You've booked your main family holiday for the year and the countdown is now on until you all jet off. But while it may seem a long time until you leave, it really pays to start preparing early for your journey - especially when travelling with children who will soon pick up on stress.
Read our checklist on what to do before you set off to make sure you are fully organised.
- Check your documents - Check that every member of your family has an in-date passport well in advance of your trip and find out whether you need any visas for your destination. If you are planning on hiring a car, check your driving licence and find out whether you'll need an International Driving Licence (necessary for many non-EU destinations).
- Make sure you are covered - Take out travel insurance as soon as you have booked your holiday and make a note of your insurer's contact details and your policy number to take with you - as well as leaving the details at home with relatives. And, if you are travelling to Europe, make sure that every member of your family has an EHIC that is in-date.
- Keep all of your tickets and vouchers together - Put all of your tickets and travel vouchers in one safe place and make sure that you are clear on all of your timings such as check-in and flight departures. If you are unclear on anything, check with the company you booked with.
- Save by pre-booking your car hire - Are you planning to hire a car for your holiday? If so, pre-book it as car hire is generally cheaper when bought in the UK. Sorting out a car in advance will also mean you'll get the best choice of makes and models so you are more likely to find vehicle to suit you. If you need a car seat or baby seat and aren't going to take your own, don't forget to pre-book these too.
- Sort out your travel extras - Whether you need a parking space at the airport, you are planning on staying in an airport hotel the night before you travel or you need airport transfers, it really pays to book these elements in advance too. A few minutes spent shopping around online before your break can really pay dividends.
- Pre-order your holiday spends - You'll generally get the best deal by buying your holiday currency online in advance from a specialist travel money outlet. And if you plan to use your credit or debit card abroad, make sure you are aware of any charges for overseas spending. These can be eye-watering, so your best option may be to organise a pre-paid card and to apply for a market-leading credit card.
- Know your baggage limits - Allowances for both hand and hold luggage can vary dramatically from one airline to another so check what yours are before you start to pack. And if you are going to need more than the standard allowances, pre-book any extra weight online in advance. Remember too that most infants under the age of two have no luggage allowances at all.
When packing for a family holiday, it is even more important than ever to be organised as a forgotten toy or security blanket can lead to unnecessary tears.
Follow our packing tips for families to help.
- Make a packing list several weeks in advance of your trip so you know what you need to buy before your trip. Or, to save time, why not download our handy packing list as well as an interactive children's version? Don't forget items such as sun hats and beach shoes, suncream, a medical kit for scrapes and bites and plug adapters.
- When you have checked your luggage allowance, sort out your suitcase - bags with wheels can be so much easier. And make sure that everything in your hand luggage complies with what you can take into the cabin.
- Start putting items into your suitcase in advance so everything isn't a mad rush the night before.
- Split family members' clothing and other items across your suitcases so if one bag goes missing you still have clothes for everyone.
- Think carefully about items for your hand luggage as well as your main suitcase and don't forget essentials such as wet wipes, nappies, any medicine or prescriptions you'll need, baby food and milk as well as all of your documents. Remember the 100ml rule for all liquids - except baby food and milk which you will have to taste as you pass through security - and put all of your liquids and creams into a clear plastic bag before you get to the airport.
- Pack plenty of entertainment options for children on the flight as well as travel sweets, a dummy or a bottle for take-off. Children could even have their own bag filled with books, toys and games. And have a treat up your sleeve should you need to distract them in the event of a delay or during a particularly long flight.