From passports to holiday hire car codes, planning your holiday is more complicated than ever. Don’t panic, though, our APH Holiday Countdown is here to ensure a stress-free trip is just a click. Read on to find out how…
What is the APH Holiday Countdown?
Simple! It’s our guide to what you need to be doing and when you need to be doing it as you book, prepare and enjoy your holiday. Just click the relevant section below and make sure you’re on track for a perfect vacation.
12 – 8 weeks before departure:
It’s time to think about booking your holiday, so here’s the info to ease the process along.
Staycation or vacation: Fly domestic nest or choose a holiday location in the UK? We look at the pros and cons of each to help decide.
See how the figures add up here
Beat the school holiday price rise: Are you booking for yourself and children? Use this guide to minimise the battering your bank account will receive from premium pricing during school holidays.
Cash-saving tips are here
Passport check: It’s the must-have travel companion you really can’t leave home without. Your passport is a slippery customer and likes to expire just when you need it the most. Don’t succumb to passport panic – we’ve got all the information you need on getting a new, or renewed document in time to make it onto the plane. Check now and you’ll have plenty of time to renew if required.
Get your passport guide here
Get yourself ready for the beach: Fancy a quick tone-up ahead of your debut on the beach? We look at the top diets currently on offer. Alternatively, why not simply find the perfect swimwear to celebrate your shape, or a collection of apps to ensure you’re Facebook snaps become the talk your community. It’s all here.
Destination celebration: If you’re planning a trip to celebrate a big event such as a key birthday or upcoming nuptials – here’s our guide to choosing the destination that’s right for you.
Taking your pet with you: Thinking about taking your pet on holiday abroad, or perhaps you’re relocating to foreign shores? You’ll need to start planning the process as soon as possible, so here’s the information you’ll need to get your four-pawed pal on the plane.
How to get your pet passport here
4 – 1 week before departure
Time to get busy as you start the final countdown in your journey to the check-in desks. Here’s what you should be concentrating on.
Safety gadgets for your hols: Summer’s here so it’s time to pack your case and head to the sun… but should we be taking more than our suncream and sun glasses? Most holiday destinations are perfectly safe, but there are many safety gadgets we can take as added insurance. Here’s the APH.com guide to the best available right now.
Passport panic: Is your passport packing a terrible secret? Grab it from the drawer now and take a deep breath… Hopefully the expiry date will be well beyond your holiday, but if not – and providing you’ve got a couple of weeks to go before you depart – it should still be possible to renew your expired or ailing document in time.
Find out how to renew your passport at short notice here
Book a hotel: Is your flight departing early in the morning or returning late at night? Booking a night in a hotel can make your departure or return considerably less stressful. Most are just minutes from the airports they serve.
Choose your room here
Get mobile phone smart: Do your homework ahead of flying and you could save yourself plenty of cash in mobile phone and data charges. Buying special bundles and switching off data-munching apps are just a few essentials you’ll need to organise.
Get the latest gadgets: From smart luggage to sand-free beach towels and smart credit cards, browse our collection of travel apps to help give your trip a tech-powered boost.
Take control of your home: Worries about pets and property left at home prove a big concern for holidaying Brits, so find out how you can take control and run your estate direct from the beach.
New drug driving laws: Do you take prescription medicine on a regular basis? From sleeping pills to treatment for nervous flyers, over-the-counter medicine could be leaving you open to a driving ban under new drug legislation.
Holiday health gadgets: From those of us heading on activity breaks to travellers with existing conditions and those who just want a little more confidence when away from home, here’s our guide to the medical gadgets and apps to ensure you keep on top of your holiday health.
Get ready to hit the road: Hiring a car while on holiday? Here’s our guide to everything from beating the honey trap of hire car hidden extras to making sure you have a licence to drive on foreign roads.
Travel apps for trips with kids: Heading abroad with the family? Pre-load your phone with APH.com’s guide to fantastic travel apps for holidays with kids. We’ve also got a guide to making sure you don’t bankrupt yourself with unexpected data charges.
