Gareth Johnson calls on gap year students to take steps to stay safe abroad

Date: Tue 9th July 2013

With the summer break just around the corner, many students and families will be heading off on their holidays or gap years abroad. To ensure a hassle free trip this summer, MP Gareth Johnson encourages residents living in Dartford, particularly students planning a gap year, to be prepared before travelling abroad.

Every year, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff around the world see a range of cases ranging from lost and stolen passports to hospitalisations and detentions. Gareth has highlighted that it is crucial for students in Dartford planning a gap year to take basic actions to avoid getting into difficulty abroad. Here are three simple steps that any traveller can take to ensure a safe, happy and hassle free holiday this summer.

  1. Check your travel documents

It is important to check that your travel documents such as passports and insurance are valid and that you have all of the necessary visas for the country you are travelling to. It is also worth making copies of travel documents and/or storing them online using a secure data storage site.

  1. Research your destination

The more clued up you are, the smoother your trip will be so check out some key facts about your destination – even if it’s a familiar one. Look up information such as local transport, local dress codes, availability of ATMs and the local laws and customs. The FCO website is a great place to start

  1. Get comprehensive travel insurance

Whether you fancy an adrenaline fuelled holiday, trekking across the outback or a chilled break in the sun, make sure you get comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for everything you want to do while you are travelling abroad. If you are travelling to a European destination also make sure you have an EHIC card*.


4.   Check Health requirements

Research the health risks for the country you are visiting online as early as possible before travelling, so you can get the right vaccinations and preventative measures (e.g. malaria tablets) if required.

It is essential for gap year students to follow these simple guidelines. Fully researching the local laws and customs of the countries you are visiting, especially in relation to alcohol and drugs, will ensure you don’t accidentally offend people or break local laws. Just having a little bit of local knowledge of the countries you are visiting can make your whole gap year experience even better.

Gareth commented: “It’s extremely important that residents of Dartford take time to prepare properly before they travel abroad to ensure they have a safe trip this summer. I would strongly recommend that residents take out comprehensive travel insurance and that they do a bit of research about the local laws and customs for the country they are travelling to before they go.

If you are a student or young person who has never travelled before it is particularly important to have a look at travel advice and take these three crucial steps as a bare minimum before you travel. You can take a look at our guide for students, Plan.Pack.Explore and get hold of the app here: / If you are planning a gap year, then the FCO’s detailed travel advice page specifically for gap year students would be a great place to start

The FCO updates its travel advice on a country-by-country basis as the  situation changes, check out or follow FCO on Facebook or Twitter