Once you’ve booked your holiday, here are the things you should do to ensure a safe trip – so your memories will be happy ones.
Insuring your family
Buy the right policy: a multi-trip, family policy is likely more cost-effective than a single-trip policy if you’re planning to travel three or four times in one year.
Check age limits: if you are travelling with dependent children at college or university (up to the age of 23), check they are insured on your family policy. The small print may give a max limit of 18 years.
Declare special needs: if anyone has a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you’ve alerted the insurer to ensure they are comprehensively covered.
Talk to your doctor: if you are renting a villa further afield than Europe, check with your doctor or a specialist health clinic whether you or your children need jabs.
Take a medical kit: buy a ready-made pack or put one together yourself, including insect repellent and sting relief.
Carry EHIC cards: make sure every family member has their own card. These do not take the place of travel insurance but do entitle you to free or subsidised medical care in Europe and may reduce the level of excess charges on an insurance claim.
Hiring a car
Shop around: collect quotes from the car rental office companies direct as well as specialist brokers such as Holiday Autos or Auto Europe , taking any extra charges into account, including hiring car seats for small children.
Check the fuel policy: avoid companies that sell you a full tank of petrol when you pick up the car, usually at an inflated price, then ask you to return it empty.
Know the rules of the road: don’t be caught out by local driving regulations. Look at the AA’s website for advice on speed limits, compulsory equipment and required documentation.
Protecting your money
Check out your villa: if you are booking independently, be wary of fraudsters who set themselves up as villa owners, taking bookings and deposits for non-existent properties.
Airline failure: if you’ve booked travel and accommodation separately, there’s a risk of losing money if the airline company collapses. Protect yourself by booking through an ATOL travel agent, paying by credit card or choosing an insurance policy which offers cover for scheduled airline failure.
Avoid extra charges: read the villa contract carefully – and check whether there are extra charges such as cleaning or linen hire.
Follow official advice: if you are concerned about safety in the region you are travelling to, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Avoid accidents: these are most likely to occur on the first and last day of a holiday when adults are distracted by unpacking or packing up and may be less vigilant. Do a quick tour of your villa on arrival to make sure there are no hazards including unfenced balconies or grounds.
Supervise the pool: keep a close watch on children around water at all times and consider brushing up on basic life-saving skills on a short, first aid course with St John Ambulance before departure.