Last-minute travel deals are fantastic. These days you can organise an all inclusive package to Egypt or Mexico (for example) in a matter of minutes, through a number of reputable websites, at a very reasonable price. It's too easy.
The only thing missing - according to a group of specialist doctors from James Cook University Hospital - is a big enough warning about what medical precautions you should take before leaving. See the full report here.
This criticism was lodged after three British holiday makers came back from a last minute trip to Gambia with malaria. Less than two weeks after getting back, they were all hospitalized. Thankfully, their symptoms only started showing after getting home, where medical care is free.
Last week George Clooney added fuel to their argument, after he contracted Malaria for a second time whilst on a political trip to Sudan - if he can get malaria, everybody must be vulnerable to it, right?
The Real Issue
Whether or not a travel website has provided you with enough information will be irrelevant when you have to A) beat a sickness like malaria, and B) find a way to front the medical bill afterwards.
For people like George Clooney, the latter is not an issue, but for almost everybody else it's the biggest one. Medical costs, especially those incurred abroad, can be crippling. This is not a burden you want.
The Hard Truth
At the end of the day, you can't blame the travel website for not issuing you a bold enough warning. The responsibility of being aware and informed about risks like malaria does fall squarely on your shoulders.
Holiday Check List
1.Get travel insurance - without it, you are responsible for all medical costs
2.Check the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office website for the latest travel updates
3.Research your holiday destination or ask a reliable source (like a travel agent) for more information about where you are going
4.See a travel doctor and get the required jobs, vaccinations or medication before departing
Remember that if you are going to a destination known for malaria, typhoid fever or any exotic disease, and you don't get vaccinated for those sicknesses, you could be liable for all expenses.
The moral of this story is to stay informed - that way you will get the best out of any holiday.
For further reading, check out our Top 10 Tropical Diseases to be aware of.more blog posts