How To Prepare for Your Summer Holiday: 10 Top Tips

Updated on 14 August 2017

With Summer holidays fast approaching, it’s exciting to imagine yourself by a pool with a refreshing drink in hand. Take some time for a little advance planning, to make your trip even more enjoyable. We’ve rounded up a checklist to help you prepare for your Summer holiday, so that you’ll love your time away even more.

1 – Plan where to go

Deciding where to go is one of the most fun parts of holiday preparation. It can be hard to choose somewhere that suits everyone, so villa holidays are a good compromise where people can do their own thing and come together at mealtimes. To help with travel planning, I like to read blog holiday reviews, and Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration. Villa Plus, whom we’ve teamed up with to bring you this guide, have some great destination suggestions on their site and 30 years experience of providing handpicked villas across Europe as well as bilingual in-resort staff. I’m particularly drawn to their villas in Corfu, Kefalonia and Menorca – the nearby beaches and tavernas look so tempting! Their villas with gated pools would provide real peace of mind to families with young children.

This gated pool is so idyllic - I could stay there all day!2 – Get your travel documents in order

Check that your passport is up to date – for some countries such as Kenya your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry and you need two blank pages in your passport. UK nationals can check travel requirements for each country at Gov.UK and also apply for a free European Health Card, aka the EHIC on the NHS website. Beware of unofficial sites as some charge illegal application fees for this complimentary card. If necessary, renew your travel insurance.  You may need extra cover if you are going to participate in activities such as canyoning, scuba diving or jet skiing, so always check the small-print. Make photocopies of all your paperwork and leave one copy at home, taking the other with you or save an electronic copy to your phone.

3 – Look after your health

Check which vaccines or medication are needed, several months in advance, at the Travel Health Pro website. If you take medication, make sure that you have a sufficient supply for the duration of your stay. However, some countries have a list of controlled medicines such as painkillers, so it’s wise to consult the embassy website of the destination, to keep any medicine in the original packaging and bring a copy of the prescription. Consider packing a small first aid kit, together with mosquito and insect repellent depending on your destination.

Travel pills
4 – Get shopping

Now for the fun part! Stock up on sunscreen and other items that are likely to be pricey or hard to find in your destination. For your hand-luggage, travel-sized toiletries are essential, or invest in travel-sized containers under 100ml and decant your favourite products into them. It’s also worth buying your own clear plastic toiletry bag, no larger than 20cm x 20cm. It’s worth purchasing any items that might be hard to find in your destination, like contact lens solutions and soap free shampoos. Make your holiday feel more luxurious by investing in comfortable noise-cancelling headphones if you have a long flight ahead.

5 – Prepare your tech kit

It’s worth taking a universal adapter, and an e-reader is a good alternative to heavy books and magazines. It’s essential to charge up laptops, tablets and phones before you go as if you carry them in your hand luggage, you may be asked to switch them on when going through security and you’ll need the phone charged for your e-ticket. Check your data roaming package before you travel and consider purchasing an add-on to keep costs to a minimum. For cameras and phones, clear some space for new photos in advance by downloading your existing photos and videos to your computer or an external hard drive. It’s easy to forget and you don’t want the time-consuming task I was faced with on a recent trip, deleting phone videos just so that I could take new photos and send emails!

6 – Pick up currency in advance

It’s generally a lot cheaper than buying in the destination so find the best rates online. Many will deliver currency to you, or you could consider a prepaid card loaded with currency, or a credit card designed for overseas travel. On a side note, let your bank know that you will be away, so that they don’t query your overseas transactions, thinking that fraud is being committed on your account!

7 – Check the weather forecast

Look at websites such as World Weather Information Service or Wunderground, available online and as a phone app. Just be aware that the temperature forecast on any site won’t necessarily give you the whole picture. For example, you might be travelling to a tropical country during monsoon season, so look at sunshine hours to get a full impression.

8 – Get packing

Make a holiday packing checklist or use an online template for your destination. When deciding what things to take on holiday, light layers are key, as it may get cold in the evening in Mediterranean countries. Don’t forget to pack walking shoes or sandals if you have an active holiday in mind, as well as a hat and sunglasses. You might find our Summer style guide useful and remember that all hand-luggage toiletries must fit into a clear plastic bag, not exceeding 20cm x 20cm. Check your luggage allowance online, and buy a small digital luggage scale to weigh your case at home. That way you can make sure that you’re within your allowance, rather than taking the risk at the airport. If you do need extra luggage, it’s generally much cheaper to book it in advance online than at the airport.

Mini suitcase
9 – Work out your route to the airport

If parking at the airport, make sure to pre-book your space online. Allow extra journey time, in case of any traffic jams. Have a look at how to get from your arrival airport to your holiday destination and book car hire or airport transfers in advance.

