Consumer: Taking the stress out of summer holidays

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A survey has shown that a third of travellers find planning and taking a holiday to be stressful, with 23 per cent more women than men succumbing to the pressure.

The survey by travel website Orbitz earlier this year also revealed that those with children at home are 19 per cent more likely to be stressed.

You can cut down on the worry by being prepared and organised for every eventuality.

1: Make sure your passport is in date – you’ll have to wait for a new document or a renewal at least four weeks before your holidays. Don’t book until you have the passport in hand, as delays are possible. And what ever you do, don’t leave it at home.

2: Sort out your money. Make sure you check out the terms and conditions of any prepaid currency cards and ask your bank about its fees before you go. Some debit and credit cards will charge you as much as £5 for every purchase or withdrawal.

3: Buy travel insurance. It’s not just to replace any stolen cash or a lost bag – travel insurance protects you against any medical expenses incurred while on holiday. Did you know that an air ambulance from America will set you back around £45,000? That’s after the private healthcare costs if you need treatment while you’re there. If you’re travelling to a European country, apply online for a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), which allows you to access health care abroad for the same cost as locals.

4: Be wary of roaming data charges. The best way to avoid a massive bill when you get back home is to switch off your roaming altogether. Many hotels, and even bars and restaurants, offer free wi-fi if you absolutely can’t cope without checking in on Facebook.

5: Plan ahead to make sure you get to the airport on time. Ensure you know the way to the airport and take into account any roadworks and rush-hour traffic. Missing a flight and hanging around in the airport for hours is no way to start a holiday. Pre-book your parking to save stress and cut back on costs.

If you’re travelling by public transport, make sure you think about any delays and cancellations and book early to save on tickets.

6: Check your luggage allowance. Going over can leave you with a hefty charge before you even get away. Invest in a set of luggage scales and be prepared to leave behind those shoes if your case is too heavy.

7: Check in online. This will – in theory – save you time queuing once you arrive at the airport. But it can also save you major costs. Some flights charge up to £45 per person for checking in at the airport – that’s a lot of money if you’re a family of four.

All that’s left now is to enjoy your break.

Get an EHIC card for EU holidays

A European health insurance card (EHIC) entitles you to medical treatment in most European countries on the same terms as a local resident. It does not replace travel insurance but does add some extra protection should you fall ill.

EHICs last for five years, so make sure your card is still in date. You can apply for a new card six months before your card expires. Your EHIC card is free and easy to apply for.

Call 0845 606 2030 or visit www.ehic.org.uk to apply or renew.

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