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Travel checklist

Packing and preparing to go away can sometimes leave you in need of a holiday. Use this handylist to get organised and check off everything you need so you can relax and enjoy your hard-earned break.

When you book

  • Make sure your passport’s in date, and bear in mind that some countries will need it to be valid for at least six months. Find out how to apply for a new one on the Directgov website.
  • Check if you or anyone travelling with you will need a visa.
  • Apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). It’s free, and gives UK residents access to free or reduced cost medical treatment in any country that has a reciprocal agreement. So if you’re temporarily visiting another country, make sure you get one. Apply here.
  • Take out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. John Lewis Travel Insurance offers a high level of cover, including up to £8,000 Cancellation Cover per person, up to £2,500 for lost luggage and up to £10 million for Medical Cover. Protection against loss or theft of your passports and money is covered as standard.
  • Find out if you’ll need any vaccinations or medication and book an appointment with your doctor to get a repeat prescription on any regular medication you’ll need.

A week before

  • Order holiday currency or traveller’s cheques
  • Plan your journey to the airport or if you’re driving to your destination, plan the route
  • Make sure you’ve received any travel tickets you’ll need
  • Make arrangements for house or pet sitters, and arrange to leave your keys with someone you can trust
  • If you have a house alarm, leave the details of the company that provided it with a trusted neighbour
  • Call your bank to let them know where and when you’re going so that they don’t treat any out of the ordinary activity on your credit or debit card as suspicious

At home

  • Secure your home – if you’ve been meaning to repair locks or fit extra security, do it before you go
  • Cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries
  • Leave the keys with someone you trust who can keep an eye on the house, move post and water your plants
  • Consider buying a timer switch so you can leave one light to come on to deter burglars
  • If you’re going away in winter, leave the heating to come on for at least an hour a day to minimise the risk of a burst pipe
  • Switch off any electrical appliances – don’t leave them on standby as this wastes energy
  • Clear out anything that’ll go out of date in your fridge or cupboards
  • If you’re getting a cab to the airport, don’t share too many details of where you’re going or how long you’ll be away for with the driver
  • Check in online, print boarding passes/tickets, order any special meals and choose your seats if your airline allows it
  • Make copies of all your essential documents, just in case they get stolen

The Essentials

  • Passport
  • Visas
  • Travel tickets
  • Boarding pass – if you’re flying with a budget airline, print it out and save money
  • Accommodation details
  • Travel insurance documents
  • EHIC
  • Enough foreign currency to get you to wherever you’re staying, and through the first day
  • Credit cards
  • ID, eg driving licence
  • Mobile phone
  • Your house keys

Handy to have in your hand luggage

  • If you’re flying, check weight and size restrictions with your airline
  • Basic toiletries. Put them in individual containers in a separate clear plastic resealable bag. Don’t take more than 100ml in total
  • Blanket, pashmina or warm jumper
  • Sweets for the journey
  • Valuables, eg camera
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Travel adaptor
  • Any medication you’ll need
  • Books and magazines
  • Change of underwear in case of delay
  • Change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Basic first aid kit, including painkillers and treatments for upset stomach and indigestion
  • Torch, especially if you’re arriving at night

Travelling with children/babies

  • Passport
  • Food and milk – bear in mind you may have to taste baby milk at airport security. It’s better to take too much in case of delays
  • Changing bag, wipes and nappies
  • Their favourite toy
  • Comfort blanket
  • Activities and books
  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks and drinks, but bear in mind restrictions on liquids if you’re flying

Check before you go

  • If you’ve booked your holiday a long time ago, or have chosen a remote or exotic destination, check with the Foreign Office that it’s still safe to travel there.
  • Check the weather forecast, and keep an eye out for extreme weather conditions such as tropical storms.
  • Do your research and find out if you need to take anything in particular, eg mosquito repellent and nets, bottled water, malaria tablets, water purifying tablets, walking shoes or modest clothing – for example you may need to cover your shoulders to fit in with the country’s culture.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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