Travel advice – keep up to date
When you travel abroad, it's important to plan for your trip well in advance and the latest advice before you travel, even if you are a seasoned traveller.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) offer up to date travel advice on their website, including advice about travel safety, the latest political situation in a country, natural disasters as well as any planned strikes or demonstrations.
The FCO has detailed advice by country which is updated on a daily basis when necessary, they also publish a wealth of information to help British Nationals stay safe when they travel abroad. Here is their travel checklist:
Before you travel:
- The FCO publish continually updated travel advice by country; check the latest information before you travel. Travel Advice by Country
You can also sign up for email alerts to get the latest updates for the countries you are visiting, follow the FCO on twitter (@fcotravel) and on Facebook.
- Find out where the nearest British Embassy will be. Find an embassy
- Don’t travel without travel insurance and make sure that the travel insurance policy you choose covers for any activities you are likely to undertake such as extreme or water sports
- If you are travelling to Europe get a European Health Insurance Card, which entitles you to state provided health care throughout the European Economic Area and Switzerland – remember, you still need full travel insurance! Also remember, you can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country.
- Check with your doctor as soon as possible to find out if you need any vaccinations before you travel.
- Make sure you’ve got correct visas for the country you are visiting and that your passport is valid.
- Note that all first time adult passport applicants must now attend an interview to verify their identity. It now takes up to six weeks to get a first passport. For more information please visit Gov.uk
- For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements on the FCO website before you go. Check entry requirements.
- Make a note of your passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you and/or store online using a secure data storage site.
- Make sure you fill in the emergency contact details in your passport. This will make it much easier for the FCO to contact someone if necessary.
- Tell family and friends where you are going and leave them your contact details, travel insurance policy details and your itinerary and/or store them online using a secure data storage
- Make sure you have enough money for your trip. Take a variety of payment options with you so that you will have access to funds in the event of an emergency.
- Find out if travellers cheques are appropriate for your destination and keep a separate record of their numbers.
- Invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip.
- Driving Abroad? Make sure your license is current and valid and be aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting. Visit the relevant country page FCO website for more information. Travel Advice by Country
- Consider taking your mobile with you or renting one whilst you’re away. Store useful numbers such as the local police and the nearest Embassy or Consulate. Check with your service provider to make sure your phone works abroad.
When you are away:
- Think about what you are doing at all times and trust your instincts – don’t take risks that you wouldn’t at home!
- Don’t openly display valuables such as mobile phones or digital cameras and consider using a padlock on suitcases or backpacks.
- Find out about local customs and dress, behave accordingly and obey local laws – there may be serious penalties for breaking a law that might seem trivial at home
- Be careful when taking photographs, videos or using binoculars. Such activities may be misunderstood, especially near military installations.
- Check whether it’s safe to drink local tap water - if not, stick to bottled water and avoid salads, non-peeling fruit and ice in drinks.
- Use your judgment when buying and eating food you’ve not prepared yourself.
- Respect the local environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources like water and don’t drop litter.
- Check HM Revenue & Customs website for information on duty-free allowances, banned goods etc. before you attempt to bring anything back to the UK. Bringing goods into the country from abroad.