Tips for Holiday Travel Safety

As Spring brings warmer weather, people make holiday plans away from home and work. Families review cruise literature, driving tour options and estimate costs of lodging, food and souvenirs. Rarely, however, do they consider the unfortunate possibility of accident or injury while on holiday. Allowing for the possibility and preparing for it doesn’t mean cramping your holiday style: It just means that you have foresight and wisdom.

Accommodations, Medications and Treatment

Before finalising your holiday plans, seek customer reviews on area restaurants, hotels and locations. Your brochure may boast of “comfortable, convenient rooms” included in your holiday tour, but reality may reveal that “convenient” may be right next to the airport with planes landing and taking off at all hours of the day and night, making sleep a near-impossibility. “Comfortable” may have applied thirty years ago when the mattress was new or before the mildew overtook the carpet and tile.

Don’t hesitate to contact hotels directly and ask for photos of the actual and current accommodations included in your travel package. Ask when the lodging was last inspected and about maintenance issues. Often, discovering after arriving that your allergies are aggravated by the conditions or that you have difficulty breathing in the room provided may be too late to make alternate arrangements.

Notify your travel agent who booked the tour of any medical conditions or allergies you have prior to booking. Just make the notification in writing, so there’s no mistaking or misunderstanding the information you provide and for which they must accommodate in the arrangements made on your behalf.

If you do have a medical condition, check with your physician regarding your travel plans. Ensure you have enough medication to extend beyond your travel times. It’s better to have more on hand than immediately needed in case your stay is extended. Coordinate with him local physicians who can treat you or prescribe medications should those actions be needed. When you purchase your travel insurance make sure you declare all medical conditions for yourself and any people travelling with you.

When You Plan on Driving

When you plan on driving on holiday, ensure your vehicle meets safety guidelines of the host country. Ensure you are insured according to those requirements. Ensure you have all certifications and documents with you whenever you are in that vehicle: Check each time you re-enter the vehicle. Your car could have been targeted by a thief and the information stolen. Discovering that fact later is often too late.

Carry copies of passports and visas on your person. Lock the originals in a reliable safe, often provided by better hotels. Don’t keep valuables and important papers in your room. Don’t keep medications in your room while gone for a few days. Lock those in the hotel safe as well.

Aeroplane and Train Travel

Secure your valuables in lockable luggage. Carry your passports and visas on your person, but store copies of each in every suitcase you bring. Include medical alerts and medications lists too.

Ask the airlines or train operators if there are medical restrictions to travel on their conveyances.

Above all, purchase travel insurance against which you can file a claim if you are injured or your property stolen or damaged whilst on holiday. Even if the travel agency or hired car agency states in the contract that they are not liable under certain conditions, be aware that exceptions do exist occasionally.

Injury or Illness

Regardless of contract phrasing, the owner/operator or agent may be at least partially liable if you are injured or contract an illness or have a medical condition exacerbated by unsafe or unhealthy conditions.

Each country has its own laws and statutes regarding injuries and accidents, but you might be able to file a claim against a UK company even if the occurrence was in a foreign country. If you are hurt, have allergy or a medical condition that are escalated on foreign soil due to arrangements made by a UK organisation, and that organisation was notified of those conditions before you left, you may be entitled to compensation.

Fortunately, the UK standards are met or exceeded by most travel agencies, but sometimes, you travel to Europe, for example, without the assistance of a travel agency. You still might be entitled to some level of compensation for those same conditions: Seek competent and knowledgeable advice from a specialist in the legal community such as Often, initial consultations are free, so don’t spend money to talk to an expert when it’s not needed.

Don’t sign a waiver of liability if you are simply offered a free upgrade on a hotel or a different hired car to drive.

Be informed. Be prepared, and above all, be safe this holiday season.