How often do Brits have accidents on holiday?
How likely are you to lose your passport on holiday?
How often are Brits arrested in foreign countries?
What are the most dangerous countries for Brits to visit?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office has released a new report into the incidents British nationals encounter on holiday.
We’ve summed up the stats.
You lose your passport on the beach. Your cash is stolen. You slip on the pool steps and sprain your wrist. When something goes wrong on holiday you can suddenly feel a long, long way from home. Thankfully the British government is there for you. From making hospital visits to directing you to the nearest police station, help is never far away thanks to a global network of embassies, high commissions and consulates.
470,000 Brits got in to trouble on their jollies last year. A new report from the FCO details the type of problems - and their prevalence - encountered by British holidaymakers in the twelve months from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015. We’ve summarised the key findings below, but you can view the full report here.
0.78% of British holidaymakers seek consular assistance
We Brits love a holiday! The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that British nationals make roughly 60 million trips abroad each year. In their report, the FCO reveal that they handled 470,000 enquiries. Consular staff intervened to offer serious assistance on 17,058 occasions - a 3% drop from 2013/2014.
Where do British travellers encounter the most accidents?
That depends if you judge by case number or case frequency.
The number of cases of assistance given to British nationals is higher in countries that British holidaymakers visit most. (Spain isn’t a dangerous country, but there are high case numbers because it’s been visited by more 12 million sun-seeking Brits.) More revealing is the relative proportion of British nationals that need assistance in each given country.
Thailand and the Philippines have a disproportionately high number of deaths and hospitalisations, while Jamaica and Egypt have high levels of drug arrests and detentions. For more on the reasons behind the frequency of consular assistance, take a look at the FCO’s full report.
“Have you got the passports?” It’s a question you’re likely to hear from your nearest and dearest countless times during your getaway. And you’d be wise to check. 20,663 British passports went missing on holiday last year after they were lost or stolen. Add in passport damage to the mix and you can see why the FCO winded up issuing 37,890 Emergency Travel Documents, up by more than 6,000 from 2013/2014.
Not only is losing your passport a massive hassle, it’s also a security risk and should always be reported. Passports - not least British ones - are valuable documents and you could become a victim of identity theft if yours goes missing. Make two copies of your photo page, leaving one at home with friends/family and taking the other with you (or save a scanned copy securely online). Where permitted, use a photocopy of your passport as ID and store your passport safely at your hotel. If your passport is with you, keep it concealed.
3,250 hospitalisations - and they’re on the rise
3,250 hospitalisations out of 60 million trips abroad may not sound a lot. But it’s 3,250 too many - and an increase of 3% from last year. They say you can’t put a price on health, but foreign hospitals sure can. You could end up paying thousands to treat something as seemingly straightforward as a broken arm.
Avoid overly risky behaviour and don’t do anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with at home. Ensure your travel insurance covers you for any sports and activities you intend to enjoy - especially the high-octane ones - and bag yourself a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It entitles you to the same level of free healthcare as the locals receive.
4,770 travellers check-in at the clink
Brits abroad are more likely to spend the night in a prison cell than in a hospital bed. Sure, there’s some misbehaviour. But many people get caught out by seemingly innocuous acts that they don’t realise are illegal in the country they are visiting. You could even make the grim discovery that your prescription medication is illegal.
The good news is that arrests are down 12% on last year. Bone up on the laws and customs of your destination before you leave. The FCO cannot get you released if you are detained for breaking the rules - whether you knew you were doing it or not. And your travel insurance may not cover you for missing your flight back to Blighty.
An 11% fall in deaths
Sometimes the unthinkable happens. Thankfully holiday deaths are down 11% on last year’s numbers, but there were still 3,670 British fatalities during 2014/2015. Repatriation never costs less than £1,000 and can be as much as £17,000. A good travel insurance policy is essential. (We offer up to £5 million medical cover, including repatriation.)
Want to stay safe? A little preparation goes a long way.
Nobody wants to imagine the unexpected happening to them on holiday. But the FCO urges travellers to take responsibility for their own safety abroad. That means researching the country you are visiting, checking FCO travel advice and taking out comprehensive travel insurance before you go.