ABTA's travel checklist

Wherever you’re heading to on your next overseas adventure, some pre-holiday preparation is absolutely essential to travelling with confidence. 

ABTA’s handy checklist highlights the most important things to add to your to-do list in the weeks running up to your trip. 

1. Read the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the destination you’re visiting. 

Make sure you visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find the latest advice for the country you’re visiting. 

This includes the latest entry requirements such as rules around passport validity and visas, advice on health such as any recommended travel vaccinations, and guidance on safety and security. 

You can sign up to receive country specific email alerts to get important updates straight into your inbox. 

2. Check your passport

Check your passport will be valid for your travel dates and allow time to renew if needed.

Passport validity rules vary from country to country, so check the FCDO travel advice to find out the rules for the country you’re visiting.

If you’re travelling to any country in the EU (except Ireland), the rules for British passport holders are different now that the UK is no longer in the EU. Your passport must have been issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the EU and it must be valid for at least three months after the day you plan to leave. 

Don’t forget that children’s passports are only valid for five years so will need renewing more regularly. 

Visit abta.com/passports for extra guidance.

3. Take out travel insurance

As soon as you book your holiday, make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance that covers your specific needs, including any activities you plan to do or existing medical conditions. 

A good insurance policy will cover you for cancellation charges, delays, lost baggage, and medical expenses if you need treatment abroad, so read the policy details carefully to make sure it has the level of cover you want. 

Don’t forget to take a copy of your policy details and insurer’s contact info with you and share these details with friends or family back home in case of an emergency.

Visit abta.com/travelinsurance for extra guidance.

4. Make sure you have a valid GHIC or EHIC

If you’re travelling to the EU or Switzerland, make sure you take a valid Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.

The GHIC replaced the EHIC when the UK left the EU, however if you have an EHIC which is still in date, you will still be able to use it. 

These cards entitle you to state-provided emergency healthcare if needed while you’re away. They’re not a replacement for travel insurance and some insurers won’t cover all your medical costs if you don’t have a GHIC or EHIC.

The GHIC is free, valid for five years. You can apply for a GHIC at NHS.uk.

5. Check the rules for travelling to Europe 

Now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU, there are some important differences to be aware of when travelling to Europe.

This includes new passport validity requirements (as mentioned above), restrictions on items that can be taken into the EU, changes to the documentation required when driving or taking your pet abroad, and charges for using your mobile phone depending on your network’s policy. 

While you don’t yet need a visa for short trips to Europe, you will need a visa if you plan to stay more than 90 days in any 180-day period. 

Visit abta.com/brexit for extra guidance.

6. Get your travel money sorted

The use of cash and card varies from country to country, so make sure you take enough travel money with you to suit the country you’re visiting and how you plan to travel when you get there. 

It’s worth noting that many ATMs overseas carry a usage charge, and you may need cash on arrival for bus or taxi fares, as well as for tips or for cash-only transactions while on holiday.

As always, if you need any further guidance or would like specific advice for your trip, speak to your ABTA member travel provider