We all want the perfect holiday, the one where you get to a great location, stay in a relaxing accommodation, eat great food, discover local site for specialties and get along nicely with friends and family. So what’ my secret tip for a great holiday? Planning!
Yes it’s not exciting and it requires work before the holidays. However I can assure you that if you do a bit of this work months in advance you then be able to reap the benefits.
So here are the 10 steps to planning your holiday in style. Oh and there’s a free checklist for you to download as well.
1/One year to 10 months in advance
- Book accommodation especially if it’s a villa. The best ones are reserved year on year. Places like Ile de Ré, Cap Ferret, Mallorca, Ibiza, Provence, Côte d’Azur, Sicily book fast in advance.
- There are of course plenty of ideas on this blog for accommodation: here are all the villas and all the hotels.
- Check the rental terms to ensure that you can get your money back if you decide to cancel 6 months before
- Make sure that your passport will be valid at the time of travel, if not start applying for a renewal now.
2/ Nine months in advance
- Figure out the best way to your destination. I personally love rome2rio.com
- Book flights/trains to be guaranteed the best rates. Here are some guiding points:
- Eurotunnel: 9 months in advance
- Scheduled airlines: 10 to 12 months
- Ryanair: 8 to 12
- EasyJet : 6 to 9
- I also recommend that you sign up to the mailing list of Ryanair or Easyjet as they usually send an email to alert when bookings open
- here is also a handy link in Skyscanner http://www.skyscanner.net/bttb/best-time-to-book-uk/
- Book car rentals
3/ Six months before
- Do your research for the activities or restaurants, places to visit around your location
- Bonus tip: add them to Google MyMap like this one I did for New York
- If you are going to Europe and don’t have a Europe health card, apply for it now. This link is for the UK but there are links relevants for each country.
- Book car park at the airport if you’re going to go there with your car
4/ Six weeks before
- Crazy as it sounds, this could be the time to book restaurants and activities. From experience, it was absolutely essential in places such as Cap Ferret and Costa Brava
5/ Four weeks before
- Look into babysitter services. Your hotel may offer them or the owners of the villa may know some friendly young students free for the summer.
- Book treatments at hotels
6/ Two weeks before
- Check in with some airlines, some only allow check in 48h before though.
- Start thinking of packing: what are you missing? Should you go shopping for it? It also means you’ll have less stress the day before travelling. I personally always find packing a bit stressful.
- Plugs: are they the same, do you need to buy adapters
7/ One week before
- Start packing – again less stress, allows you to see what to wash, buy etc
- Ask who would be kind enough to look after your pets
- Ladies, it’s time to book your beauty treatments: waxing, nail polish, spray tan…
- Plan meals if you rent a villa, you can always adapt on site depending on market but a general list/framework can help.
- Do you need to have some prescription renewed?
8/48 h before
- Print directions to the accommodation
- Check all papers: boarding passes, tickets, hotel reservations, instructions to get the villa keys, car rentals vouchers, travel insurance passport, travel directions, passports, phone numbers of people to join when arriving,
- Download movies for kids to watch on the iPad in the plane
9/ 24 hours before
- Online checkin
- Charge all devices fully
- Pack : main luggage, and what you take on the bag in the plane. I always prepare a separate snack bag as the plane may run out of food (plus it’s often expensive and not good).
10/ Day of travel
Do you have other tips to help me and fellow travellers plan a relaxing holidays? If so I’d love to read about it in the comments.