Saturday, May 12, 2012

5 ways to stay safe on holiday

The annual family holiday can be the highlight of the year. Whether we stay in the UK, or venture to a far-flung corner of the world, a break is always an exciting change from normal life. However, an unexpected mishap or untimely accident can ruin that precious time with loved ones and even put you all in harm’s way. It is vital to stay safe when going on holiday – here are the top five ways how you can ensure a happy return:

1. Always let people know where you are – No matter how impromptu your trip, or how exotic the destination, or even how vague the arrangements, make sure that you always have enough time and information to let your loved ones know where in the world you will be. This is doubly true if you plan to engage in adventurous activities – never go skiing off-piste, trekking in the Outback, pot-holing and so forth without informing someone at your hotel of exactly where you are going. You will never regret it, but you could regret not telling them.

2. Take out holiday insurance – It is important, even though you plan to thoroughly enjoy yourself, to think ahead to the worst case scenario – having an accident abroad. Take out holiday insurance with a respected provider and choose a policy that gives you sufficient cover for all your activities. Always be honest with your insurance provider and ensure that you understand your own cover – it is vital to your well-being in an emergency.

3. Don’t go without checking health requirements – Check government websites to see which vaccinations you made need for overseas trips. When visiting Europe, ensure you have an EHIC card, which entitles you to free or reduced-cost medical treatment in most European countries. If you have specialist health requirements, ensure that you look into them before you travel.

4. Look after your money – Carry cards which support emergency procedures in case of theft and it’s also worth carrying a money pouch underneath your clothes, or hiding separate emergency cash. Many hotels will also have a locked safe that you can use to protect cash and documents such as passports. When travelling to particularly risky locations, always think of a friend or family member who could wire you money should the worst happen.

5. Do as the locals do – Protect yourself by not standing out unnecessarily. Don’t wear outlandish or exposing clothes in the wrong environments, don’t drink to excess and risk drawing unwelcome attention to yourself. Read up on local habits, especially regarding manners, relationships, alcohol and other tricky areas. If in doubt, copy the locals.

You can keep yourself safe on holiday by doing a little preparation before you leave. Insurance is a must, as is common sense. However, accidents do happen and if you do have an abroad and think you could be entitled to compensation then make sure you research into what you are entitled to first. When it comes to happy holiday endings research is the key, so look into your protection and make sure you have everything in place to ensure the best possible outcome.

Ryan Hinegan, Contributor to

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