Packing Tips

Posted on March 21, 2016

Packing can be one of the most stressful parts of going away; finding the balance between packing too much and not enough is very difficult.


Here are our top 10 useful tips to stress free and successful packing:

1. Forget everything you knew about packing, do not fold your clothes, roll them to reduce space and prevent creasing.

2. Remember that airlines have size and weight restrictions on hand and hold luggage, check and weigh your luggage before you leave home to avoid expensive fines.

3. Remember that you cannot pack these items in your hand luggage;

 

  • Anything which could cause harm to fellow passengers, for example; razor blades, knives and pen knives, scissors, needles, bats and pool cues, cutlery etc.
  • Toy or fake guns as they could cause alarm.
  • Liquids over 100ml.

4. Decide what you actually need and what you could live without, put outfits together before you leave, with accessories and shoes etc. Not only will this save space it will also save you the stress of having nothing to wear despite the suitcase full of clothes.

5. Mix and match your clothes, a maxi dress looks great on the beach and for a night out.

6. Always carry a change of clothes and any vital possessions (as long as they are allowed, see point three) in your hand luggage. Not only will this save space it will also cushion the misery if your case goes missing.

7. Wear your bulkiest things on the plane, this may sound silly but it will save you lots of room and bulky coats make great pillows for the journey.

8. Don’t pack things that are dry clean only, or things that will need loads of ironing, it’s just not worth it. Pack suitable clothing and ALWAYS remember to pack comfortable shoes.

9. Always leave room in your case, no matter how hard you try; you may come home with souvenirs and purchases, and you need to fit these in your case to get them home.

10. Think outside the box;

  • Instead of buying massive bottles of shampoo, find some small water tight containers to transport products in your case; it is cheaper than buying them abroad.
  • Don’t buy massive guide books and maps, get the information you need from the internet and print it off or store it on your phone

The final rule for successful packing is to remember to pack your important documents, for example your travel insurance documents in your hand luggage.

For more tips, check out our handy Packing Guide Video

Guide to Avoiding Huge Mobile Phone Bills Abroad

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There is nothing worse than returning from a wonderful holiday to immediate stress and panic. No one wants massive bills simply for using their phone in another country, but it is important that you are aware of how you can prevent these bills.

This is our guide to avoiding huge phone bills whilst abroad;

  1. First and foremost, if you are travelling abroad, turn off data roaming on your phone. This should prevent your phone from downloading things in the background and racking up enormous bills.
  2. If you frequently visit the same country, it could be worth investing in a local pay-as-you-go SIM card for your phone, that way you will pay local prices and should avoid horrendous bills.
  3. To avoid any nasty surprises, contact your network and check how much they charge for roaming in your chosen destination, especially if you exceed your limit. Some companies enforce a cut off limit when you reach your internet limit abroad – you need to check if your company does this, and again if they do it in your destination (sometimes it is only in Europe).
  4. Try to find free local Wi-Fi whilst abroad, as opposed to using your mobile network. If unsure, check how you can do this before you depart.
  5. You are charged for receiving calls, voicemails and texts as well as making them. Let your friends and family know that you will be away, and not to contact you unless it is an emergency. You can also contact your network and disable your voicemail service while you are away.
  6. If your phone is stolen abroad, contact the Police, your travel insurance and your network immediately to report the theft and to stop your credit being used.The EU is trying to cut down on these charges, so hopefully this shouldn’t be a big issue in the future. However, the tips above are good practice to save you some money and stress, plus it’s always nice to ignore your phone whilst on holiday. Good luck!

Travel Insurance Buyers Guide

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Travel Insurance can seem like a boring and unnecessary item, why spend money on insurance when you could spend it on holiday clothes and drinks? However, travel insurance should really be at the top of your priority list; in fact you should purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked flights and accommodation, to ensure you’re protected against unexpected cancellation costs.

Quality travel insurance will protect you if you have to cancel your holiday due to sudden illness or injury. It will also provide cover if you become ill or injured, or if you lose your vital possessions or travel documents whilst you are overseas – without insurance these holiday disasters could cost you thousands of pounds.

