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Precautions to take when travelling abroad this Summer

July 09, 2015 1 Comment



The recent tragic events that happened at the Tunisian beach resort in Sousse, have caused great concern about our safety while travelling abroad this year. But it is not only holidaymakers with pre-booked breaks away who are concerned, there is also raised awareness of safety amongst the thousands of the UK's regular international business travellers.

 What to do if you are worried about the safety of your destination

Before you travel, it would be wise to check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to see what information they are offering about the country and area you are planning to visit:https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

What you will find on the FCO website is up to date safety information and advice on not only your destination, but also on countries where travel could pose a risk due to local unrest or a high possibility of terrorist attack.

Obviously, due to recent events in Tunisia, there is a 'hot spot' map for the country where caution is strongly advised. Along with Tunisia, other current hot-spots with high-risk status are Turkey, Egypt and Libya. You can also contact the FCO by telephone on 0207 008 1500.

For example, this is the FCO advice for travel to Turkey, a popular spot for British tourists each summer: 'The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay provinces Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari provinces.' (Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey). 


You can also find out exactly what help the FCO can give you if you do get into difficulty while travelling abroad. It covers details of emergency assistance, repatriation, and travel for family to visit you abroad in the case on an emergency.


What should I do before travelling?

  • Ensure that you have comprehensive travel and medical insurance in place before you leave.
  • Take enough money with you to cover emergencies, should they arise
  • Inform your family and friends about your travel plans, and leave them contact numbers for where you are planning to stay while away
  • Familiarise yourself with where you are going. Check local maps for hospitals and police stations, and also note down any local emergency services telephone numbers
  • Pay particular attention to any local customs and laws, check if there are any dress codes that you should prepare for before leaving, and pack suitable clothes
  • Have equipment and clothing appropriate to your destination to keep you safe and secure and prepared in case of an emergency


ABTA also offer plenty of travel tips and advice via their website: http://abta.com/go-travel and it is worth taking a look to see if there is anything you have missed or are unaware of before you leave. 


Check your travel insurance details

Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place will go a long way for your peace of mind, but make sure you check out the small print before taking it out. Insurance cover in the event of a terrorist attack can vary a lot between one supplier and another, so check to see what you are covered for in your policy.

It is worth noting that some insurance policies may not pay out full cover in some circumstances if the worst should happen. For example if the FCO have strongly advised against travelling to where you are going, you may have some of your policy features invalidated. 


What precautions should I take while there?

  • Before visiting places, plan your routes and take note of the local emergency services in case of an incident
  • Carry with you the contact numbers and addresses for your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. Contact them for advice and guidance in the event of an emergency situation 
  • Unless absolutely necessary, avoid public places that attract a lot of westerners, and be extra vigilant while attending tourist hot-spots


While you are travelling, it is worth checking the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office. They keep their advice and warnings under constant review, so if a high-risk situation begins to develop while you are travelling, you can be alerted right away.

With the UK's own terror threat level standing at severe, it is only sensible to practice self-awareness and take safety precautions in other countries too. 

Read up on the information supplied through the Foreign Office's 'Know before you Go' campaign:  

https://www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo to give yourself the best chance of being prepared should a situation arise while you are away from home.

1 Response

Paul Smith
Paul Smith

July 10, 2015

Great article with sound advice, especially with the new advice just released by the foreign office!

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