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Top five things to do before you go on holiday

Save money with the Which? Travel checklist


It’s just a few weeks until the schools break up and millions of us set off on our summer holidays. Which? Travel has created a check-list of things to do before you leave to make sure everything goes smoothly and you don’t pay over the odds.

1. Get your currency in advance 

Don’t wait until you get to the airport to buy your currency. Airport exchange rates are notoriously poor and Which? research has found that you could get a better deal by ordering in advance online and collecting at the airport.

Check our customer satisfaction survey where we reveal the best and worst places to exchange your holiday money – in-store and online.

2. Get your Atol Certificate

If you’re buying a holiday from a retailer, rather than booking independently, make sure you are given an Atol Certificate. The certificate protects your money if a company involved in the holiday goes bust before you depart. It also guarantees you will be brought home if the company collapses while you are abroad.

Travel agents and tour operators selling holidays involving a flight with hotels or car hire are required, by law, to give travellers a certificate explaining how their holiday is protected.

You should always ask for an Atol Certificate if you buy a package, Flight Plus holiday or a flight from a retailer other than the airline. Find out more about Atol, Flight Plus and your travel rights.

3. Book airport parking in advance

You will always save money if you book a parking spot in advance so don’t leave it until the last minute. Booking in advance can be up to three times cheaper than paying at the airport on the day.

To make sure you always get the best deal, see our airport parking guide, looking at the UK’s 10 most visited airports.

4. Choose the best car hire company

Deciding which car hire company to use on your holiday can be tricky, particularly because hidden charges can make it difficult to compare the deals on offer. To help you choose, check out our car hire survey.

Here we rate 12 leading car hire companies, including Avis, Enterprise, Europcar and Hertz, and car hire brokers, to help you choose the companies most likely to give you a trouble-free trip.

5. Get a free EHIC card 

If you are going to an EU country, make sure you get an EHIC card. This entitles you to the same medical care, and on the same basis, as a local resident.

The EHIC card is always free of charge. Ignore unofficial websites that charge an admin fee and apply for free online. You will need your National Insurance or NHS number, and you should allow 7-10 days.

In addition to the EHIC, you should also take out a good travel insurance policy. Our travel insurance reviews compare high street, bank, internet and travel agents’ policies to help you find the best value policy.

More on this…

  • Book a holiday with confidence by first checking our holiday company survey
  • Planning a self-catering trip? See our tips on how to book a holiday villa
  • Before booking your flights, find out the best and worst airlines
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