With the opportunities for overseas holidays much reduced this year as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, millions more of us than usual will soon be heading away for a UK “staycation”. Many UK holiday spots will be far busier than usual, so it will pay handsome dividends, both for your sanity and your wallet, to do some advance planning ahead of the trip.
We’d like to offer some tips for making your staycation go smoothly and for ensuring that your home will be just as you left it when you return.
Our MD, Neil Barham, says that planning a holiday is a good opportunity to review home security measures: “There’s an ever-increasing range of affordable home security solutions in the market. Installing video doorbells and smart cameras, for example, will give you greater peace of mind that your home and valuables will remain secure while you’re away.”
Choose Your Holiday Destination Carefully
Most of us have our favourite UK staycation destinations, but this year, given the COVID-19 situation, it might be a good idea to choose somewhere a little off the beaten track. Although the social-distancing rules have eased, quieter places might be better for greater peace of mind.
Booking Your Holiday
Unfortunately there are a lot of fraudulent holiday accommodation listings and booking sites on the web these days. When booking and paying in advance for your holiday, make sure you check that the location actually exists, and look at the reviews. There are a few other things you can do to check that a booking site is legitimate:
Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar to see if the site is secure.
Poor spelling and low resolution images can be an indicator that the site isn’t legitimate.
If you’re asked to leave the main site and go to another one in order to make a payment, or if you’re asked to make payment via bank transfer, alarm bells should start ringing.
Always make sure you’re happy with the site’s guarantee and refund policy.
Review Your Home Security
An important part of holiday planning is to review your home security. If your home is going to be unoccupied for a week or two, it goes without saying that you need to check that doors, windows and gates are locked, and your home alarm is set before you head off.
But there’s more that you can do to ensure peace of mind. Before you go away, think about updating your home security. There’s a wide range of new and often relatively inexpensive home security products available, including video doorbells, smart cameras and motion detection sensors. It’s quite comforting to be able to sit on a beach and log into your home security camera app to check that all is quiet back at home.
Check Your Travel Insurance
Before you set off, don’t forget to check (or renew) your travel insurance. There’s always a chance that your travel plans may have to change as a result of new COVID-19 guidelines, so make sure you’re covered as far as possible in the event that you have to cancel your accommodation, or even your whole trip.
Plan Your Journey
There’s every likelihood that traffic down to favoured holiday spots will be heavier than usual this year, making it all the more important that you plan your route in advance. If you’re going to take the kids to theme parks, wildlife sanctuaries and other local attractions, make sure you book your tickets in advance.
Before you set off, make sure you know the places en route where you can stop for comfort breaks or for lunch. If you drive an EV, it pays to know where you can charge your battery. It’s also a good idea to see if there are any places where kids can eat for free. And don’t forget to check out any remaining local COVID guidelines and pack those face-masks and hand-sanitisers.
Check Your Vehicle
It goes without saying that it’s really important to make sure your vehicle is in good shape before you set off on your trip. Make sure you have breakdown insurance and a few days before you leave, check your car battery, tyre pressure, lights, and oil and screen wash levels.
One of the great things about holidaying in the UK is that you can often take your pet dogs (and cats) with you, rather than putting them in kennels or having to find someone to look after them while you’re away. There are lots of pet-friendly accommodation options throughout the UK. But if you can’t take them with you, make sure you book your cats or dogs into kennels in good time.
Social Media Posts
Be careful what you post on social media about your trip. If criminals know that your property will be empty for a while because you’ve posted something on Facebook that shows the family having a great time on a Cornish beach, you could be in for a nasty surprise on your return. This advice applies to all family members, so it’s best to agree some ground rules about this with everybody before you set off.
Bear in mind that insurance companies will often check people’s social media accounts after receiving claims relating to burglaries. If you’ve announced on Facebook that you’re going away on holiday, and you get burgled, some insurance companies are using this as a reason not to pay out on claims.
With a bit of advance planning, your time away will be more enjoyable and less stressful. On behalf of all of us here at Danhouse, we wish you a fantastic summer holiday.