Before you travel

When planning your holiday there are a few things to think about.

Package holidays
Travel insurance
Notify your bank and mobile operator
Foreign currency
Copies of important documents

Top tips
  • You should do some research beforehand. If you use a booking website to compare prices and book your hotel, check if your contract is with the hotel or the booking site. This will help you to know where to go if you run into any problems.
  • Look at accommodation reviews on a number of websites as you may not be able to cancel once you book. Also be aware that some online reviews can be fake. Look out for reviews that contain few details and watch out for lots of reviews posted around the same time. Some sites allow you to check if the reviewer is verified as well.
  • Watch out for potential accommodation scams. This is where scammers go to genuine sites and make copies of photos and details and put up a fake rental listing. This is a scam to get to you pay the rental price or a sizeable deposit. If you’re handing over money, make sure you use a secure method of payment, for example, a debit or credit card.
  • If you are booking accommodation through a holiday website, make sure you pay using that site. They have systems in place to protect you from being scammed. If the contact from a property you’re interested in renting encourages you to email or pay them directly, be very wary.
  • Remember, you don’t have the same consumer rights and protections if you book the various elements of your holiday separately. If something goes wrong with your flights, for example, and you can’t make it to your destination, you may lose money on your accommodation.

Package holidays

If you book a package holiday your travel agent or tour operator is responsible for making sure your holiday goes to plan. They have to give you specific information about your holiday before you travel and if something goes wrong, it is up to them to sort it out. Find out more in our information on package holidays.

Travel insurance

You should consider taking out travel insurance before you go on holidays. Travel insurance can cover you for things like:

  • delayed or missed flights
  • lost luggage
  • stolen or lost passport or money
  • injury or illness on holiday

You should take out travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday, so that you are covered if something happens and you’re unable to travel. You can shop around to find the best value travel insurance to suit your needs. Find out more about travel insurance.

Tell your bank and mobile operator

Before you go on holiday you should let your bank know so they don’t cancel your cards while you are away. If they see unusual transactions on your account they may think it is fraudulent and put a freeze on it. Likewise, you may want to check with your mobile phone provider to make sure that roaming is set up for the country you are travelling to if you plan to use your phone while you’re away.

Foreign currency

If you are travelling in the Eurozone the currency will be the same. If you are travelling to a country with a different currency it is worth having a rough idea of what the exchange rate is. You may want to buy some local currency before you go. You will usually be charged commission for buying foreign currency. Commission rates can vary significantly between banks, post offices and bureau de change outlets so it’s worth shopping around.

You can also use your debit or credit card to pay for things when you travel abroad, or take money out at ATMs. If you are travelling outside the Eurozone, you will be charged for each transaction using your debit card, usually a percentage of the withdrawal, so bear that in mind, especially if you are making a lot of withdrawals. Cash advance fees are often charged when you make a withdrawal using a credit card, along with currency conversion rates.

Our current account comparison has more details of charges that apply when you use your cards abroad.

Another option is to buy a prepaid foreign exchange card. This works the same way as a credit card, but you preload the local currency on to it before you travel. The benefit of these include having the protections offered by a credit card, but also being able to choose when you lodge money to the card beforehand to get the best exchange rate.

Take copies of important documents

It’s a good idea to take photocopies of important documents and bring a copy with you, and maybe leave a copy at home with someone you trust. Important travel documents include:

  • Passport
  • Drivers licence
  • Bank and credit cards
  • Travel insurance policy

This means if your luggage goes missing or a bag is stolen containing these important documents, you will have a copy with you, including information on what to do if something goes wrong, for example contact details for your bank or travel insurance company.

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