What to consider when planning your summer holidays

“Summer holidays? What, are you kidding me? But hang on, there’s only weeks to go.” When it hits you, it’s not long, so it pays to plan as much as you can in advance!

Holiday Money

Actually, if you’ve not booked your summer holidays yet, then it’s perhaps not surprising that it’ll cost you more. The mad rush post-Christmas, to wipe away the winter blues by knowing your summer sun is all organised is a well-needed boost, and there’s a smug satisfaction that it’s taken care of in advance and that you’ve got the best prices for accommodation and flights.

It stands to reason that pricing is skewed towards the high demand weeks on the calendar, when in some cases operators and accommodation owners could book up ten times over. Well, you would wouldn’t you? Pricing though, with the dwindling numbers of available flights and all but the least expensive weeks being booked up, leaves those that are less able to be able to advance-plan and possibly afford the higher prices stumped for what to do, but even then, for the fortunate ones, there’s often something missed.

There seems to be little point in stating the modes of transport, but people are motivated to use their chosen method by a number of things, yet private car seems still to be the most commonly used, due to convenience, but unless you’re local to the airport, or are familiar with it, the stress of getting there, which is more about unexpected traffic nightmares and unforeseen mechanical problems, than how to get there, means advance thinking is needed here too!

As a pre-cursor to travel, always advance plan for the unexpected, no matter how often you may have taken the journey:

Plan for traffic

Accidents can happen on any journey, but it’s how far ahead you are of schedule that determines how this affects your flight booking. Using AA Roadwatch can really help to identify problem locations, but if you can plan with an expectation that there’ll be delays, in spite of the roads being apparently clear, then you’re doing all you can. If you’ve booked your flight to be within rush hour times, then expect you’ll be stuck in that traffic, so instead try booking your flights for later in the delay, or REALLY early!

Plan for breakdown

It might not be traffic that’s the problem, but the nightmare of all journeys: breakdown. Catastrophic failure aside, many people set off on time-critical journeys without checking their cars’ basic vital signs in advance:

  • Fuel – sounds daft, but as thousands of drivers run out of fuel, make sure it’s not you and ensure there’s enough to get you there without stopping
  • Oil – dip and top-up
  • Water – check level and top-up
  • Tyres – check wear and pressures, but look out for nails, embedded objects, and bulges in all treads (and check depth), all the way round
  • Lights – check all bulbs and spares
  • Battery – best checked by a garage, but do at least one decent journey each week to prevent it losing voltage

Ensure you have hi vis vests, warning triangle, fire extinguisher, torch and spare tyre of course, just in case; regular car servicing is always best too!

If you just haven’t the time for any of the above and are travelling from Leeds Bradford airport this summer, then as well as booking your car in for airport parking at Sentinel, you can also book in a vehicle service during your car’s stay.

Plan for the weather

We know how changeable the British weather is, even in high summer, so ensure you have the right clothing in case of the above, but also that you’re considering the impact of a sudden deluge; weather has a massive impact on traffic, because of slippery conditions after a dry spell and because people often drive too fast (in a hurry to get somewhere 2 minutes quicker!) for the conditions. You really ought to check the forecast and drive according to that.

Plan for when you arrive

Have you checked your arrival point? Have you considered where you’ll be expected to park? It might not be near the airport! And then, is the car park even secure? That’s a whole other subject!

There’s little point turning up and expecting to park, and to not expect to pay a premium at most airports, if there’s space at all, but you could certainly help yourself by booking early enough to enjoy a discount for advance planning. Sentinel Secure Airport Car Parking, which covers Leeds Bradford Airport, has plenty of availability, but can get fully-booked at peak times, so to guarantee a place in our Police-vetted facilities, with free airport transfer and to pay 10% less, register your details and make your advance booking today.

10 things to check off before you go on holiday

Meaning what have you forgotten, on the way to the airport, or on the plane, or worse still once you’ve arrived at your destination?


Easter’s coming and yes, we’ve all had that uneasy, almost OCD feeling that we’ve left something important behind, or not done something we should have, before driving to the airport, and it’s whether we share that unease with our family, as the car ploughs the miles to the car park, or keep it to ourselves, that will ultimately be our undoing, or give us peace of mind!

Thinking back to holidays and trips gone by, forgetting the charger for my phone seems to recur with alarmingly regularity. And trying to remember whether I locked the back door is such a common occurrence, as it’s often automatic, meaning I don’t actually recall going through the motion of finding the key, inserting it into the lock, turning it, checking the handle, withdrawing the key and putting it somewhere safe; surely I’d remember doing that?

