Dec 08

Our “Before you travel” To Do List!

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With your holiday all booked all that’s left to do is make sure you’ve got everything sorted before you travel. Here at MoneyMagpie we’ve put together a list of what we think you’ll need on your trip, and to top it off we’ve sourced the best value options available on the market!

  1. Travel insurance
  2. Clothes and equipment
  3. Getting to the airport
  4. Car hire
  5. Extras

Travel insurance

The most important thing to remember with travel insurance is that cheapest is not always best.  Read the terms and conditions of your policy carefully and check the excess level to make sure it offers the right coverage for your specific needs, whether it’s winter sports or automatic cover for your children.

Head to our comparison pages to start your search and look out for any special offers on Aviva and Direct Line, neither of which advertise on comparison sites.  If you travel at least twice a year you should opt for a low-cost annual multi-trip policy rather than a single-trip policy.  Read all our tips in the MoneyMagpie travel insurance guide.

Remember, if you’re travelling in Europe you need an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) on you at all times which entitles you to the same level of state medical care as any other citizen in all European Union countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Clothes and equipment

Amazon is a great place to find just about anything, and travel goods are no exception.  Amazon hosts a marketplace which allows you to compare prices and get the best deal on the product you want for further savings.

MoneyMagpie_clothes-travel-traveller-backpackOne of the keys to finding bargains on holiday gear is timing. Seasonal equipment is cheaper in off-season.  The price of ski wear and equipment, for instance, falls dramatically after the last of the snow has fallen as retailers look to shift the stock and clear floor space for the summer season’s new lines.  So, if you find yourself booking a ski holiday in the spring or start thinking about a summer camping holiday in October, get yourself down to an outdoor sports shop (Ellis Brigham, Snow+Rock) and take advantage of the bargains on offer.

Discount retailer TK Maxx carries a vast selection of brand new outdoor gear all year round.  From camping equipment to ski jackets and hiking boots, surplus products from trusted brands can be bought at a fraction of the original price.

eBay is also an excellent resource when looking to nab a bargain, and although you may find yourself scrolling past lots of beaten-up second-hand goods, it is the diamond in the rough (that pristine jacket in your size that no-one else has spotted, or that once-used tent being sold on to lighten the load for a house move) that makes the whole exercise worthwhile.

Getting to the airport

The Gatwick and Heathrow Expresses may be the quickest way to get to the airport, but they are also by far the most expensive.  They are both funded by private investors who want to make lots of money back and so their fares are extortionate.  Not to worry; there are plenty of ways to get to the airport for less.before you travel

The rule of thumb when going to any airport across the UK is that the obvious option isn’t always the cheapest, so plan in advance and shop around to get the best fares.  If you’re using a taxi to get to and from the airport; book in advance, shop around and agree a price that you want rather than paying more at the airport where taxis are much more expensive.

When driving to the airport, you can pay up to four times more than you need to if you park in the airport car park without pre-arrangement.  Booking in advance makes things easier and saves you loads.  Have a look at APH, BAA, Airport Parking Shop, BCP, Holiday Extras and Simply Parking or do a Google search for other airport parking services and shop around to get the best deal.

Special Discount for you! APH is a great site for airport parking.  By pre-booking, not only will you pay up to 25% less than you would if you paid on the day, but APH have also offered Moneymagpie readers a further 10% discount.

Moneymagpie Tip! Once you’ve got your quote it’s still well worth checking out BAA, who offer a range of parking options for travellers on a budget. BAA is the official airport parking at many of the UK’s busiest airports (including Stansted, Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen)

Shopping around is the only way to secure the best price and save serious cash, so make sure you put in just a little effort with your airport parking and you will be rewarded.

Car hire

For car hire, the message, as always, is to shop around.  Start off by checking both Kayak and Carrentals, which list prices on the big companies such as Holiday Autos and Hertz.before you travel

It’s also a good idea to check with some of the travel brokers too.  If you booked a flight or hotel with Expedia, for example, you may be able to get a special discount if you book car hire alongside it.

Get free travel guides

If you need some help deciding where to go on holiday, or you want to find out about hotels, restaurants and attractions nearby your chosen destination,you can get free online travel guides from TripAdvisor, VirtualTourist, Hostelworld and World Reviewer.  For UK hotels, use The Good Hotel Guide, an independent hotel guidebook full of reviews.

Don’t forget!

There are lots of little extras you may need – depending on the type of holiday – that are easy to forget.  For the more conventional beach holiday, remember items like an adaptor, money belt or travel pillow.  If you’re off adventuring in the rainforest, have you thought about mosquito nets, insect repellent or even a wind-up torch?  Travels Accessories  has some great value products and you get FREE delivery on orders over £12, while Go Planet Go have a wide range of accessories and offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.


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