Thailand travel guide
The attractions of Thailand are myriad – ruined cities, ancient monasteries, Buddhist monks, colourful hill tribes, floating markets, rave parties, dense rainforests, exotic wildlife, tropical islands, golden beaches and pristine coral reefs. Then there’s Bangkok, the most exuberant capital city in Southeast Asia, which would justify a trip to Thailand all by itself.
The Thai people are famously hospitable, and Thailand was one of the first corners of Southeast Asia to really open up to outsiders – helped by the 19th-century king of Siam Rama IV and his love of all things Western. It was Rama IV who launched Thailand on the path to modernisation, and also persuaded his people to swap chopsticks for knives and forks.
This travel smorgasbord has attracted everyone from backpackers to billionaires, and visitors can find any level of comfort they desire, from hippy hostels to five-star palaces. If anything, Thailand has become more upmarket as a destination since its backpacker heyday, with air-conditioning everywhere and almost every hotel offering Thai massages and spa treatments.
As well as relaxation – and what could be more relaxing than a massage on the beach? – Thailand is a place for adventure. The beaches and islands of the south call out to scuba divers, rock-climbers and water sports enthusiasts, while the dense jungles of the north are a natural playground for trekkers and wildlife spotters. Try bathing under a waterfall in an orchid-filled jungle clearing – you won't forget it.
Then there’s the cuisine – one of the world’s finest, and certainly one of the spiciest. From fine restaurants to street stalls and night markets, Thailand always seems to have a fork in its hand. Above all else, though, Thailand is a place to feel at ease – stroll along the sand, take tea with a monk, snorkel over a coral reef, and let the stresses of modern life slowly slip away.
513,120 sq km (198,120 sq miles)
68,863,514 (UN estimate 2016)
135 per sq km
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavanangkun since October 2016.
Interim Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha since 2014.
Last updated: 21 August 2019
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
On 2 August, a number of small explosions occurred in Bangkok. We are monitoring the situation closely. We advise British Nationals to remain vigilant, to follow the advice of local security authorities and to check our Travel Advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thai-Malaysia border, including:
- Southern Songkhla province. Our advice against all but essential travel does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.
Consular support is not available in the parts of Thailand where we advise against all but essential travel.
British nationals make over one million visits to Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free. But a small number of British people do encounter problems in Thailand.
Avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations or marches, and be wary of making political statements in public. People have faced criminal charges for participating in these activities. Others, including British people, have faced charges for sharing articles online that could be seen as portraying Thailand negatively or making accusations about individuals. Lèse-majesté, (criticism of the monarchy in any form) is a crime which can be broadly interpreted, and carries a long jail sentence.
Urban areas across Thailand, especially in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, can experience poor air quality and high PM 2.5 counts, occasionally entering the unhealthy and hazardous levels. This may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can check air quality levels for many cities in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
In severe weather you should follow the advice of local authorities, monitor weather forecasts via the Thai Meteorological Department. If the Mekong River is flooding check the The Mekong River Commission.
If you’re visiting Thailand, make sure you research local laws and customs before you travel. Laws and penalties can be different from the UK. Conviction for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs can lead to the death penalty.
There are a high number of road traffic accidents in Thailand especially involving motorcycles. If you’re planning to drive a car or ride a motorcycle, under Thai law you must have appropriate insurance and the correct licence for the category of vehicle you’re using. Not having a valid licence in Thailand may invalidate your travel insurance. Helmets must be worn on motorcycles.
Make sure your travel insurance covers you for any activities you’ll be doing. Only use fully licensed and insured operators, and check the company is using up-to-date equipment before taking part.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Thailand. On 10 March 2019 a number of small explosions occurred in Satun City and in Patthalung Province in the South of Thailand. There were a series of small explosions on Samila beach in Songkhla City in December 2018. Thai security authorities say they disrupted planned attacks in Bangkok in October 2016. The authorities have on a number of occasions warned of the possibility of attacks to coincide with symbolic dates or holidays. You should take care, particularly in public places, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media reports.
UK health authorities have classified Thailand as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
The Tourist Authority of Thailand’s website and call centre (1672 - press ‘9’ for English) are able to provide some general advice to tourists in English.
