Expert advice from the official FCO website:
Before you go:
- check our travel advice pages for the country you are visiting. Sign up for email alerts and you’ll get the latest updates for that country
- find out where the nearest embassy will be – check their website to find out what services they offer and their opening times
- don’t travel without insurance – make sure it covers you for any activities you are likely to undertake such as extreme or water sports
- travelling within the EU? Then get a free European Health Insurance Card for free or reduced emergency care – you still need full travel insurance though! 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.
- 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 certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go
- take photocopies of your passport and other important documents and keep these separate from the originals when you travel and/or store them 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 us to contact someone if necessary
- tell a friend or relative where you are going and for how long for – give them some idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number
- take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds in a mix of cash and travellers cheque – make a note of the cheques’ numbers before you go
- invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip
- Driving abroad? Make sure your licence is current and valid. Make sure you are aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting
- check HM Revenue & Customs Travel website for information on duty-free allowances, banned goods etc.
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
- 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
- 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 judgement when buying and eating food you’ve not prepared yourself
- respect the environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources like water and don’t drop litter
- check import regulations for food and plants before you attempt to bring them back to the UK