While going on holiday is something we all look forward to, and it should be a time for fun and relaxing, a holiday is statistically a time where we are more susceptible than normal to injuries and more vulnerable to theft, or being attacked. It is a harsh reality, but depending on where you are travelling to, the risks are quite high. So here we have put together a handy 15-point guide on fairly simple things you can do to stay as safe as possible on holiday.
- Hiring a vehicle: If you are hiring a vehicle check its condition very carefully and abide by the same rules you normally would, in terms of wearing seat belts and the speeds you drive.
- Taxis: If you are in a taxi on your own, do not sit in the front seat with the driver. Also, if the taxi driver does have dishonourable intentions it is harder for him to access you if you sit directly behind him. This might give you a vital extra couple of seconds to exit the vehicle.
- Medical advice: Always seek medical advice about the specific area you are going to. You might need vaccinations. You should also research the area and check out virus epidemics such as Ebola and Zika, in case you are travelling to an affected area.
- Illness: Follow the same hygiene practices you would at home and take care of what you eat and drink. Diarrhoea is the most common disease contracted on holiday, so if something doesn’t look or taste right, don’t continue with it and also drink bottled water where you can. If you do fall ill abroad and are prescribed medication, make sure you finish the full course. You will not automatically be safe and well simply because you have returned to the UK.
- First Aid: It might seem over the top, but putting a basic First Aid kit together is a good idea, and if you do, make sure it contains fresh materials.
- Luggage: Keep hold of your luggage at all times until it is safely in your room. There are many cases of luggage being stolen in reception areas when checking-in and whilst you are distracted.
- Room location: Try to avoid rooms on the ground floor as these are easier for people to access and see whether you are in or not. You should also keep your room details to yourself and not share them with people you talk to and have a drink with, but have only just met.
- Elevators: Be careful around elevators as they are a common location for theft and assaults to take place. If you are alone in an elevator with someone you are suspicious of, get out at the next floor and walk the rest of the way. If you are waiting for an elevator with someone at the bottom, just wait for the next one.
- Room security: Check the locks on your doors and windows are adequate, and ask to change rooms if you are not happy. Sliding doors in hotel rooms are a common way for thieves to gain entry, so check the condition of locks and don’t keep them open to let fresh air in whilst you are out.
- Visitors: It is very rare that you will receive a visitor to your room in a hotel or apartment, so make use of the peephole to check who they are before opening the door. Ask a few questions also, if they are genuine they won’t mind answering.
- Room safe: Make sure you book a room with a safe and make sure you use it, it is worth paying a small deposit. Keep your passports, plus return tickets, electronic devices, cash and valuables in there when not needed, including even while you are at the hotel pool, as they are more secure in the room safe than in an unattended bag.
- Address: Always have the details of your accommodation address on you, so you can make sure a taxi can always get you back, wherever you are.
- Walking at night: Avoid walking around at night on your own, as a tourist you will stand out a mile. Also, keep to popular areas, use a secure and sensible bag and don’t go out with all your cash on you. Make sure some is left in your accommodation in the safe.
- Travel Insurance: Avoid medical bills and having to fly home early to seek medical attention, by making sure you have valid travel insurance. Check that your current policy still covers you and specifically covers you for travelling abroad.
- Safe flying: Statistically, flying is the safest form of transport, but you might as well help yourself as much as you can when booking a flight. Choose a reputable airline with a good safety record, this can be researched. Pre-book a seat towards the rear of the plane but no more than five rows from an emergency exit. During the flight, avoid taking your shoes off, don’t get too attached to your hand luggage in case you have to leave it and make sure you listen to cabin crew instructions.
If you become poorly on holiday from poor food or poor hygiene, we suggest that you keep a full record of what you ate, what you saw, and what treatment you received. This is because you may wish to pursue a holiday sickness or holiday claim on your return from your holiday, as well as being able to explain what happened to you to a doctor. Do not engage with touts abroad who are gathering information on potential claims. If you are contemplating pursuing a claim because your holiday was ruined, then use a specialist travel and holidays solicitor, not a claims management company.