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Whether you’re a frequent flyer or an occasional holidaymaker, knowing the official advice relating to certain subjects – for example, what to do if you lose your passport, or if certain destinations are safe to visit – is essential.
Then there’s the other stuff, such as sorting your travel money or finding out about which vaccinations you might need. It’s all part of the holiday, even if it’s not the most fun bit.
Here’s our de-jargoned guide to some of the most important travel-related issues.
Discovering your passport has expired when you’re standing at the airport check-in desk is a nightmare scenario you’ll hopefully never experience.
Delaying the renewal of your passport until the last minute is a false economy, so note down its expiry date and set yourself a reminder to renew it at least eight months before it expires – many destinations won’t let you travel within six months of its expiry date, and the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) advises ensuring you’ve got at least two blank pages.
Whatever the reason for the renewal, make an appointment with the passport office at least six weeks before the date of your holiday. It’s no longer possible to turn up and queue, so book an appointment by calling the passport appointment line (0300 222 0000). Alternatively, you can renew online or by post.
If your passport is lost or stolen while abroad, you’ll need to contact the nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate (the FCO has a list of contact details for British Embassies around the world).
You’ll be asked to complete an LSO1 form to cancel your missing passport. Your nearest British Embassy, High Commission or Consulate will then provide you with emergency travel documents which will allow you to return home to the UK.
Depending on the circumstances and the conditions of your travel insurance, you’ll potentially be able to submit a claim to recoup costs associated with your emergency documentation. The amount you’ll be awarded depends on the terms of your insurance policy, and you’ll also need to supply evidence (such as a police report) and proof of the cost of the emergency documentation.
When it comes to holiday money, we've all got a personal preference. Some like cash, others credit cards or prepaid. Our guide looks at the pros and cons of each.Read more about Cash, credit cards or prepaid? The simple guide to holiday spending
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*ATOL (Air Travel Organiser's Licence) is a financial protection scheme for package holidays: It provides support to consumers in the event their holiday provider collapses. Booking with an ATOL holder ensures that you won't be left out of pocket and you won't be left stranded abroad. All package holidays compared using TravelSupermarket are protected by ATOL.
ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) offers similar cover for packages booked with its members. However, while ATOL predominantly covers flight-based packages, ABTA covers non-flight based holidays (such as rail and cruise) and linked travel arrangements. If you are unsure whether or not your trip is covered by ABTA, check with your provider.
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The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides valuable up-to-date travel advice for British citizens abroad. It is the best resource for reliable safety and security information. You can also find other important details, such as local laws, passport information and visa requirements. Stay safe abroad – check the FCDO before you travel.