Holiday Heroes - Meet Laura
Laura’s Little Stuff blog – www.littlestuff.co.uk – is the perfect places to read about family friendly holidays and more. We caught up with her to get her take on how obsessed she is with holiday planning….
Q: How seriously do you take holiday planning?
A: Quite seriously. I plan as much as I can! Even last-minute trips will be thought out in advance as much as possible, with late-night Googling, and printing of documents and contact details and tips from internet friends.
Q: Why do you do it?
A: I don’t like to plan a regimented timetable, I want my trips to be as relaxed as possible. Planning helps me make that happen - having a wallet of paperwork packed with useful info, trip ideas and entry requirements really eases the stress when actually away.
Q: What form does your planning take?
A: Once the holiday accommodation and travel are booked (obviously that’s a whole other level of planning) then I collate information about the area we’re going to; activities that would be good, along with costs and contact details, tips from other travellers from places like TripAdvisor on places to eat and things to see and times to visit. If it’s a country that I don’t know the language, I’ll buy a translation dictionary or phrasebook, plus for longer visits I’ll buy something like a Lonely Planet guide to the region to help me find less-well-known places.
Q: Do you budget for your holiday? And do you generally stick to it?
A: We’ll usually work out a budget and stick to it. If travelling abroad we’ll decide on a comfortable amount in the relevant currency to exchange for cash in hand, and use a travel-friendly credit card where possible. This allows some flexibility in case of emergency, and is fee-free of course.
We’ve never run out yet!
Q: How far in advance of a holiday do you start to plan it?
A: As soon as it’s booked, I start the planning; the longer I have, the better. It’s not that I spend a massive amount of time on it, but I know with a little persistence I can often uncover some gems which are off the tourist trail, and they’re always the best things we remember from our trips.
Q: Do you share your plans and tips with other people? (if you’re going on holiday with them, or if they’re going to a place you’ve been to)?
A: Once we’ve been, I’m always glad to share the basic details of our trips with others if they ask, and tips on generic details like getting around etc. However if we come across somewhere, or experience something, personal or magically special, then we might be disinclined to share the details with others, keeping it uniquely ‘ours’!
Q: Does your planning help you to make the most of your holiday time? How?
A: Yes – if I haven’t planned ahead then we often spend the first couple of days feeling adrift, trying to find our feet and work out basics like food. If I have already done the legwork in contacting the tourist information and planning out a few activities then we can start enjoying ourselves straight away.
Q: Can you share your top three holiday planning tips?
1. Keep a spreadsheet for packing
I pack for six people, and every time we go away I dig out the right spreadsheet (summer or winter, short break, or 7 days+) and use it. There are tickboxes for all items of clothing, plus the extras like medicines, toiletries, dog items, camera/phone charger etc. Even though the kids are older now, and don’t need me to pack for them, I still hand them a list of what they need to put out for me to pack. I rarely if ever forget to pack anything, purely because I use the spreadsheets.
2. Keep a folder with you
Keep a plastic wallet with all your travel documents in – details of where you’re staying plus contact numbers and confirmation documentation, travel details and tickets, quick emergency phrases if in a foreign country, nearest tourist office details, a fold-up road map (you’re not always getting signal on your phone!), details of places you’ve earmarked to visit, restaurants etc. Plus print off any tips you’ve seen on the internet.
3. Pack light
Three flexible outfits plus swimwear will see you through a week’s holiday. Your family won’t care if they’re seeing you in the same thing twice, and no one else will notice (or matter).
You might also like these Holiday Heroes tools to help you get organised.