Make sure that you have the necessary paperwork for travelling.
Passport and visas
Health Advice and Emergency Medical Cover
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Travel Insurance and Medical Insurance
Foreign Currency and Credit / Debit Cards
Invoices, Contacts and phone numbers
Check that you have the correct passport documentation and if necessary apply via the UK Government Passport web site. Other sites may charge you an additional fee.
Check that you always use the official site that ends with ... .gov.uk
A number of countries have arrangements for providing emergency medical treatment during visits. The "Foreign travel advice" pages of the UK government website details the countries that have agreements with the UK and the level of cover. It also lists the major diseases in each country and the essential and recommended immunisations (you can also check with your doctor) and gives useful advice for travelling outside the UK. You can also get a copy of a leaflet from the Post Office. The leaflet also describes the EHIC scheme and has an application form.
There are several tick borne diseases in various European countries. You should check to see if you need to take precautions:
Tick-Borne Encephalitis TBE
Tick-Borne Encephalitis - in German called Frühsommer-Meningo-Enzephalitis (FSME). This exists in some areas of Europe .
This can be found in areas of the UK
Advice and more information on Tick Borne Diseases can be found here:
Bird Flu / Avian Influenza
The H5N1 form of Bird Flu has been found in a number of countries. The UK Health Protection Agency advice to travellers to affected areas can be found here.
Remember that any immunisations will need to be done several weeks before you travel.
The National Travel Health Network and Centre, (NaTHNaC) gives advice for travellers on: Health risks in your destination country, General health and safety advice, Reports of disease outbreaks.
In the past a number of European countries used the E111 scheme and the E111 form to provide free or reduced cost medical treatment. The scheme was changed from 1 Jan 2006 with the introduction of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). E111 forms ceased to be valid on 31 December 2005.
The EHIC is valid for temporary visits to European Economic Area countries and Switzerland:
(The EHIC is also valid in the United Kingdom for visitors from the other countries).
The EHIC is not travel insurance, may not cover all costs, and does not cover repatriation costs. You should have Travel Insurance in addition to the EHIC.
The EHIC is only valid for a few years and must then be renewed. Check that it is valid before you travel.
The EHIC can be applied for on the NHS Choices website, (EHIC page) or Healthcare abroad page, The EHIC is FREE, there are some websites that will apply for you and charge. Make sure you apply via the official websites. You can also apply by phoning the automated EHIC application service on 0300 3301350 or by using the EHIC Application Form and pre-addressed envelope from the Post Office. You will need to have the following information for everyone you are applying for:
More detailed information is on the "Foreign travel advice" pages of the UK government website.
You can use the free EU phone app with a guide to use here.
The EHIC may not provide for all costs involved and you may be required to pay for treatment and claim back later. Make sure you keep receipts. You should also ensure that you have valid Travel Insurance covering the countries you plan to visit - check that it also covers countries you be travelling through. Some Travel Insurances require you to have an EHIC and, if necessary, use it.
If you book your visit at a Travel Agent you can also buy Travel Insurance but you may find cheaper insurance elsewhere. If you intend to travel several times in a year, an Annual policy may be cheaper than a separate policy for each trip.
If you are planning to walk / hike in the mountains then it is a good idea to have Rescue Insurance. A suitable scheme is offered by the Austrian Alpine Club UK Branch.
It is a good idea to take some foreign currency with you. You can change pounds at most banks, building societies, post offices and travel agents or have it delivered to your home address. There may be an additional charge if you use a credit charge to buy it. Check the total cost including the transaction charge as well as the conversion rate. Credit / Debit cards may not be as widely used as in the UK, so check that hotels and banks accept them before you go. If banks have ATMs remember that there may be charges from that bank and you own bank as well as a conversion charge.
Some shops may try to charge you in your own currency instead of their own. This may be more expensive as their conversion rate may be more than your credit/debit card conversion rate.
Take invoices and important contacts details with you - next of kin, hotel, tour operator. Carry them in your hand baggage and not the checked in baggage.
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