To be getting into an anxious state about forthcoming holiday?(48 Posts)
Our family has a foreign holiday booked for August. We normally holiday in the UK but after years of pleading from DC we have booked a week away.
I am now panicking. I know what I'm doing in the UK. I'm familiar with the law, what to do in an emergency, how much things cost, customs etc
I'm worrying so much that I'm annoying myself!
I'd love some advice from experienced travellers. I'm hoping a few tips will stop my worries spiralling.
We are a family of 6 going to the Canary Islands for one week. We have insurance and EHIC, passports...now what?
What should we bear in mind? How's the best way to be prepared so that we can have a good time?
Get a plastic pocket thing and put all the paperwork for the holiday in there. So starting from when you leave the house....for example;
Car parking or taxi booking info
Check in documents
Transfer or car hire info once arrived
Hotel booking documents
Then your Ehic and insurance documents maybe and
Return flight details and return home arrangements.
Just by putting that set of papers together you will find that you have thought about each stage of your holiday and are prepared and hopefully that will make you more relaxed.
Once there, enjoy and muddle through any non English speaking parts, it'll be fine!
Which island are you staying on? I went to tenerife last year and it was a very 'easy' holiday, culturely very similar and lovely weather! Prices similar to here, perhaps a bit less for food and drinks etc. Enjoy! X
I'd take a Spanish phrase book/dictionary and learn a few words. I generally take photocopies of passports with me in case of loss and find out the number of british consulate. I find out the local emergency number too. Befriend the hotel staff in case you need to call on them.
I'd add to what's already been mentioned a detailed local map, and a guidebook, so you can plan in advance if there's anything you want to see, when its open, and whether you need to book it. A phrase book, or a smattering of the language is also helpful.
Sounds like you've done the most important parts. Apart from currency maybe?
Next, I'd start looking for accommodation that suits your requirements - are you travelling around a lot or do you want to stay in one place? Is budget the bigger concern or are you looking for comfort? Do you want a private bathroom? Do you all want to be in one room? Are you happy to self cater or do you want all meals provided?
Then I'd look at available transport to all the things I wanted to see. Occasionally it might need pre booking.
Personally, I also tend to have a daily itinerary planned, even if I don't end up sticking to it, and make sure I have pre booked things that get busy or are cheaper online. I also make sure I've read the Lonely Planet guide or something similar from cover to cover so I know I'm not accidentally going to miss out on something awesome.
But then I've also been told I'm a nightmare to travel with!
oh, and check if you need any travel vaccines.
The Canary Islands are fantastic, you'll have a GREAT time. It will be VERY warm, so don't bother packing jumpers or socks - you won't need them.
There's lots of English spoken, and English type bars, so if the foreign food bothers you, there are lots of alternatives. But do be brave and have some of the Spanish stuff, because it's lovely.
Lots of suntan cream, because it's hot.
Dive into that water and have a lovely time!
AddictedToMaltesers Oh my are you my DH or something! That is exactly what we do. In fact we were doing exactly that 3 nights ago in preparation for this years holiday.
Seriously OP you do NOT need to worry about this. Many, many people do this sort of thing every year for the first time. Have you booked independently or as a package? Either way I am sure you do not need to worry. It is in the interest of the people you have booked with to make sure it goes smoothly. Just relax and enjoy.
If you are staying in a hotel, any emergency, the staff in the hotel will be able to help and advise. They will all speak English and will be used to catering for English families, as will all the local restaurant staff etc.
Sort out currency, take plenty of high factor sun cream (pack in suitcase not carry on because of liquid restrictions), buy adapters for your electrical appliances, have sucky sweets or lollipops for children in case of ear ache at take off and landing. Any specific questions, just ask us. Enjoy, it'll be great. We did Tenerife when my DD was 4 and we had a great time.
Myself and 2 DDs went to Lanzorote (for first time) during midterm. We had a fab time. Our hotel was booked out, but still didn't feel too busy. And the staff were very friendly and helpful.
I recommend you try at least one excursion, book through hotel or locally.
Regards what to do in an emergency, contact hotel reception for help.
We are in Ireland, and found it very reasonable. With euro so weak, it will be great value for UK visitors.
Where are you staying? MMers can probably give you suggestions on where to eat (if you are not all inclusive), where to visit, etc.
You will enjoy it!! Wish I was going back this summer...
Forgot to add my top tip. Place swimming gear and sun creams at the top of a suitcase. If you arrive early room may not be available, but you will be able to hang out by pool and have a swim.
You'll be fine... I doubt you need any vaccines though wouldn't hurt to check you're all up to date with tetenus jabs, which are good to be covered for in the UK as well anyway.
Get a travel medical kit just in case, will save you in a pinch. I made my own with paracetamol, antihistamines, ibuprofen, a sealed bandage, a few safety pins, nail scissors, eye drops, rennies, aloe vera (for constipation), insect bite / burn stuff, a few sealed plasters, finger tape (which I have anyway for sports), antiseptic. Think that's it... Oh! Immodium! You'll be glad you have stuff to hand rather than sorting out minor injuries or pains in local chemists. Plus, if you do get the shits, it'll be too late by the time you get to a chemist.
Buy suncream and aftersun before you go... It's always very expensive to buy abroad or in the airport.
Pack your toothbrushes and paste in hand luggage you can freshen up on the go while you're travelling.
Other than that.... Enjoy! And keep your money safe!
