Holiday checklists and emergency numbers are essential items when planning a trip. Through experience you will devise your own method, but if you find packing stressful try the following tips:

Just as the pilots on your flight go through a checklist before take-off, you can save a lot of stress by organising yourself with a checklist. Think about the things that you use daily and store this core list of items to a document on your computer. Copy the items to separate lists for different types of trips, such as winter ski trips, beach holidays, adventure sports trips, weekend breaks, etc.

A checklist will save time when the countdown is on to your departure date and you’re in a panic. Checking the list well ahead of a trip will remind you to check passport and visa requirements, needed vaccinations, and get adequate supplies of any prescribed medicines. Print out copies and place them in your suitcases and bags as a reminder to update them before your next trip.  Don’t trust this information to a phone or gadget; what would you do if it was lost or stolen?

Along with all the usual items you’ll need when travelling, remember to leave a space on your packing list for the emergency numbers for your destination country.  We always recommend a visit to the Country Guide pages on the website of the Foreign Office for excellent travel information, as well as contact numbers for the nearest embassy or consulate and links to local emergency services. For travel within the EU there is an EU-wide emergency number – manned by multilingual operators – so make a note of the ’112′ emergency number.

Of course, you know we are going to mention insurance for your trip…  If travelling within the EU take your (free) European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you, but never use this as a substitute for comprehensive holiday insurance.  The EHIC may entitle you to some free emergency medical treatment but it does not cover many other essential items that travel insurance covers, such as: repatriation by air ambulance, mountain rescue, lost luggage, cancellation/curtailment, travel delay/holiday abandonment, missed departure, personal liability and legal expenses…phew! (and those are just a few of the benefits of travel insurance.)

Experienced travellers will be familiar with the saying, ‘Pack your bags, then take out half’.  Don’t forget to reconsider and remove all unnecessary items, including any much-loved stowaway!

Flickr cc image:  photofarmer

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