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Travel + Money: 10 Things to Organise Before a Family Holiday

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Once you’ve found the best price and booked the hotel and flights, it’s time to get your family ready for your upcoming holiday. When you have kids, this process can seem incredibly stressful. Even though an exciting holiday is upon you, there are certain things that you need to organise before jetting off – whether you’re heading off to a nearby destination or further afield. 

To help make this process a little easier, here is a list of the top 10 things you must do before you leave on your getaway. 

Travel + Money 10 Things to Organise Before a Family Holiday

Travel + Money: 10 Things to Organise Before a Family Holiday

Planning a family holiday can be an exhilarating experience filled with anticipation and excitement. The thought of exploring new destinations, creating precious memories, and escaping from the routines of everyday life brings a sense of joy to both parents and children alike. However, amidst the thrill of it all, there are crucial preparations that need to be taken care of before embarking on your adventure. Ensuring a smooth and stress-free vacation requires careful organisation and attention to detail.

In this blog post, we will guide you through the top 10 things to organise before a family holiday, focusing on the essential aspects of travel and money management. By addressing these key factors, you can ensure a seamless journey and make the most of your well-deserved vacation.

1.     Check Passports 

One of the most crucial tasks before embarking on a family holiday is to ensure that everyone's passports are up to date. Passport validity is essential for hassle-free travel, as an expired passport can quickly turn your dream vacation into a nightmare. Take the time to carefully inspect each family member's passport and verify that it will remain valid for the entire duration of your trip.

It is particularly important to check the expiration date, as many countries require passports to have a minimum of six months of validity remaining. If any passport is due to expire within the next eight months, it is highly recommended to apply for a renewal before making any travel arrangements. By doing so, you can avoid the last-minute rush and potential delays that may arise during the passport renewal process.

It's essential to plan ahead for passport renewals, as they can be a significant expense. Keep in mind that obtaining new passports involves application fees, and these costs should be factored into your holiday budget. By addressing passport validity well in advance, you can alleviate the stress and financial burden that may arise from urgent renewals or unexpected travel document issues.

Also, you need to apply for a new passport BEFORE you book your holiday. New passports come with new passport numbers, so it's vital you apply well in advance of booking your next holiday and don't enter a passport number that will have expired by the time it's your holiday!

Remember, passports are not only vital for entry into your destination country but may also be required for certain activities, such as renting a car or checking into accommodations. Therefore, double-checking the validity of passports and ensuring that renewals are taken care of promptly will help you avoid any unnecessary complications that could potentially disrupt your family holiday.

2.     Look at Luggage Allowances

When planning a family holiday, it's easy to fall into the trap of overpacking! From the numerous outfits for each family member to the array of toys and games, the luggage can quickly become overloaded. However, exceeding the airline's luggage allowances can lead to unexpected costs and unnecessary stress at the airport.

To avoid these potential issues, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the luggage allowances set by the airline you're flying with before heading to the airport. Take the time to carefully review their policies regarding weight limits, dimensions, and the number of bags allowed per passenger. This information is typically available on the airline's website or in the booking confirmation details.

By being aware of the specific luggage allowances, you can ensure that you pack within the permitted limits and avoid any additional charges. Additionally, having some spare room in your luggage will provide the flexibility to bring back souvenirs or goodies from your holiday destination, without worrying about exceeding the weight allowance on the return journey.

To stay on track with your luggage weight, it may be worth investing in a portable weighing device. These handy tools allow you to check the weight of your bags before leaving for the airport, ensuring that you are within the specified limits. Alternatively, you can weigh your suitcases at home before departing, leaving enough room and weight capacity for any items you might acquire during your holiday.

3.     Buy Travel Insurance 

When it comes to planning a family holiday, one aspect that should never be overlooked is travel insurance. Travel insurance is not just an optional add-on; it is a crucial safeguard that protects you and your loved ones while you're abroad. It provides peace of mind by offering essential coverage such as 24/7 emergency assistance, protection for pre-existing medical conditions, and reimbursement for cancellations or disruptions that may occur.

The significance of travel insurance becomes apparent when considering the potential risks and unforeseen circumstances that can arise during your trip. Without proper coverage, you could find yourself burdened with exorbitant hospital bills in the event of an illness or injury. Additionally, if your holiday plans need to be cancelled or cut short due to unforeseen circumstances like natural disasters or personal emergencies, you may face the loss of non-refundable expenses, including flights, accommodations, and pre-booked activities.

