Saturday 9 August 2014

Guest Post: Holidays - Panic Free Planning

When I was a child, I always remember my mum telling me that we couldn't go to Disneyland – not until I was old enough to appreciate it, she said. Back then I thought it was horrifically unfair but now, as an adult, and a mother myself, I think I understand. Sure, it would have been truly magical to experience it with all the wide-eyed innocence of a preteen child, but I mightn't have remembered a lot of it (if my memory is anything to go by…), and additionally, I guess now I see that it would have been really hard for my parents to pull it off – both financially and logistically. Needless to say, when I did finally get there, I was overwhelmed by the whole trip and loved every second.

So now, as a fully-fledged grown up, I’m faced with the task of planning holidays for my family, too, and I understand the headache it can cause. But it doesn't need to be that way! There are plenty of things you can do to ensure that things go smoothly. Planning is key, and whether you decide to go on a long haul adventure or enjoy a relaxing break closer to home, there are plenty of ways to sort something out for your individual budget.

When foreign currency is involved, it’s a good idea to order ahead of time. Particularly over the summer holidays, there can be a super mad rush for Euros and Dollars, and sometimes other, less common types of money aren't kept in stock. The last thing you want to do is to turn up and there to be non in stock! UK bank cards can cost a fortune abroad (but let your bank know if you do choose to use them, first!) – although, you can order a pre-paid debit card loaded up ready, this is a really convenient option. Don’t forget, if things get tricky, geography doesn't mean it’s impossible for family and friends back home to help out. Azimo makes it possible to send money abroad for a very low price, almost anywhere in the world!

When it comes to the location you want to stay at, you probably have a few ideas in mind – but then, probably everyone you know has some ideas, too. You want to go to Portugal. Your partner wants to go to France. Your kids want to go to Australia (ha!). How do you deal with this? Find a compromise. Look online and see ratings on sites like Trip Advisor, to see real people in similar circumstances to you rating hotels and apartments all over the world. You can even consider investing in property abroad – Tenerife Estate Agents, for example, have some beautiful properties a lot cheaper than you might think. Sometimes, buying into somewhere can work out cheaper in the long run, and you always know what you’re getting into.

Overall, make sure you don’t sacrifice health and safety, and you’re onto a winner. So long as you have that, it’s the most important thing. Visit the doctor before you go, and stock up on prescriptions. Take out the right type of travel insurance – don’t be cheap, it’ll only be a nightmare if you’re not covered if (touch wood), one of you ends up in hospital.

No matter what you do, if you’re with your family, it’s potentially the most precious trip in the world. 

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