Travel Tips > Travel Advice - FCDO Travel Aware > Visiting friends and family abroad

Visiting friends and family abroad

FCO Travel Aware

Visiting friends and family abroad can be like going to a second home, but you should treat your trip abroad like any other and make sure you are aware of the current rules for travel.

Even if you've been to the country many times before, you should still set aside time to prepare and check the latest information. Visiting a home from home abroad should be treated like any other holiday overseas. 

Here’s what you need to remember when visiting friends and family abroad:

Travel insurance

Make sure you get travel insurance - without it you might be landed with a hefty bill if you need unexpected medical treatment in an emergency.

Check that the policy is suitable for your needs and find out if your cover is affected if you are a dual national.

Insurewithease.com can cover residents of the UK, regardless of their nationality, so long as you have been living in the UK for at least 6 consecutive months, have a permanent UK address and are registered with a UK GP.  Your trip must also start and finish in the UK for cover to be valid.

Passport

Check that your passport is still valid. In some countries it needs to be valid for six months after your date of return, otherwise they could refuse you entry.  It is particularly important to check this now that the UK has left the EU.  

The government has provided a tool to check whether your passport is valid for travel to European countries. https://www.gov.uk/check-a-passport-travel-europe

Take a copy of your passport and travel documents with you

If you have dual nationality, there might be benefits to travelling on one of your passports, but not the other.

Visas

If you need a visa for the country you are travelling to, don't be tempted to overstay it as you could be given a hefty fine and may not be allowed to return.

Vaccinations

Find out what vaccinations, if any, you should have before visiting your destination. If you've been visiting a country for years, it might be that some of your vaccinations need to be renewed.  

Many countries may now also require you to have a covid-19 vaccine or may have different rules if you are unvaccinated.
If you're visiting a country that is prone to malaria, take antimalarials. If you've lived there before, it doesn't make you immune to the disease

Visit https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations for the latest information on vaccination requirements for different countries.

FCDO travel advice

Visit the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice by country pages for all the latest information on travel rules, entry requirements and the local situation, which may have changed since the last time you were there.

Check the latest information:
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Presents and souvenirs

When you visit friends and family, you might want to take presents or bring souvenirs home with you. Find out what you are allowed to take with you and what you can bring back to the UK.  

Products made from endangered animals or plants, as well as meat and dairy products are not allowed to be brought back into the UK.  There are also often limits on the value of goods you can take into a country.

Find out the rules on what you can bring back to the UK:
https://www.gov.uk/bringing-goods-into-uk-personal-use

Covid-19 rules

There are currently extra checks and rules when travelling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  You should make sure you are familiar with the rules for entering your destination country as well as returning to the UK.

Check the entry requirements for your destination.  You may need to show proof of vaccination and/or a negative covid-19 test.  A good place to start is the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice by country pages.

FCDO travel advice: 
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

You also need to aware of the rules for returning to the UK, which also depend on whether you have been fully vaccinated and where you are travelling from. 

Full details on the requirements for entering the UK:
https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control

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