ABTA’s Top Tips For Healthy, Risk-Free Holidays
As the Summer holidays get into full swing, many of us, including us over 50s, are looking forward to a holiday away. But holiday travel can itself present its own challenges, particularly when it comes to health. Nikki White of the UK’s largest travel association, ABTA, gives The Best of Health her top tips and travel advice for health risk-free travelling.
Travel for the over 50s
So perhaps your children have left the nest, or you’re looking forward to enjoying your retirement with the freedom and opportunities to travel that these life changes can bring. Well, travel is a very popular option at this time of life and ABTA research consistently finds that the over 50s take substantially more foreign trips than other age groups. However, travel can present its own challenges in relation to health and safety issues. Here are some of ABTA’s top travel tips to help ensure your trip is as problem free as possible.
Travel with Travel Insurance
Every year ABTA sees examples of members of the public who have travelled uninsured, fallen ill and been presented with substantial medical costs, sometimes running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Apart from hospital costs, if you require an air ambulance to get you home, this will cost £15,000 to £30,000 depending on the length of flight. The temptation can be to take the risk and not bother with insurance, or to keep quiet about previous health issues, can be a strong one. But you should not give into it, particularly as you will probably be unable to claim if you have not let your insurance company know about any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.
The travel insurance market is highly competitive so shop around and also have a conversation with your insurance company about your general health. Many now take a much more sensible approach to the likelihood of you having to claim and set premiums at a much more reasonable level rather than quoting based just on your age.
Many people rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical cover. Although it is useful to have one, EHICs only provide access to state medical care throughout the European Union and one or two other countries. Bear in mind that the standard of state medical care varies widely; many services are not provided free of charge and an EHIC card will not cover the costs of an air ambulance back to the UK, or hotel expenses for your partner if you have a lengthy stay in hospital.
Holidaying with Medication
In most cases, taking a medication should not stop you from going on holiday. There are however, a number of precautions you should take before you set off on your holiday. It may be essential to have a letter from your doctor stating your need for the medication – in case you lose your medicine and need more, and, particularly if you’re visiting a country with strict drug controls. You should always be ready to show this letter to customs officers.
You should also make sure you have enough medication with you to see you through the holiday and allow for any possible delays. If you’ve got diabetes and are on medication or have a dietary restriction, you and your doctor should work out an individual schedule for meal times, taking into account the length of your journey and any time zones.
If flying, ask your doctor if your impairment makes you vulnerable to circulation problems. On board, particularly during long-haul flights, regularly do a bit of mild exercise, such as walking up and down the aisle, and wear support stockings. This will help to minimise the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis.
For further advice on an essential first aid kit for travelling safely, please click on this link.
Travelling and Stomach Upsets
Stomach problems are often caused by unclean tap water. So avoid salads or ice cubes which may have been washed in, or made from, tap water. If you want a cold drink, order a bottled one taken from a fridge. Always make sure that your food has been properly cooked and, if in doubt, don’t eat it.
Inoculations for Risk-Free Holidays
The over 50s are a very adventurous bunch and often travel to far-flung exotic destinations. If you are travelling outside of Western Europe, North America or Australasia you may encounter a number of potential health risks, many of which can be prevented by having taken the appropriate jabs or medication. These can include protection against serious diseases such as hepatitis, yellow fever or malaria. Insect bites are also often the source of many infections, so always ensure that you use an effective insect repellent and take appropriate clothing. Ideally, you should contact a health professional at least eight weeks prior to travel for advice on your destination requirements.
Nikki White is ABTA’s head of destinations and sustainability. For more travel advice and tips from ABTA, visit: http://abta.com
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