If you need to contact local emergency services, call 1155 (tourist police) or 1669 (emergency medical services).
If you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
If you are resident in Thailand or planning to stay for a longer period, you can find advice on our Living in Thailand page.
The Overseas Business Risk service offers information and advice for British companies operating overseas on how to manage political, economic, and business security-related risks.
Safety and security
Thailand held a General Election on 24 March 2019. The Election Commission issued results on 7 and 8 May. Prayuth Chan-o-cha was appointed Prime Minister and a full government is expected to be in place by the end of June 2019
The political situation in Thailand is unpredictable and sometimes volatile. Over recent years there have been instances of civil and political unrest resulting in large demonstrations and in some cases violence. You should avoid any protests, political gatherings, demonstrations or marches, as people have faced criminal charges for participating in these activities.
On 22 May 2014, the military took control of government. Article 44 of the interim constitution gives wide powers to General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). These powers should end once a new Cabinet is appointed by the King. Although some restrictions were relaxed in the run up to elections, other restrictions remained on freedom of assembly and expression. A number of media outlets, including international media, have previously been taken off air and some internet sites remain blocked. People have been prosecuted for criticising the 2014 military coup.
Lèse-majesté, (criticism of the monarchy in any form) is a crime, which can be interpreted broadly and carries a long jail sentence. Some foreign (including British) and Thai journalists, Human Rights Defenders and members of the public have faced criminal charges, including for defamation, sedition, and under the Computer Crimes Act for raising concerns, making political comments, and sharing articles online that could been seen as portraying Thailand negatively or making accusations about individuals.
If you’re the victim of a crime in Thailand and wish to report it to the Thai police you should do so before leaving the country. If you do not, your case may not be investigated. Be aware that the way the media report crime is different from the UK. Local authorities, including the police, may give detailed press briefings. There have been instances where the victims of crime have been identified and threatened with prosecution by the police for damaging Thailand’s reputation.
Be aware that posting images on social media of people drinking alcohol or wearing inappropriate clothing can result in fines and/or imprisonment both for the person who uploaded the images and the people in them.
Be on your guard against pickpockets and bag snatchers, especially from thieves on motorbikes or when travelling in open transport like tuk tuks. Make sure valuables are kept securely and out of sight. Passengers on buses and trains have had items taken from bags while asleep.
Violent crime, including gun crime, rarely involves foreign tourists, although in 2018 several foreign nationals were victims of gun violence in Bangkok. You should take care when travelling in unfamiliar areas and avoid walking through less travelled areas alone, especially at night.
Don’t hand over your passport to third parties as a guarantee (eg to motorcycle or jet ski rental businesses) as companies may hold on to passports against claimed damage.
Violent sexual assaults and unprovoked attacks have been reported in tourist destinations across Thailand. These are particularly common during Full Moon parties and other similar events and late at night near bars.
Drink spiking and date rapes have been reported in tourist destinations around Thailand, with both male and female victims. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers or leaving your drinks unattended, particularly in Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Pattaya and at the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan.
Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment resulting in accidents, injuries, robbery, assaults and lost travel documents. If you drink, know your limit. Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Some British nationals in Thailand have suffered severe psychiatric problems because of drug use, resulting in some suicides.
Be aware of the possibility of credit card fraud. Don’t lose sight of your card during transactions. There have been incidents of ATM skimming in Thailand. Where possible use an ATM within a bank and always protect your PIN.
Buying a property in Thailand isn’t straightforward and you should be aware of the risks before making any financial commitments. British people have been caught up in property scams. Several face criminal defamation charges for alleging fraud and malpractice in response to being scammed. The legal process can be lengthy and expensive.
There are occasional clashes between the Thai security forces, armed criminal groups and drug traffickers along the Thai/Myanmar border. Outside the main towns, police and military checkpoints are actively manned and travellers may be asked to produce ID. See the Tourism Thailand website and seek advice locally before you travel to this part of the country.
Only cross into Myanmar at an official border checkpoint, and after obtaining any relevant permissions/visas from the Burmese and Thai authorities.
The line of the international border near the Preah Vihear temple was disputed by Cambodia and Thailand. The exact border is still being agreed.
You should take extra care in border areas and follow the instructions of the local authorities. There are unexploded landmines in the border area, you should stay on marked paths especially around Ta Krabey.
