Travel Aware - Be aware of your surroundings

Travel smart with Travel Aware

There's more to planning a happy holiday than choosing which sunglasses to take. It's important that you know how to keep yourself safe and stress-free too. That's why the Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides simple precautions for all types of travellers going to all types of places. We recommend taking a look.

Who are the FCO?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is a department of the British government. Part of their job is to keep British nationals as safe as possible while they're on holiday. As part of the new Travel Aware campaign, the FCO has made it easier than ever to get advice specific to the type of holiday you are going on. Think of their travel tips as the need-to-know nitty-gritty that will get you properly prepared for the happy holiday you deserve.

Where in the world...?

Every country is different. Exploring different cultures is part of what makes foreign travel so much fun, isn't it? Too right! But it's important to remember that different countries have different ways of doing things. Their laws and customs may be very different from what you're used to here in the UK. Even something that you think is innocuous could land you in hot water in some countries. The FCO provides the latest travel advice as well as pointers on local laws and customs for 225 countries and territories across the world. It takes five minutes to take a look and get prepared.

Before you leave...

  • Take out appropriate travel insurance once you have booked your holiday. Make sure it covers you for any medical conditions as well as any sports/activities you plan to enjoy.
  • If you are travelling within Europe, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to the same level of free medical care as the residents of the country you are visiting receive. Get a free EHIC at www.nhs.uk/ehic.
  • Check whether you need any vaccinations for the country you are visiting by selecting your destination on the NHS fitfortravel website or by using Travel Health Pro. If necessary visit a travel clinic or GP six weeks before your departure date to make sure you are fit and ready for your holiday.
  • Double check the immigration process of the country you are visiting. Make sure you have all necessary visas and that your passport is valid. Some countries will only allow you to enter if you have a minimum of six months left on your passport before it expires.

Read more essential pre-departure travel advice

Travel Aware - Check you are appropriately covered

Don't let medical conditions hold you back...

Failing to declare medical conditions to your travel insurer could invalidate your policy. Some travel insurers can dramatically inflate their prices for covering medical conditions. But World First specialises in providing cover for hundreds of medical conditions at a price that's fair. Get a quote online or call us on the number at the top of this page.

If you - or someone in your group - is travelling with mental health needs, you should read the FCO's new guide. It covers holiday preparation, factors that can affect mental health and where you can go for help if something goes wrong. Take a look at the guide here.

What type of holiday are you going on?

Taking a glimpse at the Northern Lights or backpacking in Southeast Asia. Christmas shopping in Manhattan or lazing on a sandy beach along the Costa Brava. Every holiday is different. Travelling for a special event? Keep your eyes peeled on the FCO's Travel Aware website. They currently have guides with specific advice for people travelling to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as well as party-lovers heading to foreign music festivals.

Will you be driving while abroad?

Hitting the road on holiday - either in a hire car or your own - really does put you in the driving seat to explore. But of course it does mean there are a few extra things to think about before you depart, from making sure your license is valid to learning the local driving laws. And it's about more than knowing which side of the road to drive on. For instance, in Belgium you often have to give priority to drivers joining a road from the right. Learn the rules of the road for the country you are visiting with the AA or RAC.

If you intend to drive in a non-EU country, you may need an International Driving Permit. You can apply for one with the Post Office for just £5.50.

Stay in the loop

We live in a fast-moving, ever-changing world. For the latest official travel alerts from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, follow @FCOtravel on Twitter or facebook.com/FCOtravel.

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