We all look forward to our holidays; the chance for two weeks in the sun, on the slopes or up a mountain. Let's be honest, though; the logistical bits can be, well, a bit of a faff.
We've scanned the world wide web for the very best holiday 'life hacks' - hints, tips and brilliant ideas that can make buying, packing for and going on your travels a much more pleasant experience.
If you're trying to save some money, try these accommodation-themed hacks. Rather than book a hotel, why not rent someone's house, or consider a home swap? You may be able to stay in a nicer place for less money. If booking flights online, Monday and Tuesday mornings are the best times to do so, as the airlines update/increase their prices steadily overnight.
Luggage allowance is fairly restrictive, especially if you are cramming in bits and pieces for the kids or trying to pre-empt every single meteorological possibility. However, if you roll your clothes up, rather than fold them, you'll not only have more space but you'll also prevent items from wrinkling. Save free hotel shower caps as these make great 'bags' for shoes and stop dirty soles touching clean clothes. Stuff socks and underwear inside your shoes to stop them from getting squashed in transit.
Most of us want to take cameras, phones, tablets and MP3 players away with us but underestimate the pain that bringing all related chargers and cables causes. With that in mind, keep all of your various cables in an old sunglasses case; it stops them from getting tangled up. If you forget your charger, check the TV - most new ones have a USB port which you may be able to plug into. If you forget a charger then check with Reception; most hotels can lend you a charger overnight.
Money, money, money
Many of us worry about money and staying secure while away, but there are several steps you can take to outsmart any opportunists. Firstly, pack a 'fake' wallet with old or unimportant cards and a little bit of change in it, so that if you are pick-pocketed, that's all you lose. Keep your real wallet on your person. Secondly, empty an old lip balm tube and keep it to store a few rolled up notes in. That way, you'll always have some back-up cash. Lastly, if you use your online banking accounts while abroad, make sure you change your password upon your return home.
There's nothing worse than heaving that case off the carousel only to see it's been dented - except, perhaps, not seeing your case turn up on the carousel at all. When it comes to keeping your luggage safe, one great idea is to mark it 'fragile' as this can encourage baggage handlers to treat the case with a bit more caution. Don't write your home address on your case, either, as it advertises to thieves that you are away. Simply leave a phone number or put your work address instead.