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How to plan an extended holiday

With most of us suffering from a poor work-life balance these days, the opportunity for an extended foreign break is one to be grasped with both hands. The chance to completely switch off from the daily routine is rare and careful advance planning will let you fully enjoy your long holiday. It could also save you money and needless pain and frustration while you’re far away from home. For instance, investing in annual travel insurance will help you and your family (including those back home) feel instantly reassured for a relatively small outlay. Here are six key tips for planning that big trip:

1)  Get annual travel insurance before you leave

You should get travel insurance as soon as you have booked your flights and make sure you have a policy which extends for the full duration of your trip. A policy such as Thomas Cook’s Annual Holiday Insurance will give you cover for trips of up to 45 days and gives you the option of adding specialist cover for activities such as skiing, cruises or even weddings. Find out more here.

2) Check the FCO’s Know Before You Go website

Before you leave for any foreign clime for an extended time (even if you’re heading to countries you feel you know well), make sure you check the government’s Know Before You Go website. It will give you all the information you need to keep safe and legal as well as alerting you to any breaking news about your destinations. Check out the FCO website here.

3) Make sure you know exactly what travel meds you need

Got your annual travel insurance? Check. But you still need to know exactly which vaccinations and meds you need for each country you’re visiting well in advance of you leaving. To help you understand the meds you need for each place you’re travelling to - and for an idea of how much they should cost - check out the NHS’s free Fit For Travel website here.

4) Get a specialist spending card with no added costs

Ease the cost of your long holiday by getting yourself a specialist credit card which doesn’t add the usual 3% charge on top of exchange rates. This way you’ll beat even the best value bureaux de change. Apply at least three weeks in advance and remember to pay in full to avoid interest!

5) Tell your mobile provider you’re going away

We all know that using your mobile abroad can empty your bank account very quickly but it is likely that you will need to use it some stage if you’re away from home for a long time. Many mobile providers offer specialist packages for overseas use but you must contact them and inform them of your trip to get them!

6) Download a free translation app

If you’re going to take your mobile with you make good use of it by downloading a translation app. Google Translate not only lets you download 50 language packs to your Android device so you can use them offline (so no roaming charges), it is also completely free! Just make sure you download them before you leave.

And now you should be all set for your big trip. With the practical preparation and details sorted you will be free to relax and soak up everything the world has to offer. Just remember to send your loved ones a postcard.