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Passport

If you don't have a passport or your passport has expired then you should do this first and find out how long it will take. You can pay more for a fast track service but there are no guarantees.

Current pricing can be found on the DirectGov website. They make it very clear that it's not their problem if you book a holiday before getting your passport and they don't deliver in time.

EHIC Card

A European Health Insurance Card is a must when travelling in the EU. Previously called a E111 it basically gives you access to free and reduced cost essential medical care in all EEA countries should you need it.

It doesn't cost you anything to get one, but if you don't have one you and require medical care abroad you could be landed with a hefty bill.

You don’t actually need the physical card to travel so if you don't have one you can phone up and get a reference number. Simply take the reference number and details of who to phone should you have a problem. Check out the DirectGov website to apply or renew your existing card.

Also watch out for websites offering the EHIC at a cost. The card is free and should cost you nothing. The Post Office does offer a check and send service, which you pay for to make sure you have provided all the relevant details. If you are applying online however it should cost you nothing.

It is also worth noting that just because you have an EHIC card does not mean you can travel without proper insurance.

Time off Work

Sounds obvious but its a good idea to book time off work before booking. Ideally do a quick search to see when the deals are so you can work out dates.

But it may be that you are restricted by job responsibilities. So it's best to get time off first rather than book a holiday only for your boss to say you can't have time off.

Passport Renewal

If you need a fast track this will cost more but even the basic renewal is £72.50 at the time of writing in addition you will need photos. Current prices can be found on the DirectGov website.

Clothes

If like me you live somewhere where it is never sunny (Scotland) and you want to go somewhere hot, you may suddenly find you need to buy a weeks worth of summer clothes.

Luckily we have lots of discount stores such as Primark and H&M, it's best not to buy really expensive stuff, most of the time you will wear these things once and then buy new gear next year, and it has been known for suitcases to disappear.

Suitcase

An essential, expensive and often overlooked item. If you already have one or can borrow one, great no problem. If you are buying one I would recommend getting a light weight one so you can maximize the amount of stuff you can bring.

Some suitcases weigh quite a bit before you even put anything in them. The only drawback to the lightweight one is that is will be less sturdy so if you are planning on bringing anything breakable it is maybe not such a good option.

Rucksack

Not very trendy but its very handy. It is a must if you are going to be out and about a lot whether it's around the city seeing sights or going to the beach you may need to carry more stuff around with you than you think.

Airport transfers

By this I mean getting to and from the airport from your home. Depending on where you live this can be expensive and if you are driving then you need to consider airport parking costs. Most airports will have public transport details on their websites.

Travel Insurance

You will likely need some form of Travel Insurance in addition to the EHIC card. Generally it is better to get an annual policy and shop around using a comparison site. Remember you may be able to get cash back on this too.

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