Tips for Staying Safe Abroad

Most vacations are incident free and holiday makers return home with nothing more concerning than a little sunburn and those extra pounds they lost in preparation for their trip.

However, sometimes unfortunate incidences can occur abroad. So here is a list of safety precautions you can take to minimise your risk and increase your chances of returning home happy and healthy.

Take Out Travel Insurance and Keep Copies of Documents

Although it can seem like an extra holiday expense, if you become ill or suffer a personal injury overseas, travel insurance becomes worth its weight in gold.  According to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, an air ambulance from the east coast of the United States to Britain would set you back £35-45000.00.

Many people believe they are completely covered for medical mishaps in Europe if they have an EHIC card; however, this simply covers basic medical costs and only in state hospitals.  It is worth having the added protection of travel insurance in case an unforeseen, major emergency befalls you.

Make sure you have copies of your passport, insurance and other important documents.  Keep one copy with a trusted person at home and one copy in the safe of your hotel.

Research Your Destination

Take some time to discover a little about the country you will be visiting. Is there a history of civil unrest?  Recently popular destinations such as Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, Greece and Ukraine (the ninth most popular tourist destination in Europe in 2012) have been affected by protests turning violent. In most cases holiday resorts are not affected, but if you are planning to visit the sights in major metropolitan areas, check with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to see if there are any government warnings applicable to your destination.

If you are unlucky enough to find yourself caught up in a protest or riot, move to the edge of the crowd and from there walk away from the gathering.  DO NOT take any photographs or start filming. Protesters do not want to be identified and may take serious measures to remove your camera or phone from you. If you are in your hotel, remain inside, lock the doors, close the curtains and stay away from the windows.

Take Precautions When Buying Food and Drinking Water

Traveller’s tummy, Delhi belly, bacterial gastroenteritis, whatever name you give it, nothing will ruin your holiday faster than a bout of food poisoning.  Depending on its severity the experience can range from having to spend a few miserable days cloistered in your hotel room, to requiring medical treatment at the local hospital.

Food poisoning is caused by contaminated food and water.  The standards of food health and safety can vary greatly from country to country, but here are a few pointers that may help you avoid the misery of contracting food poisoning abroad:

• Check to see if the tap water in the country you are visiting is safe to drink. If it is considered unsafe, drink bottled or sterilised water and avoid ice.
• Do not consume food from street vendors.
• Research eating establishments on the internet or in travel guides and only eat in places which have been recommended.
• Eat your food piping hot.
• Avoid seafood, salads and dairy products in countries where cases of food poisoning are common.

Watch How Much You Drink and ALWAYS Keep A Close Eye on Your Glass

Holidays are meant to be a time when you can let your hair down and many people throw caution to the wind when they are on an adventure abroad.  However, when you are intoxicated your judgement becomes clouded and you are far more likely to become a victim of a robbery or an assault.  It is also worth noting that most travel insurance companies will not provide cover for any incidences which result from a person being intoxicated.

By keeping these few tips in mind you can relax and make the most of your holiday, with the knowledge that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect you and your family.  Enjoy planning your summer break.

You could be entitled to make a personal injury claim – for more information on making a poisoning claim, more detailed information can be found here. To speak to someone now about your claim, call us in complete confidence on 0845 345 4444, or fill in this contact form and we’ll get straight back to you.