Even seasoned travellers struggle to remember all the little details of preparing for a trip.
In most cases you’re too busy sorting out flights, transfers, hire cars and accommodation to remember that before you go there are jobs that need to be done to ensure life is a little easier when you return.
Here’s our list of things to remember to do before you go!
1. Hearth and Home
Even if you’re away for a weekend it’s important to think about home security. Are you locking up and leaving or getting a sitter in? Asking a neighbour to pop around or leaving a window open for the cat? Make sure family and friends nearby know you are away and get a few to check on the house from time to time. We’ve found the best way is to ask a neighbour to pop around once a day or every second day – just for peace of mind.
2. Pet Dilemma
If you have pets you need to think about housing them well in advance. Vaccinations need to be up to date and kennels and catteries get booked up early. Plan ahead and book especially if you’re going in school holiday times.
3. Keeping the plants alive
If you’re away for a week or more you’ll need to get the plants watered. Neighbours and family are great but it can be a heavy burden for them especially if they end up overwatering your new rare orchid!
Buy plant feeders and water ‘balloons’ to ensure that they have a constant trickle of nourishment while you’re gone. If you’re away in the Summer months book a gardening service to mow the lawn so people notice the house is cared for.
4. Pre-book airport parking
Booking airport parking for long stays saves you money and eases the stress of trying to park during peak seasons. There’s also a great concierge service at most airports now where you can just drop your car and go and they’ll come and greet you again on your arrival. Booking well ahead ensures you get a good price too!
5. Personal Issues
Passports, vaccinations, visas! These are just three of the things that take time to arrange if you need them. More and more of us book our own holidays now and we don’t always know which countries require visas so double check and ask your doctor about vaccinations if you’re not sure. Countries with a high rate of Malaria will require you to take medication against the disease and you’ll find that carrying simple medication could save your life.
6. Research those little things
It’s best to find out more about the country or place you intend to visit beforehand. Morocco is now a popular destination but you can’t buy currency until you’re actually there and you shouldn’t drink the water unless it’s tightly bottled! It’s these little things that could make a big difference to you having a great holiday.
Do you know what weight baggage your airline will allow? Economy airlines like RyanAir and Easy Jet only allow 20kgs each and a tiny hand luggage. You need to book them separately when you buy a ticket as they don’t automatically add it in. A handbag is counted as a piece of hand luggage. So is a laptop. Make sure you’ve read their luggage requirements and that you comply as you don’t want to have to unpack and leave personal belongings at the airport!
8. Money Matters
Most of the time you can travel with plastic and draw cash if you need it. Many travellers take a certain amount of currency local to their destination but some countries, like Morocco, have a closed currency so you have to take your own currency with you or British Pounds. The things is, most of the guides, stall holders, taxi drivers and snake charmers want Dirham and often don’t have change (at least that’s what they tell you). Make sure you’re stocked up on small change as well as larger notes!
We’re used to travelling and feeling relatively safe in the United Kingdom but not all countries are like that. Many people leave their suitcases unlocked but it’s worth investing in a decent lock and using it when you put it through baggage control and when you leave it in your hotel room.
We appreciate that the locks are small and easily broken but it is a deterrent and makes people think twice about it. Cling film wrapping is popular in many countries now especially African countries because of pilfering and Samsonites are still one of the best luggage manufacturers in the world in this regard.
10. Let family know where you are
If you are travelling, it’s wise to let family know where you are. No one knows what could happen and if you are unfortunate enough to have an accident or be involved in an unpleasant encounter it helps if someone at home can report you missing or help you get back in one piece.
Arrange to text message a few times during your holiday so that they question it if you don’t. Leave the name and telephone number of your hotel as well as your mobile phone number in case you can’t use your own phone. Ensure you have mobile roaming on your phone and set it up before you go.
We hope this helps and without scaring you, allows you to travel with peace of mind. If you have any more tips about what to remember before going away for a holiday, please let us know in the comments below.