More travellers die from accidents than any other cause and most of these accidents could have been avoided. The consequences of having an accident abroad are often far more serious than if they occur at home. Emergency treatment may be limited and of an uncertain standard and there may be communication difficulties if you cannot speak the local language. You should know how to deal with an emergency and how to summon help locally but above all, try to avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary danger.
Take Care on the Roads
If you must travel on motorcycles or mopeds always wear a helmet and protective clothing.
Take Care in Water
Always check on local traffic regulations and stick to the speed limit.
Wear a seatbelt when travelling by car and ensure children are strapped into a car seat or child restraint.
Check the condition of cars and bikes for hire and the insurance cover provided.
Never drink alcohol and drive.
Children should always be supervised by an adult who can swim well when playing in or near water. Even a shallow paddling pool is a potential danger for young children.
Ensure when diving into water that it is deep enough for you to do so safely. Each year, many people are left permanently paralysed as a result of injuries sustained from diving into shallow water. A useful slogan to remember is "Feet first, first time". Sports and Special Pursuits
These often involve a certain degree of risk which adds to their enjoyment and attraction. When accidents do occur, the cause can usually be traced back to avoidable factors such as poorly maintained equipment, lack of training or an inadequate level of fitness. Ensure equipment is maintained to a high standard, that you have adequate training with appropriately qualified personnel and that if the activity to be undertaken involves strenuous exercise that you build up your fitness gradually and not "over-do things". Also check your travel insurance policy covers you for all the pursuits that you will be undertaking. Not all policies will cover activities such as mountaineering, scuba diving or motorcycle riding.
Travellers have been shown to be at increased risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases as people often behave differently when they are abroad. There are many factors influencing behaviour such as being away from the usual constraints of home, seeking adventure and new experiences and wanting to make new friends.
Diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B are more prevalent in some parts of the world than in the UK and the risk of infection may be much higher (for example HIV is principally a disease of high risk groups in the UK but is spread mainly through heterosexual intercourse in much of sub-saharan Africa).
It is best to avoid casual sexual intercourse and, in particular, activities where the skin may be damaged or there may be contact with bodily fluids. The risk of transmission of HIV, hepatitis B and other sexually transmitted diseases is reduced but not eliminated by the use of a condom which should be used throughout sexual contact.
Condoms purchased abroad may not be as reliable as they may not be of the same high standard as those purchased in the UK. Take a supply with you.