Travel documents you need for your holiday in Paris, France and Europe
Europe is general considered a safe place to go on holiday, however during the major holiday seasons there are always going to be some opportunists and even professionals that pray on tourists, such as pick pockets and con artists.
And if you are going on holiday to Paris or any another major city in Europe, then you will often experience large crowds at times, especially on underground transport such as the Metro and these can be easy pickings for the unsuspecting traveller, but the police in Paris have a fantastic system to help out foreign tourists.
Yet even major seaside resorts are also an easy target for petit thieves or the con artists that patrol certain tourist areas, but there are some logical and also valuable tips to try and make sure you never become a victim, yet if you do, there are ways to make the situation that little bit easier for you to deal with.
So you need to be prepared before you even start your holiday abroad
Personal identification documents needed
Within Europe you are required to carry documentation at all times.
This does mean that your passport and your medical cards (which were formerly the E111 form), do have to be carried at all times. The same applies to your driving licence, but these days, most people have a card license along with the paper part, yet you must carry both parts with you and in some countries it is your drivers license that is often requested as proof of identity if you are paying for goods by credit or debit card.
Now the one problem with this rule, is purely the fact that if you do get your wallet or bag stolen, then everything is gone!
However, it is now recommended that you keep a copy of all your documents such as passports and drivers licences along with any other important documents such as travel documents, Visas, etc.
This major precaution, which will prove easier if dealing with the Police or even a Foreign Embassy after a loss, means that you can leave copy documents somewhere safe, such as a hotel safe, rather than just having the one means of identification with you.
In addition to this, it is also recommended that you sort out a copy of all documentation that you leave with a friend or family member, even prior to going on holiday, which can also be beneficial if you have a medical emergency.
Travel documents you need when travelling abroad
If you are going on holiday to France or any other destination in Europe such as Spain, Germany etc. then you should make sure that you have an up to date health card, which used to be called the E111, but has now been replaced with the new EHIC card and this is free to obtain.
This European Health Insurance Card or EHIC for short, will entitle you to either free or reduced cost medical care whilst you are on holiday in Europe in countries that are part of the European Union, but in addition it also covers you in Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Yet travel insurance is of the utmost importance, because even if you do get a bag stolen then at least you will be covered, but it is also beneficial if you are getting a cheap flight to Paris or another European destination, as you will also be covered for emergency costs even if your luggage goes astray, or for more extreme cases such as a company going bust, a lengthy delay that completely messes up your holiday and so on.
But how many of you have taken out travel insurance, yet not thought about making an additional note of the details like the emergency telephone numbers? Well you should always keep copies of these documents and also keep the emergency numbers in the memory of a mobile phone and perhaps even within your suitcase, so that there are different ways you can gain access to this important information.
Car Breakdown Cover is also very important if you are going to be driving through France to your holiday destination and again, you need to have all documentation with you at all times including insurance certificate, log book, etc. So again, make sure you have copies of all your documents and you also know any emergency numbers to phone in case of loss, theft, accident or breakdown, just like the European Emegency Number of 112.
In fact, we had to get a window on our car replaced one year whilst on holiday in France and with one telephone call everything was sorted out including a recovery truck and a garage for the repair. This meant we did not have the language barrier to deal with, yet alone even trying to contact different companies in the first place, or get a hire car at our own cost!
Foreign travel money and credit cards abroad
Most people do not use much cash these days, although if you want to experience the French markets, take a visit to a flea market, buy some gifts for the family back home from a trade stall, or even experience some of the French cuisine and fresh produce available at the markets in Paris, then you will need cash on you, and the currency is Euros.
Also if you are driving through France and go on to a toll road, you may wish to pay the toll fee in cash, yet there are certain booths that will take credit or debit card, but how about if you just want a quick stop and a coffee or a croissant. Well, cash is needed and the majority of shops will normally only take a card payment when it is over a certain amount.
In addition to this, you will find that there are public toilets dotted all over France, especially in cities that require approximately 20 cents in which to enter.
So the first thing you will need to do is exchange some money from Sterling into Euros, and there are many different places that offer this service, including even on the ferries to France, such as P&O from Dover to Calais. However, some will offer better exchange rates than others, so it is worth checking prior to your holiday in France or another destination in Europe.
Another thing you must carefully consider is where you have your cash. Never, never, keep your cash all in one place. Always make sure that it is divided up between those of you travelling, and if possible, even have an emergency cash fund somewhere safe and out of the way, just in case you loss a wallet or bag.
Most people do not carry large amounts of cash these days and have at least one credit card or a debit card. But do have the details to hand for the numbers you would need to phone in case these were either lost or stolen?
And as you will no doubt already know, there are 24 hour emergency numbers in place, but make sure you have a note of these such as on your mobile phone, a laptop, etc. But it is also an idea to make copies of your cards and leave these securely with a family member back home.
In fact, when we had our wallet stolen, we did have the emergency numbers thank goodness, but ironically, one requested our card number, which obviously because we had the card stolen, we did not have this, and the process took far longer to sort out, which is not great when phoning on a mobile from abroad!
Using mobile phones abroad
Talking of mobile phones, most people have one these days, but whether you are on Pay As You Go or Contract, you have to make sure that your phone is enabled for international calling.
Also, do remember to top up your phone before you leave the UK, just in case of an emergency and also make a note of your sim card number along with any emergency numbers for your service provider, as even if this gets stolen, you can cancel it so that you do not end up with an extortionate bill!
Now something else that one of our friends suggested after going on holiday to Paris, was actually taking some pictures of ordinary and everyday things such as a taxi, hotel sign, toilet, cash point, ambulance, petrol station, even arrows for directions such as left and right, food or drink, etc, etc.
To go one step further, you could even make a short list of different words and even numbers you are likely to use, so, even if your French is no good, you can always get by wherever you end up.
Yet putting all of these points to one side, as we mentioned before, France and Europe in general are extremely safe places compared to many countries. And with the millions of people that go on holiday to France every year, there are very few incidents that arise, but it is always best to be prepared, so that you can still enjoy your time away with added peace of mind.