When searching for that perfect holiday there are many topics that need careful research to help meet all of your requirements for a trip abroad, e.g. weather, hotels, renting a car, activities, etc. The following is a list of sources where holiday information can be found:
- Internet/Travel websites
- National newspapers
- Local newspapers
- Travel brochures
- Holiday magazines Travel Agents
If you are new to the world of travelling and haven’t been on many holidays then booking a package holiday is a safe and easy way of exploring the unknown. Other advantages of a package holiday include:
- Hundreds of last-minute bargains and deals.
- An English-speaking rep to help you sort out any difficulties, and help with trip arrangements, events, and any general advice.
- Flights, accommodation and airport transfers are usually included.
- All arranging and planning for your holiday are already done for you.
- Save money by booking with package holiday companies as they offer cheap flights and accommodation for their customers.
Types of Accommodation
Finding the right hotel/accommodation can be very daunting because of the amount of choice on offer. The key is to take your time and use all sources available, e.g. Internet, magazines, travel agents, etc. If travelling with children make sure you do enough research to help you find the best deals to suit your family’s needs.
The following is a list of accommodation options to choose from:
- Half Board – Offers you breakfast and an evening meal.
- Full Board – Gives you lunch on top of breakfast and dinner and can be expensive.
- Bed & breakfast– Self-explanatory. No breakfast facilities included.
- Self-Catering – This option results in you cooking for yourself, so the accommodation includes some form of kitchen. Space and range of facilities depends on price.
- All-inclusive holidays – Offer everything. Activities, instructions, day trips, and equipment can be included along with food and drink. This option is great for individuals/families who do not wish to arrange anything, but not so good if it is a more independent holiday you wish for.
Special Rates & Tips for Kids
The following tips help you to find out key information, regarding accommodation for children:
- If a free breakfast is included in your stay, does it include any items your children will want to eat for breakfast?
- Do kids eat for free in the hotel’s restaurant?
- Do kids stay free? If so, are there any conditions attached?
- Do you get an extra discount if you book more than one room?
- You may get a cheaper rate by booking two separate adults in
adjoining rooms with one child each, than booking two rooms as a family of four.
- What type of pool does the hotel have?
- Does the pool have a lifeguard on duty?
- Does the hotel have a common play area? If so what times is this area supervised?
- Are non-smoking rooms available?
When enquiring about your child’s stay at the hotel make sure to ask about any babysitting services. You will find most hotels to offer day-care centres for the young ones, and others will bring babysitters that are provided by an outside agency on property. In some cases, the children are taken to a different location for the childcare services.
Travel Insurance is vital when going on holiday so make sure you don’t forget getting yourself covered. The following is a list of important points to remember when searching for travel insurance:
- Make sure the insurance policy covers medical and dental treatment, personal liability, the journey back home, cancelled flights, missed departure, and any theft or lost luggage.
- If you are likely to make several trips abroad during a year, enquire about annual travel insurance, but remember to check the small print. Many policies limit how long any single trip can be.
- Shop around for your insurance. Make sure you look at all your options and decide on what is best for you and your family. Some operators may refuse a booking if you cannot provide insurance policy details.
- Don’t be fooled by the cheapest option, and check that the policy provides the cover you need, and provides a 24-hour international help line.
- For anyone taking part in any extreme sports make sure that your policy covers those activities such as mountaineering, canoeing, skiing, or scuba-diving. Beware of policies that limit the number of days for certain activities or if they exclude them altogether.
- If you need to make a claim, keep all the necessary documents and receipts. To claim for loss through theft you must report the incident to the local police and get a copy of the police report.
Renting a Car Abroad
If renting a car abroad remember to take your driving licence or an international driving licence if necessary with you.
The following tips will help you get the best deal possible for you and your family:
- Try to book in advance. The fees for booking over the counter will be much more than over the phone. Compare costs by ringing a few rental agencies and ask for identical cars for your date of travel. – Beware of any age restrictions for driving and renting in different countries. Drivers under 25 or over 70 may face surcharges or not be permitted to rent at all
- Driving outside of the UK can be a very different experience. If travelling to the USA then remember that most of their cars will be automatic, with a left-hand drive (this applies to most countries outside the UK).
- Share the driving, especially if embarking on a long journey of 5 hours and more!
- Ask about any weekend specials, late penalties and fuel charges. Hidden discounts or additional costs will not be explained at the time of rental, and it may be too late once you find out.
- Make sure you ask what time the car needs to be returned and don’t be late, as most rental agencies charge for another full day for any cars returned late.
- Buy maps and travel brochures for your holiday destination, and ask a person in your party to help navigate. – When parking at night always remember to leave the car locked in the hotel car park. If you do not have access to a car lot then park the car on a well-lit road
- If travelling with family then remember to book a car with enough room for everyone to sit comfortably.