Around the Christmas holiday the UK population loses its collective head with a combination of frantic last-minute gift buying, excess partying and travel chaos.
The problem is this can lead to crucial planning decisions going out the window, leading to a potentially disastrous festive experience!
Here are some tips in the key areas you need to focus on in the build up to the big holiday week:
General travel planning
Trains and planes – Double check all travel is booked and locked down, and that you leave plenty of time to get to airports and stations.
Travel times – If you’re driving to relatives and friends, consider travelling outside of the busiest times, such as during the night or very early in the morning. If you’ve got children, they’ll be too excited on arrival at your destination to be tired and grumpy!
Driving and bad weather – Make sure you’re prepared for bad weather. Have an emergency travel kit including warm blankets and clothing, water and torches. Check your car is ready for potentially freezing conditions, such as by topping up the radiator water with anti-freeze and ensuring the lights work correctly.
Route checking – Make sure you check traffic alerts before leaving for motorway chaos as going an alternative route might be further, could save you being stuck forever in queues.
Car fun for kids – Getting stuck on hellish traffic can be maddening for kids, who then drive parents to distraction, so make sure you take lots of games, food and distracting things for them to do in the car.
Luggage and flights – It’s vital if you’re flying to make sure your carry-on bags match the airline’s rules for being the right size and weight. If they don’t, you’re courting one of the ultimate nightmare holiday scenarios!
Leaving your home
There are a number of sensible and relatively simple precautions you should take if you’re going away at Christmas to deter would-be burglars, including:
Curtains – Don’t close curtains! Burglars realise that if curtains are closed during the day, the chances are the occupants are not there.
Lights on timers – Making sure lights turn on and off at various times of the day, especially at night of course, is a great but cheap burglar deterrent.
Car in the drive – Try not to leave your driveway empty, if you have one.
Neighbours – Ask neighbours to keep an eye on your home. Better still, give them a key and get them to go in now and again.
Put things away – Keep valuable, easily-stolen items such as laptops and computers, out of sight of windows.
Heating – Don’t forget to leave the heating on ‘frost’ setting, or at least a low level, rather than off just in case temperatures drop so low water can freeze (and pipes burst!).
When travelling in the winter, there’s a much greater risk that Nature will impact on your holiday plans. Heavy snow, ice, high winds and rain can mean flights are cancelled, roads are impassable and hotels and accommodation closed due to flooding and storm damage.
Not only that, strikes by rail, air and road workers either in the UK or abroad can also have a negative effect.
Without the right travel insurance cover, such events could mean you’re unable to receive compensation; it might be that you simply can’t travel due to the weather, and lose the hundreds you’ve spent on pre-booking your holiday, or you need additional accommodation while a snowstorm passes and roads are cleared.
Whatever the reason, double check the cover you intend to take out, or already have in place, allows for such eventualities as not all policies do.
The customer service team at Policy Expert is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 13th December 2018