Booking a holiday and planning for your trip is exciting. Be prepared - having things like travel insurance in place and the right telephone numbers saved in case of a lost bank card can help in case of an emergency. Read our top tips on the simple precautions you can take to make your trip as go smoothly as planned.
Your first port of call, especially if you’re travelling to a known risk area, should be the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. It has detailed travel advice for more than 200 countries, so it’s a good idea to read about what you can expect in the country you’re visiting. This can help you to avoid things like common criminal scams or particularly dangerous areas.
Travel insurance can provide compensation for cancelled flights, lost luggage and more, and every week it helps more than 4,300 people who need medical treatment on holiday, according to the Association of British Insurers. Single-trip insurance can cost less than £10, and you might even have travel insurance already as part of your current account. But make sure to check the small print on your premium to ensure that you have sufficient cover – certain activities such as winter sports may be exempt, for example.
Before you leave, it’s a good idea to empty your wallet or purse of anything non-essential that you care about losing. If possible, take just two cards with you – one for everyday use and one for emergencies – and keep the emergency one separate, ideally in a hotel safe along with your passport and other documents.
If you lose your bank cards, let the bank know immediately so they can block your card and issue a replacement. The emergency number for Lloyds Bank is +44 1733 347 007 from abroad or
0800 096 9779 from the UK.
Likewise, if you lose your mobile phone, call up to cancel your contract immediately, otherwise you may be liable to pay for subsequent calls made from the phone. If you lose your passport, contact the nearest British consulate as soon as possible. They should be able to issue you with an emergency travel document at a cost of £100.
If your valuables are stolen, notify the local police straight away. You will need to provide a copy of the police statement to make any insurance claims for stolen goods.
In the event of an earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster, check the FCO website for the latest travel advice or follow updates on their Facebook or Twitter pages. In the event of serious civil or political unrest, the local British embassy may be able to assist with the evacuation of British nationals: their website provides advice on what support they can provide.
If your travel operator goes into administration while you are on holiday, your flights home should be covered as long as the operator is ATOL protected. Look for the ATOL logo on their brochure or website, or look them up on the Civil Aviation Authority website.
Make sure you have the necessary vaccinations or medication before you travel. The NHS Fit for Travel website provides advice on which precautions are necessary for specific destinations, as well as tips on disease prevention and how to avoid contaminated food or water.
If you do get ill or suffer an accident, the local British embassy can help you to contact friends and family, and a representative may come to visit you if you are in a vulnerable situation. Make sure to keep receipts for any medical treatment you receive, as you will need these for any insurance claims. If you’re travelling in Europe, make sure to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) well before you travel. This card replaces the E111 form and gives British nationals the right to state-provided healthcare in the European Economic Area.
There are a few things you can do before boarding to protect yourself while you’re away:
The FCO has written Support for British nationals: a guide, which covers all of the ways that they can help in an emergency.
If you are the victim of crime while abroad, on your return you can contact Victim Support for help and advice.