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 do, 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
  • take note that 112 is the number 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 at least four to six weeks before your trip to check if you need vaccinations
  • take enough medical supplies for the length of your visit and any unexpected delays if you have a medical condition (medical supplies may be difficult to get in some countries and in remote areas)
  • have proper 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
  • 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 suitable for your destination and keep a separate record of their numbers
  • invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip and consider using online travel forums for more detail about your destination
  • have your current and valid driving licence and be aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting
  • check the HM Revenue & Customs information on duty-free allowances, banned goods and so on
  • check guidance on any permissions that might be required if you’re travelling with children who are unaccompanied by one or both parents
  • check with your service provider to make sure your phone works abroad - consider leaving your phone’s IMEI number with a friend or family member, to help block or find the phone if there’s a problem

 

Passport advice

Before you leave, make sure that you:

  • get another form of photo ID to take with you
  • check the entry requirements before you go - for certain countries your passport must be valid for six months after the date you travel
  • make a note of your passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you and/ or storing it securely online 
  • fill in the emergency contact details in your passport - this will make it much easier to contact your next of kin 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 how to minimise your risk from terrorism and what to do if there’s a terrorist attack
  • find out about local customs and dress, behave according to these customs 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
  • store useful numbers such as the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate
  • respect the environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources like water and don’t drop litter
  • whether you’re living abroad or visiting, be aware of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, just as you would at home
  • check import regulations for food and plants before you try to bring them back
  • if you intend taking part in any adventure sports or water sports during your trip, only use properly licensed and insured operators - before taking part, make sure you fully understand the operating instructions and satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place

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