The best travel cheat sheet
Top tips to get you ahead before you get away
It might be the trip of a lifetime, or a much-needed getaway to help you survive another year at work. Either way, you've booked it, and can't wait to see your destination and flight number switch to green for Boarding.
Before all that, though, there's plenty to do and - even if you're months away from departure - never as much time as you think to do it in. Fear not - we've well and truly got your back with this one.
Introducing The Best Travel Cheat Sheet In The World... Ever - AKA everything you need to know to make sure you get the most from your holiday, not to mention the best value for money.
Eyes to the front, please.
Don't leave essentials until the airport
The majority of people you see running around departure lounges looking for shops selling swimwear are either regular business travellers who couldn't help but not be prepared as they only just got home from the last trip last night, or idiots.
Either way, if you can avoid it make sure you get all your necessary clothing, bug sprays, sun creams, cosmetics, after sun and what not well before the airport - it will always be cheaper.
Pre-paid travel cards are best for your money
Pre-paid travel cards are on the rise. The idea is you transfer money automatically from your bank account debit card onto a card that offers preferential fees at foreign ATMs, and then use that as your debit card.
Many lock in rates when you pay, so you don't have to worry about exchange rate fluctuations (unless you lose out as a result), and almost all are secure in terms of theft and if the company goes bust. Look out for Monzo, Revolut, and Weswap - all have Money Saving Expert's 'Best Buy' rating.
If you need a car hire it before leaving the UK
This is a two fold point, really. For starters, you'll usually get the best price guaranteed if you confirm your hire car before heading off for sunnier climes (or more wintry climes, depending on what kind of holiday you're after). In addition, you won't have the post-flight confusion of trying to figure out which company is actually giving you the best deal when all you actually want to do is get to the hotel and relax after the journey.
And, finally, you can definitely rest assured that the company you have dealt with is legitimate and isn't out to pull a fast one, because you have time to research reviews properly.
Sunbeds may not be the best option
We understand that many hotels offer their guests free sunbeds on their stretch of the beach. But this can all quickly change when you're on public sand. Sunbeds are often rented out by the half or full day, and if you plan on hitting the coast on successive dates, depending on where you are, this can soon add up.
For a much more cost effective approach we advocate everyone in the family having their own beach towel (in addition to a drying towel), that way you can lay down without racking up a bill in the process.
Image: (C) Drew Coffman - Flickr