Let us help you get organised and check off everything you need so you can relax and enjoy your hard-earned break. Start preparing for your trip at least four to six weeks before you travel abroad, especially if you need vaccinations and visas.

Some countries need your passport to be valid for at least six months. Find out how to renew or apply for a new passport at Directgov.

Check if you or anyone travelling with you will need a visa. If you’re travelling to the USA, you’ll need to apply for an ESTA visa before you travel, which will last for two years.

Apply for an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). It’s free, and gives UK residents access to free or reduced cost medical treatment in any country that has a reciprocal agreement. So if you’re temporarily visiting another country, make sure you get one.

Take out travel insurance as soon as you book your trip.

Find out if you’ll need any vaccinations or medication - visit fitfortravel or ask your GP - and book an appointment with your doctor to get a repeat prescription on any regular medication you’ll need.

The week before you go

The essentials

Make sure you’ve received any travel tickets you’ll need, have your holiday currency or travellers’ cheques, and have planned the journey to your place of departure. If you’re getting a cab, don’t share too many details of where you’re going or how long you’ll be away for with the driver.

Make copies of all your essential documents in case they get stolen.

Call your bank to let them know where and when you’re going so that they don’t treat any out of the ordinary activity on your credit or debit card as suspicious.

Your home

Leave your keys with someone you trust to keep an eye on the house. If you have a house alarm, also leave the details of the company that provided it with them.

Consider buying a timer switch so you can leave one light to come on to deter burglars.

If you’re going away in winter, leave the heating to come on for at least an hour a day to minimise the risk of a burst pipe.

Your luggage

Make a list and take photos of the items you are packing in your suitcase and hand luggage, especially the valuable ones.

Keep valuables in your hand luggage as these won’t be covered if you check them in.

Prepare for your destination

Our Travel Advice Line can help you with information and advice before you travel, as well as whilst you’re away. We can give you advice on visa and passport requirements, health issues and emergency telephone numbers. Call us on +44 (0) 345 122 8936.

Get the latest travel safety updates from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before you travel, especially if you’ve booked your holiday a long time ago, or have chosen a remote or exotic destination.

Check the weather forecast, and keep an eye out for extreme weather conditions such as tropical storms.

Find out if you need to take anything in particular, eg mosquito repellent and nets, bottled water, malaria tablets, or water purifying tablets.

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