Preparation is a no-brainer as far as summer holidays are concerned. And since you are aware of many risks your holiday might pose, there are several things you instinctively do before you leave: You take out comprehensive travel insurance. You remove all liquids over 100ml from your hand luggage. You make a backup plan in case your hotel transfer never turns up. You learn how to say “where are the toilets?”, “two bottles of wine,” and “excuse me can you help me out of this situation, please” in Spanish. You simply wouldn’t be able to relax otherwise.
But there are some things that may have slipped your mind… And they’re big things, too. Here are three major summer holiday risks you may not have thought about before, but that you really should think about before the plane lifts off.
1 – Your home might be burgled while you’re away
Depending on where you are visiting, the biggest danger of all might actually be back home. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are 750,000 domestic burglaries every year in England and Wales! Most burglaries happen when the occupiers are out of the house. Most people leave their houses when they go on holiday. Connecting the dots is easy.
So how can you make sure your unoccupied home doesn’t become a beacon for burglars while you’re away enjoying some hard-earned summer sun? Thankfully, there are a number of safety measures you can take.
The experts at CMS Keyholding have several tips on keeping your home safe when on holiday. They recommend leaving your curtains open while you are away on holiday. (The winning logic: it’s more suspicious to have the curtains closed all day every day, than to have them open all night every night.) They also recommend investing in some of the new high tech security gadgets that help give the impression that you are still at home, living your day-to-day life.
One of the most innovative examples of this technology is the FakeTV—a light that flickers to give onlookers the impression that a TV is on in your living room. This is preferable to actually leaving your TV on because it’s much more energy-efficient, and you can program it to turn on and off intermittently.
2 – Accidently breaking the law in the country you’re visiting
Your holiday destination of choice might have glorious sandy beaches, a glistening blue sea, and very reasonably-priced alcohol, but does it have any unique laws or customs that you don’t know about?
It’s tempting to treat everywhere you go on holiday as a sunnier, better looking version of the country you live in. Most of us certainly do this. But there are many countries that have unique and perhaps unexpected laws and customs that you may not be aware of. For example, bowing in Japan has been called “an art form”, and it’s listed among the many local customs you should learn before you visit the country.
Forgetting to bow isn’t exactly dangerous; it’s when the law comes into play that things get riskier. Staying with Japan for a moment, it is illegal to bring certain commonly-available nasal sprays into the country. The same is true of some other medicines, because of Japan’s strict drug laws.
Hopping over to the islands of the Caribbean—in Jamaica, it is illegal to wear camouflage clothing. Customs officers will often let visitors bring military-style garments into the country, but they could still be arrested for wearing them. If you’re shocked or surprised by these international laws, bear in mind that this barely scratches the surface of unexpected foreign customs and legislation.You should thoroughly research the country you are visiting to make sure you don’t get caught by surprise and locked up in a cell when you should be sunbathing.
3 – Your holiday could cause excessive stress
Holidays are supposed to be relaxing — a period of bliss away from the crushing grind of the 9-to-5 — so why would you need to worry about stress? The truth is, going on holiday can actually be a strain on your mental health.
Perhaps it isn’t helped by articles like this one, but all of the worries that come with the territory of choosing, planning, booking, embarking on a holiday and returning in one piece can—perhaps more obviously if you look at it in a list like this—be considerably stressful. To avoid this, it’s important to make sure your holiday allows you to relax and take it easy.
Research has shown that booking a holiday that doesn’t have a strict schedule, and that offers different options of things to do depending on your mood and the weather, is much less stressful than the rigid alternative. Remember that next time you start making an hour-by-hour plan for your next getaway.