I always take calpol, ibrufen,
di-oralite, pirateze and any other medical stuff ( plasters, wipes etc)
Two copies of travel documents (if printable) just in case, health cards E111 all on own folder/wallet
My top tip would be to ensure you have swimming costume and spare underwear for everyone in your hand luggage. In the unlikely event your checked baggage goes missing then you can still enjoy your holiday until it turns up or you've spoken to insurance.
Other than that, copies of passports, an email to someone whose number you know by heart with insurance & hotel or travel company details.
I usually take pegs to secure stuff for drying on balcony, adaptor plugs, anything the DC genuinely need (like swim nappies if needed), suncream and of the hotel has TV in rooms, possibly some DVDs for downtime.
There are some great tips here, thank you for the advice. I know it sounds daft that I'm getting myself so stressed but it's just fear of the unknown and not really knowing how to prepare.
Things like medication, should I pack in hand luggage so I know it won't get lost? Do I have to keep tablets in their pack rather than in the weekly box dispenser I normally have them in (guessing that's wise)
We've booked an all-inclusive package so have no idea how much money we should take, or how to keep it safe...what do you mean by that bluesbaby do you mean just being vigilant?
There are so many seemingly simple things I don't know about! I've asked friends some things and they think I'm joking, such as, how many towels do people take? Is one enough as its so hot so it'd be dry by the next day?
I really wish we were going to Cornwall or Wales, this much stress has cost a fortune!!
It will be great :-)
Medication - take all essential items like this in your hand luggage, just in case your suitcases were to be delayed or lost. Probably best to keep them in original packets and bring the dispenser empty. Check the rules on what you can take as hand luggage. For example there are strict rules about liquids which also cover face cream / suncream etc.
It's a good idea to pack a few essentials for everyone in hand luggage eg clean undies and a T shirt plus a swimming cossie, just in case of delays with luggage.
Flying - do online check in beforehand if that's offered by your airline. Get to the airport in plenty time - better to be early than miss you flight due to bad traffic.
Hotel - check what the hotel provides for you, for example most all inclusive hotels provide towels for the beach / pool as well as your room. You just collect a clean towel everyday.
Lists - I love lists as it helps me feel in control! Start lists of things to pack, things to take in your hand luggage and maybe things to do before you go (empty fridge, empty bins, lock windows etc). You can add to these as you think of things and just tick items off as you go. Essentials are passports, tickets, money and medicine. Everything else you can buy on holiday if necessary.
Packing - depending on ages of your family make everyone responsible for packing their own stuff, so it doesn't all fall to you. Even little kids can chose their favourite toys or T shirts and you can just tick off your list to check you've got everything.
Suncream - nearly always cheapest to buy before you go. Look out for 3 for 2 offers etc. start with higher factors than you would at home as your holiday can be spoilt if anyone gets sunburn.
Ground rules - again depending on ages of your kids agree appropriate rules in advance. Eg for little kids, no ones goes in the pool without a parent. For teenagers - what are your views on drinking, bedtimes etc.
Relax and have fun :-)
I would train up some of your older school to convert the currency. That can be their job for the holiday.
Sun cream should be factor 30 if you're dark skinned, 50 if you're Caucasian. This is based on a black FB friend showing off his burns after a week in Sharm el Sheikh. Same latitude.
Cash: take a hundred euro for the first day, after that use cashpoints. We've given up on traveller's cheques inside Europe as a preloaded euro cash card is much cheaper.
Have a lovely time!
If you're used to holidays in the uk the heat may take some getting used to. I found it was better to do things either in the morning or late afternoon and be close to accommodation in the middle of the day.
I also have a sensitive stomach and always seem to have trouble adjusting to different food and the heat - I have found that taking probiotics while away helps. You can get one in Holland and Barrett that does not need to be kept in the fridge.
I am fussy and use bottled water for toothbrushing (as well as drinking).
If you are AI perhaps take 50 to 100 Euros for starters and use cash machines if you need more. In my experience there are plenty of cash machines in Spain. Look on moneysavingexpert to understand how your bank charges and maybe get a better card if yours is expensive.
Have a look on the tourist website to see what excursions you might want to do.
Which island are you going to? In Tenerife there is an excellent waterpark in the south of the island. You can also get a cable car to the volcano summit but you need a pass in advance or go on an organised tour.
In lanzarote you can visit lots of caves, the volcano park or cesar manrique themed places (local artist). You can also go on a boat trip to fuerteventura for the day.
Your hotel will help you if you have any medical emergencies.
In Spain lots of shops are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday but they may open if you are on a big tourist area.
Check the size and weight limit of your hand luggage and rules about checking in (time windows prior to flight and whether it is best to do it online). Some airlines charge a fortune to check in and get a boarding card at the airport.
Forgot to say, the Spanish eat dinner very late (including small DCs) so if you go out to eat do as they do and have an afternoon siesta and go out at 9 or 10 pm
It's Spain, not the moon! They have shops, they speak English and you'll have hotel staff to help out. If it's all inclusive then you won't even have to worry about food. It'll be fine, stop worrying.
Look the other way when crossing the road. I've nearly stepped out into traffic more than once due to looking the wrong way.
The evening paseo is a big thing. Just go for a walk and a drink along the front in the evening.
Look out for broken kerbs, unguarded edges and drops. Spain is a bit more relaxed than the UK about trip hazards and health and safety safety.
If you have anyone in a pushchair, or wheelchair, be prepared for hills!
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