Getting ready to go on holiday with your family can be notoriously stressful. There are always a hundred and one things to do and it never feels like there is enough time to get through it all.
Especially when you have young children, your priority is packing and ensuring you have everything they will need for the duration of your trip. With your mind on long lists of essential supplies to buy and pack, it is easy to overlook the small details that can actually have a huge impact on your holiday.
Here is a helpful reminder of eight important jobs you shouldn’t forget about before you go away.
Check your baggage allowance
With the modern trend for budget airlines to charge for hold luggage by weight, it is important to be sure of exactly what your allowances are, for both your cabin bags and your main suitcases.
With rules varying from airline to airline, passengers frequently get caught out by turning up with hand luggage that is too large or cases that are too heavy. While it won’t spell disaster for your holiday, it could mean an unexpected surcharge to upgrade your luggage allowance, or you might even have to buy new bags at the airport.
Pre-book transport to the airport
Most holidaymakers like to know how they will get from their destination airport to their accommodation well in advance and make sure they have transfers booked.
What is often left to the last minute is arrangements for getting to your departure airport – and that can end up being costly. If you intend to take the train or park your car at the airport, bear in mind that prices often rise considerably the later you leave it.
Buy travel insurance
This really is an absolute must, but an alarmingly large number of people still travel abroad without insurance.
One in five UK holidaymakers did not buy travel insurance at all for their holiday in 2017/18, while one in four bought insurance that did not cover them correctly. If you don’t have valid travel insurance, you have no financial protection for lost luggage, cancelled flights or, crucially, the cost of medical care if someone in your party falls ill or suffers an accident while you are away.
If someone in your family has a medical condition, or if you intend to take part in any kind of ‘at risk’ activity – anything from skiing to scuba diving – it is essential that you declare this and check the terms of the policy you are buying. You may need to look for a specialised policy, otherwise you could find your insurance invalidated if you need to make a claim. You can find out more about specialist travel insurance policies on this website.
Sort out a mobile roaming package
Access to the internet is not something most people want to leave behind at home these days. And when you have children, you quickly see the merit of being able to switch on a favourite game or stream a favourite movie to grab yourself some much-needed relaxation time.
One thing many travellers still fear, outside Europe at least, is incurring eye-wateringly high mobile data roaming charges for the privilege of staying connected – a risk especially with younger children who are savvy enough to know how to switch data back on even if you’ve turned it off. Unless you want to restrict device use to the hotel WiFi, buying a data roaming package, either from your contract provider or by buying a local SIM card once you arrive, is a cost-effective way to ensure everyone can enjoy the benefits of getting online throughout your holiday, without the worry of crippling surcharges.
Tell your bank you are going away
As more and more people rely on using their bank cards at ATMs to get their foreign currency, or just use their card for general purchases as they would at home, it is important to tell your bank about your plans
The anti-fraud monitoring systems banks have in place are set up to detect unusual activity, such as your card being used abroad, and automatically shut down your account. This is more of a risk the further from home you travel, but it is a good idea to get into the habit of telling your bank whenever you go away.
Take the right socket adapters
It is one of the most common mistakes people make when they go on holiday – they turn up in, say, the United States with a round two-pin style adapter, only to realise the sockets are the flat two-pin type. There are, in fact, 13 different types of plug socket used around the world, so it is well worth double checking before you go.
Alternatively, as most of the varieties use some combination of flat and round pins (the UK-style rectangular pins being the least common), you can buy universal adapters which provide fittings that will work in most locations.
Stock up on travel sickness tablets
Younger children are far more prone to travel sickness than adults. Especially on car journeys and boat trips, even relatively short trips can quickly leave them feeling unwell. This is not only very unpleasant for them, but it can also cause all sorts of chaos if they are physically sick.
Travel sickness tablets – sometimes called ‘sea legs’ – are an absolute godsend for anyone, young and old, who is prone to feeling a little queasy on a journey.
Pack a first aid kit
Finally, on the topic of health and well-being, it is always a good idea to take a well-stocked first aid kit and basic medicines like paracetamol, especially for children. You never know when they might get a bump and a bruise, or start to feel unwell, during your journey or once you arrive. Remember the 100ml limit if you are taking any liquid medicines or creams in your hand luggage.
For ideas of what to pack for a short break / weekend away please see –
What to Pack for a Family Weekend Away | Oderase and Other Travel Essentials