After 5 years of frugal living and holidaying in a safe spot we know and can rely on fulfilling our needs, next year looks like it might be a little different. It’s not that there is much extra money around, but there is a little and we are beginning (some of us!) to be ready to stretch our wings a little. While our holiday last week required only one trip to A&E, I can guarantee that if we were abroad we would need medical attention at least twice; frankly I was amazed Amelie managed her trip to Paris the other week without activating the emergency back up plan!
Accidents are a part of life, and preparing for any eventuality is something we all have to learn to do, especially when travelling or on holiday. Luckily for you, there are several easy steps you can take to minimise risk – the first of which is remembering to get or renew your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling through Europe.
So what then, are the most common accidents, pitfalls and mistakes people can fall foul of when going on holiday?
Skiing or other snow sport accidents
Ski resorts throughout Europe are popular destinations for skiing enthusiasts, novices and tourists from all over the world. It might not be a surprise to many that hurtling down a snowy mountain is a dangerous activity! Those who are under instruction and guidance are obviously less at risk from these kinds of things, but novices who bite off more than they can chew and semi-experienced skiers are the most at risk. Broken bones are by far the most common ski injuries, although other worse things do happen.
Make sure you have your EU health card (formerly known as the E111 card) renewed and with you before you go, to cover your stay in any European hospital should you have need of it after an accident on the slopes. You’ll need comprehensive travel insurance too, as the EHIC does not cover mountain rescue.
The humble swimming pool – not exactly a sight associated with danger and accidents, but a surprising number of holidaymakers and travellers are injured each year in or by the pool. Diving into shallow waters is a common cause of these accidents, and slips and falls around the pool edges also occur – especially when alcoholic drinks and hot weather are involved. To minimise your chances of having a poolside disaster, pay careful attention to any family or friends who are messing about by the pool’s edge and always check the depth of the water before you jump in. Again, sorting out your EHIC renewal before you set off is a good idea, or you could end up both stranded in a foreign country and in financial difficulty after adding up all the medical bills.
While the overwhelming majority of restaurants and hotels can surely be trusted, it only takes one rogue operator with an unhygienic kitchen to give you and your travelling companions food poisoning. Add to that the stomach upsets that can occur after a swift change in diet or water supply, and you could be looking at a serious disruption to your holiday. Whilst serious cases don’t occur very regularly, it could always happen to you so carrying an EHIC card to cover any medical costs or pharmaceuticals you may need is probably the best thing you can do.
Bugs and viruses can be a problem when travelling abroad. Luckily, there are a few easy steps you can take to avoid them: getting the appropriate vaccinations before you leave, drinking bottled water instead of unfamiliar local tap water, and avoiding raw or uncooked food.
Driving causes many accidents all over the world, every day. Add to that the difficulty of navigating unknown areas, family distractions, foreign road signs and different driving rules and it’s obvious why you should be careful when driving abroad. Doing your research into local laws, brushing up on the language and planning your routes ahead of time are three steps you can take to minimise the risk of accidents and reduce the stress of sorting this all out at the time – which nobody wants to do when they’re on holiday.
This is a collaborative post.