Planning your Holiday

Holiday planning can help minimise the stress of traveling to your favourite holiday destination, plus help you save money on flights, hotels, parking, foreign currency, and travel insurance. It’s easier to enjoy your trip if you have planned ahead, knowing everything is taken care of with no last minute surprises, plus knowing you got the best possible deal makes things much more enjoyable! Most of us don’t have any problems making the most of our holidays once we arrive at our destination. But traveling can be one a really stressful experience, especially if you travel in peak season and with the family during school holidays.

With many holiday flights from travel agents like Thomson Holidays or Air Tours leaving really early in the morning, plus having to check-in up to two hours ahead of departure, if you are traveling with young children these early flights can be really grim. You can take much of the sting out of these early morning flights by booking a room at a hotel near the airport, then travel to the airport the night before. You can look for hotel and parking deals a few weeks before departure on many websites such as APH Airport Parking & Hotel, which will offer the option of inclusive parking which will usually be cheaper than booking hotel rooms and airport parking separately. Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Manchester and Luton airports all offer plenty of options for both hotels and airport long term parking. In addition if you are using public transport to get to the airport then remember that is usually cheaper when booked in advance online.

Arrival transfers to your holiday accommodation can also be booked in advance online if you have no hire car or transfer arranged. You do not necessarily have to buy currency before you travel, the most flexible and safest way to manage your money abroad is to pay for as much as you can on credit cards (or a prepaid card) and to simply withdraw cash from a local ATM. But if you haven’t got any currency at all and are nervous about arriving with no cash, then ordering in advance is likely to be the cheapest method, try price-comparison services online such as MoneySuperMarket and Gocompare.

Another way to reduce stress is to take advantage of online check-in to get the seats you want and have one less thing to worry about when you arrive at the airport. Most airlines now have a system that will allow you choose your seats well in advance, but each have different policies, EasyJet online check-in is available from 30 days before departure, Ryanair is seven days, Thomas Cook is 48 hours and British Airways is available just 24 hours (for economy class seats). Finally, sort out your luggage at least 48 hours prior to travel and check the size and weight of your bag against any airline baggage restrictions before you leave home and while you still have time to make adjustments – the last thing you need is to be emptying a suitcase at the airport to avoid a weight penalty! If you have not flown for some time, remember to be prepared for the additional security on all flights by by arriving early and being well prepared. If you really want to avoid hassle at the airport, some airports have concierge service where a uniformed concierge will meet you when you arrive and take you to a priority check-in so avoiding any queues, then through premium security channels and into an executive lounge – VIP service but at a cost of around just £100 for a family.