Remain alert to the local situation when travelling anywhere near to the border with Cambodia, and at land crossings between the two countries.
Not all land border crossings into Laos are open to foreigners and you may need to get a Laos visa before you arrive to cross the border. Much of the exact border is still being agreed.
There are two airports in Bangkok. Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Airport.
Occasionally airports (especially in the north of Thailand) can close in March and April caused by poor air quality affecting visibility. You should check with your airline before travelling.
The FCO can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines, but the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list doesn’t necessarily mean that it is unsafe.
A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
There are a high number of road traffic accidents in Thailand especially involving motorcycles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) rates Thailand as the world’s deadliest country for fatalities on motorcycles, citing an average of 5,500 motorcyclist deaths annually.
To drive a car or ride a motorcycle in Thailand, under Thai law you must have the correct licence and appropriate insurance for the category of vehicle you’re using. You will need to apply for a Thai driving licence or, if you already hold a UK licence, an International Driving Permit. If you drive a car or ride a motorcycle in Thailand without a valid licence, your travel insurance may be invalidated in the event of accident or injury.
Under Thai law, you must wear a helmet when riding motorcycles.
There have been a number of accidents involving overnight coach travel. Seek local advice if you are in any doubt about the safety of your transport provider.
Motorcycles or scooters for hire in beach resorts are often unregistered and can’t be used legally on a public road. Before you hire a vehicle, make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance and check the small print of the lease agreement. Don’t hand over your passport as a guarantee against returning a motorcycle or scooter.
Riding quad-bikes can be dangerous. It is also illegal to drive these on the roads even though they’re available to hire on the roadside.
There have been a number of train derailments in Thailand. Some have resulted in deaths and injuries.
There are numerous passenger boat services operating between the mainland and islands. There have been some sinkings and collisions which have resulted in fatalities, including British nationals. These incidents are usually due to overloading and/or poor maintenance, but also due to rough seas, particularly during local monsoon season.
During the Full Moon parties, speedboats to and from Koh Phangan are often overloaded. Take care at all times and avoid travelling by sea when conditions are rough or on vessels that are clearly overloaded or in poor condition. Make sure life jackets are available and check local weather conditions before travelling.
Adventurous activities and swimming
Check that your insurance covers you for any activities.
Extreme sports, including bungee jumping can be dangerous. Make sure the company is using the most up-to-date equipment and safety features, and that they are fully licensed and insured.
When jungle trekking use a reliable, licensed tour guide. Elephant treks and rides can be dangerous, especially when the elephants are mistreated or not handled properly. Foreign tourists, including British nationals, have been killed and seriously injured when handlers have lost control of their elephants.
Take particular care when swimming off coastal areas, especially during monsoon season. Strong riptides have drowned people in several areas including Phuket, Koh Chang, Hua Hin, Cha-am, Rayong, Pattaya and the Koh Samui archipelago. Always comply with warning signs, especially red flags, and only swim from approved beaches.
Jellyfish can swim close to the shore, particularly during the rainy season. Their sting can be fatal. If in doubt take local advice from hotel management and dive centres.
Take care when swimming, diving, kayaking or white water rafting in rivers or close to waterfalls, particularly in the rainy season. Currents can be extremely strong.
The standards maintained by diving schools and rescue services are not always as high as in the UK. Check a dive operator’s credentials carefully before using them and make sure you’re covered by your insurance. If you’ve had no previous diving experience ask your dive operator to explain what cover they offer before signing up for a course. Make sure safety equipment is available on the boat, particularly oxygen.
You should also ask about contingency plans which should include the ability to call for help while at sea and to evacuate divers to the nearest hyperbaric chamber if necessary.
Travellers with limited mobility
There are many interesting places in Thailand that are accessible to all people. But wheelchair access is often limited due to uneven paving, street furniture and a lack of lifts, ramps, etc. This includes buses, public transit systems, and many taxis have limited storage space for wheelchairs. See our general information on planning a safe trip for disabled travellers.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Thailand.
Bomb and grenade attacks have been indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. You should take care, particularly in public places, follow the advice of the local authorities and monitor local media reports. The Thai authorities have on a number of occasions warned of the possibility of attacks to coincide with symbolic dates or holidays.
