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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Travelling Abroad: Handy Tips For Brits To Know

Some helpful tips I've collated from numerous websites online 

  • Before you go abroad, inform your friends and/or loved ones and give out your emergency contacts to them, such as mobile number and email address
  • Find out where the nearest embassy is, go there and get as much information as you can. Also ask questions and get answers
  • Don't travel without insurance 
  • Get hold of a pocket handbook or travel guide based on your destination

  • Use Google Translate when trying to converse with foreigners in their native tongue 
  • If you are on a monthly phone contract, check with your network to make sure your sim card will work abroad & that the duration of your contract that you have left will cover the period you are abroad 
  • If your phone is unlocked, on arrival at your destination, get hold of a pay as you go sim card 
  • Take hard copies of important documents; print, scan and back them up and store them on your email, computer, USB stick or hard drive
  • Carry enough money that will last you for the duration of your visit. If your wallet is missing, or your card doesn't work in an ATM, by having emergency cash on you will save you time & as such is a lot more convenient
  • Keep your valuables and personal belongings out of reach; never openly display them in person. Avoid wearing jewelry or have it covered up. If you have a handbag or a leather bag with a strap on it, make sure you are carrying it on your shoulder. If you have a wallet and you are wearing jeans or trousers, keep it in your front pocket, instead of your back pocket. Never leave these items unattended whilst out in public, especially on the floor. Be extra vigilant

  • If your credit or debit card is stolen, contact the nearest police station, as well as the credit card company and/or the bank by phone ASAP. That way, the bank and/or credit card company will put a stop to and cancel the card, so it can't be used by anyone else and they will issue you with a new one. It will take a few working days for the new card to arrive.
  • Stay safe, avoid dark areas that are deemed unsafe especially at night. 
  • Don't bring attention to yourself as a tourist by acting or dressing like one; it acts as an incentive for people to rob you


  • Do not give out your personal information to strangers - if someone asks where you live, lie. Do not tell them your actual or current living address, your email address, your Facebook or Twitter username and your mobile number. 
  • If you want, create a bogus wallet just in case you get robbed, or for whenever you go out - take the wallet, put in some 'play money' which you can buy online, expired debit and/or credit cards  
  • Never use unlicensed mini and taxi cabs 
  • If you are travelling in a taxi or mini cab and you suddenly realise the mini cab is unlicensed & the driver is not taking you to where you want to go & you feel unsafe, break through the windows or door of the taxi and get out immediately. Make a run for it and call the police for help. 

Travelling to the USA for British nationals without needing a visa 

Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

British Citizens, who wish to or are going to visit America, may be eligible to travel to the US visa free for up to 90 days - if they are travelling for business, pleasure or are in transit and meet one of the special requirements:

- if you have a valid machine readable, bio-metric UK passport or e-passport with an electronic chip. These must have been issued to you/renewed/extended BEFORE October 26 2005. 

- if you have a valid machine readable, bio-metric UK passport or e-passport that was renewed or extended between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006. It must contain a digital photograph of yourself.

- if you have a valid UK passport issued, renewed or extended on or after October 26, 2006. It must be electronic.

- The passport must be valid for 6 months after your stay in the US is waived. 

- if your passport is valid for less than 90 days, you will be allowed entry to the US until the date of the passport expires. 

It is worth adding that being in possession of a UK passport that indicates that you are either a British subject (being born in a country which has ties to the UK, i.e. Commonwealth country such as Australia, Canada), British Overseas Citizen (being born in the UK but reside and work abroad permanently), British National Overseas Citizen (citizens who were born in Hong Kong, and live in the UK or of whom didn't register themselves as British nationals & had no other nationality & became British overseas citizens in 1997) does not mean you automatically qualify for the right to travel to the US without a Visa. Under these circumstances, you will therefore need a Visa to travel to the U.S. 

