Helpful Tips and Hints for Writers Travelling with the British Council

| by Jim Hinks

Are you travelling overseas for a project with the British Council? Here's a handy blog of hints and tips to help you navigate your way without a hiccup!

Before You Travel

  • Please read your joining instructions, which will include useful information about the country you’re visiting, and your programme of events and meetings.
  • Don’t forget to have a close read of the relevant travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British Council in-country office. They are the experts and are there to help you and it is regularly updated. If in doubt, contact the British Council in-country office with any queries.
  • Ensure you have the requisite travel and public liability insurance.
  • Check your passport is not about to expire as this can cause a problem! Some countries require your passport to have a minimum of six months as an entry requirement. Also don’t forget to check how many blank pages you need if you’re going to a country that requires a visa!
  • Make sure to get all paperwork back to us in a timely fashion- this will speed up your payment process also.
  • Ensure we have your phone number (and that of your next of kin), in case of emergency.
  • Take out some cash in the local currency of the country you’re travelling to. We pay per-diem expenses, but these are reimbursed to you afterwards. NB. British Council per-diem rates vary from country to country; check with us if you’re in doubt.
  • Make sure that you’ve been sent an itinerary for your trip (but also be aware that this may be subject to change).
  • The itinerary will normally explain who will meet you on arrival, but if it doesn’t, it’s worth contacting the British Council in-country office, to check before you set off and make sure you have all the necessary details.
  • It can also be useful (and fun!) to learn a few basic phrases in the language of the host country – they will really appreciate you making the effort.

When You Travel

  • Make sure you have your passport, your visa (if required), your flight ticket, or a print-out of your boarding card if you checked in online.
  • Bring a copy of your insurance documents (with emergency claim contact numbers). It’s best not to keep them in your hold luggage, and leave a copy with someone in the UK if possible.
  • Make a note of the number to call in the event your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, and keep it separate from your cards.
  • Pack a photocopy of your passport. Don’t keep it in your hold luggage, and leave a copy with someone in the UK if possible.
  • Don’t pack anything you’ll need for performing or presenting in your hold luggage (e.g. hard copy of the work you’ll be reading from, Powerpoint files on a USB stick)- just in case!
  • Bring a hard copy of your itinerary for referring to on the trip.
  • Bring a contact number for the British Council in-country office (or a member of staff there).
  • Make sure you bring any regular medication that you’ll require during your stay. It’s also advisable to bring a copy of your prescription. (N.B some countries in particular have strict laws prohibiting the possession of medications that are available on prescription or over-the-counter in the UK – if in doubt, check before you travel.)
  • It’s a good idea to pack a mains power adaptor plug, so you can charge your phone/laptop!

On Arrival

  • Unless otherwise arranged, you will be met at the airport (either by British Council staff, a driver, or a partner organisation, e.g. a festival representative).
  • Be sensible about your personal safety, and if in doubt, consult British Council in-country staff before exploring alone. Don’t take unbooked taxis unless you’re sure this is appropriate in the country you’re visiting.
  • If a problem arises – e.g. with your accommodation, or your schedule - it’s usually best to raise this with the British Council in-country staff in the first instance.
  • Some overseas festivals may face very different challenges due to the country’s infrastructure or economic situation, so please be flexible where possible about things like last-minute amendments to the schedule.
  • Most important of all- make friends and have fun!
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