With summer at its height, and school out, it’s a time when many of us are thinking of packing our bags and heading off somewhere new for a week or two.

And with no imminent prospect of a ‘Grexit’, good rates on the Euro, short-haul hops and guaranteed sunshine, it’s no wonder so many of us think of Europe before anywhere else. And with Tunisia sadly off limits for now, according to Foreign Office advice, European vacations are only set to become more popular this summer.

You also get incredible variety on the continent, from the French Alps to Spanish beaches and Greek islands to Italy’s historic cities, to name but a few of the available options.

As an ATBTA spokesperson said earlier this year: “With the pound at a seven year high and everyday prices falling across the Eurozone, it really is a good time to travel to our continental neighbours.” But what are the essentials to take with you to Europe this summer?

Phrase book The Greeks and the Spanish in particular warm to anyone who makes the effort to speak the lingo. Don’t make that peculiarly British mistake of assuming everyone will understand English if you just speak a little louder! Learn before you go, perhaps at an evening class, but make sure you take the phrase book with you.

Travel documents and money It’s amazing how often people forget these! You will, of course, need a valid passport to go anywhere in Europe. Check yours is still in date. Travel insurance is another essential. Have some Euros in cash for when you arrive, and credit, debit or pre-paid currency cards for withdrawing money or paying for things during the trip. If you’re going to Greece, take lots of cash, split between those of you who are travelling. It’s also sensible to photocopy your travel documents and leave them with someone trusted before you set off. Pack another form of ID, like your driving licence, which you will need anyway if hiring a car.

Clothes Wear your heaviest clothes for travelling. Don’t forget to take a sweatshirt or cardigan for the evenings when it can get cool, especially early or late in the season. A baggy overshirt can be used to cover-up after the beach or for evenings. And however much you pack, cut back by about a third before closing your suitcase – it’s easy to overpack.

Reading matter Plan this in advance, whether crime, romance or biography are your thing – holidays are always a great time to catch up on reading. Don’t take a heavy book you’ve nearly finished – save it for when you get back. And allow enough time to order anything from the library or online you really want to take with you.

Your EHIC card Take your EHIC, as well as travel insurance, for your European holiday. The European health card, formerly the E111 card, allows you to receive the equivalent level of medical care in EU nations that locals receive. Remember - if you need an EHIC renewal, apply for your new EU health card in good time. For more information on the EHIC, you can see some of the most popular EHIC frequently asked questions here.