Check the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office’s travel advice 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.
Check your passport is up to date (it needs to be valid for at least six months from the day you enter the country) and if you need a visa.
Take out appropriate travel insurance, especially if you’re doing activities on holiday.
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. Leave your travel insurance and contact details with a trusted family member.
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.
If you’re travelling in the European Economic Area, don’t forget to take your GHIC/EHIC card, which entitles you to the same state-provided healthcare as the local people in most European countries. 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.
Make sure you have enough money with you as well as access to emergency funds as travel restrictions may unexpectedly delay your return home. Plan for possible delays, including quarantine, and make practical arrangements to be away for longer than planned.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and where possible carry small notes. Other ways to pay for things on holiday include prepaid cards and credit cards. You can find out more about travel money from the Money Advice Service.
Find out about local customs and laws, so you avoid offending people or accidentally breaking the law. Local guide books and the travelaware 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 could be considered a rude gesture? While in other places, e-cigarettes, tipping, and drinking alcohol in public are all illegal.
Store important numbers on your mobile phone, including 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.
Tell family and friends you’re going away but avoid advertising your absence via social media posts. Some banks and credit card providers also like to know if you’re going abroad. It may speed up any transactions you make abroad. You can check your bank or card provider’s website to find out more.
Updated 6 April 2021
These companies have signed up to the Safer Tourism Pledge