There’s a lot to organise before you go on holiday. Here at Resolver we totally understand how busy you are, so here’s a few tips to help you get the best deal and avoid a travel trauma.
Compare – but buy direct. There are bargains galore to be had on holidays and packages online if you hold your nerve. If you’re willing to be a little flexible then you could bag a really good bargain. So shop around on the comparison travel sites (there are loads) and when you spot something you like, try and buy directly from the holiday company. This is because it may actually be cheaper when fees and costs are added on.
Pay on a credit card if you buy direct. The Consumer Credit Act covers you for goods and services that don’t turn up or are misrepresented. That doesn’t mean you can get your cash back if you don’t enjoy your holiday. But if you’ve been fundamentally misled, it’s another layer of protection.
Buy a decent travel insurance policy. Don’t go for the one that comes with the flight or holiday package.
Print it, snap it, save it! If you’ve booked a last-minute trip make sure you photo your confirmations, save or print those emails and save the information where you can access it. Lots of people who contact Resolver have been stranded as a direct result of the internet going down with all their info. And if you’ve got e-tickets, make sure that phone or tablet is fully charged!
Don’t leave buying currency to the airport. It’s generally an urban myth that ‘you get better rates abroad’. You get the best chance of a decent rate by checking what’s on offer online each day and using a ‘click and collect service from your local station or pick up point’. And if you have one, take a credit card to cover you in case of cash emergencies (remember to pay any costs straight back on to it!)
Get an overseas spending card. If you use your debit card to make a purchase or withdraw cash your bank will hit you with a charge of up to 3% for the privilege – and the interest rate you get will be when the item is presented to the bank, which might not be for weeks. Overseas spending cards are credit cards that help you avoid that problem, though you may still get ATM charges. Alternatively, get a pre-paid currency card so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a wodge of cash and if you lose it, you don’t lose your money.
Don’t leave at the last minute. Security checks are taking longer, no matter where you’re going, so add some extra time to get to the airport. I’ve noticed some airlines have automated their bag drops, so bear in mind that while a nice check-in assistant might overlook that extra pound or two in your suitcase, a machine won’t negotiate – so leave a kilogram or two to spare.
Buy a decent travel insurance policy. Don’t go for the one that comes with the flight or holiday package. Look for a policy that covers you from the moment you sign up (in case you can’t travel for any reason) and has decent excess fees in case you need to claim.
Smaller is pricier. The liquids limits at airport security are still in place, limiting you to 100ml bottles in a one litre clear bag that must fasten. This means people leg it to the nearest shop and buy miniatures of their favourite brands in small sizes. Yet research has shown that these smaller toiletries are much pricier than their larger versions. Save some cash and buy some clear containers and decant the stuff you need for your hand luggage.
Watch out for smartphone charges. The rules covering what firms can charge you for using your card abroad have changed, but they’ve got more complicated. Yes, you get loads of warnings about your spending limits, but you can still get hit with high charges for photo messages, downloading and even voicemails that you haven’t even listened to. You could get a pre-paid SIM for your trip but speak to your provider to find out how their policies work if you’re not sure.
Is your EHIC card up to date. Don’t even get us started on Brexit and how it will affect foreign travel. But if you’re going to Europe make sure your EHIC card is up to date. While not an alternative to travel insurance, it really does help to have it if you have a medical problem. Depressingly though, there’s a load of copycat websites that will try to charge you for sorting the replacement out. Ignore them, it’s free. Here’s the correct link: www.ehic.org.uk
We’ve got loads more holiday tips and advice at www.resolver.co.uk/news so why not get in touch with yours? But remember, if something goes wrong and it isn’t your fault then you have every right to make a complaint – and we can help you get things sorted. www.resolver.co.uk