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What you should know before you travel abroad
Before your trip, make sure you’re fully prepared by following the checklist below.
• Get travel insurance - Make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance. If you have taken out a policy, check that it covers everything you want to do. If travelling in Europe, get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can apply online or find out further information by visiting dh.gov.uk/travellers (NB you will still need travel insurance).
• Research your destination - For up to date travel advice and country specific information check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website at fco.gov.uk/travel or call the travel advice helpline on 0845 850 28 29.
• Check if you need vaccinations - Visit fitfortravel.nhs.uk to find out what vaccinations or medication you might need or ask your GP. If you’re already on medication make sure you have enough to last you for your trip, and take a copy of your prescription just in case.
• Get your documents in order - Check your passport will be valid for at least six months after the date of your return. Make photocopies of your passport, tickets and insurance documents, or store online copies on a secure data storage site. Find out now how your traveller’s cheques and credit cards can be replaced if lost and take emergency numbers with you.
• Tell others your itinerary - Also make sure you tell family and friends where you’re going and leave them emergency contact details.
• Take enough money – and have access to emergency funds in case you need them
For more help and advice visit fco.gov.uk/travel or call 0845 850 28 29
Don’t drive abroad unprepared - read our advice below and visit fco.gov.uk/drivingabroad for more in depth information
Before you go:
• Familiarise yourself with the driving laws of the country you are visiting – including local speed limits and which side of the road they drive on!
• You should be aware that provisional licences are a national document issued within the framework of driver training and do not entitle the holder to drive outside the territory of the issuing member state
• Check with your insurance company that you’re fully covered to drive abroad including breakdown recovery and any medical expenses resulting from an accident
• Check whether you need a green card for the country you’re visiting – this provides proof of minimum insurance
• Check whether you need an International Driving Permit
• Service your vehicle before leaving the UK
• Check you can comply with the vehicle requirements of the countries you’ll visit (at certain times of the year, winter tyres may be compulsory in some countries – e.g. Germany).
Find out what you need to take:
The regulations of what you need to carry with you in your vehicle when you're abroad can differ very much from the UK. One example is your proof of vehicle ownership (V5 log book); In the UK, you are advised not to carry this in your vehicle; however in many European countries if you don't then you could be subject to a fine. The 'Local Travel' section of the FCO’s travel advice by country highlights regulations like this so it's worth checking before you drive.
Whilst you’re away:
• Drive defensively and expect the unexpected – the local driving style may be different to that of the UK
• Don’t drive when you’re tired and take regular breaks on long journeys
• Always wear a seat belt and make sure other passengers do too
• Don’t drink and drive – the alcohol limit may be lower than in the UK and in some countries there is zero tolerance for drink driving
• Don't use your mobile whilst driving
• Don’t overload your vehicle and ensure you can see out of the back window
• If you’re involved in an accident, contact your insurer immediately and take photographs of damage to your vehicle