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Brits Taking Risks When Holidaying Abroad Summer 2009

Personal_Finance / Social Issues Jul 07, 2009 - 08:32 PM GMT

By: MoneySupermarket


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleCountless campaigns warn Brits about the dangers associated with sun burn, binge drinking and having unprotected sex whilst on holidays.  But despite this, a third of Brits (33 per cent) are more likely to take risks on holiday abroad and do things that they wouldn't at home, according to research released by travel comparison site

  • Brits are more likely to risk their health and safety whilst on holiday abroad
  • Alcohol, sun, holiday freedom and atmosphere leave them less guarded
  • All day drinking binges, suffering serious sunburn and walking home alone late at night top the poll of 'silly things' Brits admit they do

The research also highlights the extent Brits put themselves at risk for a good time, often not giving their health and personal safety a second thought, identifying the top holiday misdemeanours as:

  1. All day drinking (24 per cent)
  2. Serious sunburn (20 per cent)
  3. Walking home alone late at night (17 per cent)
  4. Having a holiday fling (16 per cent)
  5. Suffering sunstroke or heatstroke after too much sun and not enough water (15 per cent)

Worryingly, top excuses given for reckless behaviour abroad are the mix of alcohol, sun and a holiday atmosphere leaving people more relaxed (60 per cent), the opinion that holidays are about having fun so they'll do whatever they want (55 per cent) and a lack of knowledge about local laws and customs (nine per cent).

Bob Atkinson, travel expert from, said: "It's not hugely surprising that many holidaymakers are a bit more 'relaxed' about things on holiday - it's usually why people go away in the first place.  However, they do need to be very careful and think about what they're doing and more importantly the impact this could have on their holiday.

"Risking your health by drinking too much alcohol and not enough water, or staying out in the sun too long is one thing, but putting personal safety and security on the line could put holidaymakers in danger - and on the wrong side of the law, as recent media reports have shown."

Whilst men are found to be more likely to act foolishly on holiday than their female counterparts (37 per cent compared to 29 per cent) the under 30s is the age group most likely to put themselves at risk, with over half (53 per cent) admitting to misbehaving on tour.  Additionally, 12 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds have had unprotected sex and more than one in 10 (14 per cent) of all Brits have not worn a seatbelt whilst in a car - as a driver or passenger.

Bob Atkinson concluded: "You can still have fun, but take necessary precautions - find out a bit about your destination before visiting, be sensitive to local customs and acceptable behaviour in foreign cultures, be vigilant whilst away and remember - you don't have to go crazy to have a good time."

With the school and university summer holidays about to start, many young people might be about to embark on their first holiday without their parents.  To help navigate the potential dangers, has come up with a handy holiday safety checklist:

  1. Buy a guide book or have a look online to find out a bit about the country you are visiting.  Try and learn one or two basic phrases in the local language
  2. Don't look too much like a tourist - don't flash the cash or wear expensive jewellery and look after any expensive camera equipment as tourists are easy targets
  3. Avoid poorly lit streets late at night
  4. Dress appropriately when out and about unless you're in an area where it's ok to wear what you like - cultures can be different and 'bling' can attract crime
  5. Never carry luggage or any items for someone else through customs
  6. If you are driving always check the licence requirements of the area - always carry your driver's licence with you, do not give lifts to strangers and never drink and drive
  7. Always find out what the local laws and customs are regarding alcohol. Many countries have strict laws and penalties for breaking them. Never bring alcohol into a country where it is prohibited
  8. Always keep your passport and tickets in a safe place - in some countries you are required to keep your passport on you at all times. Make sure you take a photocopy of all your important travel documents and leave with your parents or friends at home
  9. Be aware of sexual health risks - make sure you use protection and take items such as condoms with you. Even if you don't use them you might help a friend. It's better to be over prepared
  10. Use high factor sun creams and reapply regularly, especially after going in water.   Take a hat and try to stay out of the sun in the hottest part of the day from 11am - 3pm.  Drink plenty of water.  If you do show symptoms then stay inside and keep cool.  If these persist consult a doctor using your travel insurance policy if required.

Finally, whilst it is always advisable to take care when travelling abroad, don't forget that you are on holiday, so relax and enjoy yourself. Use common sense and don't take any unnecessary risks and you'll then have a holiday to remember for the right reasons.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, taken from research carried out on behalf of by Opinium in June 2009, among 2,003 adults residing in the UK.


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Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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