Before you go
There are a few things you should do to get your house in order before you leave for your holidays.
Bills and utilities
✔ Let your credit/debit card company know you may be using it abroad – it will help avoid problems later
✔ Pay bills in advance that will be due while you’re away
✔ Turn off electrical wall sockets (except the fridge and the freezer) if your home is going to be empty
✔ Set timers for devices or appliances you still want to come on while you’re away, like lights (to put off would-be burglars) or your boiler
✔ Contact your mobile operator to see if roaming charges apply where you’re going – if they do, discuss your options
✔ Clear out the fridge of anything that’s going to go off while you’re away
✔ Find a place for your pets – ask a friend, family member or neighbour to look after them or book with recommended local kennels or catteries
✔ Let a neighbour know you’ll be away – give them spare keys and emergency contact details just in case
✔ Book airport parking – paying in advance could help you save money, especially if you book reputable services a bit further away and catch a shuttle bus to the airport
Documents and travel insurance
Check your passport
How long is left on your passport? Check in good time for everyone who’s due to travel, in case any are about to expire. Some countries refuse entry to tourists whose passports are less than six months from expiry.
Applying for a new passport can take at least six weeks, while renewing a passport takes three weeks – so don’t leave it to the last minute. Passports can be renewed or replaced at any time. It costs £91.50, or £101.00 with the Post Office Passport Check & Send service.
You should also check well in advance if you need a visa for your destination. The time it takes to apply and receive a visa can vary.
Get travel insurance
Good travel insurance for everyone in your family should be top of the holiday checklist. It can provide extra reassurance as it may cover you for cancellation before your trip, missed or delayed flights, or lost, stolen luggage and other belongings such as passports and cash. Most importantly, it may cover emergency medical costs if you need attention while away.
In EU countries, a Ghic or Ehic will give you free or low-cost emergency and state medical care, but they’re not a replacement for travel insurance. They won’t cover you being airlifted from a mountain or flown back to the UK, or extra accommodation or transport costs for a family member if you need a long stay in hospital. So, it’s best to have your travel insurance in place well before you go and take all documents with you.