tips from the Foreign Office for Brits travelling to festivals abroad

The Indispensible Festivals Guide

published: Wed 29th May 2013

The following tips from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are useful advice for Brits who are travelling to festivals abroad this summer. Laws and customs vary within each country and it is worth remembering that what is legal behaviour in the UK may carry a hefty prison sentence in another country.

These tips are intended to make sure our readers get the most of their trip and enjoy some summer festival fun.

FCO Festival Travel Check list

With many music lovers heading off around the world this year to seek great line ups combined with sun and adventure, here is a travel check list from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to make sure you are fully prepared before travelling abroad, helping you to enjoy a hassle-free trip:.

Top tips from the FCO

  • Make sure you get comprehensive travel insurance which covers you for your festival kit as well as everything you want to do while you are on holiday, whether you are planning adventurous activities or perhaps hiring a moped to get around.
  • If you are travelling to a European destination make sure you take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. You can get one from www.ehic.com. This will entitle you to medically-necessary care within the EU and EEA and should be accepted by all state hospitals. You will still need comprehensive insurance to ensure you are fully covered for all eventualities.
  • Before you go, check that your passport is still valid - some airlines require you to have a minimum of 6 months validity in your passport at return date. Make a note of your passport number and consider taking a photocopy with you in case you need to show them.
  • Once you arrive, keep your passport and possessions secure. As you would in the UK, be alert and vigilant at all times. Some festivals provide a lock-up for important items.
  • Avoid any involvement with illegal drugs – the penalties are severe and could include the death sentence. Legal systems in foreign countries vary greatly so do not put yourself at risk.
  • If you are drinking alcohol, know your limits and stay hydrated and protected from the sun to avoid a visit to the medical tent or a trip to the hospital.
  • Festival sites may not have easy access to ATMs so make sure you take enough money and have access to emergency funds.
  • Make the most of being abroad - research local laws and customs and learn a few phrases. The locals will appreciate your efforts and it will help to ensure that you don't find yourself in trouble accidentally.
  • Make a note of the number of the nearest British Consulate and familiarise yourself with what they can and cannot do to help in case of emergencies.
  • Remember, you can call 112 to contact the emergency services in any EU country.
Check the FCO travel advice on a country-by-country basis the moment situations change on www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice, or follow FCO on Facebook www.facebook.com/fcotravel and Twitter @fcotravel.

Information about how the FCO can help British nationals abroad:

The FCO can
  • Issue you with replacement travel documents
  • Provide information about transferring money
  • Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital
  • Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
  • Contact you if you are detained abroad
  • Contact friends and family back home for you if you wish
  • Provide help in cases of forced marriage
  • Assist people affected by parental child abduction

The FCO cannot
  • Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
  • Give you legal advice or translate documents
  • Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people
  • Pay any bills or give you money
  • Make travel arrangements for you

festival information by: Scott Williams



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