Holidays are a bag full of magic and excitement, often enhanced proportionately by the nerves and stress we go through to get ourselves there. Kids can really add to that anxiety and euphoria.
Most of the time that nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something and that urge to continually check for your passport are just an irksome side affect of transporting yourself to paradise, but it does pay do run through some basic checks each time you travel and make them as second nature as making sure your car tyres are fully inflated each time you drive.
- Take time to research what you need to do to keep your family safe in the country you plan to visit. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will advise you on safety for the specific country you are visiting.
- Plan vaccinations in good time, you will probably want to research the options fully, discuss them with your practice nurse and may have to leave time between certain vaccinations. When I travelled to Africa I went back and asked my trip provider more questions after meeting my practice nurse before deciding which jabs I really needed.
- If you’re travelling with children who are unaccompanied by one or both parents, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance on permissions that you might need to get and check the policy of your airline or transport provider.
- For travel in the EU make sure everyone has an up to date EHIC, a European Health Insurance card. The card enables you to receive free or discounted medical treatment when travelling to an EU country, provided on the same basis as it would be to a resident of that country. Currently these are still valid despite Brexit. Some insurers waive the excess on your travel insurance if you use your EHIC.
- The Foreign Office have a guide to what travel insurance should cover, including specific detailed guidance for specific travel and travellers, for example gap years, festivals, winter sports and those with mental health problems. Check your travel insurance covers you for the activities you plan, (or maybe don’t expect) to enjoy on holiday, like water sports and winter sports.
- Ensure you have travel insurance that covers for medical conditions if any of your family has a pre-existing medical condition, like diabetes, epilepsy and asthma.
- Make sure your deriving licence is up to date if driving abroad and check the regulations in any country you plan to drive in.
- Check visa requirements and how long your passports are valid for, some countries require up to 6 months validity from the day you travel.
- Carry enough medicines for everyday emergencies, and double check prescription medicines are okay to take abroad via the NHS website. Keep medicines and a copy of your prescription close in your hand luggage, but it is sensible to carry spares in your hold luggage.
- It is worth investing in a travel carbon monoxide and smoke alarms and testing any smoke alarms provided in your destination work.
- Keep paper copies of your passport, travel insurance as well as keeping them in an email or cloud storage you and family members can access.
- You can leave your phone’s IMEI number with a friend or family member, to help block or locate the phone if there’s a problem.
- Make sure friends and family have your accommodation location and itinerary.
- Take time to do child proof safety checks when you arrive in your destination, give yourself enough time to adjust to hire cars, driving abroad and new accommodation.
- Allow yourself more time than you think you will need or travel at times that work for your family if possible. Travelling with kids it is often better to pay a little more not to be exhausted by an early flight or facing a tantrum because someone is hangry and there wasn’t time to buy snacks.
What have I missed? Do share your tips in the comments.
Now go and have a brilliant holiday 🙂
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