Leader of the Pack

5th April 2019

Going on holiday is wonderful, but there can be a lot to do in the run-up – and sometimes it can feel like more trouble than it’s worth.. Lisa Botwright has some travel preparation tips that will ensure a smooth get-away and a stress free journey…

1. Love your luggage:
It’s temping to hazard a guess whether your luggage meets your airline’s weight requirements, but this can be a costly mistake, especially as you can buy a handy luggage scale for as little as £3 online. (You can even take it with you to check your baggage post-holiday shopping).
Good quality lightweight baggage is always a great investment. Expertreviews.co.uk recommend IT Luggage for the best reasonably-priced lightweight suitcases.

2. Pack with precision:
Which leads us on to packing… easy for some, and a source of stress for others. Lay everything out on the bed that you want to take – and then put about a third back in your wardrobe. You’ll never wear it all anyway! Plus, you’ll be left with a great capsule wardrobe of your favourite items. To save space, stuff your shoes with socks, underwear and smaller items. Double-bag toiletries so you don’t have to deal with messy spills.

3. Be financially savvy:
For the best exchange deals, it’s best to get your travel money in advance. Compare rates using a comparison site like travelmoney.moneysavingexpert.com. To avoid unexpected charges, check the smallprint on your credit card, or consider a specialist travel one. Do tell your bank you’re going abroad so they don’t stop your cards because of ‘suspicious spending’.

4. Shop around:
The same goes for most aspects of your holiday. Do your research and shop around for the best deals on taxis, train fares, car park charges and hire cars. Airports, for example, often make more money from parking than planes – but you can halve the price if you look for early-bird deals.

5. Keep your home secure:
An empty home can be a security risk, so for your own piece of mind, ask a kind neighbour to keep an eye on things. They can put your bins out on the right day, collect a parcel that might be sitting on the doorstep, water the plants or open and close your curtains. Do check that your house insurance is up to date, and there aren’t any hidden catches. Some policies won’t pay out in full if you’re out of the country for a certain amount of time.

6. Nail those nerves:
Anticipatory anxiety is one of the biggest factors for a nervous flier. You start to fear the very worst, which in turn activates the fear centre in the brain. Hypnotherapist Rebecca Sanderson advises clients who come for treatment for a flying phobia to imagine the journey going the way they would like it to go, instead of the way they fear it going. This, combined with some deep relaxation exercises, can help create a feeling of calm… and when you are calm you are able to think more rationally and feel safe and in control.

7. Check your paperwork:
Some countries require a certain amount of time to be left on your passport after arrival, so not only is it important to check if your passport’s in date, it might also be vital to check for how long. Plus, you may need a visa. For up-to-date global entry requirements, take a look at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice and make sure you won’t be turned away at point of entry…

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