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How to stay safe abroad

Although most trips abroad are incident free, there are always risks to consider wherever you may be travelling. With a bit of research and a few simple precautions, you can keep yourself as safe as possible while still making the most of your holiday. Our guide to staying safe abroad includes things to remember before you travel, what to be aware of while you are away and the steps to take if you are a victim of crime. Read our advice below and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you leave.
  • Do your research before you travel. Check the FCDO advice site and be aware of potential threats and areas to avoid.
  • Research the health risks in the country you are travelling to and make sure you have the necessary vaccinations well in advance of your trip.
  • Read up on customs and cultural norms, including appropriate dress, behaviour and any curfews.
  • Buy travel insurance and check that it covers the country you are travelling to and any activities you plan to do while you’re on holiday (such as extreme or winter sports).
  • Make a note of important contact details to carry with you, such as your insurance provider’s emergency claims number and the number for the local emergency services.
  • Take a copy of your passport and any travel documents. Carry the copies on your person or store them in a secure place separate from the originals for the duration of your travels.
  • Avoid carrying your valuables with you if possible and leave anything inessential locked in the hotel safe.
  • Keep money close to your person when out and about and only carry what you need. Use a bag that can’t be easily snatched – a money belt or cross the body bag are the best options.
  • Pick-pockets often target tourists in densely crowded areas, so be on your guard, particularly when visiting busy attractions.
  • Be wary of picking up taxis or buying tours and attractions off the street. The safest option is always to pre-book with your hotel reception or tour operator.
  • If you are visiting a country with a high threat from terrorism, be vigilant in public places and always follow the advice of the local authorities.
  • Check the FCDO website to keep up to date with the latest advice and information while you are away.
  • Make sure you report the crime as soon as possible and ensure you receive a police report. If you don’t report the crime before you leave the country, you might not be able to make a claim on your travel insurance.
  • Keep a list of any items stolen and their monetary value.
  • If you have lost your passport or you need further assistance, support or legal advice, contact the nearest British embassy, commission or consulate.
  • If you are driving in the EU, European Economic Area (EAA) or Switzerland, you can use your British or Northern Irish driving license.
  • If you are driving outside of the EU/EEA, you may need an International Driving Permit, which can be purchased from the Post Office for £5.50.
  • Familiarise yourself with the local driving rules and regulations for the country you are visiting and check if it is necessary to carry any documentation (including your licence, vehicle registration and insurance certificate) or in-car equipment (such as breathalysers or safety kits) in your vehicle.
  • Avoid leaving anything of value in your car. If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, keep them well hidden or locked in the glove compartment.
  • Don’t make the assumption that breakdown cover will extend to journeys abroad. Check with your provider and extend your cover if necessary before you travel.
  • Your car will need to display the appropriate country identification letters, so make sure you’ve purchased your GB sticker in advance.
  •  If you are hiring a car abroad, as well as taking out the hire company's Collision Damage Waiver policy, you should consider taking additional Car Hire Excess Insurance to protect yourself from the costly excess should your hire car be stolen or accidentally damaged. companies may ask you for a check code so they can see your online driving licence. This can be obtained from the UK government’s website.
Remember, wherever you travel and however long for, don’t leave until you’ve purchased travel insurance. With insurance from Allianz Assistance you can rest assured that you are covered 24/7 for the duration of your trip. 
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