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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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10 ways to plan the best summer holiday

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Many things that could ruin a beach holiday. Give the following some thought prior to travel. If all the events happen in a lifetime you will be extremely unlikely. Fortunately most of them can be avoided, or mitigated, through careful planning and forethought.

Beach

In first place, consider the journey to the beach. It would be ruinous not to get there. It is possible to be denied a flight by arriving late or forgetting a key travel documents such as a passport. Flight delays can of course ruin ongoing connections to the beach resort.

Second consider the hotel, resort and country where you choose to stay. It could be a horrible place. The hotel could be half built, the beach polluted, and the locals unfriendly. Although most travel brochures give more accurate descriptions of the hotels and resorts compared to the case a few years ago it is wise to give the descriptions careful scrutiny. Check that the resort is suitable, not noisy if you seek a quiet life, nor sleepy if you seek out a lively nightlife. In certain countries it might pay to consider the problems of crime and political unrest. Make sure that the resort is suitable for the holiday. Is it over commercialized? Is it family friendly?  Is the beach clean and safe, sandy and gently shelving for safe bathing?

Third, consider the disappointment of a holiday cancelled or cut short. Cancellations can happen if the airline, tour operator, or hotel proprietor goes out of business. In such cases you might be offered an alternative holiday, or a refund of the operator is protected under a travel industry bond. More unusual reasons for cancelled flights include bad weather, industrial action by airport staff, security alerts and dust in the atmosphere arising from volcanic eruptions. Be mindful that there are situations which could leave a traveller stranded at a holiday resort. In such circumstances seek advice from your travel insurer before incurring any non redeemable expenses.

Fourth, consider the problems of sickness or injury while on holiday. Minor self inflicted such as sunburn, sunstroke and too much alcohol can ruin the enjoyment of a holiday. Food poisoning can lead to more serious discomfort. Follow recommended guidelines as to what is safe to eat. If the water supply is suspect stick to bottled water and avoid salads that are washed locally. On the beach watch for local insects and be careful if there are jelly fish in the water.

Fifth, avoid the problems of bad weather that could spoil a beach holiday. Chose a resort that has reliable sunshine and warmth for the time of year of your visit. If the weather is unreliable check that alternative activities are available for a cool, or rainy day. In many resorts have are indoor pools or leisure centres. Alternatively, there could be places of historic interest which could be worth a visit on a day not perfect for the beach. At the very worse, the holiday could be ruined by very bad weather such as a hurricane which lays waste to a West Indian resort.

Sixth, keep control of your money and possessions., Shortage of money, or loss of possessions and luggage is a sure way to ruin a holiday. Tourists are often careless, or targeted by local criminals. Be careful with cameras and carry money close to the body on money belts. Keep some money elsewhere in reserve in case there is a theft. Although a nuisance loss of property is covered, subject to an excess, on a standard travel insurance policy. Make sure that you stay within budget while on holiday, taking into account fuel surcharges which many be being added to current airline ticket prices and unanticipated changes in exchange rates.

Seventh, avoid any circumstances that give rise to stress. Taking a family through airports, watching over them on the beach, and keeping an entire family amused can be stressful and ruin the personal experience of a holiday. Relax and enjoy the sunshine. This is made easier through good organisation and use the facilities offered within the resort to entertain the children. Above all, cater for all the interests of the family and avoid family arguments as this is a sure fire way to spoil a family holiday.

Eighth, many holidaymakers complain that fellow holidaymakers have ruined their holiday. Their behaviour ranges from the plain rude, to the discourteous, selfish or the mildly irritating. Crying babies and badly behaved children are a common irritant. The best remedy is to be tolerant and exemplary in one’s own behaviour.

Ninth, make sure that your attitude does not spoil your holiday. Make sure that your expectations match the standards of the holiday and resort that you have booked. An approach which seeks to find fault in the holiday and seeks to identify issues upon which to claim is sure to spoil the enjoyment.

Finally, watch for the wild card. There are many unexpected circumstances could ruin a beach holiday. Could anyone who travelled to the Maldives for a Christmas vacation in 2004 have anticipated the Boxing Day tsunami in Sumatra that left many of the low lying islands knee deep in water?

In spite of all the things that could ruin a beach holiday the chances are that you can take them in your stride provided that you prepare beforehand, keep a cool head and approach the difficulties as they arise with good humour. 

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