Brits Abroad Receive An Online Lifeline

Posted on: 29 May 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Want to know your loved ones are safe in a crisis abroad? Use "Locate", a new service from the Foreign Office.

This week the Foreign Office has launched a new service to help find your friends and family abroad in an emergency.

The new service called “Locate” will help track down Britons in the event of a crisis abroad after a survey revealed that two thirds of us don’t actually know where our travelling loved ones are, and over half of us go abroad without leaving details of our trip.

From this week, people will be able to help the Foreign Office find them in a crisis by registering details of their foreign trip as well as emergency contact details at “Locate”.

The Foreign Office created the service in response to the changing face of travel.

Travellers are venturing to the traditionally more unstable regions but it’s not just in remote, exotic places where a crisis can happen, as demonstrated by last summer’s fires in Greece and bombings in recent years in popular resorts such as Turkey, Egypt and Bali.

An estimated 68,000,000 foreign trips were made by British nationals in 2006 with 96% of those taking up to three trips a year.

Although the chances of being directly involved in a crisis are small, a fifth of Brits say they have been abroad during an incident and felt compelled to let someone at home know they were OK.

“Locate” is a two-way service and in the event of an emergency, worried family members can register details of a loved one who may be caught up in the incident.

If the traveller also confirms with the Foreign Office that they are OK, “Locate” will match the two bits of information and the good news can then be quickly passed to relatives.

The Foreign Office has advised travellers to simply add “Locate” to their usual pre-travel checklist:

  • Get comprehensive travel insurance
  • Find out about vaccinations
  • Research the local laws and customs of your destination/s
  • Take photocopies of important documentation or store copies online using a secure data storage site
  • If travelling in Europe, take your EHIC
  • Register details of your trip with “Locate”

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