Ten things to know before you book to avoid a holiday nightmare

The News consumner expert Richard Thomson has some tips to avert having a disappointing summer holiday
The News consumner expert Richard Thomson has some tips to avert having a disappointing summer holiday
Commuters in a crowded South Western Railway train on the Portsmouth to London line during rail strikes in January this year Picture: Carey Tompsett/PA Wire

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Just as in the high street shops, the summer getaway sales season is in full swing.

But it pays to be careful now instead of regretful later. So just what are the pitfalls, and the preparations you need to make before booking the summer getaway?

Here The News consumer expert Richard Thomson gives some hints to make sure you can properly relax this summer.

* Check the reviews. Every website makes your holiday hotel sound like a guaranteed earthly paradise with a pool. Don’t just take the reviews at face value - prefix your online search with the word ‘complaints.’

* Don’t be tempted to book early unless you plan to travel in the school holiday season. The early booking discounts may look tempting but prices can drop substantially just a couple of months before departure date.

* Tread carefully before being attracted with low-deposit incentives, free child place or nights. The bottom line is the total price.

* If you’re arranging a DIY package holiday book early for the best bargains. Air fares generally rise the closer you are to your chosen departure date. Remember to double check all timings so you don’t risk missing flight departures or train connections.

* Check your passport to make sure it won’t be out of date before your planned departure.

* If you’re travelling to a EU European destination remember to apply for or take your E111 emergency medical card with you.

* Never skimp by avoiding paying for holiday insurance. The cost of emergency hospitalisation and repatriation can be immense.

* Take photographs with your mobile phone of all important documents, including the identity page of your passport and emergency insurance contacts.

* If you’re travelling outside of Europe, make sure it wont cost you an arm and a leg to use your mobile phone.

* Always pay for your holiday by credit card – if it turns out to be a nightmare you can claim compensation from the card company.

Don’t miss Streetwise in The News and at portsmouth.co.uk every week for consumer hints and tips.