For those of us lucky enough to holiday abroad each year, it is easy to forget what a daunting prospect it can be the first time around. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on, and have no doubt learnt something new each year, until we have travelling down to a tee.
This Prudent Minds guide has been written to pass on some useful information to those holidaying abroad for the first time. We have included practical information on passport applications as well as useful tips that you may not have thought about.
Booking your summer holiday abroad
For your first summer holiday abroad, it really would be best to book a package holiday abroad through your local travel agent. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience and will listen to your likes and dislikes before suggesting places that may suit. Decide whether you want peace and quiet or lively and energetic; lazy days by the pool or lots of sightseeing. Once the travel agent has as much info as possible they will look at locations that match your style for the dates you want.
Read more on finding a reputable travel agent
Short or Long Haul Holidays abroad
Prudent Minds is all about saving you money, and you would be forgiven for thinking that travelling further afield, to exotic locations for example, may mean spending more. However, read our interesting article on saving money when deciding on a destination.
When to go on your Holiday Abroad
The time of year you want to go is also a consideration. Travelling to typical beachside holidays in Spain, Turkey, The Canary islands or Greece during July and August is a mistake if you don’t like it too hot. During the summer months, these places are known to exceed 40degrees, which for sun lovers might be wonderful, but it doesn't suit all. If you have children of course, you are bound by the school holidays; so consider going in April or October when the weather is still lovely but isn't stifling!
Accommodation types for holidays abroad
What type of accommodation do you want for your holiday abroad? Read more advice on holiday accommodation.
Types of Holiday Abroad
There are many different types of holiday abroad, from camping to private Villas and from self-catering to All inclusive. For more help and advice read our guide on types of holiday.
Before you go on your first holiday abroad
Your travel agent should have given you advice on what you need to organise, but sometimes you forget some of the things you have been told. These are the practical things you need to organise before you travel:
INSURANCE It is tempting to try and save money by not taking out travel insurance, but this is a mistake. You don't need to take the travel agents insurance out as this can often be quite pricey, but there are cheaper holiday insurance quotes around. Any policy should cover; Cancellation and illness, Accidents, Theft or loss of possessions, delays and activities. Also check the claim procedures and excess arrangements. Read our travel insurance guide for advice.
EUROPEAN HEALTH CARD Although you will be covered on your travel insurance for medical emergencies, you still need to register for your European Health Card before you travel. These have replaced the old E111 form. This card entitles you to free or reduced health care. If you don’t have this, you will be expected to pay for your healthcare and to reclaim it from your insurance company. This could run into £000's so it isn’t worth the risk of not taking it out. The European Health Card is free and lasts for 5 years. Apply for yours by clicking here
VISAS Check whether you need to apply for a visa to visit the country of your choice. Details will be on the website of the country’s website.
MONEY Once you have decided how much spending money you have, consider how you will take it. A combination of cash, travellers cheques and credit/debit card is best. Before deciding how much cash to take, read our guide on Exchanging Cash.
More about travellers cheques.
and last but not least
PASSPORTS Every member of your family will need their own passport, and these can take up to 6 weeks to arrive. As this will be your first passport, you will have to attend for a passport interview. So allow plenty of time to get these organised as you really don't want it to spoil your first summer holiday abroad. Quite simply, you can't travel without it - IT WILL GET CHECKED.
Read more about passport applications including delivery times and costs by clicking on this link to Passport Applications
Packing for your summer holiday abroad
This may seem a simple exercise, but read our guide on packing a suitcase for helpful advice on avoiding problems at the airport.
Once you are on your summer holiday abroad
Hopefully, you will have a fantastic time (most people do) but we have a few tips to make sure it goes smoothly:
* Trust your instincts - don't take any risks that you wouldn't take at home
* Rent a safe deposit box for things you don’t need to carry around with you - most apartments and hotels will have these for a small charge. Pop your passports, phones, tickets home etc in there to make sure they are covered on your insurance.
Read more tips for staying safe on holiday
At Prudent Minds, we want you to enjoy your first summer holiday abroad, and nothing is meant to put you off. Most places have no more crime than we do in the UK, but it easy to get caught out when your guard is down and you are feeling relaxed.