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Stay safe overseas – Know Before You Go

Whether you are travelling abroad to visit friends or family, to take part in exciting sports or just to get a bit of rest and relaxation, you’re sure to want your trip to go smoothly. Although most overseas trips do go without a hitch, British travellers still can, and do, run into trouble whilst they are away.

The good news is that many of the most common problems can be prevented or made less stressful by taking a few simple precautions. So it makes sense to spend a little time getting prepared before you travel – you could save yourself a lot of worry later on.

With this in mind, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is there to help British nationals stay safe abroad. The FCO website http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/ offers straightforward travel advice, top tips and up to date country information to help you plan your holiday.

Travel tips from the FCO

  • Make sure you have valid travel insurance, even if you’re only planning a short trip. And make sure it will cover you for wherever you’re going and whatever activities you plan to take part in while you’re there.

  • Visit your GP at least 6 weeks before you travel. They will check that your vaccinations are up to date and give you helpful health advice for your trip.

  • Read up on your destination, including local laws and customs. A good travel guide should give you this information, and it’s also worth talking to your travel agent or tour operator about possible risks.

  • Make photocopies of your passport, visas, insurance details and any other important travel documents. Take one copy with you (packed separately from your real documents) and leave another copy with a relative or friend at home.

For lots more travel advice, take a look at the FCO website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/

Country by country advice

You can also find travel advice for specific countries on the FCO website. This includes areas of the country that may be risky to visit, the likelihood of terrorist activities and any health issues that you should watch out for.

The information is updated regularly, so by selecting the countries you plan to travel to on the drop-down menu, you can make sure you’re properly informed.

Don’t go to…

Sometimes there is such a high level of risk in a certain country, or part of a country, that the FCO recommends that you simply don’t travel there. You can find a list of these countries and areas on the FCO website.

Introducing your local British Consulate

You’ll probably know that British Consulate offices exist in foreign countries, to assist British nationals while they’re in the country. But do you know what they can actually do to help if you can get into difficulty – and what they can’t do?

For example, your local British Consulate can:

  • Issue a replacement passport if yours is lost or stolen.

  • Help if you are a victim of crime.

  • Make special arrangements if there’s a terrorism attack or a natural disaster.

But they can’t:

  • Get you out of prison.

  • Pay fines for you or put up bail.

  • Help you enter a country if you don’t have the correct visa.

You can get all the facts about the British Consulate services on the FCO’s website.

Check your checklists

To make sure you’ve done everything you can to make your travels safe, why not take a look at the FCO’s range of online checklists? You can find checklists for:

  • What to do before you set off.

  • What to do whilst you’re abroad.

  • Special precautions for groups including women, gay and lesbian travellers, gap year students and sports supporters.

No internet access?

All this information and more is provided on the FCO website: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/. However, if you prefer to use the phone or you can’t get access to the internet, you can get the same information by calling the 24hour  FCO travel advice line: 0845 850 2829