Published on March 2nd, 2018 | by Guest Post
Post Office Travel Guest Blog: 11 Most Important Travel Docs
Here is the Post Office guide to 11 crucial travel documents you need for your trip abroad.
Getting your papers in order for your trip or holiday can be intimidating. We want you to know what’s important, why you need your documents and how to make sure they’re present and correct before you leave.
Make sure you scan all of your travel documents and upload them all onto a cloud server (such as DropBox or iCloud). That way you have access to them in any eventuality. Emailing them to yourself is also helpful.
There are countries that won’t allow you entry if you have fewer than 6 months remaining on your passport, so you need the check this before booking.
If you need to apply or renew, collect a form at a Post Office. For £9.75, staff will ensure that you are guided through the process and don’t have to redo anything.
You can request a new passport when you still have 9 months on your current one, so don’t leave it too late.
For all travel in Europe, get an EHIC. Your European Health Insurance Card entitles you to medical treatment in EU countries in line with citizens of that country. It’s free and valid for 5 years.
EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, and doesn’t cover everything. Nor does it mean that all healthcare is free. Having a combination of the two means that you can reduce the risk of having to spend on emergencies when you’re away.
Travel Insurance Documentation
Once you’ve purchased travel insurance, print hard copies of the policy documents so that they are always ready to hand (as well as backing everything up online).
You’ll need these in the event of any theft, accident or incident where you might later make a claim. Whether it’s to check that you’re covered for something that’s happened or simply for the 24 hour emergency phone line, you don’t want to be without.
ESTA (for USA)
To gain entry to the USA, citizens from Visa Waiver Countries (including the UK) have to obtain travel authorisation in the form of an ESTA.
This must be applied for online and means that you don’t require a further visa. However, if you are denied one, you will have to apply for a visa. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to apply.
Vaccination is required to visit some countries, and when you arrive they may need evidence that you’ve had your jabs. Make sure that you bring the hard copy with you and back a copy up online.
Knowing what jabs you need can be confusing, so visit your GP or travel nurse with plenty of time. Some vaccinations take a while to become effective, such as rabies, which requires three injections over six weeks.
If you take prescription drugs, then always bring copies of your prescriptions as well as a doctor’s note when travelling. You will need them in case you have to visit a doctor while away, as well as ensuring that you are travelling legally.
Rules about medication vary by country, and some drugs are prohibited even with a prescription. Some embassies publish lists of what medicines are prohibited, so check their websites. If in any doubt, contact them directly.
For more information, take a look at our guide on travelling with medicine.
Nearly every country outside the EU will require you to have a visa, which is permission to enter a country for a specific purpose.
Don’t assume that you can simply fill out an entry visa while in transit. Trips of greater length or for specific purposes (such as business or study) may require you to fill out applications months in advance and visit an embassy.
IDP / Driver’s Licence
Driving overseas? An International Driving Permit allows you to do so in all participating countries and is available for £5.50 from the Post Office.
Always bring your UK driver’s licence with you. You’ll need it to rent a car, but it may also come in useful as identification if you don’t want to risk taking your passport with you.
Travel Money Card
Post Office Travel Money Card is a great way to take money abroad without having to carry around a lot of cash.
Load it with money prior to leaving and spend in 13 currencies. If you know where you are travelling to, you can make best use of positive fluctuations in exchange rates to get the best bargain possible.
And anything you don’t spend can be saved for the next trip.
While not technically a document, it’s always good to have some ready cash with you when abroad. Many vendors throughout the world will not accept cards, so until you’re used to how another culture operates, it’s wise to have enough cash to tide you over.
Small items like cups of coffee, taxi rides and tips are the sort of expenses you might need cash for.
Travellers Cheques are a safe way to take money abroad without having to take lots of cash with you. Post Office Travellers Cheques can be exchanged at hundreds of locations worldwide and are available in five currencies: US dollars, Japanese yen, Canadian dollars, Australian dollars and pounds sterling.