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Travel & living abroad
Last updated at 6:54 (UK time) 5 Jan 2011

Travel checklist

We’ve put together this travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe whilst you are there.  We’ve got more advice for specific types of travellers in Your trip.

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
  • register with our LOCATE service so we can get in touch with you if something goes wrong
  • 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 such as extreme or water sports
  • travelling within the European Economic Area? Then get a free European Health Insurance Card for free or reduced emergency care - you still need full travel insurance though! Also remember, you can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country.
  • check with your doctor as soon as possible to find out if you need any vaccinations before you travel
  • 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 visit DirectGov
  • for certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go
  • take photocopies of your passport and other important documents and keep these separate from the originals when you travel and/or store them 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 a friend or relative where you are going and for how long for - give them some idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number
  • take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds in a mix of cash and travellers cheque - make a note of the cheques’ numbers before you go
  • invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip
  • driving abroad? Make sure your licence is current and valid. Make sure you are aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting
  • check 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 whilst 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
  • check whether it’s safe to drink local tap water- if not, stick to bottled water and avoid salads, non-peeling fruit and ice in drinks
  • use your judgement when buying and eating food you’ve not prepared yourself
  • 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