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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

Hassle-free holidays is our promise, and while most holidays are happily hassle-free it's still possible to improve your chances of avoiding the occasional disruption to your trip by planning ahead.

That's why we keep up-to-date on all the interruptions and problems that might affect your holiday and list them here so you can find them all in one place.

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 at the moment should be a relative breeze. But just to keep on top of things, here are all the possible problems.

Plane wing skies clouds

Luton airport fire

A fire broke out at Luton Airport Terminal Car Park 2 late in the evening of Tues Oct 10, causing damage to the car park and the temporary closure of the airport. Flights resumed on Wednesday afternoon. For more information and up-to-date advice please visit our dedicated help page on the Luton fire.

Flights have been back to normal since Oct 12, but the destruction of the car park means there are still disruptions to traffic to, from and within the airport, so if you're driving to catch your flight you should allow extra time.

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.

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.

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Flying to Europe

There are strikes ongoing at Alicante airport until Jan24, and travellers flying out ofg Cyprus are advised to leave extra time to get through the airport. Otherwise, flying in and out of Europe is currently problem-free.

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 Jan 24 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.

Flying to and from Cyprus

Due to the situation in Israel, travellers flying from Cyprus are advised to allow the full three hours to get through security

Get to the airport in good time - there are additional checks before you fly.

Extreme weather

Floods and fires on the Greek islands, especially Skiathos and Rhodes, caused disruptions over the summer but there are currently no major disruptions to flights in and out of 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.

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

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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 FCDO currently advises against non-essential travel to Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and parts of both Egypt and Jordan due to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The storm that devastated Acapulco in Mexico means the FCEO recommends against non-essential travel there - services are severely disrupted and normal holidays are unlikely to go ahead for the moment.

The Moroccan earthquake is primarily a humanitarian tragedy for the local people, but has also disprupted travel to and within the country - if you are planning to visit Morocco please check that your itinerary has not been disrupted by the earthquake.

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