In the past, there have been attacks in the main cities of Thailand. Further incidents are possible throughout Thailand.
On 10 March 2019 a number of small explosions occurred in Satun City and in Patthalung Province in the South of Thailand.
In December 2018, there were a series of small explosions on Samila beach in Songkhla City.
In April and May 2017, there were several explosions in Bangkok.
In August 2016, there were multiple explosions and incidents in tourist areas across Thailand (including Hua Hin, Trang, Krabi, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Patong and Loma in Phuket, Surat Thani, and Khao Lak in Phang Nga) involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and incendiary devices.
A large bomb exploded at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok in 2015, resulting in numerous casualties, including the death of a British national. In October 2016, the Thai authorities say they disrupted planned attacks in Bangkok.
Since January 2004, there have been regular attacks in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, and in the southern four districts of Songkhla province. These have included arson, bombings and shootings. Targets have included civilians and members of the security forces, government offices, tourist hotels, discos, bars, shops, marketplaces, supermarkets, schools, transport infrastructure and trains. Over 7,700 people, including civilians, have been killed and several thousand more injured.
Martial law has been in place in nearly all areas within these provinces since 2006. The security authorities can detain suspects without charge, censor the media, conduct searches and seize documents. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and southern Songkhla province.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in Thailand are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact a Thai embassy, high commission or consulate.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Your passport must have at least 6 months’ validity remaining on the date of your entry into Thailand. Entry to Thailand is normally refused if you have a passport which is damaged or has pages missing.
If you’re a dual national you must make sure that when you depart Thailand you have a valid passport of the nationality used to enter, otherwise you may have difficulty in leaving.
British passport holders arriving by air or land can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa - this is known as a visa exemption. If you need to stay longer, it’s possible to extend your stay once, from the expiry date of the original visa, for up to 30 days.
If you’re using the 30 day visa exemption you can only enter Thailand through a land border twice per calendar year. To cross more frequently, you’ll need to get a visa in advance of travelling. This doesn’t apply to entry by air into Thailand. You should contact the nearest Thai embassy or consulate for more information.
If you plan to stay in Thailand for longer than 30 days, intend to work, or use land borders regularly you must get a visa before you travel. If you’ve entered Thailand on a visa, it’s possible to apply for an extension of stay but you must do this before your permission to stay expires.
If you overstay, you’ll be fined 500 baht per day up to a maximum of 20,000 baht. You also risk being held in detention, fined, deported at your own expense and black-listed from re-entering Thailand. The enforcement of penalties for those who overstay their visa is strict and the conditions at the Immigration Detention Centre are harsh. Deportation by the Thai authorities can take a number of days to process. The Thai authorities have stated that they will always enforce detention for overstays of more than 42 days. You will also be banned from re-entering Thailand. Check with the Thai Immigration Authority for details.
The only legal way of getting a new visa, entry permit or extension of stay is from a Thai Embassy or Consulate, an Immigration Officer at a point of entry into Thailand or one of the Immigration Offices around the country. Visas issued by visa shops, travel agents or by any other means are likely to be illegal and lead to criminal proceedings. If you’re living or staying in Thailand on a long-term visa it is your responsibility to ensure you meet the requirements of your extension. Immigration rules can change quickly, so consult your local Immigration office well before your extension is due.
If you have any queries about visas or entry requirements, check with the Royal Thai Embassy.
Proof of onward travel and funds
Immigration officials in Thailand may ask you for proof of onward travel (e.g. a return or onward air ticket). You should make all reservations before leaving for Thailand. Some airlines have refused to board passengers without evidence of onward travel. Immigration officials may also ask for evidence of adequate finances and have refused entry to some who could not show this. This is not defined in law and can be interpreted in a number of ways. You should check check with the Royal Thai Foreign Ministry.
To work in Thailand you will need a work permit or business visa. Failure to observe this rule can lead to arrest and deportation.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Thailand. If you’re planning to enter Thailand using a UK ETD, you should contact the nearest Thai Embassy or Consulate before you travel to seek advice about whether a visa is required. If you’re requesting a two-way ETD from Thailand, you must provide proof that you have a non-immigrant visa.
