Flight/ Ferry Tickets
Many companies will let you check-in online in advance now and as you do it is a good idea to double check all the details on your tickets. Are names and DOBs correct? Checking flight times and boarding times and just make sure everything is correct.

12. Get a copy of Prescriptions from your GP
If you will be taking prescribed medication with you leave it in its box with the prescription sticker in place and also take copy prescriptions with you. That way if you need any further medication whilst you are away this should make it easier and also as you go through security. Of course, make sure you have enough of each of your medications to take with you and for your immediate return.

Two Weeks before You Go

13.  Write/ Print Off a Packing List
Either type yourself up a packing list or print one off the web if you are happy with a pre-determined list and start gathering things together now s you don't have any last-minute rushes.

14.  Buy Toiletries and Sun Essentials
You'll know by now that for your hand luggage, you can only take liquids in bottles with a maxium size of 100ml and all containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm. So either buy some refillable bottles or travel sizes and don't forget to stock up on your sun essentials - protection, after-sun, insect repellent etc and these bigger bottles can be packed in your hold luggage.

15.  Plan what Clothes you will Travel in
We all like to be comfy whilst travelling, so think about what you'll wear. How warm is it in the departing country, or the arrival country? I always layer as I get hot on the plane and like to be able to strip off but you never know when there is a chill so a cardie is a good idea. I also always wear easy, slip-on shoes so I can take them off during he flight and pack socks to change in to. You'll know what makes you comfortable so plan for it now.

16.  Have a Hair Cut/ Pedicure/ Wax etc
Get yourself beauty-ready (if that's your thing). Either book into the salon or have a DIY session at home to beautify your feet and hands. Also, you might want to get a wax, thread or shave.

17.  Get your Currency
Shop around for a good deal and then order your currency for you to collect as I've found that not everywhere holds a very big stock of currency any longer.

The Day Before You Go

18.  Print off all Documents to take
Make sure you have everything to hand that you need - tickets, transfer vouchers, passport, visa, immunisation card, driving licence, travel insurance, credit cards, currency. I also always take a photo of them and email them to myself and also my parents so they know my itinerary and details if anything where to go wrong.

19.  Weigh your Packed Suitcases
You've packed your cases and make sure to weigh them so you don't get any nasty surprises when you arrive at the airport. make sure you have checked the weight and number of bags that your airline allows.

20.  Lay out your Clothes Ready
The night before get all your clothes, shoes and jacket/coat ready so you can dress and go quickly the next day.

21.  Fully Charge any Batteries of Electronics you are taking in your Hand Luggage
This one is self explanatory but if you are flying you now have to have fully charged gadgets so that they can be turned on and demonstrated for security if they wish.

22.  Download Programmes/ Books/ Music
Make sure your (and the kids) gadgets are loaded up with whatever you want to watch, read or listen to during your journey.

23. Ensure you have Essential Contact Numbers with you
Take a list of numbers you might need back home in case of emergencies and also your credit card provider, your bank and your travel insurance.

24.  Is your car ready?
If you are driving make sure that your car is ready - tyres checked, fuel filled up and windows clean.

girl on an aeroplane

25.  Pack Hand Luggage for You and Your Kids
Make sure you have all the essentials to hand and help your younger children to put together a bag that will keep them occupied whilst travelling. Some ideas of things not to forget are - healthy snacks, hand wipes, tissues, activities, favourite cuddly toy, travel pillow, spare underwear and socks, tablet and headphones, sticker book, playing cards, colouring book/ notepad and pens, reading book and cheap small toys wrapped up for set intervals in the journey.

There you go. I think if you follow those 25 pointers you'll be ready and eager to leave for your summer holiday.  Have an amazing time and do leave a comment if you have other preparation tips to share with us.