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Have a safe and healthy holiday

Going on holiday is exciting, a change of scenery, new experiences and cuisine.

Here are some useful tips to help you and the other members in your group enjoy your holiday and avoid possible pitfalls.


Before you travel

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

  • Read the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the country you are visiting, as it provides essential information including entry requirements, medication restrictions, health, safety and security advice, local laws and customs and much more. Revisit the advice just before you travel or sign up to receive FCDO country-specific email alerts, to get important updates.

Travel insurance

  • Ensure you have valid travel insurance with sufficient cover for your holiday and check that holiday activities are covered before participating.
  • Take a copy of your policy and the emergency assistance contact number with you.
  • Remember the free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) only entitles you to basic state medical care in participating countries, it does not cover you for repatriation.
  • Leave a copy of your travel details with your emergency contact.

Preparing for travel

  • Research your destination, consider the local customs, etiquette, and dress codes and pack accordingly.
  • Speak to your GP or travel clinic to check your vaccinations are up to date.


While you’re away

Your journey

  • Carry with you a copy of your holiday booking confirmation, entry requirement and vaccination paperwork together with the contact details of your travel provider.
  • Follow the luggage policy of your transport provider, including any weight and carriage restrictions.
  • Carry a supply of your medication in your hand luggage and check if there are restrictions on both prescription and non-prescription medication.
  • If travelling with children, carry a supply of baby formula, nappies etc. and items such as books, games, devices to keep them occupied.
  • Keep a copy of the ID pages of your passport somewhere safe throughout your holiday.


  • Familiarise yourself with your accommodation including public areas, safety features and the emergency procedures. If you notice any defects or hazards, report them to reception and your travel provider or their local agent.
  • Familiarise yourself with the escape routes and locate the fire exit nearest to your room.
  • If on a cruise, participate in the emergency evacuation drill.


  • Keep accommodation doors locked even when you are inside the room and keep your keys in an accessible place in case of emergency.
  • If available, use the safety deposit box for your money, travel documents, passports, jewellery and other valuables.
  • Don’t leave windows or patio doors open.
  • Exercise caution when opening the door to a visitor and ask them to identify themselves.
  • If you see someone or something that looks suspicious, report it to reception or a member of staff immediately.
  • In the event of a security incident, follow the advice and instruction of the staff or local authorities.
  • If you are caught up in a security incident and are not sure what action to take, follow the guidance to ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ which can be applied to many places and situations both at home and overseas.
Run Hide Tell

Be aware and be safe

  • Never leave children unsupervised.
  • Take extra care in bright sunlight as it may not be obvious whether the windows or patio doors are open or closed.
  • Surfaces such as tiles or marble floors can be very slippery.
  • Keep all furniture away from the balcony wall/railings. Don’t climb or stand on balcony furniture and never lean over, sit, or climb on or over the walls or railings of any balcony, corridor, or walkway.
  • Before closing the door whilst on the balcony, check that there is a handle on the outside.
  • If smoking is permitted, always ensure that smoking materials are safely extinguished.
  • In the event of an emergency, follow the emergency procedures and any instructions provided by the accommodation provider.
  • If self-catering, check how the appliances work and ensure they are switched off when you go to bed or leave the apartment.
  • If you smell gas, report it. Black sooty marks, stains, lazy orange flames or excessive condensation in the room could indicate a faulty gas appliance.

Food and drink

  • Where appropriate, drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.
  • Be aware that alcohol measures abroad may be larger than in the UK.
  • Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked and is still hot when served.
  • Avoid any uncooked food apart from fruits and vegetables or food that can be peeled or shelled.
  • Ask for information on meal ingredients if you have food allergies or intolerances.

Accidents and illness

  • If you or one of your group falls ill or has an accident during your holiday, seek medical advice and report it to the hotel reception, your travel provider/representative, or their local agent.
  • In the event of an accident or incident where alcohol or drugs is considered a factor, this can invalidate travel insurance claims.


  • Remember most holiday accommodations do not employ lifeguards.
  • Children should be supervised by an adult at all times, even if a lifeguard is present.
  • Follow pool rules and check the layout to know where the deep and shallow ends are and only dive where it is permitted to do so.
  • Don’t swim after a meal, drinking alcohol or if you have an upset stomach.
  • Check warning flags and signage on the beach. Only swim where it is permitted and beware of dangerous beach currents and underwater hazards.
  • If you see someone in difficulty raise the alarm.

Care in the sun

  • The sun can be enjoyed safely by using shade, protective clothing, and sunscreen to prevent burning.
  • Apply high-factor sunscreen frequently and drink plenty of water.
  • Take extra care with babies and children in the sun, use plenty of high factor sunscreen, suitable clothing and a hat.
  • In mosquito-prone areas, use insect repellent and during daylight hours spray your repellent on top of your sunscreen.

Out and about

Excursions and activities

  • Always book through a reputable supplier, ask your travel provider for more details.
  • Follow the advice and instructions of the supplier.
  • Make sure your holiday insurance covers any activities you are participating in.

Pedestrians and driving

  • Be aware that in some countries traffic isn’t required to stop at pedestrian crossings.
  • When walking on unpaved or unlit roads during the hours of darkness, use a torch.
  • When hiring a car, take out comprehensive insurance that covers the driver and all passengers and ask the car hire company about the traffic laws and any specific local rules.
  • Always wear a seat belt and never drink and drive.
  • Always carry emergency/breakdown telephone numbers.
  • It is strongly advised that you don’t hire mopeds, motorbikes or quad bikes.

Personal safety

  • When on holiday, apply the same personal safety rules that you would at home.
  • When out and about, avoid carrying too much money or wearing excess jewellery and keep valuables, wallets, bags etc. close to you.
  • Stay with your group, keep your drink with you at all times, or nominate a friend to watch your drinks.
  • Avoid using recreational drugs. They are likely to be illegal in your holiday destination.
  • Avoid poorly lit areas and if possible, never walk home alone.
  • Use licensed taxis, and never accept a lift from an unlicensed taxi or a stranger.
  • In busy bars and clubs, take time to check for fire exits and follow all emergency instructions in the event of an incident.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, report the matter to your travel provider and the local police immediately.