Guidance

Foreign travel checklist

Help for you to plan your trip abroad

Overview

We’ve put together a travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there. This general advice supplements the more particular advice we’ve created for your specific travelling needs.

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
  • follow @FCOtravel on Twitter to get the latest travel updates and advice
  • 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
  • if you’re 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 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
  • 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 more information please read our passports information
  • for certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 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
  • 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 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 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 to the UK

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