Turkey has become one of the world’s most popular countries to visit for holidaymakers, but terrorism and the war in Syria has frightened Brits recently and now more than one in four of us believe it to be the world’s most unsafe travel destination.
This is according to a survey of 1,860 people commissioned by the social travel network talkholiday and babylon as they partner to offer personalised medical services including easy GP video appointments and fast accurate symptom checking to talkholiday’s Crisis Vault – a free support feature ideal for those who travel abroad.
Turkey tops the list as the most unsafe holiday destination (27%) followed by Egypt (18%) and Tunisia in third. Unsurprisingly, the Middle East and northern African destinations dominated the list. France was recognised as Europe’s most unsafe country.
The survey revealed that although there are safety concerns, this has not stopped people taking their holidays. 40% take a holiday twice a year, 31% have the luxury of three or more annual holidays and just over one in four us (27per cent) will go away at least once every year.
Brits feel most safe when deciding on the ‘staycation’ (26%) but for those travelling abroad, Spain remains a firm favorite with 20% feeling the most secure whilst on holiday there. Neighbouring Portugal came fifth as the safest destination behind Canada in third, and the surprisingly the United States, given its high levels of crime, in fourth.
Passports remain our most important item whilst travelling (53%) yet 10% of us have still managed to lose it on one occasion. 2% have lost it twice or more.
One in four of travelers value their travel documents, credits cards, cash, insurance details and smart phones all equally, yet less that one in 10 of us place importance on our house or car keys indicating that these are replaceable and are not taken with us on holiday.
Most of us (86 %) have lost an item of significance on holiday.
Sunglasses are the most perishable item with 47% losing them, one in four of us have either lost cash or had it stolen from us and 22% have gone back home without their suitcase.
5% of us have lost our smartphones in the last five years, which is the equivalent of one smartphone lost per every short haul airplane full of holidaymakers.
Getting sick or injured plays on the minds of 50% of us before we take off for our holidays. This far exceeds those who worry about terrorism (32%).
The survey reveals that 38% have had medical treatment on holiday for minor illnesses before and worse still, 12% have had to be hospitalised or evacuated on holiday.
35% have only had very negligible ailments on their holiday which have caused little disruption. The most common of these are self-inflicted conditions such skin problems due to sunburn or a hangover as a result of excess alcohol.
Given the number of illnesses on holiday, it comes as no surprise that 90% said they would like the option to access a UK registered GP on their smartphone, wherever they are in the world.
babylon has several payment options but the most popular (31 per cent) for tourists was the Pay As You Go option of £25 per consultation. 16 per cent opted to pay monthly by direct debit at £5. All new babylon customers can get their first babylon appointment for £5.
Around half of respondents were happy to pay to access a UK registered GP via smartphone. The babylon app is free to download and free features include the ability to ask medical questions and get text replies from GP’s and get fast, accurate advice on health problems and medical symptoms, from anywhere in the world. Once signed up with babylon talkholiday.com customers get unlimited GP appointments – whether travelling abroad or at home.
87% of respondents stated that they would use the Crisis Vault before going on holiday. The only major concerns came from 44% of people who were worried about potential hackers accessing their personal data. However, given the encrypted security measures in place for the Crisis Vault, 41% said they had no concerns and believed it to be an excellent tool.
The Crisis Vault is a unique feature of talkholiday and gives the ability for its members to create and manage their own personal encrypted holiday crisis support profile. This includes details of vital information such as flight ticket details, passport details, hotel contact number, Phone IMEI and passport numbers to name a few. Key family or friend emergency contact information will also be securely held within the vault and should it all go wrong whilst travelling, this information can be sent to their chosen support network.
Together with the option of seeing a UK registered GP with babylon, other support features include safety advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Know Before You Go campaign, interpreter services, vaccination services and emergency support with partners Consularcare.
Chris Newlands, talkholiday.com’s CEO said: “I am delighted to partner with such a fantastic and forward thinking company such as babylon. Adding award winning medical services to our vault is absolutely essential for us as the survey shows us that people have great concerns when choosing their holiday destination and our analytics tell us that they like to minimize risk on their trips. Our Crisis Vault is going to play a big role in making travel safer and more secure over the next few years.
“Having babylon doctors giving reassurance and advice and the ability to prescribe prescriptions for tourists to pick up on holiday is a major plus.”
Dr Umang Patel, Clinical Director at babylon: “Being ill is difficult enough, especially when away from home. With Crisis Vault, things will be simpler and safer for travellers. Medical symptoms can be checked instantly, consultations arranged in a few clicks and treatment prescribed from anywhere in the world. Alongside talkholiday.com, we look forward to helping people enjoy their holiday free from the fear of uncertainty associated with falling ill abroad.”
Dr Ali Parsa, CEO and Founder, babylon: “Our partnership with talkholiday, which is one of the most innovative travel websites, means that we can help more people, in more places to access good quality healthcare – even on holiday and while away from home”.