By investing in travel insurance, you protect yourself and your family from these financial burdens, ensuring that you can focus on enjoying your holiday without the worry of unexpected expenses. Travel insurance acts as a safety net, allowing you to navigate through any challenges that may arise during your travels, knowing that you have access to emergency medical assistance and financial protection.

While travel insurance is highly recommended, it's important to note that it is not the only type of insurance you may need for your holiday. Depending on your specific travel arrangements, additional insurance coverage may be required. For instance, if you plan to drive a car during your trip, whether it's a European road trip or renting a car at your destination, you need to ensure you have adequate car insurance that complies with the requirements of the countries you'll be travelling in.

If you're taking your motorhome or towing a caravan, separate insurance coverage specific to these vehicles is essential. Caravan insurance, for example, offers protection for your caravan in case of theft, damage, or accidents, as it is not typically covered by your car insurance policy.  Just like with regular car insurance, you can compare caravan insurance options online to find the right coverage for your needs. Look for features like new-for-old replacement and coverage for contents. Consider excess, no-claims bonus, and European travel coverage if applicable.

Ensuring you have the right insurance coverage for your specific travel needs will provide an added layer of protection and give you the confidence to explore and enjoy your family holiday to the fullest.

Remember, while travel insurance and other forms of coverage may incur additional costs, they are an investment in your peace of mind and financial security. By prioritising insurance, you can mitigate potential risks, avoid undue financial hardship, and create a worry-free environment for your family's holiday experience.

4.     Organise Travel Money 

When preparing for your family holiday, it's essential to plan and organise your travel money. Your travel money will cover all of the costs accrued on the holiday – from meals at restaurants to activities and souvenirs. However, before purchasing your holiday money, it’s a good idea to compare and contrast the various rates for the currency you need.

You might find that certain places, such as Sainsbury’s and M&S, have different rates. So it’s important to find the best exchange rate possible.

By taking the time to compare exchange rates, you can ensure that you get the most favourable deal and make the most of your travel funds. This simple step can help you stretch your budget further and have more spending power during your family holiday.

You can also opt to use card when abroad, or a mixture.  Check out our blog post on is it better to use cash or card abroad for more information. 

5.     Pre-Book Airport Parking 

When preparing for your family holiday, it's wise to consider pre-booking your airport parking in advance. This simple step can save you both time and money while providing peace of mind knowing that you have secured the best deal and a safe parking spot for your car. There are various providers available, such as Purple Parking, that offer convenient parking options.

Similar to exchange rates, parking prices can vary depending on the provider and the duration of your holiday. Therefore, it's worth taking the time to shop around and compare prices to ensure you get the most competitive rate available.

One way to further save money on airport parking is to explore cashback offers provided by platforms like TopCashback. After finding the best airport parking deal, check if there are any cashback offers available on TopCashback that can provide additional savings.


6.     Book Your Rental Car in Advance

If you and your family plan to explore your holiday destination, it's advisable to book a rental car online before you embark on your trip. Waiting until you arrive at your destination may result in higher prices and limited availability due to high demand at the airport.

By booking your rental car online, you not only save money but also gain peace of mind knowing that your preferred vehicle will be ready and waiting for you as soon as you step off the plane. This is particularly important for family holidays, especially when travelling to distant destinations that require a car for convenient exploration, such as if you are travelling from the UK to the United States.

By securing your rental car in advance, you can avoid the hassle of long queues at the airport arrivals gate while trying to keep your kids entertained. Instead, you can smoothly transition from the airport to your car, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable start to your family holiday.

Also, booking your rental car online gives you the opportunity to compare different providers, browse through vehicle options, and select the best deal that suits your family's needs and budget. You can also take advantage of cashback deals and promo codes available for online bookings, saving you even more money.

With a pre-booked rental car, you have the freedom and flexibility to explore your holiday destination at your own pace, conveniently visiting attractions, scenic spots, and family-friendly locations. So, don't wait until you arrive at your destination; take the proactive step of booking your rental car in advance, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience for the entire family.

7.     Pack, Pack, Pack!

Now comes the most stressful time for many families – packing. Trying to organise what both you and your kids are going to wear for the next week or so can be time-consuming and require considerable effort. That's why it's advisable to start packing in advance.

