The team at packyourbags want to make sure that you have the best holiday possible,
so we have put together this travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad
and stay safe whilst you are there.
Travelling within the EU? Then get a free European Health Insurance Card for free
or reduced emergency care - you still need full travel insurance though! Also remember,
you can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country.
Research your destination – know the local laws and customs
Check the FCO’s country travel advice
Check with your doctor as soon as possible to find out if you need any vaccinations
before you travel
Make sure you’ve got correct visas for the country you are visiting and that
your passport is valid.
All first time adult passport applicants must now attend an interview to verify
their identity. It now takes up to six weeks to get a first passport. For more information
please visit www.ips.gov.uk
For certain countries your passport must be valid for 6 months after the date you
Take photocopies of your passport and other important documents and keep these separate
from the originals when you travel and/or store them online using a secure data
Make sure you fill in the emergency contact details in your passport. This will
make it much easier for us to contact someone if necessary
Tell a friend or relative where you are going and for how long for - give them some
idea of your itinerary if possible and an emergency contact number
Take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds in a mix of cash and travellers
cheque - make a note of the cheques’ numbers before you go
Invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip
Driving Abroad? Make sure your licence is current and valid. Make sure you are aware
of the driving laws in the country you are visiting
Check HM Revenue & Customs website "Travel" for information on duty-free
allowances, banned goods etc.
When you are away:
Think about what you are doing at all times and trust your instincts - don’t
take risks that you wouldn’t at home!
Don’t openly display valuables such as mobile phones or digital cameras and
consider using a padlock on suitcases or backpacks
Find out about local customs and dress, behave accordingly and obey local laws -there
may be serious penalties for breaking a law that might seem trivial at home
Be careful when taking photographs, videos or using binoculars. Such activities
may be misunderstood, especially near military installations
Consider taking your mobile with you or renting one whilst you’re away. Store
useful numbers such as the local police and the nearest embassy or consulate
Check with your service provider to make sure your phone works abroad
Check whether it’s safe to drink local tap water- if not, stick to bottled
water and avoid salads, non-peeling fruit and ice in drinks
Use your judgement when buying and eating food you’ve not prepared yourself
Respect the environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources
like water and don’t drop litter
Check import regulations for food and plants before you attempt to bring them back
to the UK
Driving abroad - 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 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
Don't go without taking:
A spare set of car keys
Fire extinguisher, first aid kit, tool kit, spare bulbs
A warning triangle
Your registration document, driving licence and passport- check if you’ll
need an International Driving Permit
Your UK motor insurance certificate, Green Card (if issued)
Breakdown policy and contact numbers
Travel insurance documents
Emergency helpline numbers
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 to
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
Hiring a vehicle:
Hire from a reputable company – the cheapest deal may not always be the best!
Insurance cover is often limited to the legal minimum of the country or state you
hire in. You could be held personally responsible for any claim for injury or damage
over this limit.
Ask your tour operator or insurer if they can provide top-up insurance to increase
your cover. This may be cheaper than buying it abroad.
Make sure your travel insurance covers you before you decide to drive or be a passenger
on a motorbike - check the exclusions carefully
Travelling by motorcycle, scooter or moped is significantly more dangerous than
by car - if you’re not accustomed to riding a motorcycle you should not attempt
to ride one for the first time abroad on unfamiliar roads
If you do decide to hire a motorcycle or scooter, make sure you use a reputable
hire company – check that they are licensed to hire bikes to tourists
Always wear a helmet and protective clothing, whether you’re the driver or
There should never be more than two people on a bike
Never ride the bike when you have been drinking alcohol
If you hire quad bikes check your travel insurance covers you for their use. Only
hire them from a reputable company and find out whether it’s legal to ride
them on the public road
Ensure your insurance includes third party cover
When crossing the road, remember that traffic may from coming from the opposite
direction to that you expect
Don’t assume drivers will stop at zebra crossings
Jay-walking is illegal in many countries – always cross at designated points
Ace the oncoming traffic when walking along the roadside – this way you will
be able to see vehicles approaching you
When walking around at night, wear light coloured clothing so that you're clearly
visible to drivers
Take a torch with you to help you see your way in dimly lit areas where the ground
could be uneven and possibly unsafe.
