Sally is a key member of the MoneyMaxim editorial team. She is a frequent hire-car user and often goes on holiday with her family. With an interest in getting great value for money, Sally shares her hints and tips for travelling and insurance.
The latest tourism figures show that France is staying at the top of the charts as the most visited country in the world for 2015. Good news after the recent events in Paris. France is followed by the USA in second place and Spain in third. Have you decided where you will be spending your holiday this summer? And have you included travel insurance in your budget?
Many of us have not got around to organising our summer holiday yet but booking earlier can save you money. Often it feels as if there is too much choice and it is difficult to pin it down to one destination. Here are a few questions to help you narrow down your options:
1. Who are you travelling with? - If you are travelling with children you may want to consider a resort that provides activities for young ones. When travelling as a couple, seclusion may be higher up your wish list.
2. How long will your holiday be? This may affect how far you want to travel or how much you can fit in. There is no point trying to squash in visits to 4 cities in one weekend if you won't have enough time to enjoy them.
3. What is your budget? It is important to establish this early as once you start looking at brochures or websites, it is easy to get carried away. And don't forget to include the boring stuff like insurance. Without it, your affordable holiday could become the complete opposite.
4. What do you want from your holiday? - Are you looking for relaxation or a great night life? Do you want to take in the culture or are you more interested in sporting activities? Do you want sun and if so how much? Do you want a city or the countryside?
5. How far and by what method are you willing to travel? Some countries will require a long-haul flight and not everybody is keen. Some islands are only reachable by boat and if the thought makes you go green then they are best avoided.
If you need some inspiration you could always have a look at magazines or online sites. Reading travel blogs such as World of Wanderlust can give an insight into places you may not have considered and, if you join Pinterest, you will have access to many pictures and ideas to whet your holiday appetite.
Keep open-minded about your decision. Don't be put off just because you have never heard of a place before. One of the countries with the highest growth in tourism in 2015 was Tajikistan and not many people would be able to name towns there! Consider visiting a country's 'second' city. It can often be a lot cheaper than going to a capital but with just as much to offer.
Once you have narrowed your choices down, do your research. Don't just rely on the sales patter from magazines and websites. Use review sites and ask friends who have been - though do bear in mind that we all have different opinions about what's most important on a holiday. Ask questions on travel forums such as Tripadvisor.
After all of this - Do not forget your travel insurance. It is important you declare any pre-existing medical conditions before you travel as otherwise your insurance may not cover you. If you plan to take part in any sports or unusual activity , check they are included in your policy and if not consider a specialist travel insurance policy.