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Get travel ready: Holiday preparation timeline

 

Planning a holiday is exciting. But the best way to make sure it’s smooth sailing from start to finish is to plan well in advance so there are no surprises along the way. It’s more than just the flights and hotels, but other considerations like visas, private vaccinations and travel insurance. Make sure you're travel ready by finding out the average costs and timelines for preparing to travel to popular tourists destinations around the world.

 

Ideal holiday preparation timeframes

For many, a holiday is a well-deserved break from the usual day-to-day routine, and making sure you’re prepared for your trip well in advance can ensure you find the whole experience relaxing from start to finish. 

There are three key areas to consider when travelling abroad; do you require a visa, should you look into whether you require vaccinations and have you purchased travel insurance? All of these can have an impact on how far in advance you should get prepared for your trip. 

Time frames and total costs

Above summarises the ideal timeframe and total cost for some popular holiday destinations for Brits. The maximum timeline is largely set by which vaccinations you might need, including those only selectively advised – to ensure that you have sufficient time to receive them no matter what your medical situation is.

But there are also usually costs associated with attaining required visas or digital equivalents which need to be considered – and travel insurance needs to be taken into account for complete peace of mind while travelling overseas.

Below, based on these factors, we’ve also outlined the total cost you’ll need to prepare for across 26 countries. 

Click to view all locations

Country Timeframe Total cost
Spain 6 months  £160
USA 6 months  £172
France 10.5 months £357
Italy 10.5 months £355
Netherlands 6 months £157
Turkey 6 months £314
Greece 10.5 months  £360
Germany 10.5 months £352
Thailand 6 months £503
South Korea 6 months £502
UAE 6 months £317
Mexico 6 months £325
Cyprus 6 months £164
Japan 10 months  £549
Morocco 6 months £310
Australia 6 months £355
India 6 months £504
Egypt 6 months £314
Bulgaria 10 months £509
Malaysia 6 months £504
Indonesia 6 months £480
Canada 6 months £180
Taiwan 6 months £480
Hong Kong 6 months £150
China 10 months £782
Singapore 6 months £150

Vaccinations, in particular, can take time to process, with recommended schedules taking as long as 10 months. And while most jabs are available on the NHS, tick-borne encephalitis, rabies, Japanese encephalitis and hepatitis B have an additional cost and are not normally provided by your NHS doctor. 

For some locations where a visa is required, there’s an e-visa equivalent that’s often faster and cheaper to process – but it’s still smart to get one as early as possible to save on stress. Even if a destination doesn’t require a visa, many will only allow tourists access for a limited time before further documentation is needed, so make sure that your holiday is within the right timeframe.

Travel insurance, meanwhile, is best purchased as soon as the holiday is booked, in order to protect your holiday against any unforeseen circumstances, as insurance can protect you against cancelled flights or hotels, problems with luggage, or any medical issues that arise, even before you leave on your trip.

Find below the details for each country of the potential costs and visa requirements you might need to consider before travel.

Travel information for key destinations

No matter where you are travelling to, it’s important to do your research on what you need to prepare for and how far in advance. We always recommend purchasing travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked to ensure you’re covered from the offset, but when it comes to jabs and visas, timings can vary greatly between each destination. It’s also important to check with your GP to find out which vaccinations you might need, and the recommended schedule based on your age, health and travel plans.

In order to help travellers get prepared, we’ve outlined the requirements for each of the 26 destinations so you can start your trip with your best foot forward.

Use the tool below to select your destination to find out more information about vaccination, visas and travel insurance requirements for your trip. 

  • Spain

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £9.99

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • USA

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £21.88

    Rather than a visa, most British citizens can get an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, or ESTA, for the US, which allows travel for up to 90 days. You need an ePassport for this, however, otherwise you'll need a full visa, which can cost a little more and take more time. To purchase an ESTA, visit the ESTA website online, and to obtain a visa, contact the US Embassy. It is recommended to secure an ESTA at least 72 hours prior to travel.

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • France

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £345

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £11.98

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months and two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one and three months, and again after five to 12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Italy

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £345

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £9.99

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months and two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one to three months, and again after five to 12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Netherlands

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £6.79

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Turkey

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £300

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £13.50

    The easiest way to get a Visa for Turkey is to get an e-Visa, available online through the Turkey e-Visa website. It's advised that this is done at least 48 hours in advance of the trip, but can be done up to three months before.

    Due to the presence of hepatitis A and B, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Greece

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £345

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £14.81

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 and a half months prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one-three months, and again after five-12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Germany

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £345

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £6.91

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one-three months, and again after five-12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Thailand

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £23

    Due to the presence of hepatitis B, and the potential for hepatitis A, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • South Korea

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £22.04

    Due to the presence of hepatitis B, and the potential for hepatitis A, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • UAE

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £300

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £16.86

    UK visitors to the UAE can acquire a 30-day visit visa on arrival in the country, free of charge, provided by the airline they're travelling with.

