Foreign travel checklist

A checklist from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to help British people prepare for travelling and staying safe abroad.

Three things you should do now

  1. Take a photo or photocopy of the information page of your passport (the page with your photo, personal details and passport number) and store it securely, so you can access it if your valuables/phone are lost or stolen.
  2. Sign your passport on the page opposite your information page. An unsigned passport is not valid.
  3. Fill in your emergency contact details in the back of your passport.

When you are planning a trip overseas

Passports and visas

  • check travel advice for the entry requirements of the country you are travelling to and make sure you have got all the necessary visas
  • check when your passport expires. For most countries, your passport must be valid for a set period of time in addition to your travel. In most European countries it must be valid for 3 months after you leave that country
  • take another means of identification (preferably with a photograph)
  • see Travelling with children for information you may be asked for when you return to the UK

Your health

  • check what vaccinations and health precautions you need at least 8 weeks before you travel
  • check if your medication is legal in the country you are visiting. Search online for Can I take my medicine abroad NHS
  • if you are taking prescribed medication, take a copy of the prescription with you, and find out if you will need to take a doctor’s letter with you
  • if you are travelling within the EU, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid until its date of expiry. After which, you can apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) from A GHIC will provide you with the same level of medically necessary treatment across the EU. You will still need travel insurance


  • get appropriate travel insurance and check that it covers all the activities you plan to undertake and all the places you intend to visit


  • make sure you have access to enough funds to cover emergencies
  • check expiry dates on your credit or debit card(s). Inform your bank of your travel plans

When you are overseas

Passports and visas

  • keep your passport secure at all times. Unless you are required to carry the original document, keep your passport in a safe location


  • use a money belt or secure inside pocket. Do not openly display your cash
  • do not carry all your cards with you – leave one in a secure location
  • if your passport or valuables are stolen abroad, report it at once to the local police and get a statement, as you will need one to claim against your insurance. You will need to cancel any bank cards, so take relevant phone numbers


  • avoid any involvement with illegal drugs – the penalties are severe and could include the death sentence
  • do not carry parcels or luggage through customs for other people

Personal safety

  • as you would be in the UK, be alert and observant, and report any unattended items or suspicious activity by individuals to the local police or appropriate authorities. You can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country

Getting help

  • we expect British people to take responsibility for themselves and their safety while overseas. But we can help if you get into difficulties
  • if your passport is lost, stolen or damaged while you are on a trip overseas, get an emergency replacement so you can get back home
  • for all other issues you can contact us:
    • online: Use the contact form on the Contact Us page of your nearest British embassy or consulate
    • social media: you can send us a private message on Facebook or a direct message on Twitter
    • by phone: make a note of the telephone number of the nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. You can reach us on that number, usually for the cost of a local call 24/7. You can also call the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on +44 (0)20 7008 5000
  • for more detail on what support you can receive, search online for Support for British Nationals Abroad
Published 22 March 2013
Last updated 19 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Passports and visas section updated on passport validity.

  2. Updated checklist including travel information on COVID-19 and changes following the end of the UK-EU transition period.

  3. update to guidance on Heath section

  4. Added advice on phone IMEI number

  5. Revised checklist

  6. First published.