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Before travelling abroad by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Before travelling abroad by Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Before travelling abroad it’s important to be well prepared by researching your destination and familiarising yourself with the local laws and customs. This is especially important when travelling with children. It can help to work off a ‘Travel Checklist to make sure everything is covered.

​With this is mind we have partnered with the ‘Know Before You Go’ (KBYG) team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to highlight the key things to help you prepare before travelling overseas. The KBYG page on the FCO website offers travel advice, tips and up to date country information to help you plan your holiday.


Key tips include:

  • Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance, even if you’re only planning a short trip and check that it covers you for everything that you want to do while you are on holiday. If you are travelling within the European Economic Area you can get a free European Health Insurance Card for free or reduced emergency care - you still need full travel insurance thoughas an EHIC only covers necessary care and won’t cover things such as repatriation to the UK in the case of a medical emergency.

  • Check what vaccinations you need by visiting www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk, your travel health clinic or GP at least 6 weeks before you travel.

  • Read up on your destination, including local laws and customs. Check the KBYG page or sign up for email alerts and receive the latest updates for that country.

  • Tell family and friends where you are going and leave them your contact details, insurance policy details and your itinerary and/or store them online using secure data storage.

  • Make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies. Consider taking more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card). Find out where the nearest embassy is and make a note of their contact details and what services they offer.

  • Check your passport and requirements for the country you are visiting - it can take up to 6 weeks to get a first passport and for certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel. Make a note of the passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you and/or store online using secure data storage. Be sure to fill in the emergency contact details just in case!

  • Make sure you’ve got the correct visa for the country you are visiting and allow plenty of time to research and prepare. If you’re planning on driving abroad, either with your own or a hired car, it’s important to research the rules of the road in the countries you will be driving through. Visit the FCO road safety tool for country specific advice and information.

  • Visit the FCO KBYG page for more advice and information. You should also read up on what the local British Consulate can and cannot do to help you if you run into problems abroad.

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