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Preparing for a family holiday is exciting and stressful in equal measure. When the countdown begins, and the day of departure looms, so does the anxiety about whether you’ve got everything ready, sorted and packed.

There are many things to you can do while you’re away to make your holiday go as swimmingly as possible, including trying to stay relaxed. But to help facilitate this worry-free persona on your trip, it’s important you do some essential checks before you travel – some months in advance – which will help ensure you’ve got everything covered and avoid any last-minute panic.

Check passports are still valid

Some countries require that you have at least six months validity remaining from the day you travel, so check all passports well ahead of time. And apply for a new one as soon as you can, as during peak season you may find it can take longer to arrive.

Make sure you have travel insurance

I usually get an annual policy that automatically renews, but once, I decided to cancel so I could find a better deal. What with one thing or another, I forgot to do it, and two days before travel there was a mad dash to get ourselves covered! For peace of mind should the unthinkable happen while you are away, from extortionate medical costs to cancellations and theft, it’s essential you and your family are insured, and that you get travel insurance to cover people for medical conditions.8 Things You Should Do Before Going On A Family Holiday

Get an EHIC card if you’re travelling to Europe

A Europen Health Insurance Card (EHIC) means that if you were to fall ill while abroad in Europe you would be entitled to either free or subsidised health care. You don’t have to pay for one and it’s simple to apply for one here. Be aware, though, having one is no substitution for travel insurance.

Check all your essential documents

Check you have all your essential travel documents such as flight times, hotel confirmations and visa entries if needed. I find a plastic folder with compartments is the perfect place to store them, and easily accessible should you need them quickly. It’s also worth having a list of emergency numbers for your insurers, banks and credit card providers should anything be lost or stolen, as well as a note of all your passport numbers.

Sort out your travel money

And the earlier the better. Leaving this to the last minute means you may not find the best rates. The cheapest rates can be found online via comparison sites and the money can be delivered straight to your door. Alternatively, you can also get pre-paid cards where you can load up your cash, which is a great way to budget while you’re away. Contact your bank and credit card providers, too, and let them know that you will be using your cards abroad.

8 Things You Should Do Before Going On A Family Holiday

Take care of your pets

Make arrangements for any pets ahead of time. That way, you can relax in the knowledge that they’re they’re safe and being looked after.

Secure Your Home

Cancel any deliveries, and triple check all your windows, doors and gates are locked and secure. Consider leaving a spare key with a neighbour or any friends/family members who live close by so that they can check on your home, or get inside should an emergency arise.

Turn off all electrical and heating appliances

If you’re going away during the winter, don’t completely turn off your heating system because the pipes may freeze. However, turning down the thermostat will save you some money. Also makes sure to switch off and unplug all electrical appliances.

* This is a collaborative post