Travel safe. Travel smart. Travel Aware.
Have you heard of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office? It's a department of the British government - and part of their job is to help keep British nationals as safe as possible while they're on holiday.
The FCO's new Travel Aware campaign makes it easier than ever to get advice specific to the type of holiday you are going on. A few simple precautions will go a long way to preparing a safe, stress-free getaway that you remember for all the right reasons.
A summary of the FCO's advice is below.
Where in the world...?
Different countries have different cultures. Isn't that part of what makes travelling so fascinating and fun? Of course! But it's important to remember that different countries have different laws and customs. Get the lowdown - as well as the latest official travel advice - for 225 countries with the FCO. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, get the A to Z of staying safe. Take a look.
Don't let medical conditions hold you back...
You could invalidate your travel insurance policy by failing to declare your medical conditions. The good news is that here at Travel Insurance 4 Medical we believe in providing cover for medical conditions at a price that's fair. Get a quote online or call us on the number at the top of this page.
If you - or someone in your group - is travelling with mental health needs, you can get detailed travel advice with the FCO's new guide. It covers holiday preparation, factors that can impact mental health and where you can go for help if something goes wrong. Take a look at the guide here.
Will you be driving while abroad?
There's a lot of freedom to be found on four wheels - whether you are hiring a car or taking your own. But of course it does give you a few extra things to think about in terms of holiday preparation. Learn the rules of the road for the country you are visiting with the AA or RAC. Visiting a non-EU country? You may need an International Driving Permit. Apply with the Post Office for just £5.50.
Simple tips for staying safe on holiday
Below is a selection of the FCO's advice for staying safe and avoiding mishaps on holiday. As you will see, it really is the little things that can make all the difference. View the FCO's full travel checklist here.
Before you leave...
- Take out appropriate travel insurance once you have booked your holiday. The sooner the better. Make sure it covers you for any medical conditions as well as any sports/activities you plan to enjoy.
- Not every country has a free health service like the NHS. If you are travelling in Europe, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to the same level of free medical care as the residents of the country you are visiting receive. Get your free EHIC at www.nhs.uk/ehic.
- Check whether you need any vaccinations for the country you are visiting by selecting your destination on the NHS fitfortravel website or by using Travel Health Pro, which also has information on sun protection. If necessary visit a travel clinic or GP six weeks before your departure date to make sure you are fit and ready for your holiday.
- Double check the immigration process of the country you are visiting. Make sure you have all necessary travel documents, visas and a valid passport. Some countries will only allow you to enter if you have a minimum of six months left on your passport before it expires.
- Make sure the contact form at the back of your passport is complete, with details of your next of kin or someone who can be contacted in an emergency.
- Make copies of important travel documents - such as your passport ID page, your visas and your travel insurance details. Leave one set of copies with a friend or relative at home and take another set with you. Alternatively store scans of your travel documents online using a cloud storage service such as Dropbox.
- Tell a friend or relative at home where you are going and when you are due to return. Ensure they have a way to contact you in an emergency.
- Save important telephone numbers in your mobile phone or write them down. Note the numbers for the local emergency services, your travel insurer and your nearest British Embassy.
- Make sure you have easy access to enough money to cover your holiday spending as well as additional emergency funds.
Read more essential travel advice
While you're away
- In some countries it's mandatory for British nationals to carry their passport at all times. In others it's best to keep your passport stored safely. Find out what's necessary in the country you are visiting on the FCO website.
- Holidays are all about letting your hair down. But don't take it too far. Even minor disturbances can be punished severely in some countries. Meanwhile drinking excessive alcohol is likely to invalidate your travel insurance.
Stay in the loop
We live in a world where things can change fast. For the latest official travel alerts from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, follow @FCOtravel on Twitter or facebook.com/FCOtravel.
Help is always there when you need it
If something goes wrong while you're on holiday, home often feels a million miles away and panic can set in. Stay calm. The important thing to remember is that you are never alone. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has embassies, high commissions and consulates in nearly every country across the world. They can help you with all manner of problems. And all TI4M customers have access to a 24/7 emergency assistance helpline.
Who can the FCO help?
The FCO can provide support to people outside the UK who are:
- British nationals
- Dual British nationals (in certain circumstances)
- European Commonwealth nationals whose country does not have a local mission, where the FCO has agreed to help their nationals
How can the FCO help?
Save the details of your nearest British embassy in your phone - or write them down and take them away with you. It's best to have peace of mind. Meanwhile if you are travelling in uncertain local conditions or visiting remote areas, register with your nearest British embassy.
The FCO can:
- Issue replacement passports if yours is lost or stolen
- Provide information about transferring funds
- Give appropriate help if you have been the victim of rape, assault or other crime, or if you are in hospital
- Help people with mental illness
- Give details of reliable local lawyers, doctors, interpreters and funeral directors
- Contact you within 24 hours of being told that you have been detained
- Make special arrangements for your safety in cases of terrorism, civil disturbance or natural disasters
Assistance from Travel Insurance 4 Medical
For 24/7 emergency assistance please call:
+44 (0) 203 829 6745
For legal advice please call Slater & Gordon LLP on:
+44 (0) 161 228 3851
For claims please call:
+44 (0) 203 829 6761