Staying in touch on holiday has never been easier – and if you use Facebook to stay in touch with friends while abroad and upload holiday snaps, you can also keep up-to-date with travel safety using Facebook.
The NHS, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and tour operators all now have Facebook pages and regularly post updates and helpful tips for travellers and holidaymakers abroad.
If you are holidaying in a longhaul destination or a country where there may be a changing political situation, keeping up-to-date with what is happening can reassure and inform holidaymakers about which areas to visit and which to steer clear of.
The news is sadly full of stories about holidaymakers injured in accidents – or outbreaks of illnesses like holiday food poisoning from bacterial infections like salmonella.
Knowing that there is a food poisoning alert at your resort can help keep you safe if you step up personal hygiene practices like washing hands, using antibacterial handwipes to clean cutlery, and avoiding dirty public lavatories or bars with dirty tables and surfaces.
Some of the most useful organisations using Facebook include:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
This is the Facebook page to find out about health alerts on holiday (eg outbreaks of salmonella or other illnesses abroad), as well as local and national issues which might affect holidaymakers, such as political unrest. If you need to leave a country quickly, the FCO will post details of arrangements being made to airlift British holidaymakers and residents.
Directgov is the UK government’s website for the public, offering info about everything from benefits and education to pensions and holiday health. If you already have a condition like diabetes, you can access information from abroad – and also post on Directgov’s Facebook page for advice. There are also links to NHS Choices offering holiday health advice.
NHS Direct on Facebook cannot give direct personal medical advice, but offers links to a symptom checker and other NHS Direct social media sites like NHS Direct on YouTube and an NHS Direct app for iPhone and Android. There is also a wealth of information from Facebook user posts and health tips on health issues like hayfever and holiday health and travel vaccinations.
Macmillan Cancer Support
If you have a specific condition or illness, using Facebook to access info about travelling and going on holiday can give you up-to-date info about managing your condition abroad or travel vaccinations needed.
For example, Macmillan Cancer Support on Facebook offers cancer patients advice about travel vaccinations and also has local Macmillan groups on Facebook.
Search online for a Facebook support group for your specific condition (eg asthma, diabetes, heart conditions) before you set off and you can post any queries you may have and also read other posts which may help you stay safe and well on your holiday.
Even advice on whether the water is safe to drink can be especially vital for holidaymakers with a diagnosed condition, so make use of Facebook to plan your holiday health.
Illness on Holiday can be very upsetting especially when you have saved up all year round to be able to afford the trip. Package holidays and all-inclusive hotels are the places where illnesses are most likely to occur.