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Documentation, Insurance & Money

One of the hassles of travel is the ‘administration’ that goes with it, there is no way round this and it must be a fundamental part of the planning process.

Get it right first time and you will not have to spend the duration of your trip thinking or worrying about it, when you should be having fun.

Get it wrong or ignore it and your trip might be over before it has begun. Things go wrong during travel, this is an unfortunate fact; over 29,000 British passports were lost or stolen in 2009 while people were abroad. Get your planning right and this type of incident will be an inconvenience rather than a disaster; resolved in hour or days rather than weeks.

The first step is to dust off your passport and check its validity; many countries have conditions of entry which include the date of expiry on your passport. 

Applying for a visa(s) should be your second step and you’ll need to do your research; is a visa required for your destination? Can it be gained on entry or must you apply in advance? What type of visa will you require?

For more details please visit our Visas page.

Step three is the ‘minefield’ of insurance. How is it one policy costs £30 and what looks like a similar policy £300; the simple answer is often you get what you pay for.

Insurance is one area where cutting corners and making savings on what can seem like a very large slice of your budget seems too tempting an opportunity to ignore. However when things go wrong your insurance policy and your insurance company may just be your only life-line; how strong would you want that life-line to be?

For more details please visit our Insurance page.

Then there is the consideration of money; which currency? Which format? How do you secure it? What happens when it runs out? How can you budget to make sure it doesn’t?

In the UK there seems to be a cash-point on almost every corner, yet in some countries you can still count the number of ATMs throughout the country on one hand. This means that travellers have to be able to survive is societies where ‘cash is still king’ and sometimes where two or more currencies work side-by-side.

This presents challenges of security and financial management which we are not used to at home. Running out of cash in the UK is no more than a slight inconvenience, running out of cash on your travels can leave you in a hole which is very difficult to get out of. Cash can be the root cause of problems, making travellers an attractive ‘target’; but more often than not it is also your saviour, helping to resolve incidents or getting you help.

There are many other documents which you might consider taking with you and some you should leave behind. For example; a driver’s licence may be useful, however if you are realistically never going to use it (think carefully about this as road traffic accidents are high amongst the leading causes of injury and death amongst travellers) then it is a burden you should leave behind. A stolen driver’s licence can easily result in identity fraud.

Other documentation to be considered may include; medical documents, vaccination certificates, discount cards, diving licence & log book, prescriptions, CV’s & references, EHIC card and traveller’s cheques amongst many others.

Our Independent Travel Safety & Cultural Awareness workshop has a session dedicated to these issues, how to organise yourself during the planning process to reduce the stress when you are travelling. We examine ways of protecting your valuables and how to minimise the loss and disruption caused if documents are lost or stolen.