There are a few gotchas that I have failed to notice myself before. And most Tour operators and airlines will charge you most of the price you paid to cancel. So getting it right before you part with any cash is very important.
The first being flight times and hotel check-in times. This is especially true when buying a package holiday, you would probably assume that since it is a package deal the operator will have picked flights that suit your hotel check in and check out times but this is not always the case.
For example on one recent holiday we had to check out of the hotel at noon on Sunday despite the fact the return flight was not until 6 o'clock on Monday morning! Although this was extremely inconvenient the hotel was very good and let us keep our bags at reception and wait there until the coach arrived.
It may not be a reason to discount a particular package, some hotels will offer late check out and your tour operator may be able to give more information before you book.
This is even more important when transfers are involved although the package should take into account transfer times it may add extra stress to your holiday.
Other things to double check before buying
The board basis – what is actually included in the price you pay.
The sleeping options – is it double, twin etc. although this may not be a problem it seems a lot of places offer a twin as standard but a double is usually available on request at a cost.
Dates – very important some sites are bad at returning alternative dates to the ones you specify and it is not immediately obvious.
Departure airports and flight details - This is especially important if you have connecting flights or if you have arranged all the flights yourself.
It is easy to overlook this if you are travelling outside of Europe but you should check well in advance if you need any.
The NHS website Fit for Travel is a good starting point. If you think you do need to get some vaccinations you should check with your GP prior to travelling. Leave enough time to ensure you can get an appointment and potentially recover from any side effects there may be.
If you can't get your GP to do this then you can use a private service but you will have to pay for the vaccinations.
The one thing you cannot control is the weather but it is still worth checking just before you go so you can be prepared. Check a few different weather services to get a better idea of what the weather will be like. On some websites like wunderground.com you can see the historical weather data, although this is not a sure indicator of what the weather will be like when you go, it will give you a rough idea. It is always good to look up some alternatives to the beach should the weather be less than perfect.
It might seem obvious but you may require a visa if you are travelling outside of Europe. This will also likely incur some cost and depending on the destination you may have to apply well in advance to ensure you have it ready for your trip.
English will likely be spoken at most tourist hot spots, but this does not mean you should be just another ignorant tourist. It is always nice to at least try and learn some basic phrases and words in the local language. It may be handy and you will probably get a better reception and service most places if you at least try instead of barking English at everyone. Links to apps etc?