10 – Ensure peace of mind

Set up an out of office reply on your emails, and compile a list of useful numbers in case of any issues, such as your bank and phone provider. Consider a house sitter to look after your home while you are away and organise pet care. If going away for a long time, redirect your mail or ask a neighbour to pick it up and pay bills that will be due. Finally, turn off any heating, set your alarm system and light timers and lock your doors and windows securely.

We hope you’ve found these holiday preparation ideas useful, and wish you a relaxing trip!
Do you have any tips that you would suggest to help prepare for your Summer holiday?

In association with Villa Plus, the leading provider of quality European holiday villas 

How to Prepare for Your Summer Holiday

  • I actually love preparing for my holiday almost as much as I like going!! Thanks for the fab tips 🙂

    • Suze

      My pleasure, I’m not so much of a planner so I wrote this partly for myself as a reminder!

  • Thank you for sharing these really helpful tips

    Beauty Candy Loves

    • Suze

      I’m very glad that you found them helpful, Candice

  • I’m a wing it kind of gal. I like to plan flights and vaccines and visas but not much else lol

    • Suze

      That can definitely be fun too, I agree that some spontaneity is a good thing to make the most of tips from locals and last minute opportunities

  • These are such great tips! I definitely agree that checking the weather forecast is so important! 🙂

    • Suze

      That makes such a difference, doesn’t it, as there’s not always time to buy suitable clothing in the destination if you don’t pack it

  • These are all such good tips! I’m terrible about getting currency ahead of time and have regretted that more than once. I did finally break down and do a packing list and haven’t looked back – no idea why it took me so long to do it!

    • Suze

      I have a few different packing lists depending on the weather and duration and they’re very handy

  • So much prep goes into a great trip I think. If all of the prep is done well though, the trip can be so fantastic. I’m in the planning and printing stage at the moment for an upcoming trip. Can’t wait to move into the packing stage next week! Great tips.

    • Suze

      I’m very pleased that you found it helpful, have a great trip!

  • Genie Patra

    awesome tips! Especially check weather because sometimes in some destinations summer isn’t so summery haha. I remember i was in paris a couple summers ago and it got freezing (freezing for an LA girl) out of no where. I just had to layer up since I didn’t bring any cold weather clothes with me

    • Suze

      There are many times when I get caught out by the weather and have to buy warm clothes! I feel the cold like you

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    Absolutely practical tips to follow before embarking off on a holiday. Reminds me of summer holidays as kids when we waited eagerly for that yearly family trip. Of course now we do not wait for summer, but travel whenever we feel like it, or opportunity presents.

    • Suze

      That’s true, holidays are throughout the year now so it’s even more important to be prepared

  • sophie

    Great tips before embarking off on a holiday. The summer holidays are best but all these important things have to be done correctly to avoid any major problems during travels.

    • Suze

      It’s nice to have peace of mind while travelling, isn’t it!

  • There is so much enjoyment in travel planning. Thanks for the great tips 🙂

    Miriam xx

    • Suze

      It’s my pleasure, Miriam, I’m glad you found them helpful

  • No matter how far i travel I fall into that group of people who pack hours before departure and need months to unpack 🙂

    • Suze

      Ha ha I feel your pain, Nina! I do tend to leave the clothes packing until the last minute

  • MelBTravel

    You have some great tips there Suze and some pretty pictures, I like that first pool picture. I always check the weather before I go, it is habbit these days to do so. I think my universal adapter lives in my bag 🙂

  • Paige Brown

    These are definitely some great tips! I’m definitely the person who plans everything out and then somehow manages to forget one of the most important things, like underwear! Haha! I think planning your trip is part of the fun of traveling. There’s an excitement and energy about it! Cheers!

  • I just got back from the Bahamas and I’m itching to go on my next trip. Planning can be the best part of traveling, I also read blog reviews and I’m addicted to TripAdvisor. Looking after your health is so important, nothings worst than being sick while abroad.

  • Checking the weather forecast is always important to me! Checking this determines what I pack and if I need to make other arrangements for the activities I have planned. Thanks for the great list!

  • I’m really bad when it comes to injections and rarely get any done – I need to be more conscious of this going forwards!

  • I really need to start picking up currency beforehand just incase my card stops working, it is always a worry!

  • Excellent guide Suze – and a timely reminder!

  • Some great tips here Suze. I really need to get my hands on a comprehensive packing list. I hate packing and tend to leave it until the last minute so inevitably I spend the whole flight wondering what I’ve forgotten!

  • Lucy

    Good tips. I love my packing list that I have helps me work my way through things I might need without any stress. Packing for a toddler is a different challenge entirely, let’s just say they don’t travel lite Lucy x (FoodieForce)

  • Ambuj Saxena

    Great tips. I guess in today’s times, the set of technological toolkits to carry with the traveler are most important! Loved the tips!

  • Some great packing tips here Suze and it always helps having a list to hand as for many packing can be a stressful thing. You always worry you’ve forgotten something, and many of us tend to overpack *waves* 😉

    Thanks for sharing your travel tips with us!

    Sending love to you and Paul!

    Laura xo