The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has released guidelines to help British travellers stay safe from - and take action against - the risk of terrorism while on holiday. Here’s a summary of what you should know.
You go on holiday to relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. The last thing you want to think about is the risk posed by terrorism. It’s reassuring to know that the chances of being involved in an attack are incredibly slim. But the unfortunate fact is that terrorism is a global threat. Attacks can take place anywhere in the world - and it’s important to be prepared.
That’s why the Foreign & Commonwealth Office - in conjunction with counter-terrorism experts - has released a series of guidelines to help keep British travel-lovers safe on their holidays. The information below is a summary of that advice, but you can take a look at the full guidelines here.
Check FCO travel advice
Did you know that the FCO provides official, up-to-the-minute travel advice for 225 countries and territories? It’s a source of information and advice about foreign travel compiled specifically for British nationals. As well as providing helpful intel about local laws and customs, it’s a gateway to learn more about developing security issues based on information gathered from intelligence services. It’s a good resource to monitor and an email alert service is available too. Go and take a look.
Anywhere there’s a large congregation of people is a potential target for terrorism. Always try to be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant in public areas and places that attract tourists and westerners - such as hotels, plazas, restaurants and bars. Ditto for crowded areas like stadiums and concert venues. Attacks are occasionally co-ordinated to take place during political or religious events as well as public holidays.
At the airport...
When you arrive at the airport it’s best to get airside as soon as you can. It’s generally a more secure area because everyone has passed through airport security. Besides it’s where all the best shops, bars and restaurants are - so why dawdle? Exactly. After your flight, try to minimise the time you spend in arrivals. There’s a holiday to enjoy!
Be smart with your phone
Keep it charged.
Keep it with you.
Save emergency contact numbers.
You can find the number for the emergency services in the country you are visiting here. Find the number for your nearest British embassy or consulate here (think of it as a little bit of Britain on foreign soil, where you can seek information and advice). You should also save the emergency contact details of your travel insurer. For World First customers, that’s +44 (0) 203 829 6745.
Make a contingency plan
It’s extremely unlikely that you will be caught up in an act of terrorism. But it makes good sense to have a contingency plan in place in case the unthinkable should happen. It may save your life. At the very least you should agree a safe emergency meeting point where you can convene with the people you are holidaying with. If you are visiting a crowded event such as a music festival or a carnival, be aware of the nearest exits or paths that will take you away from the crowds.
Speak up if you see something suspicious
Many attacks are foiled by the vigilance of the public. If you see anything suspicious, report it to the local police immediately. A concealed bag, for example, is suspicious. Innocuous items are not normally hidden. Likewise if you see someone behaving in a way that’s out of character with the rest of the general public, that could be something worth mentioning. Would be terrorists need to carefully plan their attacks and need to carefully study the entrances and exits of buildings. They need to pay attention to security features of buildings. They need to take photos.
Security officials will ask you questions about what you saw, what time it was, where it was and - if your information relates to a person or group of people - what they looked like and what they were wearing. Have the confidence to act. It’s worse to ignore it if you think you’ve seen something suspicious. Trusting your instincts could save lives.
Take us with you...
It’s rare for travel insurers to cover acts of terrorism. Yet here at World First we will pay out for the cost of any medical treatment you receive related to a terrorist incident. Our award-winning cover also includes all the regular stuff you would expect - including cancellation cover, protection for the loss or theft of your valuables and missed departure cover. You can get an instant quote online at World-First.co.uk.