What do you worry about when planning a holiday?

New research from the UK’s travel protection body ATOL has found that Welsh holiday makers are laden down with pre-holiday worries ahead of jetting off this summer – but are failing to take action to safeguard against those fears.

Missing flights is the top travel worry (31 per cent), closely followed by losing key travel documents such as your passport (27 per cent) – with 12 per cent checking the weather forecast multiple times a day in the run up to their trip.

More serious concerns are also playing on people’s minds such as family members becoming ill (18 per cent), and travel companies failing (19 per cent) and possessions being stolen (14 per cent).

However, the research revealed that this frantic fretting does not always lead to practical action, with almost two thirds of Welsh holidaymakers (63 per cent) admitting to travelling without insurance. Less than a third (29 per cent) check for ATOL protection before booking their trip, leaving them vulnerable should their travel company fail.

Almost half of Welsh tourists (46 per cent) have experienced difficult situations on holiday.

Figures show that since 2010 more than 316,000 holidaymakers, have been rescued or reimbursed by ATOL, the UK’s statutory holiday financial protection scheme, due to travel company failure. This means those holidaymakers were not left out of pocket and were able to get home at no extra cost, despite their travel company collapsing.

Furthermore, nine per cent Welsh holidaymakers have needed medical attention on holiday in the past and another 13 per cent have lost their possessions or had them stolen.

Psychologist Donna Dawson said: “People spend too much time worrying about things that are outside of their control, such as the weather and getting ill while on holiday. It is far better to concentrate on those things that you can control.

“Taking practical steps to protect you, your family and your holiday will give you peace of mind. Travel insurance will help protect your belongings, while ATOL protection will ensure that you can get home should the worst happen and your holiday company fail. Pre-emptive action of this kind gives you the knowledge that you have done everything you can to lessen the risks, allowing you to de-stress before you go away.”

Wales’ top 10 holiday worries: 1. Missing flights or transfers, 2. Losing a passport, 3. Bad weather, 4. The hotel not being up to standard, 5. Travel company failure, 6. Needing medical attention, 7. Not being ‘in-shape’, 8. Forgetting to turn off appliances at home, 9. Having possessions stolen, and 10. Not liking the food on offer.

Top tips to enjoy your holiday stress free:

1. Get your paperwork in order and have key documents in one place to limit the potential for stress. Make sure to include your travel insurance documents, ATOL certificate, passports, medical cards and boarding passes and use a document purse that’s easily accessible in your hand luggage to help make your journey go smoothly.

2. Travel light to reduce hassle and ensure you have weighed your luggage before getting to the front of the check in queue. Avoid the worry of incurring a fine and the possibility of losing precious belongings by limiting your packing to just the essentials and only packing items that could be easily replaced should they get lost or stolen. Less is more when it comes to stress-free travel.

3. Have a leaving-home checklist, outlining everything you need to do before going on holiday then tick them off when complete. List all the essential things that you mustn’t forget, like turning off appliances and securing window and door locks. Physically ticking each item off the list will give you a sense of satisfaction and peace of mind that you needn’t worry about the safety of your home while you’re away.

4. Take control, if you are anxious about something, such as losing a precious item, or a family member falling ill, work out a contingency plan in advance. What would you do if the ‘worst’ happened? Thinking an issue through all the way – instead of just stopping at the ‘anxiety’ part – will make you feel more in control, and more able to tackle anything that arises.

5. Use the flight to unwind, relax and switch off from all the worries and stresses at home. For mental relaxation, close your eyes and clear your mind of everything. Imagine in detail every positive physical aspect of your holiday. For five minutes, use all your senses to do this: for example, smell the flowers, feel the breeze on your face, hear the breaking of waves, see the ocean, taste the seafood. Follow this with five minutes of physical relaxation: starting from your face, jaw and neck, alternately tense and then relax each muscle group in your body, working slowly down to your toes.