This drew me to conclude there must be a list of the most common things to forget, so I could print it out and use it as an aide memoir. Well yes, there are several, but none of them were things that would cause any great stress, aside from forgetting a passport, tickets, wallet, or a small child! To forget any of those is just unforgiveable and will prevent departure from these shores without any doubt. What I really wanted was a list of all the little niggly things that I might have completely neglected, that really get under my skin and wake me up, or chew away in the back of my mind for the duration of my trip away, but then I left the house and started worrying…

  1. Did I lock the door? Which door? All of them? The gate too? Whilst I’m at it, did I check the windows, the lights in the shed, disconnect the aerial on the TV in case of lightning strikes? Oh my, I’m starting to go off the rails just thinking about how deep this could go… This is what got me started on the list in the first place!
  2. Did I cancel the milk? Is the milkman likely to work out that the last delivery hasn’t been taken inside and not leave any more, or will there be six bottles lined up for our return? Hang on, I can call the dairy company and ask them to stop the delivery. Phew, at least I remembered and can do something about it!
  3. What about the papers? Hang on, I can call the newsagent and tell them to stop those too. Easy that one, now I’ve thought about it.
  4. Heating! Nooo, I forgot to switch that off. Is there anything I can do? Key, who has a key? Malcolm next door has one, so I’ll call him… I don’t have his number, as we only ever talk over the fence. I could talk to number 46 to get them to go and see Malcolm, to ask him to go and turn it off. Yes, that’s the thing to do, except will 46 be in? Oh dear, if only I’d remembered that! This will be a thing of the past soon, now that Nest or Hive technology is around, so that’ll be one to knock off the list eventually.
  5. Bin. Did I empty it? Yes, but I didn’t put it out for the bin men. That means three weeks until then next collection. There’s nothing I can do about that, but remembering this I’ve also forgotten about the little composting bin on the kitchen counter. Last time that happened it was horrific, as those little fruit flies had found the rotting contents and had set up a colony, meaning when we returned after a fortnight, there were loads of them buzzing around the kitchen. The horror didn’t materialise until I lifted the lid, then a cloud of thousands of them swarmed out and filled the kitchen for three days! Memorable enough not to forget again, but this time at least I know it’s winter and those things aren’t around – are they?
  6. Prescription drugs. Oh yes, that’s a good one. At least twice a week I forget to take my Omeprazole on time, and instead take it in the evening, but leaving that behind would present a big inconvenience. Tips I’ve seen are to pack a copy of the prescription paperwork, but if I do that I’m not likely to forget my pills! Thinking about it, this is the sort of thing I’d stick on a list and check off, so it’s not going to happen. Whilst I’m at it, I may as well check I’ve got enough tablets for my stay.
  7. My daughter’s cuddly kitten. She’s just told me she left him by the door, but he must have been pushed behind the door when it was open! How the heck to I get round this one? The only way is to turn round and miss the flight – yeah, right, that’s going to happen! Easy, she’ll have to get another thing to cuddle and she’ll just have to learn the hard way not to forget something as important as Bunglie… There, there.
  8. Do my neighbours actually know I’m away? Did I actually deign to tell them that the house was empty for a fortnight and that maybe they could put the bin out for us? (yes, that’d answer point 5 nicely). No, I didn’t tell them (and I don’t know their numbers), so when that dodgy looking chap, with a clipboard as a ‘prop’ for looking all official and swindling his way past vulnerable people at their front door, is nosing around the side of the house, he will go unchallenged and scope out the joint, decide where the weak entry point is and get in with his mate as lookout, leaving my house emptied of all valuables. Oh why didn’t I just tell both neighbours? It’s worth a bottle of cheap wine to say thank you. Next time, I will make sure I do.
  9. What have I left in the fridge/freezer? How many times have I gone away and left a bag of crisp salad in the salad crisper, to find a bag of black mush on my return? Too many times to recall, but this time I checked every shelf and ate/removed the things that go off. My folks actually empty their fridge/freezer and spend a week eating weird meals before they go away, safe in the knowledge that nothing is going to go off if the power fails. It could happen! The thought of a defrosted freezer after 2 weeks off doesn’t bear thinking about.
  10. That thing… that even now I can’t think of; the one that I was meaning to do before going away… That’s it, aaargghh. I forgot to book the car parking at the airport! If I don’t book it in advance, it’s going to cost me way more, so always, always check. In fact, I can get my wife to book it as we’re still about 40 minutes away from Leeds Bradford. If I book with Sentinel, I get live availability, so I can be certain I’ve got a space. Panic over! I won’t forget to do that again, now I have this list!

Enjoy your holiday and remember, worrying just makes things worse, so plan to avoid things you could end up worrying about that you can’t do anything about once you’re on the way!