“Everybody loves a summer holiday…” and many Brits love to travel overseas all year around. Thanks to low cost flights and internet browsing our thirst for travel is as strong as ever. The increasing reports of natural disasters and even terrorism taking place in popular holiday destinations does not deter those in search of an exotic getaway. It’s not possible to rule out something unpredictable happening while home or abroad, but there are always ways to be a safer traveller:
Research Your Destination
Always check the current government foreign Travel advice before you book your holiday. As you’d expect, holidaymakers are put off locations perceived to have a high terrorism risk. In a survey carried out by Silver Travel Advisor, 63% of respondents said that they would not take a holiday where there have been terrorist attacks. It would appear, however, that memories are relatively short and any adverse effect on visitor numbers are usually short lived.
ABTA’s Holiday Trends Report 2018 found that destinations like Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia were significantly up on bookings this summer, despite Tunisia having suffered a lone terrorist attack in 2015. This is possibly due to the attractive low prices and tightened security.
If a natural disaster or terrorist attack takes place at your chosen destination after you have booked then contact your Holiday Provider. If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns against all non-essential travel to your destination, your tour operator is not legally obliged to make any concession. However, under the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) code of conduct, you should be offered the chance to defer your trip, choose an alternative holiday or have a full refund.
2. Get a Check Up and Appropriate Vaccinations
As soon as you’ve booked your holiday look into the travel vaccinations required for that destination. Visit your GP for a check up and to discuss your jabs as soon as possible. Some vaccines need to be given well in advance to allow your body to develop immunity. Some vaccines involve a number of doses spread over several weeks or months.
If you do have a medical condition it can be useful to make a note of the hospitals located near your destination. As my son has a heart condition we always make sure we’re close to a hospital specialised enough to treat him. We also carry a letter about his condition translated into the local language.
3. Make a Digital Copy of Important Documents
Make a digital copy of all your important holiday documents- passports, EHIC cards, travel tickets, hotel reservations and travel insurance. Email this to yourself and also at least one friend or family member back at home.
4. Don’t Carry Everything Together
It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, ID, and travellers cheques all in one wallet, but don’t do this. Keep any money, credit cards, IDs, and checks you won’t be using locked in your hotel room safe. Carry your ID and monetary items on you in different places, never together. This safety tip prevents you from losing everything should somebody steal your wallet.
5. Protect Yourself Against a Crisis with Travel Insurance
Sectors connected to the travel industry, such as insurance, recognise that there is still a thirst for travel and are adapting their products to ensure that they offer a wide choice of covers to enable travellers to protect themselves against crisis’ and disasters.
Fascinating morning at #ITICUK @iticonline saw @SimonCalder giving great insights into changing #travel #security over the last 25 years. British holidaymakers have never been safer statistically, but perception is everything & travellers want terrorism cover #tourism #insurance pic.twitter.com/3fekPvFP1v— ITIJ (@itijonline) May 3, 2018
For example, Insure4Retirement, a specialist Over 50s Home and Travel insurance provider, in partnership with Just Travel Cover, offer a Crisis Response Service with their Ready2Go Gold travel policy.
A key benefit of this cover is a dedicated phone number which gives travellers access to immediate assistance and an unrivalled set of skills if disaster strikes while they are abroad.
The service is provided by S-RM who has a team of crisis response consultants made up of former military, law enforcement and intelligence agency personnel, strategically positioned around the world to provide assistance during a crisis, so insurance holders can feel safe knowing they’re in the best hands.
In these media driven times, reports of disaster and terrorist attacks are no longer the occasional news they once were but tourism is a resilient industry. Many nations rely almost entirely on tourism to boost their economy, so they work tirelessly to restore impacted areas to their former glory. We can’t ever guarantee that we will be safe (on holiday or at home) but we can use common sense, minimise the risks and ensure we have adequate planning and cover in place to provide peace of mind and assistance in a world full of surprises.
What are your top tips for keeping safe on holiday?