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Travellers' checklist

To help you have a safe holiday, there are things you can do before you travel. They include tips on getting travel insurance and looking after your passport. Always keep your passport safe and up-to-date.

Things to do before you go

Before you leave make sure you:

  • check the travel advice pages for the country you are visiting
  • 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 including extreme or water sports
  • get a free European Health Insurance Card for free or reduced emergency care if you’re travelling within the European Economic Area - you still need full travel insurance though. You can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country
  • research the health risk on the NHS travel health information page as soon as possible before travelling, and if necessary visit your GP or a travel clinic
  • if you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you take enough medical supplies for the duration of your visit and any unexpected delays. Medical supplies may be subject to supply constraints in some countries and in remote areas
  • make sure you’ve got correct visas for the country you are visiting and that your passport is valid
  • 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 a secure data storage site
  • make sure you have enough money to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays. Consider taking more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card)
  • 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
  • if you’re going to be driving abroad, make sure your licence is current and valid and be aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting
  • check the HM Revenue & Customs Travel website for information on duty-free allowances, banned goods and so on
  • if you’re travelling with children, check guidance on any permissions that might be required

Passport advice

Before you leave, make sure that you have:

  • filled in details of your next of kin on the last page of your passport
  • noted down your passport number and date of issue and put these in a safe place, not with the passport itself
  • got another form of photo ID to take with you
  • for certain countries your passport must be valid for six months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go
  • make a note of your passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you and/ or storing it 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

When you are away

While travelling:

  • 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 while 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
  • 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

More useful links