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Now that summer really does seem to be just round the corner, it’s time to consider some top tips that are designed to help make your holiday stress-free.

If you are planning to jet off for your break, don’t forget to check the expiration date on your passport. If it scheduled to expire within the next six months, a number of airlines may refuse to let you travel with them, and there are countries that might not let you enter. In the UK, a routine passport renewal application will typically take a month, although this could be longer at busy times. If you are short of time, there are expedited options available, but you will have to pay considerably more for these.

When you are at the planning stage, it really does pay to research your destination thoroughly. Make yourself aware of all the potential environmental, political and seasonal factors that could throw a spanner in the works. For example, if you are planning to explore Europe by train, you need to be aware that railway-worker strikes are not uncommon, and you should have a contingency plan in place before you set off. Research timetables and routes for alternative modes of transport, and bear in mind that plans for accommodation may not be set in stone and that you may need to take a flexible approach to your trip.

If you are travelling further afield, it’s quite likely that you will require one or more immunisations. Ensure that you plan your vaccination appointments in good time so that the protection has kicked in before you set off. Your GP will be able to administer most immunisations; however, there may be a charge for this, so do factor this into your holiday budget. Certain vaccinations take quite some time before they are fully effective, and quite a number require multiple injections which may be administered over a period of days or even weeks. You might want to consider visiting a specialist travel immunisation service if you are really planning to go off the beaten track, as the practitioners there may well be more up to date on current best practice for your intended destination than your GP.

If you are planning to take part in water sports or swimming while you are away, it could be a good idea to schedule some swimming lessons if you are not confident in the water. Lots of UK centres offer refresher courses for scuba divers too, which could save you time when you reach your resort. This could also be the perfect time to sign up a CPR course. While it is unlikely that these skills will be required on your summer holiday, taking such a course is an investment in the future safety of you and your family.

Finally, don’t forget to cover yourself with a decent travel insurance policy. This can cover unforeseen or unexpected situations, including the cancellation of your trip, the loss or delay of your luggage and any medical issues you may experience during your trip.

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