Preparation is the key to enjoying that holiday


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As you look forward to being reintroduced to sunshine on your long-awaited summer holiday, chances are you’re more concerned with finding your passport and flip-flops than packing a first aid kit.

But holiday health should be at the top of your priority list, as nothing will ruin your trip faster than falling sick, having an accident or being utterly unprepared.

That’s something Holiday SOS author Dr Ben MacFarlane, who has worked as an emergency repatriation doctor bringing sick and injured tourists back home from abroad, knows only too well.

‘Everyone thinks they’re going to have a fantastic time on holiday, and tries to ignore the fact that they might get ill,’ he says.

‘But, statistically, some would fall ill even if they’d stayed home. When you add in all the things you do on holiday, like drinking more alcohol, taking part in risky activities, and being in a different environment with different food and weather, it multiplies the chance of health problems.’

Taking just a few simple steps before you go could make the world of difference.

Top of your priority list should be to buy appropriate travel insurance before you go. If travelling in Europe, get a European Health Insurance Card (, which means you’ll get free health care. And make room in your suitcase for a first aid box containing a few basics, such as painkillers, anti-diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines, antiseptic cream, hand wash, plasters and dressings.

‘Preparation is everything,’ stresses Ben.

‘If you’re prepared, you can either avoid the common ailments people get on holiday, or deal with them yourself so you don’t need to go to a doctor.’