Friday, 17 May 2013

Preparing For Your Holiday

This time of year your thoughts may well be turning to your holiday. Maybe you’ve already booked a break away, counting down the months, weeks or even days until you go, or perhaps you’re still hunting for that great bargain deal.

Whatever your plans for this year, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re well prepared.

Renew that passport! Don’t wait until the last minute to check the expiry date on your passport. It’s so easy to forget how long it is since you last renewed it, so double check to be sure. Whether renewing your passport or applying for your first one, I recommend that you use the Post Office Check & Send service. For a fee of £8.75, your form will be checked for omissions and errors, relevant accompanying documents verified and your photo confirmed as passport standard. This prevents your form from being returned to you due to errors, avoiding delays, and includes special delivery of your passport, to further speed up the process. I recently renewed my son’s passport using this service and received his new one within just 10 days.

Ensure you have a valid EHIC – European Health Insurance Card. This is enables you to receive free/reduced cost medical treatment on the same basis as local residents in the countries that it covers (those in the European union plus a few others). But beware! When applying for/renewing your card, take care to avoid the dodgy websites out there that charge a fee for application. When we entered EHIC into the search engine, the first site that came up tried to charge us £29! Remember, the EHIC cards are FREE! Apply for your card using the NHS Choices website, where you just complete a simple form to receive your card – no fee involved.

Prepare to pack. Now is the time to start assembling some of the fiddly toiletry/cosmetic items that you may want to take away. Save sample sachets of face creams etc that you find on the pages of the odd magazine, to pack as opposed to big pots for a short break. Travel sized versions of many toiletries are available to buy, but often cost almost as much as their full-sized counterparts, so either refill any existing mini bottles that your may have, or buy small, empty bottles designed for this purpose from shops such as Superdrug (refillable jar 99p. bottles from £1.59).

Now is the time to get prepared!

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