Foreign Office Launches Plan.Pack.Explore Travel App

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), a UK government agency that is concerned with the interests of UK citizens overseas, has recently released a new travel app for UK residents going abroad.

The ‘Plan.Pack.Explore’ app is a new travel guide that is mainly aimed at gap year travellers planning a trip abroad. The guide includes travel health advice, how the FCO can and cannot help travellers abroad, how to get the right visa and keep money safe, as well as examples, case studies, and reference maps.

Explaining the app, Khalida Cox, the spokesperson of the Know Before You Go team at the FCO, said, ‘Now that exam results are out and people start considering a gap year, preparation can be daunting for young people and their parents, particularly if it is a trip away without family for the first time.

Plan.Pack.Explore. helps travellers understand exactly what they need to do before they go away and provides essential information for parents in the run up to the big trip. The guide will also be invaluable for those who book last minute travel and need essential travel preparation advice quickly.

Gap years should be all about having fun, exploring the world and hopefully enhancing your CV but if you are not prepared before you go away, things can go horribly wrong.

Statistics show that over the last six months, one in four of 16-24 year olds travelled without insurance and only a quarter made health related preparations before going overseas. This leaves them at risk of facing really high bills for medical care or repatriation.’


Thinking of going travelling?. . .

Travelling is a wonderful experience and has the potential to create some of the greatest memories of a lifetime, which everybody should be able experience at some point. So here are a few words of wisdom about what to and what not to take when travelling in future, and just a few other handy tips. Enjoy!

1. Take care over choosing your travelling partner. You will no doubt experience some stressful situations, have to cope with intense heat and travel in terrible transport for long hours, so it’s imperative that you travel with someone who is like minded to yourself, you can converse with for long hours and who doesn’t have any overly annoying habits or personality traits….loud breathing on a 15 hour bus… no thanks!

2. Pack light. It’s common sense but when I was packing I still put in 3 pairs of shoes, ‘just in case’. That extra weight will turn out to be the bane of your life, when you have to lug it all around on your back! Once you get out there, you will find you can buy everything you need. Plus, you will have more room to fit in any cool souvenirs you come across on your way.

3. Don’t plan too much in advance. Once you arrive at a place, or meet people you may hear about cool things you want to do, that aren’t on your pre-planned itinerary. Being trapped by your own organisation because you have to be at a hotel or a place by a certain time can taint your trip. Plan a few things in advance, but it’s easy to book cheap hostels on the Internet once you’re out there.

4. Be open to new things. Be ready to embrace new cultures, food and drinks but at the same time have some common sense. Getting ill when travelling is never ideal so be wary of food which may have been washed in the local water, and of ice cubes.

5. Write a diary! It may sound a bit Adrian Mole-esque but jotting down a few words about where you have been and stayed, and what you have spent will really prove beneficial once you arrive home and others want advice about the same place. Or when you are pining for your travelling adventure, your diary will help you to recreate and remember the magic for years to come.


Article by Lauren Probert

Gap years ditched as students avoid fee hike

Recent statistics unveiled by leading travel essentials provider Essential Travel shows less backpackers are set to travel following last year’s announcement of impending student fees.

Director of Essential Travel Stuart Bensusan comments: “Students who take a gap year will not be exempt from escalating university fees and all indications are that backpackers are certainly travelling less, with those that can still afford to travel perhaps skipping insurance as a way to save money.”

“Deciding to take the risk and travel without insurance may seem an easy way to economise and we’ve seen fewer backpackers take out policies, but it’s an expensive business should they need to claim.”

“Backpackers tend to embark on activities such as bungee jumping, diving and sky diving which are obviously higher risk than your average package holiday so if anyone ought to have a decent insurance policy its independent travellers.

“Having insurance helps with medical assistance, replacing lost luggage – even more important when your whole life is on your back.

“When creating a travel budget, young people should always include travel insurance so they can truly enjoy their experience and ensure they select a policy that covers all activities they intend to embark on.”’s Backpacker Travel Insurance starts from £110.89 per person for twelve months and is, on average, 44% per cent cheaper than the company’s competitors.

For further information visit or call 0845 803 5434.