5 holiday tips for before you go and while you’re away

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There’s always something to think about when it comes to your holiday plans from exploring, relaxing, socialising.  Outside of the fun stuff, here’s 5 travel tips for before you go and while you’re away.


1. Travel insurance

Make sure you sort out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip.  Some people tend to leave doing this close to departure but it’s best to do it once you’ve booked.  

Why?  If anything happens between the time you book your trip and your departure — for example, you’re unable to travel or flights get cancelled — you’ll be insured.  It’ll make it easier to get some if not all your money back. 

You should also check if your insurance will include COVID cover.  If not, it’s an idea to choose a policy where it’s included, at least for the foreseeable.  

If you forget to get insurance, you won’t be covered for any type of eventuality. 

2.  UK Passport validity

With Brexit comes a new rule for UK passport holders.  Now the UK has left Europe, you need to make sure you have at least three months remaining on your passport before the expiration date.  This should also be the case at the time you’re leaving the EU and arriving back in the UK.

If you need to renew your passport, make sure you do it with enough time ahead of your trip.  It can take up to 10 weeks to be renewed and then posted back to you. 

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Picture of passport and money
Passport and money

3.  Money, money, money

Not all countries in Europe use the Euro as its currency, so make sure you check before you leave.  Countries such as Budapest, Croatia, Sweden, and Denmark use their own currency.

Cash or card

We’ve become so reliant on using cards these days, but it’s still a good idea to have some cash on you as well while you’re away.

While many places tend to accept card, even more now and especially since the COVID pandemic, there’s still several of places that still only take cash.  It’s also good to have loose change for transportation – in many countries, a lot of buses still only take cash.

Cash converting

Sometimes it’s easier to buy your destination currency ahead of time at your local post office or through your bank rather than at the airport.   It’s one less thing to think about as you make your way through the airport and you may get better rates.

4. Managing your money while abroad

Rather than take your bank card with you, why not make use of travel money cards like the Post Office’s Travel Money Card (TMC) or try a more international option like Wise (formerly TransferWise) to help you manage your money.  They both have smartphone apps.  

With Wise, when you make a purchase on the card, you can get notifications.   The added benefit of Wise is that you can also set up a bank account for another currency.  It makes it easier to make payments in local currency and if you visit that country a lot it can be useful.  You can top it up either before you leave or while you’re on holiday on the go.

Wise website
Post office Travel Money Card app
Post office Travel Money Card app
Cash and ATM machines

Where possible, always try to use official bank cash machines/ATMs rather than machines located within a shop. 

You could get additional or even higher withdrawal charges compared with cash machines at a bank.  Also, if there are any issues with your card or it gets swallowed by a machine, it may be easier to get assistance at a bank.

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6.   Ongoing COVID travel restrictions 

Despite many countries easing their COVID restrictions over the last year, you should still check the country you want to visit.  Even if you don’t have to take a pre-departure COVID test, in some cases you may still need to fill in a variation of a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) or an attestation form. 

Before booking, make sure you’re familiar with the COVID regulations for the country you’ll be visiting.  Always have a copy of any COVID vaccines you’ve had either in paper or digital copy on your smartphone. 

UK PLF_RiA Vistas solo travel
UK Passenger Locator Form
As always, still double check your local government website for up-to-date information on things like COVID travel and passport requirements.   That’s enough travel tips for now!  I hope these 5 holiday tips for before you go and while you’re away are helpful. Start planning your next trip with some cool activities in Europe like Portugal.
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