Stay safe on holiday: General travel checklist

FCO Travel Aware

Holidays abroad are all about getting away from it all and enjoying yourself. But before you relax and wind down too much, there's a little preparation to do.

Our simple travel checklist includes things you need to remember before you depart for your holiday and when you get there.

Travel checklist - pre-departure

  • Check your passport is still valid well before you are due to leave and you have any visas that are required. Remember, to enter certain countries your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months.
  • Buy comprehensive travel insurance and make sure it includes cover for any existing medical conditions you have and any sports or activities you will be taking part in. has great value single trip and annual travel insurance available.
  • Remember 112: This is the number to call to access the emergency services from anywhere within the EU.
  • Research your chosen holiday destination so that you can make the most of your time when you get there. Travel guides are great sources of information for holiday makers.
  • Visit your GP to find out if you'll need travel vaccinations or antimalarial drugs for the country you are visiting.
  • Check out the FCDO website for up to date travel advice about the country you are visiting. You can also sign up for email alerts and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information.
  • Write down your passport number and take photocopies of your passport and travel documents with you, carry them separately to the originals. Consider also storing a copy of your passport on a secure online data site.
  • Make sure that you have completed the emergency contact section in your passport so that your family can be contacted quickly in the event of an emergency.
  • Tell friends and relatives where you are going and give them details of your holiday accommodation.
  • Take a variety of payments with you including local currency, credit and/or debit cards. Make sure you have access to enough money in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure your mobile phone will work abroad and programme in useful numbers such as your travel insurance emergency assistance line and the local British Consulate Office.
  • Only pack the essentials - don't take expensive jewellery that might get lost easily or attract thieves.
  • If you are going to be driving abroad check out the local rules of the road before you go. More information about driving abroad.
  • Pack a small first aid kit to take care of minor scrapes and holiday tummy and remember to take supplies of any regular medication that you need to take.
  • Check the HM Customs and Revenue website for information on what you can and can't bring back with you, including information on duty-free limits and banned goods.

Travel checklist - while you are away

  • Drink bottled water if the local tap water is unsafe.
  • Think about what you are doing and trust your instincts - don't take risks that you wouldn't take at home.
  • Abide by local customs and dress codes so that you don't offend locals or draw attention to yourself.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and slap on plenty of sunscreen.
  • If you are enjoying a night on the town, don't accept drinks from strangers, even if they look trustworthy.
  • Ask hotels about reputable taxi firms.
  • Don't buy wildlife souvenirs that may have been made from endangered species and could be illegal.
  • Ask people before taking their photograph and don't take pictures at border crossings or military buildings.
  • Don't exchange money on the black market - you could be lumbered with counterfeit notes.
  • Enjoy nights out but don't let alcohol ruin your holiday.

Follow our travel checklist to take the stress out of arranging holidays abroad. The more clued up you are before you leave, the more relaxing your time away from home will be. And if you know what to look out for when you are in a foreign country, you'll be more prepared when you get there.

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