Impulsive over 55s need travel insurance for riskier holidays

21 March 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
While the 18-30 age group is often associated with drunken behaviour and mishaps while on holiday, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office is drawing its attention to older travellers abroad.

It believes that more people in the over 55s age range are taking risks while on holiday, and that many do not have travel insurance to protect them should anything go wrong.

Not only are more over-55s jetting abroad each year, the Foreign Office found that one in five takes greater risks while on holiday than they would dream of doing at home.

Moreover, almost one in five couples say that they or their partner have suffered some kind of injury while abroad.

It claims that 14 per cent of older holidaymakers are less worried about their personal safety when they are away than while at home and more than one in 10 do not follow the same safety advice they would give to their own children.

More than 80 per cent of travellers in the over-55s group do not get a health check before taking a holiday, despite the fact that pre-existing illnesses and undiagnosed symptoms can easily flare up while they are away, and medical bills can come at a very high price.

The Foreign Office gives the following advice: "Don't ignore those health niggles - you should visit your GP at least six weeks before you travel but this becomes even more important if you feel unwell in the run-up to your trip. Don't assume rest and relaxation will cure it!"

It also expresses concern about the drinking habits of over-55s on holiday. "Once you're there, don't overdo the alcohol - too much booze and too much sun is a potent cocktail and be aware that, just as in the UK, drinking excessively makes you more prone to having an accident or becoming a victim of crime," it advises.

Most importantly, it urges holidaymakers to make sure they are covered for every eventuality. It tells over-55s to "Get travel insurance and check it covers you for everything you intend to do (or think you might decide to do on impulse!)."

And the Government office is not just trying to take all the enjoyment out of going abroad. "We're all for over-55s having on holiday. But it is crucial that they make some simple preparations to help avoid encountering difficulties whilst abroad," says Foreign Office minister, Meg Munn.

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