Top five things to do before going on holidayWhich? puts together a handy holiday check-list

29 June 2012

We all look forward to holidays and we want them to run smoothly, but sometimes things do go wrong.

As many of us are currently gearing up for our summer holidays, Which? has put together a handy check-list to help you before heading off to sunnier climes. 

You can also read the Which? guide to so you'll know what to do if your holiday doesn't go to plan.

Here our top five tips to make sure you're ready for all holiday eventualities:

1. Know your flight rights

Flight delays and cancellations can cause dismay when you're eager to get to your holiday destination. But, if you do happen to get caught up in a delay or cancellation you do have legal rights. 

Under the Denied Boarding Regulation you're entitled to free meals and refreshments appropriate to the delay along with free accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required. 

You could also be entitled to compensation if the delay is more than three hours and you're flying within Europe. For full details of all your legal rights read our guide to delayed or cancelled flights.

2. Get the best deal on travel money

You’ll want to have as much money to spend on holiday as possible, so getting the best exchange rate is key.

Buying your foreign currency from the wrong place could cost you so never exchange money at the airport – you’ll rarely get the best rates. 

And, its best to pay for foreign currency with cash. Paying with a debit or credit card is likely to mean you incur extra changes of typically up to 2.5% (or a minimum £3). 

For full details on how to get the best deals read our comprehensive guide to making the most of your travel money

3. Know your car hire rights 

If you’ve booked car hire for your holiday, you’ll want to get what you’ve paid for.  If you don’t, then the car hire company is in breach of contract. 

The company is also in breach of contract if it has overbooked and there isn’t a car available for you at all. Most companies cover themselves with terms and conditions that say they can’t guarantee a particular make or model. 

But, if you’ve asked for a specific type of car – such as a large family one – and you get a small hatchback, then the car hire company can’t hide behind its terms and conditions.

Arm yourself with everything you need to know about car hire by reading the Which? Guide to your car hire booking rights.

Travel insurance is a real holiday essential. It gives you protection if things go wrong on holiday

4. Get the right travel insurance

Travel insurance is a real holiday essential as it provides financial protection should things go wrong. 

A good policy will cover you for a whole host of unexpected situations from the catastrophic to the inconvenient. 

The best policies cover you for cancelling or cutting your holiday short in an emergency, will pay out for lost or stolen property, and will cover medical expenses. 

For the best travel insurance see our comparison of hundreds of travel insurance policies.  

5. What to do to avoid lost luggage

Before you pack your bags make sure you’re up-to-date with current security restrictions. Check both the airline and airport websites to see their latest restriction policies.

Make sure you keep your luggage receipts in a safe place. These are usually stuck to your boarding pass or passport and provide a record for the airport should your bag go missing.

Ensure your bag stands out. Dark suitcases all tend to look alike, so slap some bright stickers on yours to distinguish it from all the others on the carousel.

Read our guide to your rights if luggage is delayed, lost or damaged.

More on this…

  • Encountering holiday problems? Read our guide on how to get compensation
  • Travelling by train? Read our guide to train delays and cancellations
  • Travelling in Europe? See why you should travel with a European Health Insurance Card