    Due to the presence of hepatitis B, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine. In the case that they have less time available, it may be possible for many to receive an accelerated course.

  • Mexico

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £300

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £25.38

    British travellers don't need a visa to enter, but will need to complete an immigration form, which is available on arrival or online.

    The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all visitors. Accordingly, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Cyprus

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £13.62

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Japan

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £525

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £24

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months and two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one-three months, and again after five-12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Morocco

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £300

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £9.99

    The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all visitors. Accordingly, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Australia

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £330

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £25.03

    UK visitors to Australia also require a visa and can apply at any time. It starts on the date it is granted, with each visa lasting up to three months. The majority of applications are processed within 72 hours, and can be applied for online on the Australian Government website.

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • India

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £24

    Eligible British citizens can apply for an Indian e-Tourist Visa on the relevant website, while others will need to apply for a specific visa based on their travel situation by contacting the High Commission of India's relevant website, taking a print of the application and submitting it to the Visa and Consular Services Centre by post.

    The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all visitors. Accordingly, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Egypt

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £300

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £14.19

    Although possible to get a tourist visa on arrival, it's recommended to get one in advance, either online from Visa2Egypt, or from an Egyptian Consulate. They are valid for up to three months if purchased in advance. Due to the presence of hepatitis A and B, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Bulgaria

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £495

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £14.15

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months and two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one-three months, and again after five-12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Malaysia

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £24

    Due to the presence of hepatitis B, and the potential for hepatitis A, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Indonesia

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £23.86

    The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all visitors. Accordingly, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Canada

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £29.99

    British travellers do not need a visa to enter Canada, but will require an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), available online through the relevant website. These are usually issued within 72 hours of application, but it is recommended that travellers apply before that time to avoid difficulties.

    Despite hepatitis A and B being only selectively advised, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Taiwan

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £480

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £18.98

    Due to the presence of hepatitis A and B, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • Hong Kong

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £21.12

    Due to the presence of hepatitis A and B, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

  • China

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £675

    • Visa

      Yes

    • Average insurance cost

      £21.55

    Entering the mainland of China as a UK citizen requires a visa which must be submitted for in person to a Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. These can take up to two weeks to process - and may involve a service charge on top of the visa fee itself, dependent on the service centre used.

    The presence of tick-borne encephalitis means that travellers should investigate whether they should receive the vaccinations as early as 10 months two weeks prior, as it's recommended that doses are given at zero months, between one-three months, and again after five-12 months. It may, however, be possible to receive them on an accelerated schedule with the second dose coming seven days after the first and the third on day 21, should the traveller have more limited time available.

  • Singapore

    • Vaccinations

      Free – £150

    • Visa

      No

    • Average insurance cost

      £20.72

    Due to the presence of hepatitis B, and the potential for hepatitis A, travellers should begin considering vaccinations for their trip six months and one week in advance, to ensure that if they do require the vaccination, they have adequate time to receive the full, recommended course of the vaccine.

Top tips for being prepared for your holiday 

Being prepared for travel means a peace of mind and an easy holiday once you set off. Here are our top tips for avoiding difficulties later on:

Travel insurance

Book travel insurance as soon as possible – and make sure it covers everything you need

Booking travel insurance early can protect you against problems even before you leave the country, including unforeseen medical complications, cancelled or delayed flights and luggage issues. But not every policy offers all these options, so ensure you find a policy that suits your needs.

Calendar

Plan in advance

While it can be fun to explore and find new places, knowing more about the location you’re visiting in advance means saving time and stress researching local transport or hotel options on the go. And with a wide variety of review sites, guides, and tips online, it’s easy to find out useful information.

Documents

Make sure you don’t need any extra documents

Many popular tourist locations can be visited for a limited time without a visa or equivalent, but not only should you check this in advance just in case, you should make sure that the time allowed is longer than your trip – or you might need to apply for some additional documents.

Padlock

Carry a padlock

An extra layer of security can mean peace of mind even if you’re leaving your suitcase with reception during the day. Some padlocks are specially designed so they can be opened by airport security and avoid being cut open while still securing your items.

Doctors

Check with your GP

Although you might not be at risk from local diseases on holiday, it’s still important to check with your GP to see if there are any vaccinations they recommend. The more time in advance you check, the easier it is to get everything sorted.

Passport

Make photocopies of important documents like your passport

A photocopy of your passport is unlikely to help at an airport, but for day-to-day identification it can serve as a replacement and mean you’re able to keep your passport locked in a safe in your hotel.

Passport

Use a credit card for pricier payments

A credit card offers great protection on payments, and for purchases over £100, it’s a great way to avoid stress about any problems you might encounter while overseas.

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