Millions of us travel overseas every year. We travel the world to work, see the sights and relax on our precious time off. The majority of trips – by a long, long way – are trouble free. But sometimes things go wrong. That’s when the FCO’s consular staff step in to help out where they can. While they can’t provide cash, pay hospital fees or bake a cake with a file in it, they can and do provide lots of valuable assistance to thousands of British citizens every year. In fact, according to the recently published British Behaviour Abroad Report, which the FCO publishes every year, between April 2013 and March 2014 British consular staff assisted more than 17,000 British nationals worldwide.
How these numbers break down can be seen in the interactive map below. It shows the type of help required country by country and region by region - so it’s easy to see where the trouble hot spots are.
Happily the number of hospitalisations has fallen to a five year low and the number of cases involving rape or sexual assault has also reduced.
However the message from the FCO remains the same:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance
- Check health requirements of the country you are visiting
- Research your destination so you won’t end up falling foul of local customs or laws.
Should you let it guide your travel plans?
We think this map makes very interesting reading. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. If you were considering using the map to guide you in your plans then you might want to think again. What it doesn’t show is the numbers of British nationals travelling in the first place. So at first glance you might think that Spain was the world’s most dangerous country to travel in. Yes, the numbers are high but the numbers of British citizens travelling there is higher than anywhere else in the world, apart from the US. It may be that the proportion of people travelling who require assistance is one of the lowest in the world. Again, before you panic and change your plans, do your research!