As you can imagine, I love going abroad – travelling + theme parks = a very happy Lottie! So much so I am off to Poland tomorrow! But does anyone ever get those excited but dreaded feelings before you start packing for your holiday? From the dreaded packing routine (how many outfits do you need? Is the suitcase going to be big enough?) to the major essentials of planning (boarding passes, park tickets etc), you know you need to get your brain into gear so you don’t forget anything!
Trust me, I may not have forgotten anything in the past (touch wood!) but I think I use up all my energy getting prepared for my holiday than when I actually am on the road, travelling to that next theme park destination. Granted it is common sense but sometimes a little helping hand can help you be on your way, and I’ve made a handy little tips list below so that you can feel confident in your preparations!
Now that we are living in a world where technology is at the palm of our hand, gone are the days where you need to print off every single bit of paper. I love the fact that you can now show off the PDF park tickets on your phone – or if you’ve been to Hansa Park and have an iPhone, your ticket sits nicely in your Wallet app! It makes life so much easier as you’ll know you will have your phone on you at all times. Pro tip: To avoid those mishaps with WiFi or lack of internet, open up the PDF/e-mail ticket on your phone and take a screenshot, that way you can still show off your ticket at the entrance without worrying about no internet! Of course, certain theme parks around the world will send you out park tickets in the post, so make sure you have these to hand when you are packing for your trip.
Park Opening Times/Info
I’m aware that ‘in theory’ you should do this in the trip planning stages however it is sometimes good practice a week or so before you fly out, to double check the park opening hours and any other info on their website or social media pages. We all know that park hours are subject to change and even days can change (although this is very rare!). Last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and find that you have less time on park than you first anticipated, or if you are lucky, you might find hours have been extended!
Car Hire/Hotel Booking Confirmations
I’ve bunched both car hire and hotels into one as these form as part of the main bulk of the holiday prep. In the similar vein to park tickets, you can have all your booking confirmations on your smartphone and ensure you take screenshots of any key information such as booking confirmation numbers, arrival dates, payment confirmation details etc. just in case your internet doesn’t decide to play ball when you arrive at your chosen destination. Of course, depending on who you are as a person, sometimes good old printing off the confirmation details won’t hurt. I know that for hotels, especially if you have booked through Hotels.com, Booking.com or AccorHotels, you can view all your bookings on their apps – which is incredibly handy!
Whether you choose to use your smartphone or an actual Sat Nav unit, make sure you update the maps so that you are not caught short when you suddenly find a road or motorway no longer exists! My preferred app to use is Waze as it provides you with the most up to date maps and it’s super easy to set up – and it’s FREE! Other options include Google Maps or Apple Maps (depending on your smartphone of choice). Don’t forget to pack the chargers and any other accessories you will need such as phone holders and USB car chargers. Whilst most new cars have USB facilities in them, you can’t guarantee you will get this. Be prepared for any eventualities!
Public Transport Info (if travelling via Public Transport)
If you are travelling via public transport, make sure you have done plenty of research including bus/train timetables, stations you need for the select theme parks you will be travelling to, any shuttle buses that you need to pre-book before your trip etc. My preferred choice is to get a hire car where I can but if I need to travel anywhere by public transport, research is key! Make sure you know where you are going, last thing you want is to appear lost in a foreign country as this will make you a target for scammers etc. Stay safe at all times!
Essential Toiletries – include First Aid Kit
Sounds like common sense right? But I’m sure there’s a handful of people who may have forgotten those essentials for their trip. What do I class as essential toiletries? Anything from Shampoo, Conditioner, Shower Gel, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Toothbrush etc. Basically anything that is a basic need for your everyday routine! And add a First Aid Kit whilst you are at it – and I might go overboard in this respect by packing so many first aid bits but ‘You never know what may strike at any given moment!’ I will pack plasters, tissues, paracetamol, ibuprofen, vitamins, contraceptive pill (if applicable!), Strepsils, Bonjela, Anthisan etc. Ladies, if you know your time of the month is going to strike during your holiday, make sure you pack your pads & tampons too. Last thing you want is for an illness or ailment to strike and you aren’t prepared for it!
Travel Money and Passport
What? I left the most basic and important thing till last?! Passport is mandatory (obviously!). Pro tip: Put your passport in your suitcase when you start your packing and you won’t have to worry about it being left behind. Now I will admit, I have left getting travel money to the last minute before – either due to poor planning or lack of money before payday! – but I’ve never gone on holiday without it. Obviously, the earlier you can buy your travel money, the better rates you will get – AVOID GETTING MONEY AT THE AIRPORT! There’s plenty of comparison sites online where you can compare the different rates, however I’ve only recently been introduced to Monzo (back in June!) and I bloody love it. Easy to transfer money from my own bank account and no need to worry about conversion rates (standard credit card exchange rate fee applies) or needing to inform them every time you travel. My favourite part is the notifications you get after you spend on it – easy to keep track on how much you have spent and converts it straight back into pounds from your destination currency, so fab!
I’ll give you insight into my actual packing routine for a short haul flight in another blog post. You’ll see how I manage to pack a week’s worth of stuff in hand luggage – that’s right people, I know how to pack light, even for a girl! 😉
That’s all for now!