Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Trip tips: The FCO's helping hand


Plan.Pack.Explore is the Foreign Office's new guide for young travellers, free at bit.ly/OffYouGo. It contains a wealth of useful information, but we don't agree with all of it.

"Bank on having to tip extensively from the US to Asia" – while tipping is deeply ingrained in America, in Asian countries such as Japan and Korea it is unnecessary.

"Stay in larger hotels that have more elaborate security" – yet well-run small hotels are often safer than multinational chains into which strangers can wander freely.

"If you cannot afford insurance, you cannot afford to travel" – with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can explore the Continent in the knowledge that a medical emergency will not bankrupt you.