Preparing For the Worst? Holidays 'To Be' From Hell
What can you do about Reported Hotel Illness Outbreaks?
The digital era is here, and with that brings instant feedback to a variety of different social forums
. Phones, laptops, tablets, Twitter, Facebook, and for our purposes, TripAdvisor can connect you to your destination before you even get on the plane.
Tools like these can be extremely useful if you've booked to go on holiday
to a particular resort, and later find that the people staying there have been struck down by illness.
Has Your Resort Been Struck By a 'Mystery Illness'?
It's only normal for you to 'Google' the place you are going on holiday
. A mixture of excitement and curiosity will always get the better of you. However, what do you do when you find out that the place you wish to spend a sunny week in has been struck down by a 'mystery illness'
Do you cancel your holiday and risk losing your money? Or, risk the trip and hope that you don't get sick?
Our expert associate Simon Lomax who sees these types of reports daily
"It is very difficult to cancel or amend your booking without incurring cancellation or amendment charges
, even if you suspect that a recent outbreak of illness is continuing. It is also unlikely that your tour operator will cancel the holiday or change hotels
prior to departure due to provisions within the 1992 Package Travel Regulations unless, that is, the organiser is "constrained" to alter "significantly an essential term of the contract."
"A number of points arise. What is meant by "constrained" and "an essential term of the contract?"
"It would seem to me that the organiser must have absolutely no other choice
. He was forced into doing so. In law, provided there is some flicker of hope that your tour operator may be able to carry out the terms of the holiday contract properly, he is not constraint to change essential terms such as a named hotel booked months in advance."
"Fortunately, when outbreaks of illness occur tour operators send a wealth of hygiene experts to the hotel
to resolve hygiene issues very quickly."
All Is Not Lost
Firstly, don’t panic. It may be a completely isolated incident. In some cases, it may just be a group of people that get sick because they ate at the same restaurant
and simply haven't made the connection.
However, we've found that in most cases it is the actual fault of the hotel in which they are currently staying. Dirty cutlery, undercooked food and cross contamination
are all factors that can contribute to an outbreak of illness in a hotel.
Secondly, be vigilant when you arrive at the resort or hotel. In the majority of cases, the problems with food can be traced back to poor hygiene practices
and unclean restaurants. If you see any health and safety violations, stay clear!
Spending a fortnight running to and from the toilet, missing out on a swim in the pool and never seeing outside of your hotel room is not anyone's idea of relaxing abroad.
Thirdly, if when you do arrive and continue to see people getting sick from the 'mystery illness', collect evidence
. This is simply to protect you if you also fall ill. Pictures of food conditions, contact details of others who are affected
and evidence of any medical treatment you received while there can be used as evidence if you decide to make a holiday illness claim.
In 2013, we were made aware of an outbreak in Sharm el Sheikh in which some holiday guests were placed on drips
after experiencing extreme diarrhoea and vomiting.
What Happens When I Get Home?
Keep in mind that when you return, if you were unfortunate enough to fall ill, you may want to make a holiday compensation claim
Starting your claim couldn’t be easier, especially if you have followed the previous steps. Knowing about the illness outbreak beforehand and taking cautious steps is the most you can do
in this type of unfortunate situation. Further on from that, you should contact a solicitor with the details of your holiday. From there, they'll take the lead and work on your case making you the central focus. The evidence you collected whilst you were on holiday will be a great asset to you and will increase your prospects of a successful claim
No one likes being put in a potentially dangerous situation
, but if you've paid good money for a holiday, you shouldn't have to miss out.