The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has launched an online service which registers British travellers’ plans to make them easier to contact in the event of disaster.

The service, called Locate, allows travellers to tell the FCO where they are going so embassy and crisis staff can provide better assistance during an emergency such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The service has been created in response to the changing face of travel. More people are travelling today than ever before, with an estimated 68 million foreign trips made by British nationals in 2006, the FCO said.

Research conducted by the FCO shows that UK residents are keen to get off the beaten track and sometimes lose contact with home completely.

More than half do not leave an itinerary with loved ones when going abroad, almost two thirds admit when their loved ones are travelling abroad they often do not know where they are and two in five have experienced difficulties getting in touch with them whilst they’re away.

At the same time, one in five Brits experience an event abroad which has made them let somebody know they are okay.

Travellers register their plans with the new Locate service online so if a major catastrophe occurs the FCO has a record of their details and can contact the to check if OK. The service can also provide advice to family and friends to help them to find travellers abroad in an emergency.

The FCO is encouraging all British nationals travelling and living overseas to register with Locate, even for short trips.