Top travel tips for the Easter holiday season

Posted by Eleanor Armstrong, 27th March 2015
Easter is almost upon us with only a few days to go until many will head off for a long weekend or, better still, an extended holiday with family and friends.

News articles published today highlight the Algarve, Tenerife and Cyprus as the best bargain sports for a last minute Easter getaway.

For the vast majority of people, the Easter holidays will pass without incident.  It is always worth being prepared before you travel and taking extra care to ensure you return home without an avoidable trip to hospital abroad.  If you have booked a regulated package holiday then should things go wrong not only will the tour operator be required to offer advice and assistance in resort but you will benefit from added protection if you need to bring a claim on returning home.

Increasingly, holiday companies are finding innovative ways of selling holidays to avoid liability if their holidaymakers fall ill or are injured while abroad.  It is always important to seek expert legal advice so that you are properly informed on your options for bringing a claim.

One particular problem faced by holiday makers is food poisoning and other illness. As recently experienced by an unlucky couple on holiday in Mexico.  Bacteria, viruses and other microbes find perfect breeding grounds where many people are close together such as in a hotel or onboard a cruise ship, particularly where hygiene is not up to scratch.

Illnesses such Norovirus, Salmonella, Campylobacter, e.coli, shigella, and Legionnaires’ disease can be picked up from an unclean water supply, or consuming contaminated food or drink. They can cause, vomiting, diarrhoea, dysentery or worse and completely ruin a family’s holiday. In more serious cases hospital treatment may be required. Complications can also come after the infection.  We have seen cases of clients developing Irritable Bowell Syndrome and reactive arthritis following illness contracted abroad. These illnesses are completely avoidable if the hotel follows basic hygiene rules.

Here are some tips to help ensure you do not end your holiday with a nasty illness:

  • Always ensure hot food is piping hot.
  • Check that chilled food is cold.  Cold meats, cheeses, dips and sauces are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria if not correctly chilled or left out for too long.
  • Birds, cats and dogs roaming the resort can carry all sorts of nasty infections, and certainly should not be allowed near the food preparation areas.
  • Very often, the only safe water is from a sealed bottle. Ice cubes may need to have been made with boiled or bottled water and in certain countries it is advisable to avoid ice altogether.
  • If something is under-cooked or tastes wrong, stop eating it and let the restaurant staff know.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water after using the bathroom and before you eat. Carry some hand sanitising gel for when you go to eat if not provided at the hotel buffet.
  • Take it easy. You’re on holiday! Try to enjoy yourself.

If you do become ill then make sure:

  • You drink plenty of water so that you do not become dehydrated
  • The illness is reported to the hotel and your tour representative and ask for a copy of the report.
  • You are treated by a doctor.
  • You keep all paperwork provided.
  • If the food is of poor quality or hygiene standards are lower than you would expect, take photographs.
  • On your return home, ensure that a stool or blood sample is taken.

Hopefully these tips will ensure that you have a worry free and illness free holiday.

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