5 Things To Do Before Your Holiday

So you’ve booked your holiday and now all you have to do is look forward to the trip. However, during the couple of months or so between booking your holiday and actually going on it, there are a few key things which you should be doing in preparation.

1) Check your passports – Imagine you’ve packed your bags, got all the way to the airport, queued at the check-in, only to discover that your passport is no longer valid. It’d be a disaster, and one which, unfortunately, you can’t talk your way out of. Before you go anywhere it is essential that you check that your passport is in date. You should also remember that certain countries will only let you in if your passport has a certain amount of validity left on it. For example, the USA will only let you in if your passport will still be valid for 6 months after your trip.
2) Visa Requirements – Although your travel agent should advise you on this, if you’ve booked your holiday entirely online then you may be unaware of the country’s visa laws. For example, the USA has recently introduced a Visa Waiver Programme for British Citizens for which you need to fill in an online form and make a payment at least 72 hours before you travel there. For Russia, you need a visa that takes a minimum 3-10 days to be processed and which is then not valid for use for a further 5 days. It is advised that you apply for one well in advance of your trip. So make sure you know what you need to enter your chosen country and that you go about getting it well before you leave.
3) Vaccinations – If you’re planning on travelling somewhere exotic, or even somewhere closer to home, the chances are that you’ll need some form of vaccination. Again, this is something that your travel agent should advise you on, but there are plenty of sources of information online too. Also, check the entry requirements for your chosen country, as some of them specifically state a requirement for certain inoculations. Don’t forget, you will normally need to get these injections at least four weeks before you travel, and six to eight weeks prior is considered preferable.
4) Insurance – Before you go holiday make sure you have all the necessary health and travel insurance you need. Although holidays should be fun and safe, accidents and illnesses do happen. Having your bags lost or stolen, having to visit a doctor abroad, or even worse having to pay for an emergency flight home, could cost you serious amounts of money. So be safe and sensible, and make sure you have insurance which covers these eventualities so you can enjoy your holiday worry-free.
5) Research the country – Although you probably did some research when you chose your destination, it’s now time to do some thorough research. Making sure you’re up to speed on local culture and customs is a sensible way of ensuring a smooth trip. Understanding the social differences mean you can minimise your risk of embarrassing yourself, offending anyone or, worse, breaking any local laws. Also, doing some research before you go can help you find exciting places to visit, great places to eat, and enable you to get more out of your holiday than the average unprepared tourist.
If you can do all of these things before your holiday then you should be prepared for every eventuality. Taking the time to do these five simple things means you’ll be in no danger of being unable to enter the country, you will be at minimal risk from any diseases, and you should be able to have a richer, worry-free, experience.
written by: Kat Kraetzer a travel writer with several years experience in escorted tours