Before You Travel
Before you travel, there are so many things to think of, so let us help you round the many websites you need to visit and avoid the scam sites by pointing you to the right ones, quickly and efficiently.
Is your passport valid? You can obtain a passport urgently if you need to.
For urgent passport requests you can obtain one in three ways: Online Premium service/Paper Premium service/1 week fast track service.
Some countries require an extra 6 months validity on your passport before you enter the country.
Check your passport is valid for the country you are visiting.
On our passport and visa section it gives you the links you may find useful.
What if the name on my passport is different to my travel documents and flight ticket. This is really common after not travelling for a while! So please check the name on your passport and your flight tickets match.
Name change/gender change and appearance change all need new passports.
Then you must check out the Foreign Office advice on where you are going.
Is there any local law or custom you need to be aware of?
Check whether you can take the medications with you to the countries you are visiting. As some countries have a ban on certain drugs.
All prescription drugs must be in the original packaging and we would suggest it might be a good idea to always carry a spare prescription.
Also, if you are taking an amount of medication through security it is important that you inform the airline and carry a Drs note to cover you, also check with the airport what documents they need to see.
Also, don't forget to take a little more of the medication, this will allow for any delays and any unforeseen circumstances.
Check whether you can take your e-cigarette with you as some countries have a ban on them.
Is the company you are booking with an ABTA member?
Is your holiday ATOL protected?
Have you checked the factsheets from the WHO (World health organisation) on health advice?
Do you need vaccinations? Most vaccinations need to be done about 8 weeks before you travel.
Make that GP appt to get the travel advice you need, should you require a Yellow Fever vaccination remember that there are special clinics available to do this. These vaccinations cost around £60, you will usually get a certificate to carry with you to the country to show that you have had the vaccination. I would always take a photocopy.
Yellow fever clinics - nathnacyfzone.org.uk/search-centres
Have you got an EHIC European Health Insurance card?
Have you got valid travel insurance?
Don't forget to inform the travel insurance company of any recent medical issues, if you don’t, it can invalidate your cover, this includes pregnancy which often gets overlooked when renewing travel insurance.
Do you need a Visa? Do you know where the embassy is?
Do you know the local currency?
Time differences, this is especially important if you are taking medication as the time difference may affect the drug, check first.
Passport & Visas
Before you book a holiday, find your passport and check the expiry. Some countries need 6 months validity on your passport before you travel. Some also ask for a clear page in your passport for your airport stamp upon arrival. Make sure you have filled in the next of kin page.
If your e reader for the e gates on the passport isn’t working you may be able to get it changed free of charge. Check the name on your passport, as it will need to correspond with your flight tickets. Any name change/gender change or appearance change and you will need a new passport. Any remaining time on your old passport will not be transferred to your new one.
Beware of scam sites offering visas to countries, always check with the foreign office that you are going to apply through the correct site.
If you have a new passport, check with the Embassy where it was issued, that the visa in your old passport is still valid, usually a new passport means a new visa.
We are providing details of a couple of the most popular visa sites that you may need, we sadly can’t list them all.
Travelling to the USA, if you are going to the USA on holiday, from a country, who are eligible to participate in the visa waiver programme, you are entitled to apply for the ESTA (electronic system for travel authorisation). Currently they are $14 and are valid for stays of 90 days or less. You must not go over the 90 days. The ESTA can then be used for multiple entries, for a period of two years, or until your passport expires whichever is sooner.
You must not have a US visa. Apply no later than 72 hours before you travel. The visas are electronic and there is no need to carry a paper copy. However, we do recommend that you carry one, because in the event of the system being down in the USA when you arrive. You are then covered if you have your paper copy.
If the ESTA is refused you will have to make an appt at the US embassy for a US visa. This can take time, so do not leave it until the last minute to see if you can get an ESTA.
If refused an ESTA you will be dealing with the US Embassy and NOT the CBP Customs and Border Protection.
The process online for an ESTA takes approx. 23 mins so have all the documents you need with you when you start.
The ESTA is different to the API (advanced passenger information) that airlines ask for.
Here is a list of most frequently asked questions.
British Citizens travelling to Turkey for tourist or business purposes can now travel without a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This is NEW advice and came into force in March 2020.
As with any travel advice we recommend you check with the Foreign Office for entry requirements into any country before you travel.
For the most frequently asked questions on Turkish visas.
What is an API?
An advanced passenger information is required by the government of the country you are visiting.
This is usually for all passengers and crew that are arriving so airlines may request this information from you, before you travel. It is perfectly normal, so there is no need to be alarmed.
So you’ve decided on where you are going for your holiday, your next thing to do is to pre order your currency. Most travel agents and banks need a few days to order the currency.
Register your debit/credit card for being out of the country, as most banks nowadays track the transactions and could stop your card if they think it is being used abroad and you haven't told them.
Also, some airlines don't use contactless and you could have a transaction stopped on board if you haven't asked the bank for offline transactions. Some airlines don’t accept pre paid cards so it is worth checking before you fly.
Think about getting a currency convertor to use whilst you are away.
These are good to have as you can work out roughly what the exchange rate is.
Also, a good card to have whilst you are on holiday is one like the Halifax Clarity card.
The currency exchange rate is pre-set before you travel and you know where you stand whilst you are away and there are no hidden exchange charges. ATM transactions are free too.
Another great concept is the TransferWise scheme.
FCA regulated - transferwise.com
You can watch this video to see how it works - transferwise.com/gb/borderless
It is always good to pick a card that can be frozen if needs be whilst you are away. Check before you travel.