It’s not a beer mat. It’s not for making notes in. And if it gets wet you really can’t dry it out in a microwave. Your passport is a valuable thing.
That’s the message from Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) whose latest social media campaign #WhereDoYouKeepYours? is promoting the value of your passport.
In 2014, 20,612 UK passports were reported as lost or stolen around the world and 39,053 emergency travel documents (ETDs) were issued overseas. Much of the FCO’s consular time is taken up handling lost or stolen passports, and while anyone can lose a passport travelling Australia, sometimes we really don’t help ourselves, as these Vines show.
John Heppenstall, Head of Consular Campaigns at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said:
“Passports are essential for travelling and it is important to take care of them… We also see people travelling who are not aware that certain countries require a UK passport holder to have six months of validity left on their passport from the date of entry, and even up to two blank pages in your passport.
We strongly advise people to look after their passport, keep it safe and check its validity well in advance of travel. Go to www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the exact requirements for the country you are travelling to.”
If you’re planning a trip to Australia this summer your passport should be first on the list of things to take, and the document you treat more carefully than any other. You can find more information about passports for your Australian adventure here, and also follow the FCO’s 5 top tips for looking after your passport:
- Look after your passport carefully. You can’t use it if it gets damaged
- Unless the local law requires it, keeping your passport on you isn’t always safest. Lock it in a safe if you have access to one
- Make two photocopies of your passport – leave one with friends or family and take the second with you, or store it online using a secure data storage site
- Use your photocopy as alternative ID, for example when you’re going out at night
- Make sure your passport is valid. Some countries require your passport to be valid for 6 months after the date you travel – check the entry requirements before you go
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you planning your own gap year in Australia. You can make a start on our Planning pages.