Going on holiday can be stressful. After a big build-up (not to mention a lot of expense), you will want to be as organised as possible. While it's all-too easy to wait until the week of your flight to sort out things like currency, it's so much better to get ahead.
From planning that holiday itinerary to packing enough clothes to tide you over for two weeks, there's a lot to consider – and it's no surprise that many of us stuggle to switch off on the first day of a vacation.
To help you clock out and make the most of your down-time this summer, check out our top tips for planning ahead and taking the stress out of heading off on your vacation.
don't leave everything until the airport
Consider booking your travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday (and definitely don't leave it until you're at the airport)!
Make sure you keep all your documents in one place with a handy folder so you're not scrambling around with sheets of paper at the check-in desk. And, to avoid any unexpected extra costs, weigh your luggage before you head off.
get all the apps
Apps and websites are great at helping you get much more out of your getaway, from travel tips sites to language translators, money converters and health apps. SmarterTravel's ultimate downloadable packing checklist is a great starting point for when you're drafting up your own list, and will help you make sure you don't forget must-haves like adaptors and toothbrushes.
Duolingo is great for brushing up on the local language before you fly, then use App in the Air before and during your flight to check accurate departure times and monitor how far you are from your destination once you're off ground using the digital map.
Once you touch down, Citymapper offers a brilliant, interactive map of most cities around the world, helping you get from A to B whether you're on foot, in a car or using public transport; much speedier than pulling out a gigantic paper map - and much more discreet, too! Monzo is great for holidays - top up your card then use it to pay in restaurants and shops while you're abroad to avoid international exchange charges.
make sure to put these in your suitcase
Throw these handy extras in your case to save space and keep your stress levels to a minimum:
- An empty pillowcase will be perfect for stashing dirty laundry
- A lightweight sports towel, just in case...
- An inflatable travel pillow – which means you can sleep on your flight or in the car, but don't have to deal with a bulky pillow sticking out your bag!
- An old glasses case to store earbuds and cords
- Travel minis, for when you're not checking luggage. You can pick up some here.
- You could also invest in a bright and colourful luggage tag which will help you to identify your case.
be savvy with your suitcase
Lightweight fabric suitcases are great as they use up less weight from your baggage allowance and have a bit of 'give' so you can fit more in. It's also advisable to check on your airline's website for their specific hand baggage dimensions - some are smaller than others and you don't want to be caught out. Check out our range of luggage in stores.
Lay everything out before you start and tick it off your list. Pack awkward items first, with heavier items closer to the wheels, so you can see where the space is. If you're running out of room in your case, try rolling up your folded clothes, and make use of the space in your shoes by filling them with underwear and toiletries.
the AIRPORT QUEUE hack
No one likes waiting in queues, but these are part and parcel of travelling.
The majority of travellers are right-handed so head to the furthest left counter from the entrance. Fewer people choose that line as people gravitate to right-hand counters to match their dominant writing hand. Soon, you’ll be one of the first to make it through to baggage claim!
Double check your destination is ready for you
Booking through Airbnb or similar holiday letting sites is growing in popularity, and while you can get amazing deals and beautiful properties, it's always best to check off a few things before you leave.
If you have booked far in advance, make contact with the host to ensure they are expecting you. Unlike hotels, check in times vary depending on people's schedules so it's worth checking how flexible they can be in advance in case you're delayed, or early. Also make sure they have given you accurate directions that you can plot on a paper map, especially if your phone runs out of battery.
And finally, and most importantly, how will you get the keys?