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Planning Retirement Online


The latest travel information free from our government


October 2018

Pic of people on a boat trip in Vietnam
Long haul holidays are especially popular in winter

While summer is a key time for holidays, winter can be the time when people consider travel to more distant regions to enjoy warmer weather as well as exotic experiences.

This is especially true as we get older and semi retirement or even retirement starts to enable us to spend more time away.

But while a trip to the UK coast or Spain is one thing; packing up to visit more remote regions of the world is another. Being far from home can bring all sorts of problems. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office say they help tens of thousands of British nationals who have got into difficulty overseas each year and none of us want to be part of those statistics.

Relying on holiday and tour groups can be some sort of safeguard, but it doesn’t cover all eventualities and the support they give can be limited.

One resource which is often overlooked is the travel advice offered by our own Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The FCO offers a wealth of information about travel to many countries of the world with travel advice that is constantly updated...sometimes it can be updated several times a day when situations are changing.

They also offer a useful pre-travel check list. One thing they suggest which is particularly useful for grandparents is to be aware that you might need additional paperwork before taking your grandchildren out of the country on a lovely break. For people travelling with children who are unaccompanied by one or both parents, read the guidance here.

Another useful section offered by the FCO is on visa and other entry requirements. Again information on the website may not be entirely accurate or could be out of date; even advice from travel agents and tour companies may be a little opaque. It is always best to double check the latest situation yourself and you can do this by selecting the country or countries you are planning to visit on the foreign travel advice website.

Even better, the site also includes an overview of crime in that country, information on road travel (did you know tourists aren’t allowed to drive cars in Bermuda), and a section on local laws and customs (their section on Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is well worth a read before even thinking of changing planes in the country).

Their list of things to do before travelling include:

  • Find out where your nearest British embassy or consulate will be, in case you need to contact them in an emergency
  • Tell family and friends where you’re going and leave them your contact details, insurance policy details and itinerary. Store them securely online
  • Ensure you have access to funds to cover emergencies and unexpected delays. Take more than one means of payment with you (cash, debit card, credit card)
  • invest in a good travel guide to help you plan your trip and consider using online travel forums for more detail about your destination
  • Check with your service provider to make sure your phone works abroad. Consider leaving your phone’s IMEI number with a friend or family member, to help block or locate the phone if there’s a problem
  • If you’re going to be driving abroad, make sure your licence is current and valid and be aware of the driving laws in the country you are visiting.

Really the website is well worth a look. It is packed with information and when you consider that all this is provided by a department of our Government, paid for by our taxes, then it is good sense to make full use of it!


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