While you away on your vacation how does your government know that you might need help if a natural disaster, conflict or terrorist attack occurs? An essential pre-departure activity is to register your travel plans with your government.
Most governments offer a service for travel registration so that they can contact you in the event of an emergency. Often these services will also provide you with updates to relevant travel advisories so that you have the latest information before proceeding with your trip.
Before you depart you should keep track of news originating from your travel destinations so you are aware of any issues which could disrupt your travel plans. In addition you should reconfirm your government travel advisory before departure to see if their assessment has changed.
Be aware that if your government travel advice advises that you should not travel to your planned destination, you may not be able to receive either insurance or government assistance in the event that a significant issue occurs. Therefore ensure you check the advice prior to departure, and make an informed decision on whether you should proceed with your travel plans.
Most of the official government websites also enable you to set up a subscription service so that you receive any updates to the travel advisories for the countries you intend to visit.
As a result of taking these three pre-departure activities you should have current awareness of the situation in your destination countries, and you have established a good basis to receive government assistance in the event of an emergency occurring while you are travelling.
Travel Registration Links
Department of State – Travel Registration This is a free service for US citizens, and includes travel bulletin updates.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada – Registration This is a free service for Canadian nationals.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) no longer offers a travel registration service. The FCO has published the How to Deal With a Crisis Overseas advisory for UK nationals.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Registration This is a free service for Australian citizens.
Safe Travel – Registration This is a free service for New Zealand citizens.