Many of us have travel habits, or even rituals, we like to stick to when venturing overseas. From using your favourite trusty suitcase, to leaving your passport by the front door the night before your departure, there are plenty of travel traditions that feel as much a part of going on holiday as the first poolside cocktail.
With this in mind, we’ve gathered some of the best travel tips you may not have heard of, designed to help you have your best ever holiday, and even more importantly, to ensure your health and wellbeing is a top priority during your trip.
1. Read up on official travel advice for your destination
The world is always changing and while most foreign travel is perfectly safe, it’s always a good idea to know about any events happening in your destination country that might affect your holiday. This is especially important if you’re planning to travel to somewhere far-flung or off the beaten track.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website contains the latest non-biased advice for travellers to 225 global countries and territories. It includes information on safety and security, local laws and customs and the risk of natural disasters. There is also guidance on any entry requirements necessary to visit, such as visas and passport validity. It’s worth having a read before you go, even if you’re due to visit a country you’ve been to before.
Please note that most travel insurance policies will not cover you if you are visiting a destination where the FCO has advised against travel.
2. Make copies of your travel documents and email them to yourself
A travel insurance policy should include cover for the loss or theft of your passport and other travel documents. However, having electronic copies of them can give you peace of mind while you’re away, and can help no end in the event that they are misplaced, ruined or stolen.
Scan your passport and driver’s license and email them to yourself so that you can access them from any connected device, then flag the email(s) or mark them as important so that you can easily find them in your inbox. Make sure you have a record of your travel insurance policy and your 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number too.
3. Let your bank or credit card company know where you’re going
This is an easy box to tick and ensures you can use your debit and credit cards with no problems while overseas. Most UK banks and credit card companies allow you to notify them of your travel plans online, and doing so will mean that they don’t freeze your card when they see it being used somewhere unexpected.
It may also be worth having a conversation with your bank about any potential foreign transaction fees they may impose on your account, and if there’s any way to avoid these – such as using cash machines connected to your bank.
Have a read of this page, which contains lots of great advice on travel money.
4. Decant liquid toiletries into refillable travel-sized bottles
As we all know, flight hand luggage restrictions prevent you taking any container holding more than 100ml liquid in your cabin baggage. Although it can be fiddly, invest in some refillable 100ml bottles. You can then use them to carry small amounts of your favourite toiletries is a great way to ensure you can take everything you need with you on board.
Don’t limit refillable bottles to your cabin baggage though; use them for the toiletries in your main luggage, such as shampoo and shower gel. This can really help to keep the weight of your bag down and gives you the perfect amount for a week or two away.
5. Include your flight number on your car rental booking
If you’re flying to your destination then renting a car, remember to include your flight number on your car rental booking. This way, if your flight is delayed or even cancelled, your car rental company will be aware.
6. Mark your bag as fragile for a quick airport turnaround
Waiting for your bag to appear on the luggage carousel after a flight can be frustrating when all you want to do is reach your holiday accommodation. Get yourself a luggage belt or tag marked as ‘Fragile’ and you should find that your bag is one of the first off the plane, as well as making sure that it’s handled with care.
7. Charge devices using your hotel room TV
If you get to your hotel or self-catering accommodation and realise you’ve forgotten to pack a travel adaptor for your phone, camera or other devices, don’t worry. Most televisions include a USB port at the back, which provides a perfect place to plug in and charge devices with USB cables.
8. Use cloth boxes to keep your suitcase organised
A lack of storage facilities in your accommodation or frequently moving from place to place can mean you can’t easily unpack your holiday wardrobe. This can leave you with a rather chaotic suitcase after just a couple of days.
Taking some collapsible cloth boxes with you in your luggage can help keep your clothes separated and far easier to find. You can have a box each for tops, bottoms, underwear and even clothes for washing once you get home.
9. Protect yourself and your travelling companions with specialist travel insurance
Of course, the most important travel tip will always be to secure travel insurance for your unique health needs. Specialist travel insurance providers like us are dedicated to offering cover to those with existing medical conditions and disabilities, of any age, who may have struggled to find cover elsewhere.
If this is you, we’re keen to show why Free Spirit is different. Our medical travel insurance is designed to ensure emergency healthcare and assistance is available to you while you’re away and the costs are covered*, in addition to a wealth of other travel benefits. These include cover for repatriation and aftercare, loss or theft of medication, medical aids or travel documents, cover for disruption to your journey and cancellation cover for you and your entire travelling party under one policy.
For a free no-obligation travel insurance quote, simply apply online or call us on 0800 170 7704 from Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm (closed Bank Holidays).
*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply – please see the policy wording for full details.