'Know Before You Go' logo
Launched in 2001, ‘Know Before You Go’ is an ongoing travel safety campaign run by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). It encourages British nationals to be better prepared for their overseas trips with a view to avoiding common travelling traumas, risks and dangers.
The key campaign message is simple and applies to everyone - Know Before You Go – get travel insurance, research your destination including local laws and customs, visit your GP at least six weeks before travelling overseas and make copies of important travel documents. Through a series of mini-drives (link to Campaign History) we bring these, and other key messages, to specific categories of travellers which complements the FCO’s Travel Advice service.
Check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice or call 0845 850 2829.
Get travel insurance and check that the cover is appropriate.
Check what vaccinations you need at least 6 weeks before you go and consider whether you need to take extra health precautions - Department of Health
Get a good guidebook and get to know your destination. Find out about local laws and customs.
Ensure you have a valid passport that is in good condition and the necessary visas.
Make copies of your passport (including any visa pages), insurance policy plus 24-hour emergency number, and ticket details. Leave these copies, your itinerary and contact details with family and friends and/or store copies online using a secure online data storage site.
Take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds eg travellers cheques, sterling or US dollars.
To find out how to become a partner please go to The Partner Framework for partner commitments, then visit Apply to be a Partner for details of joining or click on Existing Partners to see those already showing their support for the campaign.
FCO issues travel advice to risk-taking skiers and snowboarders
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office alerts winter holidaymakers to dangers on the slopes -
As British skiers and snowboarders celebrate the best start to the ski season for several years, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is issuing essential travel advice to all Brits planning a winter sports break.
Winter sports holidays are becoming increasingly popular - a fifth of Britons go annually - but this means that more people are taking part in high risk activities without the right preparation. An estimated one in ten British skiers suffers an injury on the slopes and the risk of serious injury while skiing and snowboarding has increased over the past decade, particularly amongst younger winter sports enthusiasts . Couple this with the fact that a massive 31% of Brits neglect to take out insurance that covers the sports they intend to take part in, and you have a recipe for disaster.
As part of its ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign, the FCO is urging winter sports travellers to be more prepared: Jess Prasad at the FCO said, “Winter sports holidays are enjoyed by thousands of Britons each year, but the risks involved mean it is vitally important that holidaymakers are fully prepared before travelling.
“On a holiday where the chances of getting injured are higher than average, the most important thing is to obtain fully comprehensive travel insurance, as accidents can lead to costly treatment – if you break a leg in the Alps, a trip in an air ambulance and treatment could set you back £10,000. Holidaymakers should also be aware that alcohol can affect you more quickly at high altitudes and if you injure yourself whilst under the influence of alcohol, it is very likely your insurance policy will be invalid.
“As skiing can be found all over the world it’s also important to research the country you’re visiting. For example, many Brits are taking advantage of the great deals that can be found on winter sports holidays to Andorra, but few realise that the tiny principality is not a full member of the EU, which means that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid. Whilst comprehensive insurance is essential in every country, without it here you will be entitled to no medical cover at all in the event of an accident”.
FCO advice to those travelling abroad for winter holidays
- It is essential to take out travel insurance when taking any trip abroad, no matter how short your trip. When participating in high risk activities such as skiing or snowboarding, you must ensure your policy covers these
- Remember alcohol can affect you more quickly at high altitudes and most insurers won't pay out if you injure yourself or others whilst under the influence of alcohol.
- Make sure you use good quality equipment and protect yourself against injury. Know your ability level - don't take on the black run after two days on the beginner slopes!
- Research your destination at www.fco.gov.uk/travel in case local laws and customs differ from the UK.
- Take photocopies and/or store copies of your important documentation (passport, insurance details, credit card number and cancellation details) online using a secure online data storage site.
- If travelling in Europe, take your EHIC, available for free from Post Offices. This card entitles you to reduced cost or free healthcare in most European countries. Remember though, that the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance - you must have both to be fully covered.
- For more tips if you're planning on taking a winter sports break. Check out www.fco.gov.uk/travel