Faster and smarter in the app... Open app
Prepare for a hassle-free summer Prepare for a hassle-free summer

Preparing for a hassle-free holiday

Plan ahead now to make sure your next break goes smoothly

The gloomy predictions of travel disruptions this summer were mostly averted. Strikes at the main airports were put off with better pay deals, the passport office started turning new passports around in a couple of weeks after claiming it would take 10 weeks, and even the European air traffic strikes came to nothing.

There were still challenges with the UK air traffic outage on Bank Holiday Monday, as well as the difficulties faced by Morocco and the Greek island of Skiathos.

But if you're setting off now for an autumn or winter break, there's pretty much nothing standing in your way.

Flying out of the UK

Happily most of the airport strikes have been called off, and the problems at the passport office have been resolved. Leaving the UK this summer should be a relative breeze. But just to keep on top of things, here are all the possible problems.

Plane wing skies clouds

Renewing a passport

The long waits to renew a passport now seem to be over, with the passport office turning renewals around in anything between 5 days and two weeks. Official warnings still say to leave 10 weeks – you don't need anything like that now. If you're putting off a trip because your passport expired, apply for a new one now and you'll likely still get away for the summer.

Check your passport is in date before you fly (and see the section below on what that means in Europe). If your passport has run out, you can probably still renew it in time for summer.

Rail strikes

The ASLEF union currently plans to strike on Sep 30 and Oct 4, and their strikes generally bring the rail system to near-standstill. There are also tube strikes on Oct 4 and 6 which will disrupt travel to and within the TfL network in London.

If you're flying on the days of the strikes, or the days either side which may also be disrupted, consider driving to the airport and/or staying over the night before you fly to avoid the disruptions.

UK airport strikes

Heathrow baggage handlers have announced strikes throughout October, including during the October half-term. However, almost every other planned airport strike this year has been cancelled after the negotiation of a better pay offer, so it's reasonable to hope that'll happen again.

Other UK airport disruptions

Covid-related staff shortages at Gatwick air traffic control are expected to cause delays and cancellations from the airport until at least Friday September 29.

The 40 best trips for 2023

It's Holiday Extras' 40th birthday in 2023, so we've picked out the 40 best trips for your 2023 bucket list.

Find out more...

Flying to Europe

There are two new issues flying to Europe – 'overload' and strikes. And the old one – Brexit – hasn't gone away, but you can work around it.

Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria

Alicante strikes

Strikes at Spain's major mainland holiday airport, Alicante, are expected to cause delays and disruptions up to Jan24 or until a negotiated settlement is reached between the airport and local unions.

If you're heading to Alicante between now and the start of next year, please check your flight is running normally before setting off to the airport. If you've not yet booked, it may be worth considering a different airport or destination while the disruption is ongoing.

Extreme weather

Floods and fires on the Greek islands, especially Skiathos and Rhodes, caused disruptions over the summer. At time of writing there are no significant weather-related disruptions in Europe.


It's still (sometimes) harder to get through (some) European airports as UK holidaymakers are no longer automatically allowed to use the eGates.

However, Portugal has been letting Brits use the egates at its main airports for the last two years, some Spanish airports let British travellers use the egates, and there are unconfirmed reports of UK passport holders using them in Malta, Netherlands and Italy.

Get an ePassport if you can.

Pick a destination that lets you use the eGates – major Portuguese airports are especially good for this.

Avoid the whole problem by flying outside the Schengen Zone. Turkiye, Albania and Algeria are popular beach destinations without the same restrictions, the Albanian riviera is very popular this year for having the best, closest beaches outside the EU, and Ireland operates under a different system of access so is quicker to get in and out of.

Alternative destinations for 2023

If you want somewhere a bit different for your break this year, see which new places are starting to draw the crowds.

Find out more...


It's been (a bit) more complicated to fly to Europe ever since Brexit, so keep on top of the new rules and remind yourself of the old ones too.

Your passport

When you set off for the Schengen Zone (most of Europe) your passport should be no more than ten years old. It's possible it's more if you renewed your last one before it ran out and the UK passport office carried the unused months over to your new passport – the EU doesn't recognise the extra months.

It should have three months left on it on the day you leave the Schengen Zone.

Check your passport now and either renew it or pick a destination outside Schengen if you have this problem.

Kids' passports

Remember kids' passports only last five years, not ten. If your kids haven't flown since lockdown their passports have probably run out.

Check your kids' passports before you set off!


The EHIC or GHIC card is an arrangement between the UK and most European countries for use of one anothers' health services for holidaymakers. It's no substitute for travel insurance (not least because it doesn't cover medical repatriation, which is often the most expensive element of serious medical problems overseas) but it's good to have where it's accepted.

Check your EHIC is still in date, and if not apply for the new GHIC which works exactly the same.

Check your EHIC card and get a GHIC if it's run out.


As soon as you book your trip, we recommend booking your travel insurance – that way your booking is covered if anything goes wrong.

If you don't have travel insurance for your trip, Holiday Extras offers single and multi trip travel insurance for almost any trip.

Other concerns

The Moroccan earthquake is primarily a humanitarian tragedy for the local people, and has also disprupted travel to the country.


An earthquake struck Morocco on September 8, leading to considerable damage and more than 2000 deaths.

The FCDO does not warn against travel to Morocco, and flights to and from the UK are operating normally.

If you are heading to Morocco, check with your tour operator and airline that everything can go ahead as planned.

It pays to be prepared – but it's not worth spoiling the anticipation of your holiday worrying that something might go wrong. It almost never does.

10 things you can do to prepare for your next trip

Passports, insurance, checklists and post-Brexit travel

Start preparing