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Your handy travel checklist

If you’re going on a jaunt soon, have you considered the following...

Passports and visas

  • If you’re off overseas, you must hold a current ten-year passport – even if you’re only going for a day.
  • Be sure to apply in good time. A regular passport application can take a number of weeks. The Post Office offer a checking service to ensure you’ve filled in your form correctly, and their applications are given priority – the turnaround in this case is usually a fortnight.
  • You can get further advice from the UK Identity and Passport Service website, or you could call them on 0870 521 0410. Lines are open 24 hours, and calls are charged at the national rate.
  • For advice when further afield, you can turn to your nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate.
  • It’s an idea to check the immigration requirements of your destination country. Some demand that your passport remain valid for a specified period (such as six months) after your entry into the country. Check with the Embassy or Consulate of the country in question in plenty of time. If it’s touch and go, do bear in mind that you can renew your passport at any time – you don’t have to wait until the time of expiry.
  • Likewise, check to see if the country you’re travelling to requires an additional visa. You will be able to find this out through the British Embassy or Consulate in that country, or through your travel agent.
  • Specifically, the USA requires that you’ve made an ESTA application online – if you haven’t, you probably won’t get it. Follow this link to find out more about ESTA. Application was free before 8 September 2010, but now it cost around £9.

Travel insurance

  • It’s a good idea to get your travel insurance the moment you’ve booked your tickets. And certainly do so if your tickets are non-transferrable and non-refundable.
  • You’re not bound to take out cover with your travel provider, so be sure to shop around to find the right policy at the right price… Or we could shop around for you!

 Medical advice

 Your travel money

Other bits & bobs

  • If you’re going away for any length of time, remember to cancel any regular deliveries at your home. Also you could get a friend or neighbour to check your place regularly whilst you’re away.
  • Keep your passport, money and valuables on your person during transit. It’s a good idea to keep your travel insurance documents with you as well.
  • Don’t have your home address visible anywhere on your baggage.
  • Stay abreast of the latest airline and travel security measures. Be careful when packing any bags you intend to carry on, and allow plenty of time for check-in. Make sure you don’t pack any sharp items such as penknives or scissors in your hand luggage.
  • If you need to travel light, you could fill sample-sized containers with your usual products. For example, if you’re away for a week then you’re unlikely to use a whole bottle of aftershave – so filter the right amount into a smaller, lighter container. If you’re worried about leakage, then put these in a re-sealable plastic bag.
  • Taking a small first-aid kit might be an idea, especially if your trip is likely to be adventurous. Perhaps also a basic sewing kit could be handy, especially if you fear rips and popped buttons!
  • If you’re going to use your UK electrical equipment (such as a phone charger), be sure to get an adaptor, and that it’s for the right country.


Owe Carter

Owe Carter

Owe Carter is a content producer who's worked for since 2007. He's the author of our Carless Cities report. Twitter: @ConfusedOwe View more from Owe