Unfortunately, it's common for families to leave packing until the last minute, rushing to wash clothes and pack the night before their trip. While family life can be hectic, taking the time to pack earlier can help alleviate stress and ensure a smooth start to your holiday. This is particularly crucial if you're embarking on a longer holiday that necessitates specific medications, toiletries, and clothing for a week or more.  If you are packing for a short city break then it won't need so much organising!

By packing ahead of time, you allow yourself the opportunity to carefully plan and organise all the essentials. Make a checklist of items needed for each family member, ensuring you have everything from clothing and shoes to toiletries and necessary medications. Packing in advance also provides the chance to double-check important documents such as passports, travel insurance, and boarding passes, ensuring nothing is left behind.

Additionally, packing early allows you to assess your luggage weight and make any necessary adjustments. This is particularly important to avoid exceeding weight limits and facing additional charges at the airport. So, instead of leaving it all until the last minute, take the proactive approach and start packing as soon as you can. By doing so, you'll minimise stress and set the stage for a smooth and well-prepared family holiday.

8.     Order Your Global Health Cards

In the past, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provided medical coverage for European travel. However, as of 2021, the EHIC has been replaced by the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for UK residents.

Together with your travel insurance, having a valid GHIC is crucial for covering any potential medical costs you may incur while on holiday. These cards help alleviate the financial burden and provide peace of mind, especially in emergency situations.

Before your trip, ensure that you have a valid GHIC by applying for one well in advance. It's important to note that the GHIC application process is free of charge, and you can obtain it through the official NHS website or by calling the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. Remember to have the necessary documentation ready when applying.

However, it's essential to understand that the GHIC does not replace the need for travel insurance. While it provides valuable coverage for necessary medical expenses, travel insurance offers comprehensive protection against a range of unforeseen circumstances such as trip cancellations, lost luggage, or personal liability.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to have both a valid GHIC and comprehensive travel insurance when travelling abroad. This ensures that you have complete peace of mind and adequate coverage for any potential health-related issues or other emergencies that may arise during your trip.

Prioritising your health and well-being is paramount while travelling. So, don't forget to obtain your GHIC and arrange suitable travel insurance to ensure that you and your family are fully protected throughout your holiday.

9.     Make Sure Your Home is Safe 

A major concern of many parents is whether their home is secure and safe before they head on holiday. And whilst this stress might not ease, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that it’s as secure as it can be. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to invest in extortionate security that will make your home like Fort Knox...

But by making certain changes, you can go on your holiday without thinking that your home is easily accessible by thieves. Firstly, you should ensure that you have a working house alarm if possible and that you set this before you go away. An alarm is an immediate sign to burglars that your house is safeguarded.

You should also make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked, hiding the keys in safe places. Even if you live in a neighbourhood which is considered to be safe, you don’t want to tempt in robbers by putting the keys on show. Similarly, you should hide any laptops, jewellery or other expensive items away from windows. 

If you want to invest in more high-tech equipment, you could also install a security camera like the IMOU Ranger 2c indoor camera, the outdoor IMOU Knight camera,  or a motion-detector doorbell (such as that offered by RING or Eufy). This will allow you to see the interior and exterior of your property, no matter where you are in the world. 

10.    Ensure You Have Your Boarding Passes

You’ve made it! You’ve done all the above and you’re about to leave the house to go on holiday. Before you do, however, do a final check that you have all of the passports and all of the crucial documents – including your travel insurance, hotel confirmation and boarding passes. Without a boarding pass, you won’t be able to get through airport security and to your gate. 

So just before you hurry off out the door, check that you have each family members boarding pass for the outbound and inbound flight. Although many airlines now make these available on mobile phones, it’s always worth having a physical copy, in case the machine doesn’t accept your virtual boarding pass. 

Final word on things to organise before a family holiday

There’s a lot to organise when going on holiday, but hopefully this checklist will ensure you don’t forget anything important!

Here is the checklist of the top 10 things to organise before a family holiday:

  1. Check Passports
  2. Look at Luggage Allowances
  3. Buy Travel Insurance
  4. Organise Travel Money
  5. Pre-Book Airport Parking
  6. Book Your Rental Car in Advance
  7. Pack in Advance
  8. Order Your Global Health Cards
  9. Ensure Your Home is Safe
  10. Ensure You Have Your Boarding Passes

By taking care of these essential tasks, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable family holiday, free from unnecessary stress and last-minute complications.