THE TRAVEL EXPERT’S HOLIDAY CHECKLIST

Leaving your travel planning to the last minute can only result in one thing, Pre-Holiday-Stress-Disorder (surprisingly not a confirmed medical condition).

Follow our Travel Expert’s Holiday Checklist and you’ll soon be fast-tracked to ‘Savvy Traveller’ status.

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  • Flag your booking confirmation email so it’s easy to find if you need it urgently.
  • Request any special assistance now, always best to re-confirm prior to departure.
  • Pre-book any special meal requests.
  • Grab seat reservations as soon as they’re available, if this is when on-line check-in opens, set a reminder in your diary so you’re first in the queue.

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  • Kennels and catteries book up more than 12 months in advance (seriously) so book your furry friends in now.

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  • Passport expiry date:  Some countries will not permit entry without at least 6 months validity on a passport.  Requirements can change at any time so be sure to check the rules for the country you’re visiting.
  • Visa requirements and processing timescales:  Check the embassy website of the country you’re visiting or your tour operator.
  • Electronically stored authorisation such as an ESTA for USA travel:   If you renew your passport, stored authorisations are not transferred and you must reapply.

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  • Pre-book in advance for the best Airport parking rates.
  • Short Stay doesn’t have to mean short trip, it’s just closer to the terminal but usually more expensive.
  • Long Stay car parks accept shorter bookings and include free shuttle bus transfers to the terminal (for both on-site airport parking and independent off-site).  Compare shuttle transfer times and frequency to weigh up all the pros and cons.
  • If you’re worried about security, Park Mark awarded sites offer safer parking standards.  Some even have car-scanning technology to detect the condition of your vehicle on arrival and departure.
  • The easiest and fastest option is a Meet & Greet or Valet service, head straight to the terminal where a trusty team member parks your car for you.  Perfect for families.

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  • EHIC is a must for European travel but it’s no substitute for Travel Insurance so make sure you have both.
  • EHIC is free of charge, valid for 6 years and entitles you to free or subsidised healthcare in EEA countries.
  • Adrenalin junkies on adventure holidays (or even just a little Trekking can be considered high risk) require specific insurance so check out the small print to make sure you have the cover you need.

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  • Hands down, the worst currency exchange rate is at the airport.
  • Prepaid currency cards lock in your currency rate on the day you load the card, also great if you’re on fixed budget.  Specialist credit cards with no transaction fees and favourable exchange rates are also a great way to make your hard earned cash go further.
  • To help give you the most spending power, travel money comparison sites have lots of great advice.  We particularly like the Travel Money Comparison Tool on www.moneysavingexpert.com.

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  • A sure way to start your holiday off on the wrong foot is being stuck at the check-in desk with luggage that’s too heavy.
  • Baggage allowance varies from airline to airline and differs by travel class so make sure you know your allowance to avoid any excess charges.
  • If your airline charges to check in bags, it’s always cheaper to pre-book.  Time to be honest, are you a bring-it- all or bare minimum kind of packer?
  • For airlines with less generous allowances, take a lightweight cabin suitcase too but check the size restrictions for your airline.  This handy link can help you find the right case by airline:  https://www.antler.co.uk/shop-by-airline

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  • Pre-book oversized luggage.  Golf clubs are often charged as a standard bag but still need to be carried to Oversized Luggage after check-in.
  • Larger items, i.e. a bike box, will incur a separate charge.  Enquire with your airline for the latest safety rules if you’re travelling with gas canisters or lithium batteries for your bike.
  • Generally, you’re allowed to carry a pushchair for free in the hold, but check before you fly.

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  • Compare car hire companies and brokers on-line for the best deals, lots to search through, but worth the investigation.
  • Some rental locations are off-site and require a shuttle bus from the terminal on arrival; they may be cheaper but consider the pluses and minuses first.
  • If the hire company has a rewards program, sign up before you book for the chance of a priority queue for vehicle collection or first dibs on vehicle upgrades (shh, keep it to yourself).
  • To collect a hire car, you must have the credit card with you that you used to make the reservation.
  • A UK driving license is all that’s needed to drive in most European countries.  Check out www.theaa.com for a list of countries that require an International Driving Permit (IDP).

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  • Escape to Lounge Class.
  • Even if you don’t have access to an Airline lounge, some airports offer perfect, peaceful retreats before take off with an Airport Lounge.
  • Pre-book a day pass but be warned, you could get used to this.  If you’re a frequent flyer, an annual membership means you can turn up to the lounge at any time.

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  • Arrange transfers for arrival at your destination and confirm any pick up locations or instructions.
  • As you enter the arrivals hall, nothing says ‘Welcome to your holiday’ more than a driver with your name board.

And…. relax; you’ve got this covered

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