Is it too dangerous to visit?
Now some might feel that the best place to start looking is by using a guide book. But I just want to mention that there is no point researching somewhere if afterwards you find that the Government says that it’s too dangerous to visit.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth website lists the current advice for UK travellers to any recognised country in the world. If they say do not visit then you will not be able to get travel insurance for that destination.
It also offers advice on local issues within countries, such as crime hot spots. Sometimes the advice is not to go to a country full stop, and other countries may just have warnings for certain areas. Of course it’s a very dry read and there are warnings for just about every country, so before you get too worried, check the advice for somewhere that you have recently visited before you make a judgement.
This website gives you the option of registering for email alerts, so that if the advice on a country you are interested in visiting changes, you will be one of the first to know.
Sometimes the UK Government might decide that a place offers no real risk to visitors, but other countries might. If you are going to the Far East, it might be worth checking the advice given by the Australian Government. Other options are the Canadian Government or the USA
These websites may also give you basic travel information such as Public Holidays, local currency and languages.
You should check the health requirements of your chosen destination. The Department of Health’s website is not that user friendly when looking for travel advice, so you may need to spend some time searching around to find the advice that you are looking for.
A better website is the one produced by the Scottish Health Service.
However, you should always check with your GP for up-to-date information.
Of course if you really want to go overboard with your health research, you could check out the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD) website. This is the only National Health Service (NHS) Hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases and travel related infections.
If you are interested in the latest global disease outbreak issues, then visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
Do you need a visa?
If you arrive in a country without the required visa, it will be a very short trip, probably just one night in the cells. For entry requirements, you need to check with the local consulate or embassy. These can be found by visiting Project Visa or Embassy World, but neither is comprehensive, so Google may have to be used instead.
Please be aware that requirements for visas can change overnight, so always keep a check on the requirements.
It goes without saying that you should ensure your passport is still valid. Some countries will not let you in if your passport has less than six months to run after the date of entry. Others require two or more blank pages for the visa on arrival system.
All you need to know about your UK passport can be found here.