Travelling Advice to Follow for a Healthy, Happy Holiday

If you're planning on going away this year to somewhere you've never been before, it's worth keeping some basic travelling advice in mind. After all, the point of a holiday is to enjoy yourself - and if you fall ill or get in an accident, you may find your fun falls a little short of what you expected. Remember, as much as you may not want your holiday spoilt by contemplation of what could go wrong it can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major catastrophe.

Food and Drink

One of the most important pieces of travelling advice to follow is to make sure you eat and drink safely. Unfamiliar foods and drink can cause an upset stomach or diarrhoea, whether due to your digestive system being unprepared for the ingredients themselves - or more likely, unused to the local varieties of bacteria that would be entirely harmless if you had just a little time to get used to them.

It's also very possible that you're visiting a country that doesn't have the same standard level of hygiene that you're used to at home. If that's the case, then potentially you could even contract serious conditions such as cholera or typhoid.

Still, if you follow a few simple tips you'll most likely be fine:

• As always, wash your hands after going to the toilet and before you eat or handle any food.

• Try and stick to fresh food that's been thoroughly cooked - and that's still piping hot.

• If you're at all unsure about the quality of the water then use bottled water, or boil or filter it using a purifier before drinking.

Health - be prepared!

As mentioned, different places have different bacteria, which ultimately means they have different diseases (they can also have different viral infections). Whilst this puts some people off travelling to new climates or environments, in reality with a little preparation you can be fairly confident of keeping your health intact during your stay.

• Make sure you visit or ring your GP as soon as you book your journey, to check whether you need any vaccinations or if you should take along preventive measures such as malaria tablets. These treatments may not be available as NHS prescriptions but they're probably going to be worth the money.

• Double-check your GP's advice against the Foreign Office's website, which includes detailed information on a country-by-country case. There's a small chance your doctor could forget something.

• Make sure you have some kind of health insurance or if you fall ill, you could end up paying a huge medical bill for your treatment. If you're visiting somewhere in the European commonwealth, get a European Health Insurance card and you can get free or discounted healthcare in the EU. If you've going further, make sure you're covered by a suitable insurance package.

• This last point is worth repeating; get some kind of insurance. Even if you don't fall ill due to disease, you can still be injured. If you're hospitalised by an accident or criminal attack, you'll need healthcare and you'll also likely need to change your travel arrangements. You could even need to be repatriated.

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