Bargain winter sun holiday, or food poisoning hell?

The three cheap destinations where you’re most likely to fall ill

airplane flying above tropical...

Now is a great time to snap up a winter sun bargain, with deals on all sorts of far flung destinations from Egypt to Mexico and the Dominican Republic. However, before you snap up a discounted holiday, one firm is warning would-be travellers to consider another price they might pay for picking the wrong destination: your dream winter holiday could end up making you sick.

See also: Holiday accidents costing victims more than £250 each

See also: Will reheating leftovers to save cash make you ill?


The past week has seen a huge number of tour operators slashing prices in an effort to get people to consider splashing out on a last minute break this winter, and because most of them agreed their prices before the collapse of the pound, many of them can afford to offer good deals too.

Trips to Egypt in particular are available at excellent prices, as visitors have been put off visiting by terror fears - and the fact that Sharm el-Sheikh remains closed to package holidaymakers. There are also deals on trips to the Caribbean - offering 10% or more off.

It's an ideal time to shop for winter sun, but Bott & Co Solicitors is warning that unless you choose your destination and hotel carefully, there could be a far higher price to pay.

It handles claims for people who have fallen ill on holiday, and says that more than a quarter of all winter holiday illness cases originate in Egypt. Mexico is second on the list - with over one in ten claims, closely followed by the Caribbean resort of the Dominican Republic. These three winter sun spots account for almost half of all illness claims that the solicitor handles.

Why?

These destinations have some of the warmest climates in the world, which means there is a higher chance of bacteria multiplying when food is left out. Many all-inclusive resorts offer a buffet service and open restaurants where food is exposed for long periods of time. Situations that generally make people unwell are because of animals roaming around the food area, food not being kept at a constant temperature, insects found in meals and a lack of hygiene awareness.

Types of food poisoning that can be contracted are typical gastro intestinal illness such as Salmonella, Typhoid, Campylobacter and E. coli. These can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, headaches and fatigue.

Andrew Peters, Legal Manager at Bott & Co says: "People don't realise the lifelong consequences that food poisoning can have. For example, contacting Salmonella, Campylobacter or E. coli can lead to serious conditions such as reactive arthritis or post infective irritable bowel syndrome. These can be life changing conditions. One recent case involved a holiday maker who contracted Salmonella, which in turn caused reactive arthritis resulting in a three week stay in hospital and an inability to work."

Protect yourself

The good news is that if something does go wrong, you have certain rights. Peters explains: "If people on all-inclusive package holiday become ill abroad, by law they are protected by The Package Holiday Regulations 1992, and the tour operator may be liable for all the services they provided such as flights, accommodation and car hire."

The bad news is that if you do fall ill, you may end up having to fight for your rights. Peters says the company is often approached by people who have already been to their tour operator, and have been told there's nothing they can do to help.

It is therefore well worth taking the time to read up about a hotel before you consider booking it. Careful research and checking of reviews and complaints can help you weed out the worst offenders, so when you book, you can choose a hotel with plenty of positive reviews from people who have returned year after year.

If you are trying to snap something up in a sale, it may seem like you can't afford to spend the time checking out the reviews, but this firm's experience seems to show that you cannot afford not to.



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