It is a cold time of year now, where summer is a distant memory and it’s getting dark so early. It is nice to get away, we all need something to cheer us up. It could be a weekend away in the UK, a visit to Christmas markets in Europe, or a long-haul trip to chase some sun on the other side of the world.
I’ve had quite a few winter holidays abroad in my lifetime, and many short winter breaks in the UK, like Brighton for a hot drink on the pier, and Birmingham for the Christmas market. My birthday is in February – the coldest month – so I’ve had winter holidays to Malta, Lisbon, Madrid. Growing up, my family used have December holidays in Bangladesh, and it was hot then. My husband and I had an October honeymoon in Hawaii – again HOT! So you can find warmth in winter – you just have to travel a looooong way for it.
The thing about travelling far is that you do have to be prepared in case you get ill. It can be a nightmare, especially if you are in Asia. When I was 19, I got food poisoning in Bangladesh and it was awful. Luckily there was lots of family to look after me. But it’s not just Asia, even on our honeymoon in Hawaii I got a bit of a tummy bug. It can be the heat, contaminated water, undercooked food.
If you are lucky, you will avoid getting ill, but it’s best to be prepared. Below are things I would suggest packing in your suitcase, as a winter holiday health kit, as well as tips to avoid getting ill.
What To Pack
- First Aid Kit – this can be a small one that doesn’t take up to much suitcase space – there’s a good St John’s Ambulance travel kit that you can get in Boots for £11.99. It has an insect cooling spray, sterile medical wipes, waterproof plasters, blister plasters, an adhesive wound dressing, a stretch bandage, microporous tape, an eye wash phial, burn gel sachets, an emergency face shield, gloves, a splinter remover and a First Aid guide.
- Rehydration Sachets, like Dioralyte. Just incase you get dehydrated from too much sun or a tummy bug. It is actually quite dangerous for your body to get dehydrated, so it’s important to drink lots of water, and these sachets will replace lost salts quickly.
- Diarrhoea Tablets, such as Imodium. Incase you get a tummy bug. A completely different diet abroad can disagree with you easily, and there is a danger at all-inclusive buffets where food can be undercooked, been re-heated or poorly prepared. If you get a tummy bug, having these tablets to hand can get you feeling better quicker.
- Hand Sanitiser – in case you are out and there’s nowhere to wash your hands.
How to avoid getting ill
- When you have food brought out to you, make sure it’s piping hot. You want to ensure it’s been cooked properly.
- Drink bottled water, and asked for unopened bottled water at restaurants. Avoid drinking tap water or any drinks that may have been made using tap water, like fruit squash, smoothies, ice cubes or crushed ice.
- Foods that are potentially unsafe include shellfish, unpasteurised cheese, salad, raw vegetables, undercooked meat, eggs, mayonnaise. Avoid if you can.
- ALWAYS wash your hands before eating, and after going to the loo. The amount of bacteria that can be on your hands is insane, so wash properly with soap, get in between the fingers and under the nails.
- Keep your fingernails clean and short.
- Make sure cutlery and plates are clean before you use them.
- Peel fruit or wash in sterile water before you eat them.
If you are unlucky enough to get a tummy bug on holiday that lasts 5 days or more, and it wasn’t your fault, you might be entitled to compensation. You can find out more from Your Legal Friend, who have 30 years’ experience in the legal industry and know that when you need a law firm, you want knowledge and reliability. They are specialists that deal with illnesses abroad and are there to help.
Claiming for illness on holiday is covered by The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations Act. If you or someone in your party gets ill and you paid for an all-inclusive holiday where you ate only in the hotel, then you can make a claim.
I hope you found that useful, and if you are going abroad this winter, at least now you can be prepared and enjoy your holiday.