REPORTS in May that British travel firms had responded to Foreign & Commonwealth warnings about possible threats to travellers in Kenya, by bringing visitors home, reminded me of the reservoir of information that is available to people travelling abroad.
The travel companies moved quickly to fulfil their obligations to the safety of people travelling with them. It highlighted the importance of listening to and acting on the general travel advice which is available on the Foreign & Commonwealth pages on www.gov.uk.
Looking at the wide range of issues which are covered, the motto could well be ‘Make this your first port of call’.
One document alone – Know Before You Go – covers looking at the advice about the country you are planning to visit, making a travel checklist, getting travel insurance and assessing the health risks. It contains reminders about making sure that passports and other documents are up to date, including keeping online copies of essential travel documents on a secure data storage site. There is also information about driving abroad, including insurance.
Each country is covered, with information regularly updated and with maps to show the level of risk in various locations. There’s advice about specific risks, but also about general safety. Elsewhere on the site, there are details of how to contact British embassies, consulates or officials locally. For business travellers, there are sections on commercial issues.
For those who may be planning a gap year or a long period of travel abroad, there is a reminder about the need to research the destination and do some detailed planning. There are teacher notes on travel overseas and this might be good reading for parents too, as their offspring travel alone for the first time.
Even familiar destinations may have local laws and customs of which a traveller isn’t aware, so everybody should do their research.