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12 things you can do right now to prepare for your next summer holiday

Summer 2022 is shaping up to be one of the most popular holiday seasons in a long time. It's going to be busy, so get yourself in pole position to avoid the hassle! Here's our step-by-step guide to getting you summer holiday-ready in 2022.

1. Pick a destination

First things first - where are you going? You might be considering somewhere new or adventurous to make up for lost time. So if there's a bucket list destination you've been hankering for, now may be the perfect time to go.

If you want our recommendations, we've got ten hot picks for summer 2022. And if you want to keep up with news about a destination's Covid rules, here's the latest news and announcements. Or to find out if the place you want to visit is open and hassle-free, we have guides to pretty much every every major holiday destination with all the details.

2. Take advantage of a great deal

Now you've chosen a destination, take advantage of your forward planning by booking ahead and getting a great price for this summer's getaway. Travel companies know people are concerned about any future change to the travel rules, so lots of packages come with complete flexibility in case you need to change your plans - including our own holiday extras, like airport parking, lounges and hotels. Have a look to see if there's a bargain that catches your eye.

3. Use your travel vouchers

When travel came to an unexpected halt in 2020, some people took vouchers for their cancelled trips. Once you've got a plan for your next trip, have a rummage through your emails from March and April 2020 and see if there's a voucher you can use. Feel like you're getting a free trip in 2022!

4. Book the time off at work

Don't let the rush to book off annual leave stop your perfectly timed trip this summer. Make sure your time off is in the calendar as quickly as possible.

And if you want to maximise your annual leave in 2022, we've got a sneaky way of doing that too.

5. Organise a Covid test

To fly almost anywhere at the moment, including back to the UK, you need a negative Covid test.

We have a comprehensive guide to the tests required for most major destinations, and available at most major aiports. Make sure to visit this page in the weeks leading up to your trip, as the rules may change before the summer.

As more people look to book a long-overdue getaway, there's likely to be a lot of demand for tests, so if you know when you're flying you can think ahead and book now

Bear in mind you can't actually take a test early - almost every country requires a test either 48 or 72 hours old. But you can book early and make sure there's a test available for you when you need it.

6. Check your passport

The rules for passports for trips to Europe have changed since Brexit, so you should make sure your passport doesn't need to be renewed.

Since 1st January 2021, you must have at least six months* left on your passport to travel hassle-free to Europe.

Just like booking time off, if you leave renewing your passport until the week everyone heads to the beach, you might find there's a bit of a queue. So check now, and if your passport does need to be renewed this year you can beat the rush and do it while everything's quiet.

Check the UK government's passport website for details.

*(There's a slightly more complicated version too. If you renewed a UK passport with time still left on it, the UK passport office may have rolled that time over into your new passport - so if you had six months left on your passport when you renewed it, your new one would have had 10 years and six months. But the EU doesn't recognise those extra six months, so your passport must have six months left, not counting any additional months you rolled over last time you renewed.)

7. Check how you're affected by other Brexit changes

Even after Brexit, most trips to Europe are still easy and hassle-free. Spain, Italy, Greece and all our other favourite summer holiday spots want tourists, so they're not going to put barriers up just for the fun of it.

That said, some things have changed since January 2021, so it's worth being aware of the main changes and checking whether you need to do anything differently this time.

  • If you normally take a pet with you, pet passports have changed and you should check out the details.
  • If you drive to (or in) Europe, it's pretty much the same as before except you may need new paperwork in some of the Schengen countries that aren't in the EU.
  • There are new rules on what you can take across the border (including some fairly strict rules on meat and dairy products that mean some people have even seen their cheese and ham sandwiches confiscated on arrival). It's worth checking what's allowed and what isn't before you set off.

8. Work out how you're getting to the airport

There's no point starting your first summer break since 2019 stuck in a three-mile tailback at 4am.

If you've got an early flight, have a look at hotels near the airport. You can drive up the night before when the roads are empty, then start your trip by waking up refreshed and enjoying a spot of breakfast next to the terminal.

If you're driving, it pays to book your airport parking in advance. Prices get higher as the date approaches, and the price you pay on the gate is often up to 70% more expensive than if you book in advance.

9. Check your EHIC or GHIC card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), allows citizens of EU member states use of each state's health service while travelling.

Now that we've left the EU, the EHIC has rolled over into the GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card), a similar deal between the UK and the EU.

If your EHIC card is still in date, it'll still work in Europe. If it runs out, you can get the new GHIC - but like everything else, come holiday season everyone will do it at once and you'll have to queue. So check now, and if you need to renew your card this year do it in advance and beat the rush.

Check with the UK government's GHIC page for details (and watch out for scam adverts - the GHIC doesn't cost anything, so any website charging you for one shoud be avoided).

10. Sort out your travel insurance

EHIC or no EHIC, there's no substitute for a good travel insurance policy. As soon as you book a trip, we recommend getting your insurance sorted so you're covered in case you need to cancel. Whether you're white-water rafting or lazing on the beach, it's better to be safe than sorry!

If you haven't flown since 2019, your travel insurance has probably run out.

Most standard travel insurance policies also aren't valid if you're flying against FCDO (UK government) advice, so even if you've got an annual policy you should check it covers you right now.

It's possible to get specialist travel insurance that covers trips even to countries where the FCDO advises against holidays. You might be pleasantly surprised at how affordable a policy is - for non-FCDO trips we've partnered with battleface, a specialist provider.

11. Make a travel checklist

When it comes to preparing for a summer holiday, some things never change. You also need to get your travel money, make sure you have the right adaptor, set an alarm, and ensure you've downloaded enough TV series to see you through any flight.

Luckily, we have a more detailed holiday checklist. If you'd like to keep it all in one place, we're happy to help.

12. Tell your family and friends

It's no good getting your passport, euros, travel insurance and suitcase prepared three months in advance if you're going to get held up at customs by one grandkid who didn't get the memo about not bringing cheese and ham sandwiches.

So if you've found our guide useful, pass it on to everyone you're travelling with.