The FCO’s Travel Aware Campaign
As well as providing you with great value travel insurance Boots wants to make sure you feel good and stay safe when you go abroad. So we’ve teamed up with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office who has provided the following important advice. You can also read more about the FCO Know Before You Go campaign on the FCO website and download a handy checklist to help you plan your trip.
British nationals take millions of trips overseas every year, most of which pass without any kind of incident. Yet it is important to remember that outside the UK:
- You are less likely to be familiar with local conditions, customs and risks.
- You may be more exposed to a variety of threats, such as crime.
- Support which you could freely get in the UK may not be available or may be very expensive.
So, to stay safe and secure abroad, and to be prepared in case things go wrong, it is important to take a few simple precautions before you go:
- Check the FCO website www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo. You can find the latest updates on vital information from security threats to political unrest, natural disasters to epidemics, as well as country specific travel advice and the top ‘don’t go’ countries.
- Always make sure you have full travel insurance which is up to date, valid for the entire trip and covers everyone who is travelling. Check you are covered for all the activities you want to do, including any extreme sports. And that you are covered for all your luggage and equipment, personal injury as a result of terrorist activity, plus any legal costs. You should also look carefully at exemptions to the insurance policy, including any relating to pre-existing medical conditions, or alcohol and drugs.
- Anyone travelling within the European Economic Area or Switzerland should also get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). An EHIC is valid for all medically-necessary care within the EU and the EEA and should be accepted by all state hospitals. However we also strongly recommend that travellers should also have comprehensive travel insurance, as an EHIC only covers necessary care and won’t cover things such as repatriation to the UK in the case of a medical emergency.
- Fill in the contact details at the back of your passport for your next-of-kin or someone who can be contacted in an emergency. Apart from your passport, take another form of identification with you (preferably one with a photograph, such as your driving licence).
- Make sure you are aware of the immigration and customs controls of the country you are travelling to, including any necessary visas. You should note that for many countries your passport needs to be valid for at least six months after the date you travel. In the UK, you can get online information on how to get a passport from HM Passport Office, just visit www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Leave an itinerary and details of how you could be contacted during your time abroad. You should also make two copies of your passport (including pages with relevant visas), insurance details and any other important travel documents. Leave one copy at home with a family member or a reliable friend, and take one copy with you, packed separately from your passport.
- Take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds, such as traveller’s cheques, cash or credit cards. Before you leave, check that your cards are valid, and find out how you can replace them and your traveller’s cheques if they are lost or stolen. Keep a separate note of their code numbers and the emergency telephone number you would need to ring to cancel any credit cards if they are lost or stolen. You can also keep copies of passports and important documents in a secure, online storage site.
- Buy a good travel guide that includes basic information on local laws and customs. Talk to your travel agent or tour operator about possible risks.
- If you are planning to drive, make sure your UK driving licence is current and valid. Make sure you know the driving laws, licence requirements and driving conditions in the country you are visiting. In some countries you will need to have an international driving permit as well as your UK licence.
- Make sure that all your vaccinations are up to date and find out about any other suggested medical advice by visiting your health-care provider.
- Moving abroad is a big step. Apart from considerations concerning family and friends, there are issues around pensions, tax and healthcare costs that you will need to be aware of.
- Got a travel advice question? The FCO are online daily to answer your queries between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Just tweet @FCOtravel