Travel essentials


Information and links to help you plan a stress-free holiday - passports and visas, safety, travel health, travel insurance, travel money and holiday weather

Passports and visas


UK Border Agency

This agency is responsible for securing UK borders and controlling migration. You can use its website to apply for a visa to visit the UK. Applications are considered through visa services around the world.


UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)

Information from the UK Government on entry requirements for overseas countries including passport validity and visa information. You should check the entry requirements of the country you intend to visit well in advance.



Metropolitan Police

Information and advice on what tourists can do to make their visit to London safer. The tips also generally apply to the rest of the UK.


FCO travel advice

Tips for British travellers on staying safe abroad and what help it can provide if things go wrong.

FCO travel notices

Travel advice for every country in the world with information on potential threats to personal safety from political unrest, terrorist activities, lawlessness, violence, natural disasters, and epidemics. The information is reviewed every month and updated more often when there is a significant incident.

Find an embassy


FCO A-Z list

Details of all foreign embassies and High Commissions in the UK.


UK Embassies and High Commissions overseas

The location and contact details for UK embassies, high commissions and other diplomatic posts across the world.

Travel health 


UK health service healthcare entitlements
Details about entitlements and charges for overseas visitors from the Government’s Department of Health. National Health Service hospital treatment is free to people who live lawfully in the UK but, with certain exceptions, overseas visitors may have to pay for hospital treatment. Otherwise it is advisable to ensure you have adequate health insurance.


European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

UK citizens may be entitled to medical care overseas at reduced cost or sometimes free. To obtain treatment in a European Economic Area country (EEA) you will need to take a valid EHIC with you. Details and how to renew or apply for one online.

Travelling outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

You may also receive free healthcare if you're travelling in non-EEA countries provided that the country in question has a reciprocal healthcare arrangement with the UK. Find further information and a country-by-country guide to what’s available at the NHS Healthcare abroad pages.

The Travel Doctor

A useful website founded by a doctor and a pharmacist providing specialist health information for travellers plus customised lists of all the medicines (pain killers, antibiotics, anti-diarrhoeals, etc.) you will require to meet your particular needs. Each list comes complete with a copy of the Travel Doctor Manual explaining how and when to use each medication by giving simple diagnosis guides and providing advice on the contra-indications and side effects.



This website provided by the NHS (Scotland) gives travel health information for people travelling abroad from the UK. It includes information on a range of topics and an interactive map to find advice on vaccinations, disease and malaria for your chosen destination. You should discuss your particular needs with your own doctor or practice nurse and be aware that some jabs need to be given well in advance. Some vaccines are available on the NHS but others will need to be purchased from a private travel clinic.

NHS Choices

Information on where to get travel vaccinations.

Travel insurance

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Find cheap travel insurance through – top deals on single-trip, multi-trip and annual travel cover. 

The Environmental Transport Association (ETA)

Green travel insurance with an “Eco-discount” of up to 25% for trips that don’t involve any air travel. Profits go towards the organisation’s campaigning work.

Travel money 

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Best price foreign currency in the UK – guaranteed online at Buy online, commission free and pick up the next day before you depart. Travelex also offers American Express® Travellers Cheques and the Cash Passport prepaid currency card. Its website features today’s exchange rates and a currency converter.

Thomas Cook foreign exchange

Get more money for your money with Thomas Cook which offers 0% commission on over 80 currencies. You can order online and have it securely delivered to your home address or pick it up from your nearest Thomas Cook or Going Places store. Plus, Thomas Cook will buy back any left over travel money, commission free.

Financial Times exchange rates

To see today’s exchange rates between over 30 major world currencies use the currencies converter on the Financial Times website.

Holiday weather

Find out what holiday weather you can you expect and the best time to visit from It features climate guides, current weather reports, 5 day weather forecasts and when to travel guides for holiday destinations around the world.

World time zones
This website features a world clock which includes time zones from many cities around the world; a calendar customised according to country, language, year, and other personal preferences; time zone calculators and news for daylight saving time and time zones; as well as Sun, Moon and Moon Phase calculators, and a Day and Night World Map. Other planning tools, including International Dialing Codes and a Distance Calculator.


About these listings

To decide what to list on this page we rely on our own professional research plus recommendations by other writers. The information here does not constitute financial advice. Nor does it constitute health and safety advice. Unfortunately there is no universally accepted set of standards for eco-friendly tourism and dozens of bodies provide inspection and certification. Some of these have rigorous vetting procedures while others just require payment of a membership fee.


There are direct links to various websites. Some of these links are to sites with which we are affiliated. If you click through to these sites or make a purchase from them this may result in us receiving a fee or commission. These links are clearly indicated with this symbol: +

There are also links to sites which do not pay us. Any link or other information is only be included if we believe it is useful and reliable - not whether we are paid.

TRAVEL INSURANCE is NOT an authorised or regulated insurance company or intermediary. Our aim is solely to provide a means for users of this site to communicate with such insurance specialists. If you click through to any travel insurance sites listed here you should ensure they are authorised and regulated, carry out your own research, and take advice and action appropriate to your circumstances.

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