According to a survey of around 2000 travellers Spain is the food poisoning capital of the world. The European country surprisingly rated higher than the likes of Thailand and India, which are arguably more notorious for making tourists sick.
Turkey and Egypt follow closely behind Spain as the second and third most likely places to get sick abroad. Many of the holidaymakers surveyed said that getting sick while travelling ruined their holiday and over half said that it spoiled the holiday for those travelling with them.
International law firm Slater and Gordon, who represent many sick travellers, commissioned the survey and claim that the number of people who request help after they become ill is definitely on the rise.
“Thankfully the majority of foreign travellers have a happy and healthy time abroad – but illness can turn a much-needed holiday into a miserable experience,” said Paul McClorry, the head of Travel Law at Slater and Gordon.
“Fortunately most illnesses caused by food poisoning are short-lived and can be easily treated, but others, like salmonella, can be a lot more serious and have life-changing effects,” he added.
According to the survey nearly half of people say hygiene concerns would factor into their decision to visit a destination. While 25 per cent of people said that local food would come into consideration when choosing where to holiday.
When dining out abroad, 62 per cent of people answered they were not always completely sure of what they were ordering, although nearly half say they try to avoid ice in their drinks. The results also indicated that one out of every six people who became ill during their travels are admitted to hospital.
Around one third admitted they would often stay in 4 or 5 star luxury accommodations as they believed they had a lower chance of getting sick. However Mr McClorry disagrees, “it often doesn’t matter whether it’s a budget resort or you’ve broken the bank. If it’s not clean or the food isn’t cooked correctly then you could still get caught out.”
Top 10 places most likely to get sick while travelling
- Spain 30%
- Turkey 15%
- Egypt 13%
- Greece 12%
- France 12%
- Italy 8%
- America 7%
- India 7%
- Morocco 6%
- Thailand 6%
Before you travel there are some things that you should keep in mind.
Travel insurance is often the best way to protect you and your companions when holidaying. Ensure that you have comprehensive medical cover and you are aware of whom to contact in an emergency. “Although most people’s travel insurance will cover them for medical expenses while away, they should also be aware that most policies won’t stretch to things like compensating them for time off work once they get home,” said Mr McClorry.
Also, if you are travelling in Europe, you can get a free European Health Insurance Card, which will no doubt help out if you get sick. If you are unlucky and do get sick while travelling, keep all receipts and documents relating to your illness to make it easier when you are making a claim.
To help keep you safe while travelling, check out the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for up-to-date warnings, travel advice and to register your travel details.