Britain’s Biggest Fears While Abroad


No matter for how long, travelling abroad can be a risky business and it often leaves us concerned about what awaits us in other countries. But have you ever wondered what is our biggest worry?

Well a poll of 4,000 adults by airport parking company Parkat discovered some surprising (and occasionally alarming) results. Click through the article to find out our biggest holiday worries.

Traveller’s Dihorrea

For 54% of those surveyed, the biggest worry was not theft, getting lost or a last minute change of plans but the risk of upset bowels.

That’s right! It may sound somewhat unlikely, but the risk of diarrhea while abroad can be higher than you might think. Locally prepared food in many parts of the world can contain certain bacterial enteropathogens which local residents will be born immune to, but can pose a serious threat to the health and stomach of your average British tourist.

A bad case of food poisoning could potentially persist for up to five days, ruining most plans for a week long break. While experiencing the local food and culture can often be an enjoyable and enriching experience, being aware of the risks in certain countries could save a lot of problems further down the line – eating canned food and consulting a doctor if the symptoms last for longer than 5 days can help alleviate any potential consequences.

Bad Accommodation

39% of those questioned during the Parkat survey said that bad accommodation was one of their biggest worries about travelling abroad. With the majority of holiday bookings being made online, it leaves holiday companies increasingly able to advertise through their own sites without external oversight to validate them. It is not surprising that incidents involving accommodation are increasingly common.

If the accommodation you reserved is not as it was advertised, then there are a number of different ways to claim your money back; both while you are away and after your return. Also is possible that you will be entitled to compensation. While on holiday you can ask for a complaint form and retain evidence of any extra outlays you have been burdened with as well as seeking other witnesses and complainants among other guests and travellers.

If offered compensation, make sure it is on the condition of being a full and final settlement and that you are adequately reimbursed. If not, make clear you may claim for further compensation after returning home. If the matter isn’t resolved, you can complain to a trade body such as ABTA.

Loss of Travel Documents

We’ve all been there, standing at the departure gate and doubting whether we do actually have our passport with us.

For 31% of those questioned, losing travel documents was one of their biggest concerns when travelling abroad. The risk can be minimised by keeping it in a safe place on your person while travelling, but its always worth knowing how to apply for an Emergency Travel Document should the worst happen.

Bad Weather

No matter how well you prepare for a holiday, the weather is the one thing that cannot be controlled. For 27% of the respondent to the Parkat survey, this was one of their biggest concerns about travelling to another country.

Any concerns about freak weather conditions or disturbances are normally listed on the travel advice section of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website, so this should give a clear indication of precautions to take before travelling.

Getting Lost

For 23% of respondents this was one of the biggest worries about travelling to another country and can be a major problem especially where there is a language barrier.

In addition to asking people for directions, it’s always a useful precaution to download maps of where you are going before leaving the UK and ensuring that you know some simple phrases if you do need to ask.

Body Image

For 22% of Brits, their biggest worry about going abroad was body image. With adverts encouraging us to be ‘beach body ready’ and our self-esteem about the way we look being rated among the lowest in the world, many of us feel pressured to prepare for going abroad by radically changing our lifestyle, dieting or losing weight.

In many cases, however, these efforts can actually be damaging to health and do more harm than good. It may not be easy, but learning to feel comfortable with who you are and how you appear can actually lead to you enjoying your trips abroad even more and making the most of everything around you.


Although in many cases an unavoidable occurrence, delays were the biggest worry about travelling abroad for 22% of respondents to the Parkat poll.

Many airlines have ways you can claim back compensation if your flight is delayed beyond a certain amount of time. For flights departing from countries within the European Union, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, airlines have to provide you with food and drink, access to phone calls and emails if delayed by two hours or more. They also have to provide accommodation and airport transfers if you are delayed overnight.

If the flight is delayed by three hours or more, you may be entitled to additional monetary compensation if the airline itself was responsible, and you can claim a full refund if they delay is greater than five hours. If it was caused by bad weather or industrial action you will not be compensated.

In most instances, the airline itself is responsible for compensating you, so speak to a representative at the airport. If you are not receiving what you are entitled to, you can file a complaint with the Civil Aviation Authority.

Missing Family & Home

For 19% of those questioned, their biggest concern about going abroad was missing family members, while 9% said they feared being homesick. Homesickness while abroad is something that affects many travellers. Going away for an extended period of time can affect is several ways, whether it’s difficulty adjusting to a new routine or being isolated from your normal means of support.

The best way to deal with being away from home for a long period of time is different for everyone. While it is important to stay connected while away, try taking a break from Skype or social media to find a good balance between being at home and being involved in life abroad.

Being mugged

11% of those questioned said that their biggest fear while being abroad was getting mugged. Although most trips abroad are trouble free, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood you will be robbed while away.

Research the destination before you go out there to avoid the dangerous areas. Also buy secure bags and luggage and be sure to lock up all of your valuables in hostels and hotels. If the worst does happen, ensure that you have good insurance coverage and know the contact numbers for the British Embassy and relevant authorities in case of emergency.

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Deputy Editor 2017-18, International Editor 2015-17. Languages graduate interested in Latin America, world news, media and politics.

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