By Dale Western on 18 May 2015

From dealing with travel sickness to knowing how and when to get in touch with the British Embassy, if something goes wrong on your trip, knowing what to do can save you time and stress.

We've compiled a set of simple tips and tricks to keep you happy, safe and well. Ignore them at your peril.

  • Make sure your passport hasn't expired before you book your trip, and remember that some countries may require you to have 6 or more months left on your passport before you visit. You can renew your passport through the Post Office’s 'Check and Send' scheme which can speed things up. Renewing your passport can take up to three weeks or more during the summer months, so if you need it more urgently, click here.
  • Check to see if you need any necessary vaccinations for your destination online here. From malaria tablets to immunisation for yellow fever, typhoid and hepatitis A, don’t take any risks - arrange your appointment with your GP or practice nurse in plenty of time.
  • If you have a pre-existing medical condition, make sure you pack enough medication for your trip and don’t forget to declare pre-existing conditions when you book your travel insurance or you may find you can’t claim if you have problems related to that condition whilst abroad. We offer straightforward screening online or over the phone.
  • Sunscreen or sun block is essential if you’re heading to the sun, as leaving skin exposed without UV protection can cause skin cancer. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes but also your eyelid and cornea, too. Skip sunglasses that don’t offer details on UV protection, opt for larger lenses or better yet, the wrap-around variety.
  • Emergencies abroad can be expensive, so make sure you get insurance before you travel and ensure that you have the right insurance for things you might be doing while away, such as sports and activities. Ensure that your travel documents are in a safe place so the contact details and information is to hand if something goes wrong.
  • Know how to contact the local Embassy or Consulate service; useful links to local embassies can be found here - simply select your destination to find one near you.
  • Avoid travel sickness by…
    • Avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before travelling
    • Keeping still with your eyes closed
    • Anti-sickness medicines from the pharmacist. These should be taken before travel so they have time to be absorbed by the body.
    • Alternative therapies can be worth a try, including ginger or peppermint remedies. Ginger can be taken as a biscuit, in tea or in crystallised form, while peppermint can be sucked as a sweet or taken as a tea. Try acupressure by pressing your finger against the middle of the inner wrist about three finger widths above the crease where the wrist joins the hand.
  • If your flight is cancelled – don’t panic, and call your airline right away, as it could get you through to the right person quicker than standing in line at the flight desk behind 50 other disgruntled travellers.  Your airline should be able to tell you their procedure and reschedule your travel for you.
  • If all else fails, the FCO website is a good place to check for travel advice both before you go and if the worst should happen abroad.

Image credit: Flickr and Jenni C

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