Plan your self-catering trip: Saving cash by swerving full-board deals and taking the cost-cutting route of a self-catering holiday? Sounds like a great idea… but failing to plan the culinary details before you leave could result in empty tums. Make sure you have a plan before you fly, or you could end up spending large amounts of cash in the local restaurant. Follow APH.com’s guide to getting the best savings and tastiest food for your 2014 summer holiday.
Final countdown… 7 days – departure
Time to get busy and fine-tune your holiday plans and ensure your trip goes without a hitch.
Holiday hire car code: Hiring a car for your trip? Big driving licence changes mean you’ll need to turn up with a special code to give your hire provider access to your driving record now the paper counterpart has been axed. The code lasts just 72 hours, so make sure you leave it as late as possible.
Revealed – how to get your code
Airport security restrictions: We’ve all the latest details right here. Vital information for planning what makes the cut for hand luggage and what travels in the hold. It’s the essential information that all travellers need. We’ve also got an airport-by-airport guide to fast-track security lanes to keep the kids happy and parents sane.
Security information you need here
Book meet and greet parking: Travelling with kids, bulky luggage, or perhaps you have an early morning departure? Cut the stress with the ultimate in airport parking – meet and greet. Available at all major airports, simply drive to the terminal (South or North), meet a chauffeur and head straight to the check-in desks while your car’s parked for you. Beat the queues without breaking the bank.
Reserve your chauffeur here
Download your airline’s app: From getting to the airport on time to checking-in from your mobile phone or tablet, airline apps are making flying far more efficient and stress free. Forget printing your boarding pass or getting stuck in a jam on the way to the airport car park – there’s an app for that. See what’s on offer for the modern-day traveller as APH takes a look at 10 of the apps offered by some of the top airlines flying from the UK. Don’t forget to download Virgin Atlantic’s app just for the funky flight tracker.
Wi-Fi costs at airports: Get the information you need right here.
Wi-Fi information here
Airport scanners: We answer your questions and concerns about the increasing use of airport scanners. From are they safe to worries about naked images, we cover it all here.
Airport scanners exposed
Get to the airport on time: We reveal the most congested cities in the UK and how getting to the airports that serve them could be affected.
Cards and cash: Find out the best way to finance your holiday spending. Should it be cash, credit card, debit card or cash passport? Find out the answers here.
Read full details
Holiday packing tips and tricks: We’ve all the essential information you need. From packing lists to hand-luggage allowances for all major airlines, we’re here to make your holiday prep a whole lot easier.
Pack your way to success here
Dartford Crossing: Heading to one of the South East’s airports? Chances are you’ll have to use the Dartford Crossing. The toll booths are gone, but you still need to pay. Forget to do this before you fly and you could be looking at a fine of £125.
Get the full payment instructions here
Where to take your kids and keep them happy at Heathrow Airport.
Find our all-terminal guide here
If the prospect of heading to the airport with a car packed full of kids and suitcases is enough to make you tear up your passport and run screaming to the nearest campsite, then our guide to a stress-free family travel from Gatwick is the tonic you need.
Forgotten to pack a holiday essential? Not a problem with this guide.
Click here for our guide to emergency shopping at Gatwick
Looking for somewhere to enjoy a meal before you fly from Gatwick Airport? Here’s our guide to the airport’s top five places to eat.
Find the top tables at Gatwick here
Here are our recommendations for the best places to feed at Heathrow’s five terminals…
Click here for Terminal 1
Click here for Terminal 2
Click here for Terminal 3
Click here for Terminal 4
Click here for Terminal 5
Avoid tucking into dubious-looking airline food by filling up before you fly from Manchester Airport.
We’ve got the best eateries here
Heading on your hols from Birmingham Airport? Make sure you fuel-up before you fly. Here’s our guide to the best placed to eat for all requirements.
Find your table here
Follow our guides on how to VIP your trip from major UK airports. From fast-track lanes to the best lounges, we’ve got all you need to join the jet set.
Click here for our guide
Click here for our guide
Click here for our guide
Top 10 ways to keep kids happy at Birmingham Airport: From food to airport security priority lanes, we’ve got the essential information to help nurture happy offspring as you make your way through Birmingham Airport.