Planning your summer holiday is so exciting; it really whets your appetite for what’s to come. But being faced with so many options can be daunting: destination, type of accommodation, and whether to lean more towards cultural or sloth-on-the-beach type holiday. Taking two-week breaks can be a big investment, so how can you push the odds in your favour that your trip will be a success? The following travel tips should help you enjoy a holiday that ticks all the boxes.
Determine the budget
Hands up if you’ve had a holiday go over budget. Me too. It’s just so easy, especially if you carry credit cards. Then you really pay for it when you get home. So instead of getting a nasty bill on your return, set a budget and stick to it. And there are ways to make that budget go further.
Most people search a few comparison sites for cheap flights, such as Skyscanner, but did you know that sometimes it’s cheaper to go directly to the airline?
If you plan on just driving up and parking at the airport, you’re in for a shock. The drive-up gate price is far more expensive than if you pre-book, especially if you do so using a site like Looking4Parking.com where you can find great deals. Some airport long-stay car parks only accept pre-booked vehicles, such as Glasgow Prestwick.
When choosing accommodation, you may think an all-inclusive/full-board deal seems expensive, however, by the time you add up all the meals and drinks if you self-cater or get a hotel ‘room-only’ deal, paying for everything up front might work out cheaper.
Beach resort or city break
If you have a hectic lifestyle, it’s tempting to go for a ‘sun and swim’ holiday to relax. City destinations, on the other hand, are great if you like a more active holiday, with all the culture, attractions and amenities at your disposal. A third option could be a two-centre break, where you could stay in a vibrant city for a week, then lounge on a beach for the second half. But that requires packing up and moving locations, which can be a drag.
There are destinations that offer both. If you want somewhere close to home, Barcelona has stunning architecture, a lively nightlife, and plenty of sandy beaches for topping up your vitamin D. Miami also has everything you could want: great restaurants and nightclubs, Latin music, art deco architecture, and Cuban-influenced culture. You can read about my date night in Miami here.
While you don’t want your holiday to be too regimented, it’s still worthwhile drawing up an itinerary, or at the very least a tick list. You won’t want to miss any of the attractions that made you choose that location in the first place. A detailed itinerary will mean you do everything, however it will make the trip less spontaneous. A to-do list is more flexible, but it could mean you get to the end of your holiday with a few ticks missing.
A compromise could be having an itinerary for the top five things, then complete any additional activities as and when. If you’d like an app to help organise your holiday, Tripit is worth downloading.
In case of emergency…
A few simple safeguards can help prevent a mishap turning into a nightmare.
- Pack certified copies of your passport, visa, insurance certificate and driving licence. If anything happens to one of them, you’ve got a back-up. You can get document copies certified at your local post office.
- Bring a combination of local currency, Sterling and a prepaid credit card, and store them in different places. That way if your handbag or wallet gets stolen, you still have funds.
- Carry a first-aid kit. I include paracetamol, aloe vera gel, diarrhoea tablets, disinfectant wipes, thermometer, and plasters. If you take prescription medication, it’s always a good idea to bring more than you’ll need.
- Keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) list of contacts on you, particularly if your phone has a security lock. In the unlikely event that you’re in an accident or become very ill, it’s important for emergency services to be able to contact the necessary people at home.
Holidays are so precious, whether you’re with your other half, on your own, or part of a group. You want them to be a success in every way. By laying the groundwork and following the above tips, you should make the perfect summer holiday a reality.