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Travel advice

Young woman on a tropical beach in Thailand relaxing on a hammock.

Going on holiday is an exciting time with the prospect of new experiences ahead, a change of pace and different scenery. While relaxing and letting your guard down is all part of the enjoyment, you may experience some differences that could affect your holiday in an unforeseen way.

Open suitcase on bed with UK passports and pink and blue toothbrushes.

Before you go

We recommend that you check the Foreign and Commonwealth office website to help stay safe overseas and to make informed decisions about travelling abroad. You should only travel if you are fit to travel and able to participate in all part of the services that you have booked to undertake. You will need to comply with the health requirements of your destination, as well as prove that you have any necessary vaccinations for your travel arrangements. Consult your doctor about any health requirements for your destination beforehand and visit IATA Travel Centre to find out what vaccinations you'll need.

Should you need to take any medication with you, check before travel that you are allowed to take it into the country you are visiting. Some countries do not permit certain medicines even though they may be widely accepted in your own country. Take any paperwork or authorisation from your doctor that may be required.

Boy and his mother are embracing while sitting in the shallow sea water.

Take care abroad

Millions of people travel the world each year and enjoy trouble free trips but crimes against people and property are a fact of life. It makes sense to take the same responsibility for your own safety abroad as you would do at home.

Here are some tips you may find useful:

  • Use credit cards where possible to avoid carrying excessive amounts of cash or travellers cheques.
  • Use the hotel’s safety deposit box if there is one.
  • Lock your door even when you’re inside your room, but when you leave make sure you close and lock your windows, doors and balconies.
  • Don’t walk around poorly lit areas and beaches after dark and don’t feel embarrassed about crossing the road if you feel uneasy about someone in the street.
  • Try to use only registered or official taxis, so ask the hotel for guidance.
  • Drink responsibly.

Hints and tips to help you make the most of your holiday

collapsedshowAdventure sports/diving

If you take part in adventure sports during your holiday, check that your instructor is qualified, insured and properly trained. Check that any watersports representatives who may approach you from outside the hotel or on the beach are officially appointed or associated with the hotel. If in doubt, check with the hotel staff. Make sure you research any local vendors, their safety policies and insurance before agreeing to take part.

Remember to check your insurance policy as not all policies include cover for certain types of sports. If you will be using equipment other than your own, don't use anything that looks or feels unsafe.

For safety reasons, you should not do any scuba diving within 24 hours of arriving on your holiday, or within 24 hours of your flight home.

collapsedshowBalconies
  • Children should never be left unsupervised on balconies.
  • Do not climb or stand on balcony furniture and keep all furniture away from the balcony walls and railings.
  • Do not lean over, sit or climb on the balcony wall or railings. The height and design will vary from place to place and few areas are legally obliged to install either toughened or safety glass in windows or doors.
  • In bright sunlight or at night, it can be more difficult to tell if a glass balcony door is closed so please take care not to walk into them.
collapsedshowBathrooms

Few hotels provide non-slip mats in the bathrooms however, in some hotels they are available on request. Tiled bathroom floor surfaces can be slippery when wet so take extra care on wet surfaces.

collapsedshowBeaches

Before you swim, always make sure that the beach is recommended for bathing and that there are no tides, currents or hazards that could make it unsafe. Although many beaches will have lifeguard supervision, you should still familiarise yourself with the flag warning system as well as any rescue service procedures. Some areas are zoned off for watersports activities so be aware if they are present and avoid using any zoned areas.

collapsedshowChildren’s safety
  • Please supervise your children at all times, especially around playgrounds, lifts, balconies and open water, and especially if the evening entertainment on your holiday takes place around a swimming pool.
  • Before you use a cot, make sure that vertical bars are not more than 10cm 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 your child from climbing out. Cots and high chairs should be sturdy and free from sharp edges.
  • Never leave children unattended in a bath, and make sure you check the water temperatures yourself first before allowing your children to use the bath.
collapsedshowContacting local emergency services

When you arrive at a destination, ask what you need to do if you need to contact the emergency services. We suggest you inform your party members and keep all useful telephone numbers in a safe, accessible place, and add the numbers to your mobile phone. If you have any concerns, check that your tour operator has a duty office or helpline telephone number. These numbers should have been given to you with your booking details.

collapsedshowElectrical appliances

Take great care and closely supervise any children when they are close to any plug sockets. Bring suitable adaptors for the local voltage with you.

collapsedshowFire safety

Fire regulations and procedures can differ from country to country and some local regulations may prevent a hotel from providing the level of fire safety that you may be used to, either for historic or aesthetic reasons.

When you first arrive at your hotel, make sure you and your travelling party familiarise yourself with the fire procedures and emergency exits for your accommodation. If there is anything that you don’t understand, always ask.

