/ Travel & Leisure

‘Pre-Holi-Daze’ – do you lock up before you leave?

Open front door

I was shocked to read that Brits suffer from a ‘Pre-Holi-Daze’. The stats on the number of Brits who leave passports behind, forget to feed the pets or forget to lock up are alarming. Do you add to the quota?

It’s one week to go before my holiday. The washing and ironing begins. I ensure I have enough outfits for daywear and evening wear, shoes of flat, kitten and high-heeled variety and enough underwear for two changes a day!

I check the insurance, locate my EHIC card, and put together an itinerary for my stay to share with family so they know how to get hold of me.

By this point I’ve read the guide book, highlighted my favourite pages and made advance bookings for restaurants. I’ve located the delay timers, alerted the neighbours and arranged for someone to park in our space.

Yes, I’m the other extreme – the Pre-Holi-Craze!

5% forget to lock up

Given my approach to getting ready to go away, research from E.ON, suggesting 5% of Brits forget to lock up before going away, really surprises me. Those last minutes of getting out the door are admittedly very stressful, but I’d like to hope the three times I’ve checked the doors and windows should ensure the house is secure when I go away.

For the 7% of us guilty of leaving important documents behind and the 2% of us forgetting to feed the pets – is it the stress of ticking off all those things on our to-do lists, or have we already kicked back and mentally adjusted to holiday mode?

Perhaps the key to my situation is that I don’t have any children – I can imagine taking a family away is a whole different matter.

I watch in awe as my siblings pack my nieces and nephews off to school with a bag bigger than I’d take for a week away. I don’t know how they do it – school kit, an instrument, a sports bag – the endless list usually means at least one item is left behind.

How much do you prepare?

Naturally, E.ON’s interest in the research is how many Brits bother to unplug their household gadgets and appliances to help consumers understand how they could be saving energy – and money! – when they’re away.

The research suggests that just under a quarter of people keep gadgets plugged in. I must confess despite my elaborate preparation ritual, I don’t turn off every appliance in the house. I’m fussy about the television and kitchen appliances but others I’ll often naughtily leave plugged in.

So my scenario is a little bit overboard – and verging on the excessive – but I take a lot of pleasure in the preparation. It’s all part of the fun for me. Do you take pride in preparing for your holiday, or are you a ‘get out the door and on your way’ kind of holidaymaker?

pickle says:
24 July 2011

Yes! I stitch off all electrical items at the wallswitch. Make copies of insurance papers and passport page and put them in the baggage. The EU card is blue tacked into the passport so it doesn’t get lost. The passport lives with my wallet. Tickets etc put in wallet. Check windows; set burglar alarm and lock up.
The only thing I have missed is to pack my socks – so had to buy some while away!
It’s not difficult, just start a few days before leaving and double check before locking up.

I always have high aspirations of being completely prepared before I leave on holiday, but I usually fail miserably. I’m probably too energy-aware to leave lights on, but I have in the past locked my keys in the house, necessitating trips to get spares in the middle of the night when my return flight gets in. I have also, shamefully, forgotten to feed my snake before going away too, but luckily I had a friend who wasn’t too nervous about going round to feed him.

I think the only genuinely good bit of organisation I’ve done before going away was when I went travelling in China – I made sure that all of my documents had been scanned and saved in Google docs, just in case any of them got stolen/lost/etc – I could still access them and print copies to show any authorities who might want me to prove who I was. I haven’t updated it, but your convo has reminded me to do it before I next go travelling!

I think the amount of preparation you do is inversely proportional to how often you go away.
I was stunned to overhear some women in a shop in April talking about stocking up with essentials for their holiday in October.
I remember that when holidays were a very rare treat I used to have a bag that would take days if not weeks to get packed and would contain pretty much every piece of clothing and toiletries item I owned and a small pot of holiday marmite. But after living in China for nearly two years and trying to travel nearly every weekend towards the end of my stay, I had what I really needed reduced to the ‘I really will use this’ essentials – my kit for a weekend away exploring a new city would be:
Documents: passport, photocopy of passport and residents permit, print out of ticket, print out of how to get to hotel, small piece of paper with who to contact if I got squashed by a bus/travel insurance/health insurance details
Clothes: 1 lightweight top, 1 vest t-shirt, undies
Toiletries: 1 comb, mini-shampoo, moisturising face cream with factor 30 sun protection (most hotels supply soap/toothbrushes/toiletries), hairband
Mini 1st aid kit: plasters, charcoal tablets (for upset tummies – better than immodium for minor upsets), hydrocortisone cream for insect bites, antiseptic wipes, paracetamol
Essentials: keys, ipod, book, DSLR camera, spare camera battery and memory card, packet tissues, packet of hand wipes, phone, trail rations (usually dried mango and a small bar of chocolate) and a bottle of water. Shanghai public transport card, cash, 2 credit cards.
All that fits into one small backpack and can be carried at all times if necessary. Granted it doesn’t make me the most chic of travellers but I wasn’t trying to impress anyone. I even gave up on taking guide books with me, just picked up a local map and tourist info when I got there and marked off the top sites recommended by trip advisor/prior research.
I completely agree with Nikki that you can reduce the stress of travel by storing some of the stuff you might need in an emergency virtually – it is rare in the modern world that you couldn’t get access to a computer to see virtual copies of your passport, travel documents, travel insurance, intinerary etc.
I would go around and feed the fish, water the plants, turn off all the lights and plugs and make sure the windows are locked before leaving. Having a friend/neighbour who will pop in to check on stuff if you are away is probably the best way to ensure peace of mind while you are away for a long time.

A Northwood says:
8 October 2017

Do a test on window shock alarms as they are very important