Booking a holiday can be stressful, and we want you to be able to relax and look forward to it. It is, however, important to be informed and prepared, to avoid any problems that could arise. Here are some points to consider.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
For British nationals, we recommend you check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) for its travel advice pages for the destination(s) you are planning to visit, both before you book anything and in the run up to your departure. The FCO issues official government advice for the travel of British nationals. Advice can change, so check the website regularly and consider signing up to email alerts to be notified of any changes in advice. You can also telephone the FCO on 0845 850 2829 (24hrs, 7 days a week. Network charges may vary). The FCO gives advice on the risks associated with different travel destinations, but it ultimately your responsibility to read and understand this information and make your own decisions.
If you need urgent assistance when you are travelling, you can contact your local embassy or consulate for assistance. It is a good idea to make a note of the address of your nearest embassy, in case you need to get in contact.
We recommend before you book and at least eight weeks prior to your departure, you check the relevant advice and requirements regarding health and medicine for the destination(s) you are planning on visiting. It is important you know and understand what is advised and required and have all documents, vaccinations, medicines etc in time for travel. The TravelHealthPro website provides information published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), whilst NHS Scotland provides advice on the FitForTravel website.
You may also wish to consult your travel professional in good time to get advice on preventative measures and how to manage any pre-existing conditions during your travels. If you have any conditions affecting your travel or need to travel with medicines, please ensure you meet all the criteria set in order for you to be allowed to travel and to gain entry to other countries. This includes ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates and other documentation certifying you are legally allowed to travel, including taking medication with you.
If you are travelling to Europe, please ensure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Cards can be obtained for free from the NHS website. Please note the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. Once the UK leaves the EU, these cards will likely cease to be valid.
We recommend you take out full, comprehensive travel insurance to cover all members of your travel party and their needs. This should be done as soon as you book, in order to cover you if you need to cancel or amend your trip before departure. You are responsible for ensuring you have sufficient cover and that it meets all of your needs. Ensure you understand what is covered, any excesses you need to pay and how to contact your insurer and make a claim whilst you are away.
Travel After Brexit
If the UK leaves the European Union, travel advice is likely to change. It is difficult to predict exactly what will happen, but the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will issue new advice where applicable. If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rules should stay the same until at least 2020; if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, things may change immediately. You should check the advice page for European travel after Brexit and be prepared if you are travelling to Europe, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, after the 31st October 2019. You may need to renew your passport, even if it is valid for your proposed duration of travel. Please check the FCO’s tool to see if this would be the case.
Other things that may change include health requirements (EHIC’s and more), border controls, driving and hiring a car abroad, travelling with pets, taking money and goods abroad etc.
Once you have identified and obtained all the relevant documentation you need in order to fulfil your travel plans, it is important you have these available to present when requested. We recommend printing multiple copies and/or storing documents on an electronic device so you have access to them if needed. It is best to have paper copies available and electronic ones as a back-up, as some authorities will need to see physical documentation. It may be a good idea to take photocopies of important documents such as your passport or identity card, so you have the information available if you lose the original document. Whilst you may not be able to travel without original documents, this speed up the process of gaining new documents.
Please note this is general advice only. Customers are responsible for ensuring they have the right to travel, possess all the necessary, valid documentation (including any visas or visa waivers), and have followed all the necessary rules and requirements for entry and stay within the country or countries they have booked to visit. Customers are responsible for ensuring they have all the necessary vaccinations and medical certificates to travel to and enter the relevant country/countries. This guide is written with British travellers in mind: please check the relevant government and official advice pages for the country of your nationality and/or your country of residence and/or the country that issued your travel document.