It’s the time of year when most of you will be getting ready to go on holiday, excitement building at the thought of escaping everyday life and the chance to kick back and relax.
Whether it’s sunshine by the pool or hiking up mountains, you want to have an experience that will create fabulous memories for a lifetime. And while this is what most people want, the reality is that sometimes things don’t always go to plan, and organising your travel before leaving can increase the chances that your holiday will be the memory-maker that you hope it will be. Here are few ways that you can help your get-away to run smoothly.
1) Check the Fine Print
Your destination will determine whether you need a visa or possibly if any medical vaccinations are needed before you leave. Knowing this information beforehand will allow you plenty of time to send off for visas and to arrange any trips to the doctors or immunisation clinics. Something else to check are the requirements for the number of days on your passport based on when you enter and leave the destination country so check your passport issue and expiry dates carefully.
This is also a good time to check the baggage allowance for your flights to avoid stress or disappointment when you are already at the airport. If you’re unsure if the weight of your luggage will be within the set limit, having a bathroom scale to hand can be quite helpful. Don’t go buying one just for this though. You could check to see if family, friends, or a neighbour has one that you can borrow to weigh your bag. While you are at it, you can also check to see when and how to check in for your flight.
2) Safety and Numbers
Once your holiday is booked, it’s wise to begin to research a travel insurance company that will fit your needs to guarantee you and your holiday are covered for anything that might happen. Safety comes first, or so the saying goes. Medical history can impact which companies will insure you for travelling so it’s good to get started early. Most of your items are covered by general travel insurance, but if you are bringing a lot of electrical devices, it may be worth adding on extra coverage. Doing any sports while you are away? This should be included when you are giving information to the insurance provider because you may not be covered automatically.
It is so much easier nowadays to purchase things abroad or even use your bank card. A few things that you can do before you travel though is to check with your bank to see if you will be charged a fee for using any of your cards. Knowing this could save you a bunch of money by avoiding getting charged every time you use your card. Instead, you could take out a lump sum of money at a time and go back to withdraw again once those funds are spent. You may even want to order some local currency before going. This way you will have some cash on you when you first arrive at your destination in case it’s needed for drinks, food or transportation.
You might have already decided a rough estimate of how much money you have to spend while you are on holiday. It’s always good to also include a bit of a buffer in case any unexpected costs come up that you haven’t budgeted. Some hotels and resorts may charge an additional tax on top of what you are already paying for accommodation so keep this in mind when you set your budget.
3) Put All Your Documents In One Place
It can save you so much time and stress if you get all of your documents like your airplane e-tickets, hotel reservations, visas, travel insurance and an itinerary, if you have one, together in one place. Whether it’s a folder in your emails, a google document or an app where you can download them, having one place that you know where to look for everything will give you peace of mind. It can be useful to have these downloaded somewhere on your phone just in case you aren’t online when you need them most. Another great tip is to scan a copy of your passport and email this to yourself, too. If it should get lost or stolen, you will have all of the necessary information to sort things out more quickly.
Another idea to save you from a state of panic if something is to go wrong is collect together the contact information for any companies that you may need such as lost cards or fraudulent activity on your bank card, your country consulate in the destination country and in the country you are travelling from, the airline and other companies you may have booked through and someone at home in case of an emergency. Create one document with all of this information and put it in the one place you have decided on for these things.
Although most things are electronic these days, it can be also really handy to have a paper copy of documents. Set up a special plastic folder for all of these documents and keep them somewhere specific in your bag so you can find them easily if you need them.
There are even a few apps that will help you organise your travel. Your airline will have their own app that will be useful for updates on flight times, checking in or any delays. Tripit is another app that allows you to put all of your documents into one place.
4) Research Your Destination
Before going on your holiday, check with your mobile phone provider to see what is included in your plan when at your holiday destination. Sometimes if your plan doesn’t include the options that will work for you, they may have options to add on while you are away. You don’t want to be adding a huge mobile bill to the budget of your holiday!
Maybe you are one of the lucky ones, and your travel to and from the airport is already covered. If you are in the other category, be sure to investigate the options for getting from the airport to your accommodation. Also check how payment can be made for this transportation and any operating times to save you sleeping in the airport or overspending on another type of transportation.
You may just want to sit and relax by the pool for the whole time, but if you do fancy getting out and about, it’s good to get a feel of the land before you go. Do a bit of research about the area that you are travelling to and see what is on offer in terms of local attractions, things to do and places to eat. There is nothing worse than getting back from a holiday to have people asking about all these amazing things that you never got around to doing. That’s not to say that you should plan every minute of your holiday but try and strike a balance between experiencing the local culture and some chilling out time.
It always goes down well with the locals if you learn a few phrases from the country you are visiting. This shows respect for the culture that you are lucky enough to go and experience, and it can sometimes get you a better deal at markets or even help you get out of an unexpected situation. There is, of course, the Google Translate app that can also help you communicate with the locals.
5) Master Checklist
One great way to save you time and stress is to have a master checklist for each member of your family that includes all of the times that they will need on holiday. It’s even better if it’s already on the computer so you can modify and then print it before travelling. This idea gives you the freedom to collect up the items and tick them off as you go without the fear of forgetting anything vitally important. If someone else in your family is in charge of bringing items, it can save a lot of arguments by giving them a master checklist for themselves. It’s advisable to create these lists well in advance of the actual departure day so that you can slowly gather things together rather than one big rush at the end. This also gives you time to add things onto the list that you may not have remembered to add. You can even take into consideration how many of each item to bring based on how many days you are travelling and whether you will be washing items while you are away.
Holidays are meant to be a time to unwind but sometimes the lead up feels like the complete opposite. Following these tips will have you organised for the travel that you have coming up. Even if you only take a few ideas from this blog, you will be more organised for this holiday than for your last, and anything that gets you closer to your holiday zen-ness has got to be a good thing, right?