Travel Checklist- How to prepare for your holiday

FCO Know before you go

If you are a well-travelled individual, and your holidays abroad normally run smoothly, you might think you know exactly what to expect of your next trip. But it's useful to take a quick refresher. Every country is different and there may even be a few things you haven't thought of.

We've put together a travel checklist, based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which will help you to prepare for your holiday and stay safe and healthy whilst you are away.

Before you leave home:

  • Visit for the latest advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They publish accurate, up to date information on a country by country basis.

    You can also sign up for email alerts to get the latest updates for the countries you are visiting, follow the FCO on twitter (@fcotravel) and on Facebook.

    Get the latest travel advice >>
  • Locate the nearest embassy in case you need to contact them in an emergency.
    Find the nearest embassy >>
  • Get travel insurance that provides appropriate cover to meet your needs, including cover for any medical conditions you have and cover for any sports or activities you will be taking part in. can cover travellers of any age, with most medical conditions.
  • Remember 112: This is the number to call to reach the emergency services in any EU country.
  • If you take regular medication for a pre-existing medical condition make sure that you take enough with you, including some extra in case you lose some or are delayed and have to stay a couple of days extra.
  • Find out if you need vaccinations from your doctor or travel clinic well in advance.
  • Allow plenty of time to arrange visas and check that your passport is still valid- it can take up to 6 weeks to get a first passport. In some countries your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
  • Fill in the emergency contact details section of your passport so that your family can be contacted in the event of an emergency.
  • Make a note of your passport number and take photocopies of your passport and travel documents with you. Stash them separately to the originals, or store copies in a secure online storage site.
  • Leave details of your holiday destination with a friend or relative so that they can contact you in an emergency.
  • Take several methods of payment with you, including plenty of the local currency, credit and debit cards, so that you are able to cover any unexpected costs.
  • If you intend to drive abroad, make yourself aware of the rules of the road before you get behind the wheel. Find out more about driving abroad.
  • Check the UK Government website for information on what you can and can't bring back with you, including information on duty-free limits and banned goods.

Staying safe whilst you are away:

Once you've set foot on foreign soil it's important to keep your wits about you. Here are a few things you'll need to bear in mind:
  • Don't take unnecessary risks - if you wouldn't do it at home, why do it while you're away?
  • Keep valuables hidden and only carry small amounts of cash.
  • Adhere to local laws and customs, including dress codes, to avoid offence or penalties.
  • Keep cameras and binoculars out of sight at borders or military posts.
  • Find out if the local drinking water is potable and stick to bottled water if it isn't.
  • Don't buy wildlife souvenirs- if they are made from an endangered species you will be breaking the law if you bring them back to the UK.
  • Familiarise yourself with your surroundings before you venture further afield so that you know how to return to your accommodation.
  • Take your mobile phone with you and store useful numbers on it, such as the emergency contact number for your travel insurance provider and the nearest British Embassy.