In other words, if you have a UK passport and your nationality is not that of a 'British citizen', or if your passport was extended in 2012 under exceptional measures that were put in place in mid-2014,  or you have a UK passport but you are classed as a British expat, you do not  qualify for entry into the US under the VWP. To gain entry into the U.S therefore, you will need to go to the nearest American consulate or US embassy to apply for a visa. 

- if you have been arrested, have a criminal record, have serious communicable illnesses (for instance, HIV, Tuberculosis), have been refused admission into or have been deported from the U.S, or you had previously outstayed your welcome in the U.S, whilst under the VWP, you are therefore not eligible to travel to the US without a Visa. 

- A passport that states that, you as a holder, has the right to abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK means you are ineligible for a Visa -free travel to the US. 

- By not determining your eligibility for travel under the Visa Waiver Program may prevent you from travelling to the U.S. 

Source: ESTA UK

Types of Visas For British tourists or workers

American Visa: 

American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)

How to get the American ESTA:

-  You will need a valid British passport 
-  You need to be travelling to the US for business or tourist purposes 
-  To apply online currently costs £27.50 per person 
-  To be granted an ESTA is dependent on consular discretion 

B-2 Visa:

- Holiday visa for travel to the USA for British nationals 

Travelling to Australia for British nationals without needing a Visa 

Australian Visa

There are 2 types available: 

- eVisitor visa direct from the Department of Immigration & Border Protection. There is no visa charge or service fee for this 


- ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) via your travel agent or airline. You only pay a $20 service fee

Travelling to Canada for British nationals 

- You don't need a visa if you are visiting Canada for shorter periods
- If you intend to stay longer during your travels, you will need to refer to the Canadian High Commission and take a look at their entry requirements 
- When you arrive, you will need to show that you are able to support yourself during the duration of your stay and that you have sufficient funds available to cover this

Travelling to China for British nationals 

-  Unlike Hong Kong, you will need a visa to enter mainland China but not Hong Kong or Macau
- You must get the visa prior to your arrival in China
If you choose to stay in China longer than 6 months, you may need to get a residence permit 
- If you are caught overstaying your visa or work illegally, you may be fined or imprisoned for breaking your conditions
- You may not work in China whilst under a tourist or business visit Visa. If you are caught doing so, you may be fined, jailed, deported or be given a travel ban. A travel ban would prevent you from leaving China and returning to the UK , so beware

Travelling to India for British nationals 

- You will need a visa before travelling to India. There are 2 types: one that is up to 6 months, the other is up to 2 years. Make sure you get the right one for your travel
- If you overstay your visa, you must go to the FRRO or police you registered with in person to get their permission to leave the country.
- You may be fined & prosecuted or detained & later deported

Travelling to Japan for British nationals 

- You can visit Japan for up to 3 months without a visa 
- Use or possession of prescription drugs and medication is banned under the country's anti-drug law. This includes Vicks inhalers and some mild painkillers. Check with Japanese embassy before you travel if in doubt  

Non-Eu countries where you don't need a visa to gain entry into the country as a British national: 

- Peru - up to 90 days, on arrival you are normally given permission to stay for up to 6 months
- Argentina  - you will be granted a 90- day stay period. You may need to provide proof of onward travel via a return ticket. Airlines that fly to Buenos Aries to name for example have sometimes refused passengers from boarding without proof of onward travel. 
- Costa Rica - for 30 or 90 days 
- Mexico - as a tourist, you don't need a visa but you will need a tourist card, which you can get on arrival. You need it to enter and leave the country. 
- Hong Kong - you can visit for up to 6 months as a tourist, if you intend to work there however, you will need a visa.  
- Brazil - make sure your passport is stamped though during your arrival and departure, otherwise you may be fined. You also need an immigration card. To extend your stay, you need to go to the federal police 
- South Korea - up to 90 days 

Places to book round the world trips 

- Star Alliance 

- One World 

- Round the world flights 

- STA Travel - travel agency that specialises in youth and student travel. The change in the acrynym Student Travel Association to Start the Adventure was made not to dissuade anyone who isn't student or under the age of 26 from booking a holiday. 

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