Seasoned traveller Barry Pearson has some tips to avoid the perils and pitfalls of holidaying abroad.
HAVING talked about driving holidays in France (via the Channel Tunnel) and on the subject of trips overseas in general, a number of people have talked of "rip-offs" and the cost of add-ons and how much they can be.
So, inspired to look more closely at additional costs, and to give a few reminders of holiday essentials, here we go.
One absolute essential – please, wherever you are going – ensure you have full holiday insurance.
Sadly, we have all read the horrors of people who thought "it won't happen to me" and who have been damaged, not only from an accident but financially.
Repatriation from the US can cost £120,000 – or £24,000 from Italy, let alone medical costs. It is not worth it when as little as £15 a head can remove the worry.
I will not try to detail the range of costs there may be, as much depends on your personal circumstances, but disclose pre-existing problems, if there are any, and read the small print.
A good travel agent will advise you, but never be afraid to ask questions.
The second essential if travelling within the European Union is a European Health Insurance Card. This card, which is free and can be applied for online, effectively allows you to take your NHS benefits with you.
Unfortunately, having holiday insurance does not remove the need for the card – so please get one for each member of your family.
So, having looked at the essentials let's take a look at the sort of costs that can, so easily, affect us all.
I will compare our local airports, and you may be surprised.
All the airport costs in the table above are readily available via the websites of APH or BCP – or check with the airport sites direct. On the assumption that a couple were flying out next Wednesday, for a week with a couple of children, let's look at the sort of add-ons you could face.
I have given prices for both car parking with transfers and meet and greet, which allows you to drop off and pick up your car at, or close to, the terminal.
If you want to start your holiday a little early, I have looked at deals which give you a night in a hotel with parking.
Deduct the parking cost and the hotel content can give great value and avoid you having to get up at 3am!
As you are going on holiday, why not start with a treat of an hour or two in one of the airport lounges?
There, you can, in relative peace and quiet, enjoy light snacks, varying with time of day, tea and coffee and a wide range of drinks – both alcoholic and soft.
So while £19 a head may appear expensive, knock off the cost of a couple of G&Ts, soup, biscuits and cheese and the net cost of peace and quiet can be as little as £3.
It is interesting to note that, in most cases, East Midlands Airport proves to be the most costly.
Obviously, costs will vary with the time of year, but the pattern is the same.
A couple of final reminders before I wish you a really enjoyable and care-free holiday.
Airlines have to provide your basic details to your destination country – don't forget to provide this information.
Most airlines prefer you to check in online anything up to 28 days before you fly, so don't forget.
If you do, it can cost you at the airport.
Have a lovely break.