Before You Go

BEFORE YOU TRAVEL

Most Irish citizens who travel abroad do so without serious difficulty, often because they take the time to prepare themselves properly before they go.  Before you travel, familiarise yourself with your destination.  You can obtain information from your travel agent, from a guidebook or the Internet.  Check our Travel Advice for further information and advice.

Below is a checklist of things to do to ensure that your time abroad is enjoyable and hassle-free. Read the advice under each heading and take any follow-up action in good time before your departure.

PASSPORTS

Passport Service urges parents to check validity of children’s travel documents 

The Passport Service cautions parents that some European countries no longer permit children travelling on a parent’s passport. This follows a change in policy in some European countries.  Therefore the Passport Service urges parents with their children named on their Irish passports to check with the Embassy of the country to which they are travelling to ensure they will be allowed to enter the country. 

As of 1 October, 2004, in line with best international practice, the Passport Service ceased the practice of including children on their parents' passports. This was to increase the security of international travel for children and reduce the risk of kidnapping and child trafficking.  However, there are still some valid Irish passports in use across the world with children under-16 included.

If a new passport is required, families are strongly recommended to apply in plenty of time in advance of planned travel. A full list of Foreign Embassies in Ireland and their contact details can be found on our website

With the exception of travel to the United Kingdom, Irish citizens require a valid passport for travel to all destinations. Please ensure, at least one week in advance of travel, that you have a valid, unexpired passport.  Some countries now insist that your passport be valid for up to six months after your departure, so check the expiry date carefully. 

Remember that some airlines now require all adults to produce photo-identity at check-in for travel to the United Kingdom.

If you wish to apply for a new passport, click here.



VISAS

Check whether you require a visa for the country to which you are travelling. The Department is not in a position to advise you of the visa requirements of other countries. If your travel agent is unable to give you this information, you should contact the Embassy of the country you plan to visit.

Embassies of countries with which Ireland has Diplomatic Relations are listed here. If an Embassy is not listed, you should telephone International Directory Enquiries to obtain the address and telephone details of the nearest Embassy of that country or search for the information on the Internet.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that comprehensive travel insurance is obtained before travelling abroad. You should ensure that your policy covers medical treatment, accidents and unexpected losses such as cancelled flights, or stolen cash, cards, passports or luggage. Include enough cover to allow for the extra cost of travelling home (which might require an air ambulance) in an emergency. If you already have private medical cover, check with your insurer whether you are covered for foreign travel and, if so, find out how to avail of this cover.

Frequent travellers are strongly advised to take out an annual travel or Multi trip insurance policies.  These are offered by a wide range of service providers and eliminate the need to take out travel insurance for each individual trip.  You should be aware of the trip duration options provided for in Multi-trip policies if one is travelling over long periods at a time.

If you are travelling to another Member State of the European Union, you should also obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) free of charge which entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same basis as a national of that country.   This card is NOT a substitute for travel insurance. This card is available from your local Health Board or can be applied for online - see EHIC for further details. The EHIC replaces  the Form E111, which is no longer valid.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS 

Before travelling abroad for an extended period, you should consider consulting your doctor to discuss known or possible health risks. This is particularly important if you have an existing medical condition or are visiting a tropical area where the conditions exist for the spread of infectious diseases. If you take medication on a regular basis you should ask your doctor to prescribe an amount adequate for your visit and bring it with you. It is also advisable to bring a letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the type of medication you require.

Certain diseases are prevalent in particular world regions. Malaria is present in parts of Africa, Central and South America, Asia and the Pacific. If you are proposing to visit any of those regions you should seek specific medical advice on how to protect against insect bites and make arrangements to obtain any recommended preventative or curative medication. Some diseases or illnesses - e.g. cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and various types of food poisoning - can be contracted from consumption of contaminated food or water, especially in areas where standards of hygiene are low. If you are visiting such areas, you should avoid certain foodstuffs, particularly dairy products, salads, seafood, and drink only bottled water.

Since the end of 2003, there have been a series of outbreaks of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus amongst poultry and wild birds worldwide, starting in South-East Asia.  The risk of avian flu to Irish nationals visiting affected countries is believed to be low.  There are no specific restrictions for travellers to any of the countries affected by avian influenza as the risk is believed to be low.  For further advice and information on avian influenza, please click here.

For further information on vaccinations or health advice, please consult your doctor or local travel health clinic. Tropical vaccinations are available from the Tropical Medical Bureau which has centres throughout Ireland.

BRINGING MEDICATION WITH YOU 

If you take medication on a regular basis, you should ask your doctor to prescribe an amount adequate for your visit and bring it with you. It is also advisable to bring a letter from your doctor outlining your medical condition and the type of medication you require.  Keep all medication in its original packaging when travelling.

MONEY

Generally, travellers’ cheques and international credit cards are the safest way to carry funds when travelling abroad. In more remote areas, however, you may not be able to use them. Check with your travel agent prior to departure about the best way to carry funds. It is advisable always to carry a small amount of local currency to pay bus or taxi fares or make small purchases or telephone calls.

Make a note of the 24-hour emergency number of the bank that issued your credit card so you can cancel it in the event it is stolen.

Make a note of the serial numbers of your traveller’s cheques to facilitate their replacement in the event they are stolen.

Note that you may encounter difficulties if the name on your travellers’ cheques or credit cards is different to that on your passport.

Cash controls


From 15 June 2007 if you are entering or leaving the European Union and carrying €10,000 or more cash you must make a declaration to the Customs authority of the member state you are entering or leaving. Under Regulation (EC) 1889/2005 you must lodge the declaration at the airport, seaport or land frontier through which you are entering the EU .  For further information see http://www.revenue.ie

DRIVING ABROAD 

If you intend to drive while abroad, make sure that your driving licence is valid and that you bring it with you. Some countries outside the European Economic Area (the Member States of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) may require you to hold an International Driving Permit in addition to your Irish driving licence. Check this prior to departure with the Embassy or Consulate of the country concerned. Make sure that you are properly insured for driving while overseas.

Please note that you may encounter difficulties if the name on your driving licence is different to that on your passport.

ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT

Different countries use different electrical plugs and sockets and you may need special adapters to enable you to use electrical appliances such as hair dryers, shavers, etc brought from Ireland. These adapters can be purchased at airports.

Remember that the voltage in the United States is 110v as opposed to 220v in Ireland, and many Irish appliances will not therefore work in the US.

If you are bringing a mobile phone with you, check that it will work in the country to which you are travelling. Check the cost of making and receiving calls with your service provider. Roaming charges can be very high, and this can make the cost of using an Irish mobile phone abroad very expensive.

EMERGENCY CONTACT DETAILS

Make a note of the contact details of the nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate while you are abroad in case you need to contact them urgently.

Leave your contact details and travel plans with someone at home that can pass them to the Consular Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs in the event of an emergency.


OTHER SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS

Check our Travel Advice for any special advice that might apply to the country to which you are travelling.

Bear in mind that enhanced security arrangements at airports may require additional time for pre-flight arrangements. Consult your airline or travel agency before departure to check if there are any restrictions on flights that might affect you.

If you are going to remote areas where you will be far from an Irish Embassy, leave two passport photographs and two signatures, ideally on a passport application form, with friends in Dublin or near an Embassy. If your passport is lost or stolen this could speed up the process of replacing it.

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