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10 things to do before you go on holiday

Make sure you’re well prepared before you set off to avoid extra charges for the likes of flights and currency.

Check your tickets

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The name on your tickets must match the one in your passport and any spelling mistakes may mean you can’t board your flight. Get changes rectified as soon as possibl as waiting until you’re at the airport can set you back as much as £150. Check in online and print your boarding pass at home to save money but don’t lose it as some airlines charge £40 for duplicates.

Buy travel insurance

Check cover limits not just the policy price. And if you’re planning any adventure sports check which ones are covered as you may need to pay an additional premium. Take your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) too if you’re heading to the continent. It’s no substitute for travel insurance but can save the excess on your travel policy as it covers you for state healthcare across Europe.

Call your credit card company

You may not want to send a postcard but tell them where you’re going and give them your mobile number. Due to tough anti-fraud measures card companies watch for irregular spending patterns but if they know where you're going it should prevent your card from being blocked.

Check travel forums

Pack a guide book but as some can be out of date the minute they hit the shelves do some undercover research first by logging on to expat forums. This saves valuable holiday time when it comes to knowing up-to-date bus routes, which attractions are closed on which days, as well as local scams to avoid.

Fill your pockets with change

Change your money before hitting the airport, as rates there are much worse than the high street or online, and ask for some small change. If the first time you dip in your pocket is for the airport cab fare, a local driver may not be able to break a big denomination note and you don’t want to waste money buying overpriced snacks on arrival just for change.

Book your parking spot

Pre-book your space early enough and you can save up to 50 per cent on the gate price. Compare deals and prices at www.cheap.co.uk . And don’t waste time queuing for taxis when you arrive: find out in advance if your hotel offers a free shuttle bus, or pre-book your taxi – this will often be cheaper than the “pay on the day” rate.

Weigh your luggage

Check airline luggage limits including both weights and sizes, as these vary, particularly with cabin baggage. Getting it wrong can mean forking out £40 before boarding if your bag’s deemed too big. Buy some scales and weigh your empty case first as even small ones can weigh 3 to 4kg.  

Check your medication

Packing some painkillers for holiday headaches may sound sensible but check the rules for the country you’re visiting. Dubai for example bans substances including codeine (which is in some over-the-counter painkillers) and it’s advisable to take a doctor’s prescription for any regular medication you’re carrying.

Check duty-free deals

Ever got to duty free to discover you could have got your favourite perfume or tipple for less in the supermarket? In some cases airport deals can be twice the high street ticket so price match before leaving home. Check online deals at www.kelkoo.co.uk and duty-free prices at www.worlddutyfree.com.

Switch off your voicemail

This is because even if your phone’s switched off you’ll still be charged for calls to voicemail, and again when listening to messages. And don’t forget to disable your wi-fi access too otherwise you can rack up big bills while you’re away if your phone is set to automatically connect.




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Sue Hayward

Carl Chambers

Sue Hayward is a personal finance broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue talks and writes on money matters including chatting on BBC Radio & TV as well as contributing to magazines, websites and newspapers. Sue's also written two books; the latest of which is 'How To Get The Best Deal'.

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