Revealed: The ‘hidden’ dangers of visiting your favourite holiday destination


Idyllic sunshine getaways play host to a string of deadly potential accidents that can catch out unwary tourists.

Shocking Foreign Office figures show a whopping 26,000 Brits have ended up in A&E In the last eight years while abroad.

Some were victims of crime, others were ill but many Brits end up there through accidents.

This summer tourists need to be on guard against Camel ride accidents, crocodiles, highway pirates, fire eaters, Henna tattoos and Legionnaires disease.

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Nick Harris, head of travel at Simpson Millar solicitors in Leeds, says accidents that can easily be avoided are still happening.

He says that tourists often let their guard down while enjoying the sun abroad and that is when disaster strikes.

Nick, who has handled hundreds of accident claims across the world, said: “For most of us, as soon as we step onto the plane we are on holiday mode and people let their hair down. People behave differently and that is when they may get in trouble.

“There are lots of hazards about and certain countries seem to have more than their fair share of accidents. People let their hair down and when something happens it can have life changing consequences. Luckily people who have been injured in an accident on a package holiday have up to three years to get legal assistance. Things we take for granted in the UK may not apply abroad – the safety standards that exist overseas are sometimes not as stringent as back home. You need to be on guard and keep your wits about you or you can easily end up in hospital. “

He says this years most likely accident hotspots countries are Spain, Canary Islands, Greece and Turkey.

This handy map compiled in conjunction with Simpson Millar solicitors shows some of the biggest problems that tourists may face at the most popular holiday destinations this summer.

Nick says he has dealt with dozens of people getting injured before even arriving on holiday with burns from scalding drinks on the plane or being injured by unsecured cabin bags in overhead lockers hitting them on take off and landings.

He said: “This can end a holiday before it has even started so make sure you keep aware of your surroundings.”

But it is when you arrive in resort that you really need to be on guard.

In Spain, the Costas and Balearics tourists need to beware of toddlers drowning in pools at the start and end of their holidays and also walking into glass balcony doors which can cause horrific injuries.

Also be on the lookout for ‘highway pirates’ – criminals posing as cops to rob tourists on motorways and at service areas.

Those travelling to Greece and Cyprus need to be wary of the road as the countries have some of the highest driving death rates in Europe. Also watch out for badly constructed handrails on stairs which regularly catch out Brits as well as kids Henna tattoo artists who leave children’s arms scarred for life.

Because their water pipes are shut down in winter, Mr Harris claims, holidaymakers are at risk from Legionnaires’ disease at the start of summer.

He advises to open the doors and windows and run the shower and taps for at least ten minutes to get rid of any stagnant water in the pipes.

In Turkey hazards include fire eating barmen who have left unwary tourists with burn injuries while those visiting waterparks have been left with life changing injuries on poorly designed slides. While many resorts have slippery floors which have left Brits unable to work after falling and suffering serious accidents.

Nick added: “Unfortunately accidents in hotel resorts and waterparks are quite common in Turkey and Spain and sometimes they leave horrific injuries for life. I have one victim who was injured on a waterslide who is still unable to walk properly or return to work six years later.

“People also regularly get injured by slipping while walking on the grounds or in the lobby or on walkways in their resorts. Make sure you wear shoes with a good grip or you could end up in trouble.”

Outside Europe, other troublesome countries include Egypt, apparently known for the world’s ‘filthiest money’ thanks to the habit of storing it in shoes , where tourists get injured on Camel and balloon rides.

Trips in lifts and waterpark accidents feature in Canary Islands top risks.

On Caribbean and Med Cruises tourists have to watch out for runaway trolleys, broken and scalding pipes and sickness.

Brits heading to Dominican Republic have to watch out for fraudsters cloning their credit cards.

While in Mexico tourists must dodge hijackers, ‘express kidnappers’ - where victims are forced to withdraw cash from credit cards to secure their release, carjackers as well as Cyclospora, a nasty bug which has infected Brits in Riveria Maya four years in a row.

And in the popular resort of Cancun, tourists are warned by the Foreign Office to avoid lagoons following a spate of crocodile attacks.

Nick added: “Long haul destinations like Dominican Republic and Mexico are still developing countries so they come with all kinds of problems and risks.

“Crimes rates are typically much higher and as people are relaxing on holiday they often let their guard down and that is when criminals strike. If you are on a package holiday it is the travel company’s responsibility to look after you and this includes ensuring that you are reasonably safe.

“If you have an accident or something happens make sure you keep a note of everything that happens and get photos or video evidence if you can. You have up to three years from the time of an incident to make a claim if you are on a package holiday.”

Luckily Nick also has some tips and sensible advice to help you and your family stay safe this summer:

* When travelling to and from the airport in a courtesy transfer coach it may be tempting to relax and not take safety precautions. But there have been crashes where tourists have been seriously injured. As soon as you sit down put on your seatbelt as you would at home and also safely secure your luggage as if there is an accident these may end up injuring you.

* Check the poolside to see if you can spot any broken tiles or slippery sections also look into the water and check that their are no broken pumps or openings on the side of the pool that your children could get their arms caught in.

* Look around the cabaret areas for any potential unfixed fittings or stage props as these have injured people in the past. Also give the children’s playground the once over before your child plays as they may have broken rides that can cause nasty injuries.

* Be wary of getting your child a Henna tattoo on holiday no matter how much they what one as they may be left scarred for life. Take caution even with getting them done in your resort as these may also be unsuitable for children’s skin.

* Take extra care in water parks. Waterslide safety standards are sometimes not as high as in the UK and tourists are left with life changing injuries every year. If you really want to go on a slide, sit where you can watch people coming down it for a while before trying it out. Also take care when gong to and from the bar or ice cream stall as the slippy floor often catches out unwary Brits putting them in hospital.

* Make sure you run the taps on your shower and bath for ten minutes when you arrive in your room with the doors and windows open as the pipes may be harbouring potentially deadly Legionnaires disease.