Planning a lavish luxury getaway this year? After two years of global travel restrictions and pandemic chaos, it’s about time you got that long-awaited break booked in – but if you’re feeling a little bit rusty when it comes to packing and preparing you might be wondering where to start.
From ensuring you have the necessary documentation prepared and access to your funds arranged throughout your trip, to packing the right items to ensure things run smoothly, here are the basics to consider before splurging on those first class flights and five-star hotels. Get these items sorted first, and you can then move onto the fun stuff.
Ensure your passports are up to date
Currently, there’s a ten-week wait for passport renewals in the UK, and the same applies to those applying for their first-ever passport – so it’s wise to get the necessary forms and documentation submitted as soon as possible to avoid any issues closer to your departure date. If you’re based elsewhere in the world, then be sure to research the requirements for a passport in your country, as these may vary. For example, you may be required to submit different documentation in the US compared with in Europe, or the UK – although almost all will require a copy of your birth certificate.
If you’ve welcomed a new addition to your family since the pandemic began, then you’ll need to ensure that your baby has their own passport so that they can travel. This is required from birth in the UK, and will be valid for five years – so if you have any older children, then be sure to check the validity of their passport before you book your flights, too, as these expire more frequently than adult passports.
As a general rule of thumb, adults will need to renew their travel documents every ten years, but check the rules for the country you plan to travel to to fully understand their validity requirements – Europe, for example, requires a minimum of six months’ validity to be left on a passport upon entering.
Check whether you require a visa
Many countries offer visa free travel for those coming from the UK, the US and Europe – but each nation has its own set of rules, so be sure to check these fully before you fly to ensure that you meet the required criteria. Many Asian countries, for example, may require you to apply and pay for a visa online before you travel, while in other parts of the world, such as South America, visas are awarded on arrival.
Most countries will allow you to stay for up to 90 days on an initial visa, with some giving you the option to renew for a further 90 days should you wish to stay longer. The requirements for this vary, and you may need to cross the border into a neighbouring country in order to extend your stay.
For UK nationals visiting Europe, visas still aren’t required post-Brexit, but unlike before, a maximum stay of 90 days out of every 180 day period now applies.
Organise your holiday money
Gone are the days when travellers checks and foreign currency were the only options when it came to taking money abroad with you, and these days, there are a host of different ways you can make payments while travelling and minimise the fees incurred in doing so.
Prepaid travel cards like Revolut allow you to load your chosen currency onto them before you leave, eliminating the worry of losing your cash or having it stolen, and are a a great way to budget a fixed amount for your trip – while app-only banks such as Monzo allow you to spend and withdraw money with minimal fees, all using your personal debit card.
Pack the essentials
Going shopping for a new holiday wardrobe is undoubtedly one of the most exciting parts of planning a luxury getaway – but it’s wise to think about other essential items you might need to ensure your trip goes without a hitch, too. A first aid kit is a wise addition to any suitcase and will ensure you’re well prepared for any minor injuries or illnesses – for example, plasters and antiseptic wipes will help to treat scratches and cuts sustained while taking part in outdoor activities and excursions, while Paracetamol and antacids can help with minor headaches and digestive issues along the way.
If you’re going somewhere hot, then be sure to pack adequate sun protection in the form of sunblock, sun lotion, polarised sunglasses and a good quality hat to provide shade during the hottest part of the day. For active trips, suitable footwear, a reusable water bottle and a backpack will all ensure you’re well prepared.