FCO Know Before You Go
Seeing the world’s greatest landmarks and experiencing cultures that are thousands of years old make travel an attractive pastime for British citizens. But each year, thousands of Britons find themselves in hot water while travelling abroad. In an attempt to prepare UK travellers for and prevent mishaps abroad, the Know Before You Go (KBYG) campaign was launched by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 2001 to provide essential information on travel abroad for citizens of the UK.
What is the KBYG campaign?
The KBYG campaign is designed to prevent and limit emergency situations that may arise while British citizens are travelling abroad. Essentially, the campaign focuses on promoting common sense among travellers. Unfortunately, many UK citizens overlook safeguarding themselves against common dangers during their holiday preparations, and occasionally they find themselves in problematic situations as a result. Oftentimes, such situations can be easily avoided. The KBYG campaign aims to educate travellers on proper preparations prior to travel so that they are better prepared to deal with emergency situations.
What are the main messages of the KBYG campaign?
The KBYG campaign is focused on several main ideas or ‘messages’ which are felt to be the most significant issues British travellers face when exploring the globe. Some of the main topics covered in the campaign include accessing emergency funds, passport validity and passport emergency procedures, copying travel documentation, checking travel advice on chosen destinations, buying travel insurance and becoming familiar with local laws and customs before setting off. Even though the advice under these topics seems like common sense, it is often ignored by UK travellers. In fact, the issues highlighted under these topics are among the leading causes of problems among UK citizens while holidaying overseas. There are different strategies employed by the campaign to educate travellers on proper travel preparedness.
- Take out comprehensive travel insurance before travelling, and make sure it covers you for everything you want to do
- If you are travelling in Europe, take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – you can apply for it free at www.nhs.uk/ehic – in some hospitals it may entitle you to free or reduced cost state healthcare, and some insurance companies may reduce or waive their excess costs if you hold one – check your insurance policy for details
- Visit www.fco.gov.uk for information on the country you’ll be visiting and to understand how the local laws and customs differ from home
- Visit fitfortravel.nhs.uk to research vaccinations or any other medical requirements, and if necessary visit a travel health clinic or your GP at least six weeks before you travel
- Make copies of important travel documents and/or store them online using a secure data storage site
- Check your passport is valid and you have all necessary visas
- Tell someone where you’re going and leave emergency contact details
- Take enough money with you, and have access to emergency funds
- Understand what consular staff can and can’t do to help British nationals travelling overseas
Does the KBYG campaign target travellers?
FCO research suggests that some travellers are more prone to problems overseas than others. Elderly travellers, young tourists, independent travellers, same-sex travel groups, sports teams and independent sports travellers, package getaways and those travelling to see family and friends in another country have been identified as the most likely to run into issues when away from home. So, how does the campaign focus upon these different groups successfully?
How does the KBYG campaign target these travellers?
There are several ways in which the KBYG campaign promotes proper preparation among travellers. Mini campaigns that focus on a particular group are commonly used. For example, the FCO has a partnership with universities and schools to help promote the proper steps for young travellers in preparing for a trip abroad. This is largely because young travellers are statistically proven to be the least-prepared group. In addition, the FCO works closely with travel agencies, so package travellers and independent travellers are exposed to the recommended procedures.
What about other sites?
The campaign includes more than 500 partners across the UK, including many online partners such as hotel websites, airports, travel companies, booking agencies and car hire groups. We promote the KBYG campaign in addition to providing the cheapest rates for car hire in hundreds of travel destinations through some of the world’s leading rental suppliers like Budget and Alamo.
Is there a website?
For more information regarding the KBYG campaign, visit the FCO’s KBYG campaign page here. The site provides links to other important travel safety pages, such as the NHS and a traveller’s checklist, and the user-friendly design make it extremely easy to navigate.
For all the latest travel advice where you're going please visit fco.gov.uk/travel
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