Bus and Coaches:
Before you go:
Get some local currency - order less common currencies a week in advance
Order a mixture of cash and travellers’ cheques
Write down the numbers on your travellers’ cheques
Write down your credit card numbers and expiry dates – leave a copy at home
Check your credit card is valid in the country you’re visiting
Note your credit card’s emergency cancellation phone number
Take enough money to cover emergencies
When you’re away:
Familiarise yourself with the local currency as soon as you arrive
Don’t carry more money than you need for the day/evening
If you need to carry a lot of cash ask your partner or friend to carry some for
Keep a small amount of cash in your wallet and the rest in a secure money belt or
If you have several credit/debit cards, only take one out with you
Leave your cash, cards and travellers’ cheques in a hotel safe – check
it is secure
Don’t pass on any personal (e.g. bank) details unless you are confident the
request is genuine as financial scams are becoming increasingly common worldwide.
Many people deeply regret not taking out travel insurance. They think their credit
card accident cover, home insurance, or private health cover is sufficient.
The real cost when things go wrong:
An emergency abroad can be extremely expensive. If you need to be returned to the
UK it could cost you thousands of pounds, unless you are adequately insured:
- £35-45,000 - air ambulance from USA’s East coast
- £12-16,000 - air ambulance from the Canary Islands
- £15-20,000 - scheduled flight, stretcher and Doctor escort from Australia
Figures supplied by FirstAssist Services Ltd.
Remember: the British Embassy or High Commission will not pay for this.
Packyourbags are FSA regulated, which means we are certified by the Financial
Services Association to sell insurance. We can provide you with travel insurance
even if you haven't booked your holiday with us.
Get your travel insurance with us today by calling Freephone 0800 652 5986.
What should my travel insurance policy cover:
Medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad
24 hour emergency service and assistance.
Personal liability covers in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging
Lost and stolen possessions cover.
Cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip) cover.
Extra cover for activities that are commonly excluded from standard policies, such
as jet skiing.
The policy should cover the whole time that you’re away.
Your policy may also have:
Common travel insurance policy exclusions:
Always check the conditions and exclusions of your policy:
- Most policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.
- 60% of travel insurance policies now cover terrorism. Where possible, ensure that
your policy does not exclude terrorism.
- You must take reasonable care of your possessions or your policy will not cover
Travel insurance buying tips:
Cheaper policies will usually have less cover – for some the price seems most
important, but is it worth the initial saving? With packyourbags we can give you
a full cover at a great and highly competitive price – don’t take the
risk of cheap policies, they may not cover you when it really matters!
Consider annual multi-trip insurance if you make several trips a year – you’ll
save time and money.
Cancelling or cutting a trip short:
A good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling or cutting a trip
short. Check carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for: taking an insurance
policy with packyourbags.com will cover you for the following, subject to terms
Pregnancy (unknown when you buy the policy)
Jury service or witness summons
Home emergency: fire, storm or flood, burglary
Bad weather – affects the departure of flights and ships.
Ensure your policy:
Will refund the full cost of your holiday
Pays out if you need to cancel or cut short a trip because you fall ill for example
Covers pre-paid expenses such as excursions
Covers extra costs incurred to get home.
It is important that when you book your Travel Insurance you make sure that Travel
Company holds an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) or is a member of an
association that can offer financial protection like packyourbags.com for your travel
arrangements, e.g. ABTA or AITO.
Personal liability insurance:
If you accidentally cause an injury to someone or damage their property they may
sue you. Good travel insurance will cover you for personal liability.
Personal accident cover – disability and death:
Travel insurance can cover a personal accident payment made for permanent disability
Cover for stolen, lost or damaged possessions:
You can normally choose the limit in your policy. Limits for single items such as
cameras and jewellery can vary from as little as £250 up to £1000 or
more. Check these limits are adequate and realistic.
You should report a loss to the Police within 24 hours. Proof of notification will
be required when you make your claim.
All insurance policies say that you must take care of your belongings at all times.
If you don’t, the policy may not pay out.
Tip: take as much care of your property as if it were uninsured.
Lost baggage on flights:
Do not rely on compensation from an airline if it loses your luggage.
By law, airlines only have to pay a specified minimum value per kilo of lost luggage.
This is unlikely to cover the full value of your things.
Legal expenses cover:
Taking out legal expenses cover will help you to pursue compensation or damages
following personal injury while you're abroad – very important in countries
without a legal aid system.