Local laws and customs
Conditions in prisons and other detention facilities in Thailand are harsh, with limited access to healthcare. There have been recent cases of detainees dying in custody.
Don’t become involved with drugs of any kind. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment. If you are found guilty of possession of marijuana you could receive a long prison sentence and/or a heavy fine. If you’re found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams of a Class A drug on exiting Thailand you risk receiving the death penalty. Amphetamines and ecstasy are regarded as Class A drugs and possession or trafficking carries the same penalty as heroin.
It is illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes per person into Thailand. This is enforced at customs on arrival. Those who exceed the limit may be fined ten times the value of the items and face confiscation of the cigarettes.
In January 2018, Thai authorities introduced a smoking ban on some beaches, including in Koh Samui, Pattaya and in Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces. Those caught smoking in non-designated areas face a 100,000 baht fine or up to a year in prison. There are also strict rules on the disposal of all forms of waste, especially polystyrene and plastic, and any act that can cause damage to coastal areas. You should follow local guidance.
Vaporisers (like e-cigarettes and e-baraku) and refills are illegal in Thailand. These items may be confiscated and you could be fined or sent to prison for up to 10 years if convicted. Their sale or supply is also banned and you could face a heavy fine or up to 5 years imprisonment if found guilty.
Thailand is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or capture any protected wild animal or trade its parts without a licence and the ivory trade is banned.
Thailand is generally a tolerant and progressive place for LGBTI travellers, although in parts of Thai society LGBTI rights and issues are more tolerated than accepted. There are active LGBTI communities and social venues and increasingly people from the LGBTI community play high profile roles in the public sphere, including trans-MPs. Same-sex relationships are not criminalised by law. Thailand has no legislation on same-sex marriage and same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere aren’t recognised. Those wishing to change their gender marker on official documents can do so from male to female or vice versa, provided that they have undergone, or attempted to undergo, gender reassignment surgery. Thailand does not recognise a third gender. See our information and advice page for the LGBTI community.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest health advice on travelling to Thailand from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. This has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy whilst in the country. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re in Thailand.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in Thailand. Restrictions tend to apply to medication containing narcotic and pyschotropic substances. You can find more information on the website of the Royal Thai Embassy and checking the medication guidance for travellers. Further guidance can also be found on the NaTHNaC website on best practice when travelling with medicines.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
Rabies has been reported in domestic and wild animals, and there have been several fatalities. You should avoid direct contact with animals and take precautions to protect yourself.
There are excellent private hospitals in Thailand but they can be expensive. Public hospitals and clinics in Thailand do not always meet UK standards, particularly outside Bangkok. Many hospitals require guarantee of payment. Make sure you have adequate health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost.
High levels of air pollution can occur in major urban areas, including in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which is also affected by regional smoke haze. The high pollution and PM 2.5 counts, occasionally enter the unhealthy and hazardous levels. This may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can check air quality levels for many cities in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
During March and April there is often smoke haze and resulting poor air quality and pollution across parts of the north, north-east and south of Thailand, this can also close regional airports due to visibility. Keep up-to-date with local information and seek medical advice.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 1669 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medications which are only available on prescription in the UK like Viagra, Cialis and Valium are readily available in popular nightlife districts across Thailand. Medication sold on the street may not be genuine and/or may have been stolen. Taking medication without medical advice or a prescription can have serious health consequences.
UK health authorities have classified Thailand as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with the Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Dengue fever is present in Thailand and the number of reported cases is rising, some of these have been fatal. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. It may not be possible to exchange Scottish or Northern Irish bank notes.
The rainy season in much of Thailand is from May to October. In Koh Samui and the south east of Thailand it is from November to March. However, the rainy seasons have been unpredictable in recent years. Heavy storms can cause disruption including from flooding and landslides. Lakes, caves and waterfalls are particularly prone to dangerous flash flooding during the rainy season.
The Thai Meteorological Department posts official updates and weather warnings on its website.
The Mekong River Commission posts updates on the Mekong River levels on its website.
Northern Thailand can be subject to earthquakes and tremors of varying magnitude.
The Earthquake Track website lists recent seismic activity. To learn more about what to do before, during and after an earthquake, see the website of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Travel advice help and support
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCO travel advice
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.