Preparing for a trip – 10 top tips

Planning a trip abroad can be fun but also time consuming. Arranging how you’re going to get there and where you’re going to stay is just the start. So here are our 10 top tips on what to do next.

  1. Check the Foreign & Commonwealth website to get the latest travel advice on the area you’re visiting. You can find out the latest safety news, what documents and vaccinations you need and the local laws and customs.  If you haven’t already booked your trip you may want to do this first.
  2. Check your passport is up to date (it may need to be valid for at least six months from the day you enter the country) and if you need a visa.
  3. Find out if you need any vaccinations – you should have these at least eight weeks before you travel. You can find out more on the NHS website.
  4. Take out appropriate travel insurance especially if you’re doing activities on holiday.
  5. Make sure you have enough money with you and access to emergency funds. You can find out from the FCO website me local currency for essentials but avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Other ways to pay for things on holiday include prepaid cards and credit cards. You can find out more on travel money from the Money Advice Service.
  6. Find out about local customs and laws so you avoid offending people or accidentally breaking the law. Local guide books and the FCO website can help you with this. For example, did you know that in some countries you have to cover up before going into a church and the thumbs up sign is rude? While in other places e-cigarettes, tipping and drinking alcohol in public are all illegal.
  7. Look after your health. If you need to take medicines abroad check if they’re allowed in the country you’re visiting. You can find out more on the NHS Choices site and in our guide on travelling with a health issue. If you’re travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland don’t forget to take your EHIC card which entitles you to the same state-provided healthcare as the local people. It’s also a good idea to take a first aid kit. And if you’re going somewhere hot it’s worth taking sun cream as this is often cheaper in the UK than abroad.
  8. Store important numbers on your mobile phone if you’re taking it abroad with you such as for the local police, emergency services and the nearest British embassy or consulate.  You can find out about charges abroad and what to do if your phone is stolen on the Ofcom website.
  9. Tell family and friends you’re going away and give them your travel insurance and contact details. Some banks and credit card providers also like to know if you’re going abroad and this can speed up any transactions you make abroad as they are less likely to run checks on these. You can check your bank or card provider’s website to find out more.
  10. Take copies of any important documents you have such as flight tickets, accommodation bookings, travel insurance, passports and visas. This way if you lose the originals you’ll have the photocopies with you.