Frequently Asked Questions
Tasting new and different foods abroad is a big part of your holiday experience, but it is worth remembering that standards of hygiene do vary from country to country. Many of our long haul destinations are still developing countries. While we work closely with our hoteliers to promote good hygiene practices, we would recommend you to take the utmost care when choosing to eat outside of the hotel. Heat and humidity abroad, combined with alcohol and new foods, can cause minor stomach upsets. Also, do not drink alcohol before swimming and try to avoid it when sun bathing as this will dehydrate you.
A high proportion of the accidents that are reported to us every year are road accidents. The rules of the road can be very different, drivers are not always obliged to stop at pedestrian crossings, and you may need to look the other way when crossing the road! Driving overseas is a great way to explore, and you can book car hire through your holiday rep at anytime. Please be aware of local regulations however, and never drink and drive, as this is an offence in most countries. With regard to mopeds, variable road conditions and drivers' attitudes towards them can make riding mopeds a dangerous option overseas, particularly for those unused to riding them at home. We do not recommend moped or motorbike hire in any resort, even for experienced riders.
It is extremely unlikely that the pool in your holiday accommodation will have a lifeguard. It is therefore important to remember, especially when travelling with children, to take a few minutes to familiarise yourself and your party with the pool area on arrival. Children must always be accompanied by an adult in the pool, including children's pools and surrounding areas, and at all other times. Familiarise yourself with any flag warning systems that may be in operation on local beaches, and take into account local conditions.
We do work closely with the suppliers of the coaches we use for your transfers and excursions. In all resorts however, we would ask you to always remain seated until the coach has stopped, wear the seat belt if one is provided, never leave luggage in the aisle and do not allow children under 12 to sit in the front seats or those next to the rear exit.
Please watch your personal belongings such as handbags and cameras when you are out and about in your resort. We would recommend that you only take with you the cash you will need for that day, and leave valuables in a safety deposit box. Remember to lock your door at night and when you go out during the day, as you would at home.
Balconies and glass doors and panes around your accommodation are areas where we have identified that serious accidents can occur, especially in the first few days of your holiday when you are unfamiliar with your surroundings. The height and designs of balconies may vary from country to country and very few hotels are legally obliged to install "toughened" or safety glass in their windows, doors and panes. We work closely with our hoteliers to try to reduce the likelihood of accidents happening in these areas, however, we would also like to raise your awareness by highlighting the following common sense tips:
Hoteliers and suppliers should meet local and national safety standards, however these vary widely across the programme and rarely match those standards that we enjoy in the UK, only a minority of hotels and apartments meet European Commission recommendations on fire safety. We nevertheless seek to raise standards in all of our destinations. You will receive a Safety First leaflet on arrival in resort, please take a few minutes of your time to familiarise yourself with the information that it contains.
We promote good hygiene practices within hotels, but the hygiene standards in some foreign countries, particularly developing destinations, are generally much lower than in the UK. Care should be taken to minimise the risk of holiday sickness, especially among pregnant women, infants and the elderly. Your GP can provide you with health advice and we recommend that you consult your doctor well in advance before travelling.
It is very important to bear in mind that different countries have different fire regulations and procedures, and that in some resorts local regulations, designed to preserve the historic nature or aesthetic beauty of the property, may prevent the hotelier from providing the level of fire safety that you're accustomed to in the UK. When you first arrive at the hotel you should plan how you and your party would leave your hotel or apartment if the fire alarm sounds. To help, familiarise yourself with the following:
UK standards are among the highest in the world, but many developing countries and resorts still have a long way to go to bring their transport, accommodation and services up to the level you normally take for granted. This applies to many European resorts, as well as more exotic destinations. We are continually working to raise safety standards overseas and will of course do our best to ensure that your holiday is safe and trouble free, but we do ask that you take extra care while you are away. For more details on health and safety advice, visit www.masta.org and www.doh.gov.uk.
If your accommodation has a gas cooker, always double check that it has been turned off properly, as you would do at home. In many cases you will find that the gas is supplied direct from a bottle and as an extra precaution you should turn off the supply at the bottleneck when it is not in use. It is not our policy not to use accommodation with an internal, instantaneous individually supplied gas water heater. If you find such a heater in your accommodation, please advise your Holiday Rep or call the 24-hour Holidayline immediately.
Balconies, lifts, playgrounds and swimming pools are just some of the areas that we know accidents occur, so please remember to supervise your children at all times. Before using a cot, ensure that vertical bars are not more than 10cms apart, and that the mattress fits snugly into the base. If the side bar is adjustable make sure that it is high enough to prevent an infant from climbing out. Cots and highchairs should be sturdy and free from any sharp edges. If you have any concerns, please contact your Holiday Rep or call the 24-hour Holidayline immediately. We take advice from leading UK child safety organisations and accident prevention agencies, to ensure that standards are as high as possible. Parents should check that they are happy with hotel operated clubs and children's facilities, including playgrounds.
Very few hotels and apartments provide non-slip mats in their baths and showers; however, in some hotels they are available upon request. You will find that bathroom floors abroad are often tiled and you may be using a bath or shower tray, which is not familiar to you. Please take extra care to ensure you do not slip.
Some hotel and apartment lifts do not have internal doors. This means that the inside of the lift is exposed to the lift shaft itself. As the lift travels up and down, a "moving wall" effect is created. If you come across this kind of lift, make sure you stand well clear of the moving wall. Do not allow children to travel inside any lift without being accompanied by an adult, and never try to obstruct lift doors when they are closing.
For your own safety, please exercise proper caution when handling electrical appliances and supervise closely any children who are doing so. We recommend that if you have brought any electrical appliances with you from the UK, that you use the required adaptor suitable for the local voltage.
You can contact the local emergency services (ambulance, fire-fighters, police) in any EU country by calling 112 – the European emergency phone number.
Calls to 112 are always free of charge – and you can call from fixed phones or mobile phones. This number is available 24/7.
Please note, the 112 number should only be used in the case of sudden, real threat to life, health, safety, environment or property and when emergency service rapid assistance is needed.