When you’re heading into the unknown, it’s always wise to arm yourself with as much information as possible. I’m not talking about every facet of your destination, you do want to have some surprises, but I’m talking about the practical things, such as visas, insurance, and what to do in an emergency.
You might worry about what happens if there is a delay, which I often do, and to find out up to date news, I get around this by checking real-time information on my airport and flight in the days leading to up my departures. This eases my worries, gives me valuable information on my terminal and what’s going on at the time etc, and I also get to find out useful things like where to eat. All the important stuff! Last week I flew from Stansted, and in the days before, I was checking information on Stansted departures a couple of times a day; a little obsessive I know, but I was excited!
Extras such as visas and insurance are imperative, and these are things you need to research well ahead of time, depending on where you’re going. The best place to head is the Consulate website of the country you’re visiting, as that will give you the most reliable and up to date information. For example, if you’re heading off to the USA, remember you will need to apply for an ESTA online before you travel. Turkey has now also implemented an online visa system for all tourists, so instead of paying for your tourist visa at the airport, you now have to do this online and print it out before you travel.
As well as making sure you have all your extras lined up before you go away, it’s always worthwhile putting your travel plans into place as early as possible, that way you can look forward to your time away, without having to remember the little things you would otherwise forget. If you’re travelling a distance to the airport, have an early flight, or if you’re travelling long-haul, I would highly recommend booking a night at an airport hotel pre-flight. This has many advantages, not least that it means your holiday begins earlier, and the price tag won’t make you cry. I recently stayed at one of the hotels at Stansted Airport, and it completely took away the stress of getting to the airport, because I knew I was right where I needed to be. This is a service that is available nationwide, no matter where you’re flying from, so be sure to do a little research well ahead of time.
Of course, you should never travel without adequate travel insurance, and if you’re heading off to a country within the EU, make sure you apply for your free EHIC card. Despite this, you will still need travel insurance, as this card won’t cover you for everything. Always make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions, and print out all the relevant information to take with you. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it, but it’s there if you do.
It’s easy to forget about the extras, the fun ones and the important ones, but getting this out of the way early gives you more time to enjoy your holiday countdown.