So you’ve booked (or are about to book) your first holiday abroad and you’re counting down the days until you’re lounging in that glorious sun, sipping a cocktail (or three) on the beautiful, Instagram-perfect beach. What’s even better? FREEDOM! No parents dictating the destination or monitoring how much alcohol you’re consuming. For those of you who are embarking on your first holiday away from parents, you’re going to finally be able to call the shots yourself and make this holiday cater to every one of your needs.
What’s not so great? All the responsibility. Up until your first independent holiday, you’ve probably not had to worry about all the preparations, documents, and itineraries. Just thinking about the whole process is likely to feel like a hugely overwhelming panic! Not to worry, because we’ve put together a list of everything you’ll need to consider and prepare to ensure you’re completely organised and stress-free ahead of your flight.
Make Sure You Have All the Documents You Need
It might be useful to keep all of them in a secure folder. These include:
- Passport: Make sure it’s comfortably in date (allow six months).
- Travel Insurance: A print out of all associated documents.
- Holiday confirmation: When you booked your holiday, you should have been emailed a confirmation with all your flight, hotel and transfer details on. Make sure every informative document is printed and on you ready for your flight.
- Check-in details: This should be sorted and e-mailed to you within one week of your flight. These are the documents you’ll need to show at the flight check-in desk, it has your flight details and allocated seat numbers on. So make sure this is printed out ready.
- EHIC card: This isn’t completely compulsory but it may be useful to have it on you anyway. If you don’t have one, you can order one for free online. If not, your travel insurance should be able to cover it.
Purchase Suitable Travel Insurance
You’ll be able to purchase this from many different places. Just have a look online and shop for the best deal. Most holiday companies offer insurance but I tend to find ASDA do a really cost-effective one. Generally, you’ll only need standard insurance, so don’t let websites bully you into thinking you’ll need to raid the bank for Premium. Make sure all these documents are printed out and on you for the holiday.
Arrange Any Recommended Vaccinations
Check on the NHS website to see if you’ll need to be vaccinated against anything in good time for your holiday.
Check To See If You’ll Need To Purchase Any VISAs
Information regarding VISAs for your destination can be found on the government website or just by a simple google search online. Some countries require a VISA to be purchased within a certain length of time before your visit, so make sure you check this as soon as possible!
Purchase YourForeign Currency
This can be done at various places: post office, currency exchange desks and in travel agent stores. Make sure to exchange enough money – generally a higher amount than you anticipate to spend, just in case there’re any emergencies or you underestimate how much you’ll need.
Plan Your Airport Journey
If you’re planning on driving to the airport, make sure you’ve found and purchased suitable parking well before you fly. This is usually offered when you initially book your holiday, however, if you’ve missed this, you can book a parking space on your airport’s website or with your travel agent.
Plan how much time you’ll need to allocate towards traveling to the airport and then add a few extra hours on! Traffic can be unpredictable or you may accidentally get lost or have trouble finding the right part of the airport. Don’t get there in time and you may miss your flight – so it’s far better to be hanging around really early than it is rushing and potentially not even going.
Usually, holiday companies now require you to check-in online. You can do this by logging in online or downloading their app and putting in your details. Check-in usually opens around a week before you fly and this is where your seat will be allocated (if you haven’t paid to reserve particular ones) and your flight information will be e-mailed to you (make sure to print this information out). Aim to do this sooner rather than later, as you’ll have a slightly better choice of the remaining available seats.
Plan Any Excursions
Whether you’re planning to do lots of traveling or simply relaxing by the beach, it is incredibly useful to have an idea about what trips you want to make while you’re away. Information on local tourist attractions will usually be provided by your travel agent or you can have a look online. Even if you don’t book any trips before you go, it’s a good idea to travel already knowing what’s available and how much money each attraction is looking to cost.