The choice of travel insurance and the various options available can be confusing, so here are our top tips for purchasing travel insurance;

  • Make sure the cancellation cover is enough to cover the pre-paid costs of your trip.
  • Make sure the policy covers your baggage if it is lost, damaged or stolen.
  • All travel policies have specific amounts they will cover valuables for. You need to check these limits carefully to make sure they will adequately cover your belongings. For example, if you are travelling with an expensive camera, but only have £100 valuables cover you will not be happy if you come to make a claim, how will you buy another one? Technically valuable items should be insured all year round on your home contents insurance – check this before you travel.
  • Does the policy cover the costs of emergency items of clothing if your bags are misplaced by the airline?
  • Make sure the policy includes a minimum of £2 million medical cover (£5 million if travelling Worldwide) to cover emergency medical expenses and repatriation – it may seem extreme but medical treatment abroad can be extremely expensive, especially in an emergency situation.
  • Make sure you have declared any pre-existing medical conditions, and make sure your policy covers them. Without this you will not be covered for any bills resulting from this condition.
  • If you are thinking of taking part in adventurous activities such as skiing, mountain climbing, safaris etc., check that your policy covers them.
  • Once you have purchased your policy you will usually have 14 days in which to read it through and check that it covers your particular needs.
  • Look at the excess on the policy, are you willing to pay a higher excess fee to get a lower insurance price? We offer no excess travel insurance policies, so you don’t pay any extra as part of your claim.
  • If you are planning to travel to multiple destinations or work/volunteer abroad, make sure the policy actually covers you for everything you need. For example if you have purchased a World Wide Excluding USA, Canada and the Caribbean policy, you will not be covered if you change your itinerary whilst you are away and decide to visit the USA.
  • Finally ALWAYS read the small print, otherwise you might miss vital information. For example, will you be covered if you cancel your holiday because; you are suddenly called up for Jury Service, if someone close to you dies or falls ill unexpectedly, or if you are made redundant?

Visas, EHIC & Passport Information

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When planning any trip it is extremely important that you check whether you need a visa to enter the country. You can do this online, with your travel agent or with the Consulate or Embassy of the country you are planning to visit. In some instances you can even apply at the airport when you arrive, but this usually proves more difficult.

You will normally have to fill out a form, providing information about yourself, your trip and your background, plus a passport sized photo. You then send this off with your passport. Make sure you do this in plenty of time, as it could take several weeks to get your visa through and your passport back (always send recorded delivery, just in case). Some visas are easy to obtain and others are more difficult. Always ask for help from the Embassy or a travel professional if you are unsure.

A visa is an official document or stamp proving that you have been granted permission to enter the country. A Visa will usually determine;

  • How long you are permitted to stay in the country
  • Whether you are permitted to work or study
  • Where you are allowed to travel

Plus much more

If you are planning to travel, work, get married or study abroad you must make sure you have the correct type of visa.

If you do not have the correct paper work you will not be allowed to enter the country, which will make your trip short and expensive. It is your job to make sure you have all the correct paper work in place before you arrive.

Some countries are constantly changing their rules and regulations regarding visas and border control. View the latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice for specific countries here. Remember that a visa does not always guarantee you entry into a country.

EHIC

If you’re travelling within the European Union, make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. The EHIC replaced the old E111 form in 2006. The EHIC is free and you can apply for one online here.

If you need medical treatment whilst abroad, the EHIC should entitle you to free or discounted health care in European countries including Switzerland.

If you need health care whilst travelling, make sure you visit a state hospital and take your EHIC and Passport as proof of EU citizenship. In some European countries, such as Spain, you may be directed to a private clinic instead of a state facility; however the EHIC is only recognised by state hospitals.

Remember that the EHIC is not a substitution for travel insurance – it will not cover you for repatriation or private treatment. You should always make sure you invest in quality travel insurance before you depart for your holiday.

If you already have an EHIC make sure it is still current, as they expire every 5 years.

For further information and to apply for an EHIC, please click here, or check out our handy EHIC Infographic.

Passports

Most travellers are familiar with passports, but for anyone who is unsure or has a query, we have collated our top tips and advice concerning passports; whether that is renewing, travelling or reporting one stolen.

• A passport is an official document which allows you to travel to other countries.

• You can renew your passport 9 months before the expiry date onwards, if you renew early the time will be added to the next expiry date.

• To renew an adult passport usually costs around £70 – £80.

• A passport application should normally take 4 weeks to process.

• Even when visiting EU countries you should take a passport. It may not be checked, but some authorities ask for it as proof of ID.

• If you’re flying, most airlines now want to see your passport as proof of ID even if you’re using a domestic flight.

• Check that your passport will not expire during your trip.

• Remember that some countries will only accept a passport that is valid for at least another 6 months.

• Take a photocopy of your passport, visas and any other important documents. Make a note of passport numbers, dates and where they were issued. Also take a note of your travel insurance policy number.

• When you reach your destination, keep your passport and travel documents in a safe place (the hotel safe if possible), don’t carry them around with you if you can avoid it.

• Some countries ask you to carry your passport as a form of identity card, check if a photocopy would suffice, if you do need to carry the original make sure you leave a photocopy in the hotel safe.

• Should your passport be stolen, your travel insurer will offer advice on how and where you can get a replacement passport. You should report the theft to local police and obtain a police report, then go to your local embassy who should be able to cancel your passport and issue you with emergency paperwork, there may be a fee and background checks involved in this.

Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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