Prepare to relax on holiday

Make sure you’re prepared for everything with our holiday checklist

Holidays should be relaxing. And the best way to stay relaxed is by preparing well. So we’ve put together this little checklist of things to do before you leave.

Ten weeks ahead:

  • Check your passport’s still valid. It takes at least 3 weeks to get a new passport. Any time left on your old passport will be added to your new one, up to a maximum of 9 months.
  • Get your visa. Find out if you need one and order it early, just in case there are admin problems.
  • Have your jabs. Ask your GP what, if any, inoculations you need. They can be pricey, and be prepared for the odd side effect.
  • Do some research. As well as getting you excited about your holiday, good research could help you save money while you’re away by helping you book activities in advance

Six weeks ahead:

  • Visit Tornados, heavy rain, political unrest – there are so many factors to consider. Keep checking the Foreign Office’s website for the latest news on your destination. Better still: follow them on Twitter (@fcotravel).
  • Get the European Health Insurance Card. Apply at for access to free or discounted emergency medical treatment throughout the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.
  • Sort out pet care. Book early so you always get a place.

Two weeks ahead

  • Get your reading material. Load up your e-reader – there’s nothing worse than running out of books in a hotel with unreliable Wi-Fi. And if you prefer the feel of paper, start looking for those two-for-one deals.
  • Think about the kids. If you’re taking the whole family, take enough to keep everyone entertained, from books and DVDs to beach, travel and mobile games.
  • Book the hire car. 
  • Get any medication you need. Make sure you’ve enough to keep you going through the holiday.

One week ahead

  • Check your travel documents. From your airline tickets to your hotel bookings, driving licence to sightseeing details, put everything you need in one place, ready to pack before you go.
  • Check your baggage. Measure sizes and weights against your airline’s overhead compartment and hold limits (some digital handheld scales can really help).
  • Order currency, travellers’ cheques and money cards. Currency is useful, obviously, but travellers’ cheques and money cards give you added protection if you lose them.
  • Get travel insurance. Visit for single and multi-trip policies and long stay extensions. We also offer scuba, baggage (including things like golf clubs), winter sports and travel disruption options. And if you’re taking precious items that are covered by your home contents insurance, check your policy is still valid. 
  • Protect your home. If someone breaks in while you’re away and your home’s not properly secured, your insurance could be invalid. So check all your locks work, and make sure you’ve enough cover for all your valuables at
  • Brush up on the driving rules and regulations. Even if they seem the same as ours, there can be subtle differences – like giving way to the right at Australian crossroads.
  • Check your route to the airport. It’s less stressful if you know the way. 

The day before

  • Finish your packing. Think about your wardrobe – will you need to cover up in certain areas? Have you got mosquito repellent? Enough sun cream?
  • Pack liquids, gels and pastes. If they’re going in the hold, put them in plastic bags in case they leak. And if they’re going in your cabin luggage, remember they can’t be over 100ml – and must be in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag when you go through customs.
  • Pack all your travel documents – including that all-important passport in cabin luggage.
  • Tell your bank. Let them know you’re going abroad, and they won’t get suspicious when they see overseas activity on your cards.

On the day

  • Check your important paperwork. Make sure you’ve got it all packed, one last time – passport, visas, maps, hotel confirmations, activity bookings and medication.
  • Arrive early for your check-in. You wouldn’t want to prepare so well and then miss the flight.

It might sound like there’s a lot to do, but most of the points are common sense. Cover yourself against all eventualities, and you’ll be ready to make the most of every second you’re away.

Have a fantastic holiday!

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