From forgetting your passport to drinking too much, one false move can ruin your holiday. So take these 10 totally handy tips on board to ensure your holiday lives long in the memory for all the wrong reasons.
1. Forget your passport
Keys: check; wallet: check; passport... “Darling, did you pick up the passports?" I thought you had them?” "Er, no!" Realising that your vital travel documents are are still on the hall table where you left them, while you are stuck in a 10-mile traffic jam on the M25, gets the holiday off to a flyer. And it's your fault. You have ruined everything. While you don’t actually need a passport for domestic flights with some airlines, US immigration officials definitely won’t accept your Tesco Clubcard as valid ID.
2. Forget your tickets
While not quite in the 'everything is ruined' category, leaving your plane tickets stuck to the fridge, or just forgetting to print them out, could be a costly mistake. It is well known now that a certain budget airline charges a substantial fee for printing out replacements at the check-in desk. Getting irate won't solve anything - they're only doing their jobs.
3. 'Cut it fine’
“Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of time!” You haven’t. You’re late. Your other half was right: it is better to kill five hours at the airport than use your holidays to learn the hard lessons of time management. For added excitement, ensure that your journey to the airport includes border crossings, out-of-date timetables and unlicensed taxi drivers. Even better, celebrate getting to the airport in the nick of time by getting drunk, and miss your flight.
3. Get very drunk…
...and become abusive to fellow passengers so get kicked off the plane, have your passport confiscated and spend a night in a cell. At the risk of coming across as a killjoy, downing 11 bottles of San Miguel and 16 shots of Sambuca in Wetherspoon's in the departure lounge at Gatwick is not recommended. Even if you’re 19. Youth is no excuse. You’re old enough to know better. At the very best you’ll make an utter fool of yourself.
4. Believe the hype
Do your research! Even if your proposed hotel in the Maldives says it’s wonderful on its website, it could be folly to fail to read other travellers' reviews for a second opinion. The ‘artist’s impression’ of your hotel ‘as it will look like when it opens this summer’ doesn’t show the building site next door, the barbed wire and the sign on the beach that reads ‘beware of the sharks/jellyfish/pirates’.
5. Assume that the weather is always lovely
You may be getting a great deal by going to a Caribbean island in September, but you’re not going to get a tan in a hurricane. Likewise, you might be saving a few quid by taking your ski holiday in Austria in June, but there will be a reason for the low price, like a lack of snow, which is kinda essential for skiing.
6. Disrespect local customs
Acting like a typical ‘Brit abroad’ will doubtless make you popular with the locals. Behaviour that may be acceptable on a Saturday night out in Chelmsford may not be so in Singapore. If you’re arrested, plead ignorance. “Awfully sorry officer, I didn’t realise it was illegal to...
7. Joke with airport staff
Test the humour threshold of customs officials with quips about what you’ve got in your bag, be it 150ml of perfume, 135 endangered frogs, or a body. They've got nothing better to do than put up with your inane attempts at puerile jokes about full cavity body searches. Likewise, security staff love a laugh.
8. Leave your prized possesson on the plane
To some people, being without their iPad is being like a child without their favourite soft toy, but leaving it in the pocket in the seat in front of you is easy to do as you rush to disembark. Any parent who has had to comfort a child who has lost their favourite soft toy will know that this is a fate far worse than forgetting an iPad.
9. Save money - don't buy travel insurance
There are a number of ways in which saving cash by skimping travel insurance can backfire, at various levels of seriousness. Losing your luggage in transit is a disaster, but not being able to cover the cost of repatriating your body is a minor inconvenience.
10. Leave your children behind
Obviously you wouldn’t leave the kids at home if they are aged six and eight. But if we’re talking teenagers, leaving them at home while you swan off for a week sailing round the Adriatic is a risky strategy. The statement ‘of course we won’t have a party’ translates as ‘it's on Facebook. We’re expecting 150’. Enjoy your holiday.