With so much to do before you leave for your holiday, it can be easy to forget to do some of the most important things. It can be vital however that you take precautions to limit the chances of your holiday being ruined due to unforeseeable circumstances and to protect yourself in case you should fall victim of an unfortunate event.  To make sure you and your family are fully prepared, take the time to read our 5 things that you really shouldn’t go on holiday without doing first:

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5 things to do before you travel

1. Get the right Travel Insurance

It may be tempting not to bother with Travel Insurance, but if you don’t cover yourself  you could  be setting yourself up to face thousands of pounds of potential costs or even costs to your immediate family if the worst should happen. Travel Insurance doesn’t just cover your belongings, the medical cover on your Travel Insurance could be vital when visiting countries with no state health benefit, as if you are involved in even a minor accident, the medical bills could cost more than the holiday itself.

Even if you are travelling in the EU and hold a European Health Insurance Card this is no substitute for Travel Insurance as it won’t guarantee you completely free medical treatment or cover the huge cost of bringing you back to the UK if you were to be involved in a fatal accident. Of course there are many other benefits of Travel Insurance, to find out more visit: http://uk.protectyourbubble.com/travel-insurance/

2. Understand local laws and customs

It is important to know how to respect the culture of the country you are visiting to ensure that you remain polite and do not offend the locals, but more importantly, not understanding the local laws you must abide by could land you in hot water or in extreme cases even result in a jail sentence. For example, in some countries public displays of affection, even holding hands is prohibited and some destinations will not allow you to take photography of or near military official installations. In Thailand you must by law carry your passport with you at all times and under no circumstances can you make defamatory comments about the king in Thailand as this is punishable with a prison sentence. These are just a couple of examples, for information on the country you are visiting you can visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

3. Know your Airline rights

If you are flying within the EU or on a European Airline then there are a number of rules that apply if you find that your flight is cancelled or delayed. These only apply if the flight departed from an EU airport, or you were on an EU airline where the flight landed at an EU airport. It pays to understand what you are entitled to if your flight is delayed or cancelled so you can avoid unnecessary costs that may occur as a result.

For example if your flight is delayed for more than two hours then your airline must offer you meals and refreshments as well as communication facilities, this is especially useful to know if you are travelling with children who need feeding often. If your flight is delayed until the next day then you must be offered hotel accommodation and transport between the airport and provided accommodation. To find out more visit: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/

4. Check your passport and required visas or driving permits

It is important to check that your passport is valid for six months after the date you plan to return to the UK. Always check if the destinations you are travelling to require a visa, America and India for example will not allow entry unless you can provide the necessary visas.  Some visa’s can take up to a few weeks to obtain and will have a cost associated with them so you need to ensure you have planned well in advance to avoid any disruptions to your travel plans.

Your UK Driving licence can be used if you are driving in a European Community/EEA member state, however laws may differ so it’s always worth checking age and other restrictions before you go. Dependent on the country of travel you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) which translates your driving licence into several other languages as some countries will insist on seeing this document before you can drive in their country. If you are renting a car abroad then it is also a good idea to invest in Car Hire Excess Insurance.

5. Be health wise

Falling ill on holiday can seriously dampen the mood, and falling seriously ill could cause you problems long after you return. Therefore it is highly important you do everything you can to protect yourself before and while you are away. You may need to take some pre holiday health precautions ahead of your trip if you are travelling to a foreign country. Some destinations require you to have vaccinations to protect you from serious illness and disease and some of these will need to happen up to 6 weeks ahead of your trip. Your GP should be able to advise if any vaccinations are needed and if any additional health precautions should be taken for example Malaria tablets if you are travelling to a Malaria zone such as India.

Make sure that you know if there is anything you should avoid. Many travel destinations do not offer clean drinking water from taps and therefore it is wise to stock up on and drink bottled water and avoid salads and fruits that may have been washed. Pack a first aid kit with a suitable supply of medicines so that you will be covered if you are unfortunate enough to fall ill and make sure you have suntan lotion if it is going to be warm and the correct insect replants if required.

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