The following checklist may help:

  • Read the emergency plan which is usually on the back of your room door.
  • Find out where the nearest fire exit is located and walk from your room to at least one escape route, counting the room doors between your own and the fire exit.
  • Find out how to raise the alarm.
  • Keep your room key in the same place by your bed at night.
  • If a fire occurs:
    • raise the alarm and tell reception
    • leave immediately, keeping low to avoid smoke
    • keep your group together
    • use the stairs, never use the lift.
  • If there’s a fire elsewhere in the hotel:
    • take your key and place the back of your hand by the doorknob to check its temperature. If it’s too hot to open or if the corridor is full of smoke, call the reception and tell them that you are unable to leave your room.
  • Close all windows and turn off air conditioning.
  • Fill the bath with water and put wet towels and sheets around the door cracks.
  • Keep calm and listen for any instructions.
collapsedshowFood and drink

A change in climate, different food, very cold drinks and sometimes combined with alcohol may result in an upset stomach, which is not necessarily the result of poor local hygiene or food preparation. Take sensible precautions, especially with raw foods, drinking water and any ice that is in your drinks. We recommend that you drink bottled, purified or boiled water when travelling. Alcohol can dehydrate you so avoid it when sunbathing and do not drink alcohol when you go swimming.

collapsedshowGas safety

Gas Appliances

If you have a gas cooker in your accommodation, always check that it has been turned off when you've finished using it. If the gas is supplied direct from a bottle, turn off the supply at the bottle neck when not in use.

Recognise the signs of faulty gas appliances. Black marks or stains around the appliance, lazy orange flames instead of crisp blue flames and too much condensation are all signs that gas appliances aren't working properly.

If you’re in any doubt about a gas appliance in your accommodation do not use it and speak to the hotel reception, Villa Company or your Tour Operator.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas sometimes produced when fuel-burning appliances malfunction. You can't see or smell CO, but it can be fatal.

Don't mistake carbon monoxide poisoning with other holiday sicknesses, such as food poisoning, dehydration or a hangover. The six main symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.

British Airways Holidays operate a policy to not provide accommodation with internal gas water heaters. If you have booked your hotel or villa with us, and have concerns that there may be a gas water heater within your sleeping accommodation, please contact us immediately. The British Airways Holidays 24 hour helpline number is detailed in your travel documentation.

collapsedshowHotel lifts

In some countries, the lift will only have three sides with a slight gap between the door opening and the lift shaft wall. Always keep children to the rear of the lift.

collapsedshowInsects and other creatures

Various insects and even small lizards should be expected in all tropical destinations, national parks and game reserves. They are a way of life and not a reflection on the standards of hygiene and cleanliness. You can reduce the risk of insect bites by using repellents and covering up, especially during the evening and at night.

Many restaurants are open sided, which means local birds or small animals can visit and may want to share your food, but please don't encourage the birds and animals by feeding them.

collapsedshowSunburn

Where possible avoid the sun when it is at its strongest and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s damaging rays. Hats will help protect your head and face and sunscreen with a suitable sun protection factor is essential from day one of your holiday.

collapsedshowSwimming pools

To ensure you enjoy the swimming pool at your hotel, please read the following advice:

  • Check depth markings around the pool.
  • Supervise children at all times even when they are in the children’s pool or around the pool.
  • Remember that a lifeguard may not be a local requirement.
  • Advise the hotel management immediately if water clarity means you cannot see the bottom of the pool.
  • Do not dive if there are ‘No diving’ signs posted around the pool, or where water depth is less than 1.5 metres.
  • Do not drink alcohol and swim, or swim immediately after eating.
  • Do not swim outside of the pool opening hours, or at night.
  • Check that sun loungers and deck chairs are properly set up before you use them.
collapsedshowTransport

Vehicle hire

Hiring a car is a great way to explore and car hire can be organised with us before you go.

If however you decide upon a company of your own choice, please ensure that it is a well-known reputable company. Before taking charge of any vehicle we suggest you follow these guidelines:

  • If you are not familiar with automatic drive, ask for a run-through from the hire depot agent.
  • Check the bodywork and windscreen.
  • Check that the tyres are in good condition.
  • Check lights, seatbelts, screen wash and wipers.
  • Ensure you read your rental agreement and are happy with the details and any applicable charges before signing. If you are not happy with any aspect of the car or its condition, do not leave the depot and ask for the car to be changed.
  • Familiarise yourself with local regulations.
  • Never drive while under the influence of alcohol.
  • When leaving your car, keep maps, travel information and so on out of sight to reduce being identified as a tourist.
  • Most insurance companies do not cover you for accidents whilst hiring mopeds or scooters due to the potential risks and it is for this reason that we do not recommend the hiring of mopeds or scooters.

Child seats

Laws regarding child-passenger safety vary from country to country. In general, we recommend travelling with your own child seat and where possible ensuring a private transfer is booked as due to their design minibuses are usually unable to be fitted with child seats. When booking car rental or transfers with British Airways, we'll tell you in our booking information if it's possible to request a child seat to be provided locally and any restrictions that may apply in your destination.

Road safety

In some countries, drivers drive on the other side of the road so take care and look the other way first before you cross a road. Not all drivers will stop at a pedestrian crossing either.

collapsedshowValuables
  • Don't draw attention to yourself by wearing valuable accessories or carrying expensive electronic equipment.
  • Keep valuables locked away in your room but don't leave them in your suitcase.
  • If there is no safety deposit box in your room, ask the reception if there is a hotel safe you can use.
  • Make a photocopy of your passport and  carry it separately from your passport, in case the original is lost or stolen.
  • If any of your property is lost or stolen from the premises, you should report it, along with any relevant receipts, serial or identification numbers, to the management and also to the local police within 24 hours. Keep a note of the time and date you reported the incident along with names of persons you reported the incident to. Ask for a copy of any written reports.