• Swot up on French culture and language
  • Keep an eye on French travel alerts
  • Make sure you know the stadium rules

Before you leave the UK

'We'd always advise any fans travelling abroad to a tournament to swot up in advance so they're fully prepared on arrival,' says the Football Supporters' Federation (FDF).

That means getting the French phrasebook out and, if you're driving, making sure you know the French highway code; for example, do you know your kilometres to miles ratio? 

When you're driving around urban areas, the speed limit will probably be 50km/h, which is roughly 31mph. On multi-lane roads in rural areas, the limit might increase to 90, 110 or 130km/h, which is around 81mph.

With the basics covered, you'll also need to research how to get to each match, which hotels and venues are in the area, and what to do when you're not at the game.

England starts the tournament in Marseille – there are non-stop flights from London, Bristol, Manchester or Edinburgh if you're further north. Wales, meanwhile, play in Bordeaux a few hours earlier. London is the only nearby city to fly from, but non-stop flights take less than two hours. Northern Irish fans will be glad to hear that there are non-stop flights from Belfast to their first stop, Nice.

Travelling around France

Whichever match you are travelling to, make sure you know how you're getting there. The furthest you will have to go between host cities is the 975km journey from Nice to Paris, or vice versa, which is around a six-hour journey on the TGV, France's high-speed train network. If you're going to a few destinations, look into whether buying an Interrail pass will be cheaper. 

Alternatively, you could hire a car or drive your own vehicle through the channel tunnel, which would give you more freedom and allow for more luggage.

If you do decide to drive, make sure that you include the items that motorists are required to carry by law:

  • A reflective waistcoat or jacket
  • A warning roadside triangle
  • An NF-approved breathalyser kit
  • A visible GB sticker or European plates
  • Headlamp beam converters

It's also important to check whether you've got the right level of car insurance to drive in Europe.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep an eye on is news of rail and port disruptions, which have been slowing down French infrastructure for a number of months and could well extend into the summer.

For a quick guide on what to remember, print off the government's handy Euro 2016 Traveller's Tactics guide, with tips such as booking all your accommodation before you leave the UK, taking out appropriate travel insurance and staying up to date with French travel alerts.

What to take to the games

'Match-goers need to know what items are prohibited within stadiums or the best way to get to a stadium,' observes the FDF. 

You won't be allowed to take any bottles or large bags into the stadium, and expect any small bags to be searched. Make sure any flags or banners you wish to take are made of nonflammable materials and are no larger that 2x1.5m.

As you might not be able to take any liquids in, and because card machines at venues can be temperamental, make sure that you take enough cash for you and your family. You are likely to be at the stadium for a few hours, so take some food and sun protection.

UEFA has published a comprehensive guide for tourists attending matches at the stadiums for this year's competition, which includes a list of prohibited items.

Where to watch the game without a ticket

As there are so many matches happening across the country, it's unlikely that you will have tickets to all of them. Even if you only have one ticket, it's still worth travelling to the tournament during a number of matches, watching the others at special venues or local bars.

'Many fans will travel without a ticket so they might want to know where the big screen is in order to enjoy the atmosphere,' suggests the Football Supporters' Federation. 'Every host city has committed to opening a Fan Zone with such facilities.'

The FDF has published free guidebooks for English and Welsh fans, which are available to order, containing all the information you might need if you're travelling to France.

Enjoying your time in France

Although it's the main reason you're there, you won't be watching football all the time. In fact, you may want to get away from the crowds every now and again. Whichever host city you're visiting, there will be plenty to do while you're not at the game.

Marseille, for example, is going through an extensive urban renewal project, with a new tram system, art galleries and restaurants popping up around the city. Toulouse, meanwhile, where Wales play on June 20, has an impressive Romanesque church and quaint pink-brick alleyways and streets. While in Nice, Northern Ireland fans can soak up the sun on the Côte d'Azur and enjoy the delicious fresh Mediterranean fish.

So now that you're packed, prepared and ready for a summer of football, all you need to do is get ready to soak up the sun, sing along to the chants and support your team in the tournament.