Guest blog by Emma Richings, Travel Counsellor
Part of wellbeing at work is ensuring you use your annual leave entitlement to get away from the office, relax and switch off. The best way to do this is by going away on holiday, yet some can find this a daunting prospect. Here are my top tips for a stress-free holiday.
1. Book Early
To secure the best deals and choice of flights and accommodation it is best to book early. Not only will you feel relieved when your holiday is booked (one less thing on the to-do list!), but research has shown that the anticipation of a holiday has the most positive effect on wellbeing, so you have plenty of time to reap the rewards!
2. Be Prepared
Ensure you check passports well in advance of your departure to avoid any stressful last-minute situations.
Check with your GP what immunisations may be required for your destination allowing plenty of time as some need to be given many weeks prior to travel.
Purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday and ensure it is adequate for your needs. Many people leave this until the last minute but if something happened to prevent you from travelling and you hadn’t taken out travel insurance you wouldn’t be covered.
If you’re travelling within Europe, ensure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which could save you money in the event of ill health.
Pre-book airline seats to ensure you sit together. You can be secure in the knowledge your family will be together rather than running the risk and fear of being separated.
Check in on-line for your flight and complete your API information prior to arriving at the airport.
3. Ease the Airport Experience
If you’re using public transport to get to the airport, allow plenty of time. If you’re driving, consider Meet and Greet parking. You’ll drive directly to the airport rather than an off-site car park where you must get a bus and the car will be waiting for you on your return saving time and hassle. If you book early, there is hardly any difference in price compared to the standard airport parking. Do make sure you use a reputable company though!
You don’t have to fly First Class to get priority access through the airport. At some airports you can FastTrack through security and passport control for a small fee. Many airlines, ferry operators and Eurotunnel also provide priority boarding for a charge, but it can be money well spent.
Why not start your holiday as you mean to go on? Airport lounges are not just for the privileged flying First Class. There are pre-bookable lounges available, most offering complimentary food, drinks, wi-fi and newspapers. The cost is not much more than if you were to sit down for a meal at an airport restaurant and it becomes exceptional value for money, if for example you were to experience a flight delay!
4. Keep the Kids Entertained
If the kids are happy, the parents are happy too, right? By keeping children entertained, you’re more likely to get some quiet time.
No doubt the kids’ requirements will be top of the list of priorities when searching for a holiday, but look for accommodation with kids’ pools, play areas, children’s clubs etc. Also, if you want to make the most of your holiday opt for a room with separate bedrooms and a living area so you can stay up once the kids are in bed.
Travelling with young children does not necessarily go hand in hand with a stress-free experience, but there are ways to minimise the pain! Prepare for hunger and boredom by packing toys, entertainment devices, snacks etc. Explain what will happen on their journey so they know what to expect. For adults to cope it might be worth having some mindfulness practices to hand!
5. Pre-book to Avoid Disappointment
If you’ve planned a trip around a certain event, would like to dine in a gourmet restaurant or have a day trip you just don’t want to miss, pre-booking is the answer. Not only will this avoid disappointment, but often there will be early bird prices available for attractions and you may be able to skip the queues as well. Having a plan for your holiday will also allow you more time to relax once you’re there.
6. Book through a Travel Agent
Using the expertise of a travel professional will not only save you time and hassle, but they have the knowledge about the destinations, how to source the best deals etc. This doesn’t mean you have to settle for a mass market package holiday, companies such as Travel Counsellors will tailor make a holiday that’s personalised for you. They will also provide you with financial protection. If something goes wrong, they will sort this for you, something that you do not get if you package things together yourself online. Many also offer a 24/7 duty office, so in the event of an emergency there will always be someone available to help. Furthermore, they may be able to assist with all the aforementioned points, so you can forget about everything and just focus on going away to enjoy yourself and relax!
Emma Richings – Travel Counsellor
Emma has been a travel professional for 20 years and would go as far as to say that travel is in her blood! She’s worked overseas as a Holiday Rep, in Reservations and in Product & Purchasing where she hand selected hotels and tours for UK Tour Operators, and negotiated the contract rates and special offers. Emma has dealt with Worldwide destinations and has visited approximately 50 countries. She now has her own business which is a Travel Counsellors franchise, so clients benefit from her knowledge, impartial advise and 100% financial protection.
Emma offers a personal, tailor-made service to take care of all your travel needs, saving you time, hassle and stress!
T: 01273 317049
M: 07557 978859
W: Emma Richings – Travel Counsellors