How to keep family and friends safe on holiday

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You’ve packed up half your wardrobe, you’re wearing your sandals on the plane and you’ve had your first in-flight G&T. Things can’t get any better. You and the family are itching to strip off, get some rays on your pasty bodies and hit the pool – but before you drink, eat and swim your way to satisfaction, take a few minutes to make sure you’re all ready to enjoy your holiday safely.

We’ve compiled a list of holiday hazards – and how you can avoid any issues which might cause your plans to go awry. Go mad, by all accounts, but remember – safety first!

Swim and sunbathe safely:

You don’t need us to tell you that the sun is at its hottest from 11am – 2pm; this is the time to get in the shade, apply some more suncream and watch out for burning. It can only take a few minutes to feel the familiar tell-tale tingle. If you’re in the pool or the sea, wear a wide-brimmed hat and a long-sleeved t-shirt to minimise burning.

If you feel dehydrated, faint or a bit dizzy, get in the shade and have some water. Sunstroke is extremely unpleasant, and it’ll take a few days for you to recover.

Wandering off

It goes without saying that small children and babies should never be left unattended, provided they’re not being cared for by professionals, but what of older children? Meet the people they’re seeing, arrange a time that they’ll be back, and make sure that they have enough money for a taxi.

If you’re a gang of adults, the same rules apply. Make sure that your friends know who you’re with, let them know where you’re going, and when you’ll be back. If you get the feeling the people you’re with aren’t totally legit, exercise caution, and pull out. It’s not like you’ll ever see them again.

Eating and drinking:

It’s a myth that you need to wait an hour after eating to swim, but drinking’s an entirely different matter. If you get in the sea or the pool after you’ve had a skinful, you’re asking for trouble. Water and alcohol normally go quite well together, but not where swimming’s concerned – stay away. If you feel like being ‘naughty’, go and sing some out-of-tune karaoke or dance with the bar staff.

Don’t be tempted to take part in any food-related dares if you know you’ll regret it in the morning. Eating a handful of chillies, taking part in a ‘Eat as much as you can in ten minutes’ contest or swallowing a plateful of oysters to impress your mates may well end badly. Eat sensibly. If nothing else, you’ll be able to buckle your seatbelt on the way home.

A word about booze…

It’s expected that you’ll drink a little more than you normally would on holiday, but even so, take care. Avoid sweet-tasting, colourful cocktails – the chances are there’s enough alcohol in them to fell a baby elephant. Drink slowly, don’t ask for ice in your drinks unless you’re sure it was made with bottled water, and make sure there’s always bottled water on your table.

If someone feels ill or has had too much to drink, make sure they know their hotel, they have a key, and they use a taxi to get back. Never, ever allow anyone to walk off alone in a foreign country if they’ve been drinking.

Hotel balconies:

The following places are suitable for ‘larking about’ after a few drinks – nightclubs, bars, restaurants, beaches (just not near the water). Hotel balconies don’t make the list. Google ‘hotel balcony accidents’ to find out why. Please, please, please don’t mess about here.

Stay hydrated:

It’s not rocket science; in a warmer country, you’ll dehydrate faster. Make sure you all have bottled water to hand, and never, ever drink out of the tap unless you’re sure it’s safe to do so. A quick internet search will reveal if the country you’re visiting has ‘safe to drink’ water or not. If it’s on the iffy side, stick to bottled water for drinking and washing your teeth. You should be fine for washing and cooking, as long as the water has boiled.

Poolside safety:

Guess what pool attendants really, really hate? That’s right – people who run around shrieking, and generally getting in the way of toddlers, people carrying drinks, etc. If you’re at the poolside, walk. The chances of you falling over and hurting yourself and someone else are fairly high when you’re charging about on a slippery surface.

Know your numbers:

Make sure you’re aware of the numbers for the local emergency services, your hotel, and your travel insurer. It goes without saying that you should always, always take out travel insurance; bring your documents with you, just in case you need to contact them quickly in the event of an emergency.


This article was written by Vicky Anscombe for Columbus Direct

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