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Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

Simple tips for staying safe on holiday

You want your holiday to be fun, relaxing and hassle-free. So does the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Below is a selection of their advice for staying safe and avoiding mishaps on holiday. As you will see, it really is the little things that can make all the difference.

Before you leave...

  • Take out appropriate travel insurance once you have booked your holiday. The sooner the better. Make sure it covers you for any medical conditions as well as any sports/activities you plan to enjoy.
  • Not every country has a free health service like the NHS. If you are travelling in 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 your free EHIC at
  • 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, which also has information on sun protection. 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.
  • Make sure the contact form at the back of your passport is complete, with details of your next of kin or someone who can be contacted in an emergency.
  • Make copies of important travel documents - such as your passport ID page, your visas and your travel insurance details. Leave one set of copies with a friend or relative at home and take another set with you. Alternatively store scans of your travel documents securely online using a cloud storage service such as Dropbox.
  • Tell a friend or relative at home where you are going and when you are due to return. Ensure they have a way to contact you in an emergency.
  • Save important telephone numbers in your mobile phone or write them down. You should know the numbers for the local emergency services, your travel insurance claims department and your nearest British Embassy.
  • Make sure you have easy access to enough money to cover your holiday spending as well as additional funds in case of emergency.

While you're away

  • In some countries it's mandatory for British nationals to carry their passport at all times. In others it's best to keep your passport stored safely and carry a photocopy of your ID page if necessary. Find out what's required in the country you are visiting on the FCDO website.
  • For most people going on holiday is all about unwinding and having fun. But be sure to behave responsibly. Even minor disturbances can be punished severely in some countries. Meanwhile drinking excessive alcohol is likely to invalidate your travel insurance.

Want to know more?

The FCDO has published a helpful travel checklist to help British nationals prepare for safe, stress-free holidays. Worried you might be forgetting something? It's got all the advice you need. Take a look.

Click here if you are a non UK resident or have already travelled.
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