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
  • take 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
  • if necessary, visit your GP or a travel clinic at least four to six weeks before your trip to check if you need vaccinations
  • if necessary, contact your GP or pharmacy for advice on preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad
  • 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)
  • check the legal status of medicines and how medicines are regulated for the destinations(s) you're visiting 
  • 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 - think about 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're 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

More useful links

Share this page


Your comments are anonymous and can’t be responded to - if you would like a reply, use the feedback form.

Your comments
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum. Don't include personal or financial information.