Your holiday in Turkey should be the destination to enjoy quality time abroad with good company, but some of the resorts that welcome swathes of British tourists aren't always equipped to handle the large number of guests they receive – outbreaks of illness and accidents inevitably occur.
This guide has advice on avoiding a holiday ruining illness or injury causing accident, as well as advice on how to claim compensation if your package holiday goes wrong.
Update: Following terrorist activity, some areas of Turkey are currently considered unsafe. We recommend checking the British government Foreign Travel Advice for Turkey if you've already booked or are planning to travel there.
Located in Eastern Europe, Turkey has a rich history and unmistakable identity, making it a popular destination for British tourists looking for a break somewhere warm that offers great value. Many tour operators such as Thomson, Thomas Cook and First Choice offer package holidays to all-inclusive resorts and hotels throughout the region, including the following:
Illnesses in Turkey
The following are some of the most common illnesses that are reported by British tourists returning from Turkey:
- Travellers' diarrhoea, also referred to as Sultan's Revenge in Turkey, can result in symptoms such as fevers, headaches, stomach cramps, nausea, and of course diarrhoea.
- Salmonella is usually caused by food poisoning due to incorrectly stored or prepared meat, poultry, dairy and eggs. It can cause symptoms of diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and fever.
- E. coli can be harmless, but E. coli O157 can cause symptoms of diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever and bloody stools in those who consume contaminated food and water.
- Campylobacter can be caused by undercooked meat and contamination from infected animals. It causes diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, headaches, and nausea.
- Cryptosporidium is a parasite that can be contracted in un-chlorinated swimming pools which contain particles of contaminated faeces and can result in abdominal cramps, vomiting, and a fever.
Common Hygiene Mistakes in Turkey
These are some of the most common causes of holiday illness to avoid at resorts in Turkey:
- Reheated, undercooked or raw meat can be a common breeding ground for bacteria.
- Serving utensils, cutlery, plates and the rims of glasses and cups at buffets that aren't cleaned regularly can lead to cross-contamination.
- Turkish patisseries and other dairy produce made using unpasteurised milk can contain Salmonella.
- Hot dishes such as omelettes that are made using eggs can also contain Salmonella if not cooked thoroughly and served hot.
- Surfaces where food is prepared, served and consumed that aren't cleaned with disinfectant can allow infectious diseases to grow and spread.
- Barbecues and open buffets and dining areas where wildlife such as birds, insects, cats and small reptiles such as lizards can access presents a risk of cross-contamination.
- The Turkish Lira and other local currencies can be a source of infection due to visitors and locals not practicing good hygiene.
By being aware of these potential causes of holiday illness and ensuring that you frequently wash your hands or use antibacterial wipes and hand gel after using the toilet and touching animals, as well as before eating, you can reduce the risk of a gastric illness in Turkey.
If you notice any of these issues at your resort we recommend making the management aware and inform your holiday representative.
Drinking Water and Dehydration in Turkey
You should aim to drink between 1 and 2 litres of water a day whilst in a hot country such as Turkey. Keep in mind that alcoholic drinks will dehydrate you, so if you do decide to drink alcohol on holiday you should also increase the amount of water you consume.
If you suffer from diarrhoea in Turkey you should increase your fluid intake further. Dehydration can leave you with a feeling of disorientation, confusion, dizziness, lethargy, and in some cases, loss of consciousness and even death.
Contaminated drinking water can be detrimental to your health, so it's advisable to only drink sealed bottles of water and avoid drinking fountains or communal water jugs in hotel dining rooms and foyers.
Holiday Illness Remedies
If you do become ill in Turkey, you should avoid self-medicating as some drugs can be detrimental to your health if used improperly. There are over-the-counter remedies available in the UK that can ease diarrhoea and vomiting, but it's important to take into account any other medication that you are currently taking and any pre-existing medical conditions before receiving treatment.
Drugs such as loperamide, which can treat diarrhoea and domperidone, which can treat sickness, are both available from most pharmacies in the UK, and we recommend making sure that you have some with you if you are travelling to Turkey.
Receiving Medical Treatment
The symptoms of some illnesses can be severe and shouldn't be ignored. If your condition persists for more than 24 hours, or continues to grow worse, you should seek medical assistance and receive a proper diagnosis.
It's particularly important for young children, the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions to receive immediate treatment.
If you do see a doctor or pharmacist in Turkey, remember to keep a record of the advice that you have been given as well as any medication that you have purchased and taken, as this information is important to your medical record and can be used to support your claim.
It's advisable to book an appointment with your GP in upon returning to the UK, as they can confirm your diagnosis, or provide you with one if you've not been diagnosed, as well as advise you of any further health complications and provide you with the necessary treatment.
With many British tourists visiting busy resorts every year, there can be instances where maintenance is unacceptable resulting in a holiday accident. If you've been injured on holiday in Turkey you might be able to claim compensation for the following:
- Loss of holiday enjoyment
- Medical costs
- Transport expenses
- Loss of earnings
- A lump sum for your pain and suffering.
Common Accident Causes
An injury in Turkey can be caused by a number of different causes, and generally we find that the following are the most common causes of accidents:
- Slips in hotel and resort restaurants
- Falls caused by wet steps and stairs
- Broken or damaged flooring causing a fall
- Foreign road accidents on coaches, mopeds, cars, and bikes.
Are you entitled to Compensation?
In the event that your package holiday in Turkey was ruined by an illness or injury, you may be able to claim compensation from your tour operator.
The Package Travel Regulations 1992 places the responsibility of every aspect of your holiday that was sold to you as part of one single price upon your tour operator. This means that regardless of whether your became ill due to contaminated food being served at a buffet, or injured by an accident caused by an improperly repaired tile, your tour operator is still responsible.
Receive Legal Advice
Before contacting your tour operator with a formal complaint we recommend receiving legal advice to find out your rights and make sure that you claim for the true value of your compensation. Some tour operators will try to pay out as little compensation as possible, and once a claim has been settled it's unlikely that you will be able to make a second claim.
Strengthen Your Claim
Evidence is a vital part of your compensation claim, so try to keep a record of everything that went wrong on your holiday including what you ate and drank, noting down your concerns over hygiene and maintenance, taking photos and recording video if appropriate, and include any occurrences of the issues we have mentioned in this guide.
Make a Compensation Claim
We can provide you with a free no-obligation consultation on you your claim and advise you of the best course of action. If you choose us to represent you, our Travel Law Specialists will work closely with you in a discrete and professional manner to win compensation for your nightmare holiday in Turkey.
We offer 'no win no fee' terms, meaning that we will only receive payment once we are successful.
Find Out More
Make sure you receive the compensation you deserve by talking to our holiday
specialists on Freephone: 0808 145 1353 or alternatively
you can submit an online enquiry.