Staying healthy while travelling abroad will allow you to make the most of your holiday, whether you’re planning on spending your time lounging on a beach, climbing a mountain or something in between. Falling sick can happen for various reasons, like unfamiliar weather, local bugs or a change in diet. Being unprepared to spend time in another country can lead to issues that range from colds to serious problems like heatstroke. Being far from home can make these even harder to manage, and you don’t want to miss out on your time off.
In the following guide, the holiday illness experts at Graham Coffey & Co. Solicitors have outlined ten things you should consider when travelling or preparing to travel that can help you to stay safe and minimise your chances of a holiday ruined by illness.
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Tip #1: Get emergency information
Before you go to another country, find out what to do in an emergency. Learn the local emergency numbers and where the nearest hospitals are. Quick action can stop a small issue from becoming a big problem. You can often find this information from travel agencies and local guides, but if you are going somewhere more remote, make sure to have this information well in advance of your trip, and keep it up-to-date.
Tip #2: Update your jabs
Make sure your vaccinations are current, especially if you’re heading to places known for specific diseases. Check for information online and talk to your GP before you go. Get any jabs you need well before you leave to avoid feeling rough at the start of your trip.
Tip #3: Get reliable and comprehensive travel insurance
If you get sick or run into trouble, travel insurance can save you a lot of money. Unlike the UK, many countries charge for healthcare, so don’t get caught out. Comprehensive insurance will cover many of the expenses you may face, but be sure to read the agreement’s fineprint before accepting to make sure you won’t get stranded later down the line, unable to claim compensation due to a caveat. If you face extra costs, a specialist travel illness solicitor might be able to help.
Tip #4: Listen to local health advice
Keep up with health advice from local authorities. Talk to travel agents or local advice centres to learn what specific risks you might face. These organisations are more likely to have reliable experience in your destination, and consulting with them will allow you to properly prepare for your trip.
Tip #5: Wear the right gear
Pack clothes that suit the climate of your destination. If you’re skiing in Italy, for example, bring both sun and cold protection. It can be easy to forget how much other countries’ weather can differ from the UK’s typical grey skies. Also bear in mind that weather is changeable, and pack options for changes in temperature to avoid discomfort. Wearing the right clothes can help you avoid weather-related illnesses, such as heat-stroke.
Tip #6: Keep clean
Good hygiene is always key, but especially when you are travelling. Always carry hand sanitiser and wipes – the importance of which was made abundantly clear by the rapid spread of COVID-19. Clean your hands before eating or drinking, especially if you are travelling somewhere with limited access to clean water. On top of the safety reasons, maintaining good hygiene is fundamental to staying happy and enjoying your trip.
Tip #7: Drink lots of water
Dehydration can strike quickly in hot places and can lead to heatstroke. However, it is just as important to drink lots of water in cold climates, too. Carry a refillable water bottle and watch for signs like dry mouth and fatigue. Know where to find clean water. Not all countries have safe tap water, so bear in mind that you may need to buy bottled water or bring purification tablets.
Tip #8: Steer clear of unknown animals
Animals can be unpredictable and carry diseases. Some countries have large populations of wild animals that interact with humans regularly, but they can carry very harmful diseases. Don’t pet or feed any animals you are unsure about unless a wildlife expert says it’s okay. If you get bitten or scratched, seek medical help right away.
Tip #9: Guard against bugs
Use insect repellent and wear suitable clothing in areas occupied by bugs. Mosquito nets are useful if you are camping or sleeping in an exposed building, and can be a good precaution to take even if you are indoors. You should be able to find out whether your destination demands insect precautions by searching online and speaking to travel guides local to the area. It’s important to note that certain weather conditions and seasons can be more or less bug-friendly, which may impact your preparations.
Tip #10: Be wary of water
Don’t swim in water if you are unsure of its safety. Water-borne diseases or dangerous animals can be hard to predict, so don’t take the risk. Even water parks may have different standards for safety in other countries than they do in the UK, so check before you travel to avoid the risk.
What to Do If You Get Sick:
In certain cases, such as if you get sick or injured due to someone’s actions or inaction on a package holiday, UK law allows you to claim compensation. A failure on the part of a travel provider to keep you safe and healthy is referred to as negligence. If you find yourself in this situation, there are a number of steps you can take:
- Seek medical help: your first priority should always be your health. It may be a daunting process to access medical care if you are in another country and unfamiliar with how its healthcare system works, but you should never let this put you off seeking help. Avoiding care that you need can worsen your condition and turn a minor problem into something much more serious.
- Collect proof: take photos of what made you sick, and keep any medical reports and receipts. If you have sought medical help, a doctor or other professional should produce a medical report, detailing your condition and its likely causes. This can be invaluable evidence if you decide to take legal action.
- Tell your travel provider: report your illness quickly to make sure all the details are recorded.
- Get legal help: a solicitor specialising in holiday illness can help you to understand whether you can make a claim for compensation for any suffering and financial loss you have had to deal with if another party’s negligence led to your illness.
Read your travel package’s terms and conditions carefully to understand what you may encounter abroad. Being well-prepared makes for a safer, smoother adventure.
Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.