Holiday hazard spots revealed as 1 in 10 European breaks end in misfortune

  • Watch out in Spain – this popular hotspot is where you’re most likely to have your belongings stolen AND suffer an illness, with almost a quarter of trips (24%) involving a mishap
  • New ‘mishap map’ charts the incident capitals across Europe
  • Russia is destination where you’re most likely to deal with flight issues
  • Car accident capital is France
  • Most activity based injuries happen in Austria

For most Brits, a blissful week away from work is the highlight of their year. However, holidays aren’t always the stress-free, idyllic break we’ve hoped for. On average 1 in 10 UK holidays (11%) to Europe have involved a mishap of some kind. New research released today by reveals the trouble Brits get into across the continent on their holidays, and where the mishap capitals are.

8,000 Brits were polled on mishaps they’ve experienced on holidays abroad in Europe including items lost or stolen, sickness, delayed or cancelled flights, accidents and injuries. Overall the countries in Europe that Brits experienced the most mishaps in were Spain (24% of visits), followed by Canary Islands (20% of visits), Greece (17%) and Italy (11%). An interactive map to reveal the mishaps and help guide holiday makers has been created here.

72% of Brits claim they are more careful with their belongings while abroad on holiday, and 61% say they are more wary of thefts, however these precautions haven’t meant holiday makers have escaped unscathed. On average 2% of visits to Europe involved a phone, camera, passport or money being stolen or lost. The countries where this happened most were Spain (5%), Canary Islands (3%) and France (3%). In fact, Spain topped the poll across the board for all passports, phones, cameras or money lost or stolen so it’s advisable to keep a careful watch on your things if visiting there this summer.

Over half (66%) of Brits worry about injuries or sickness affecting them on holiday, with 5% confessing to worrying a lot about this. As a result, almost half (48%) of holidaymakers will avoid eating certain foods while abroad just to avoid food poisoning. On average, 1 in 20 trips (5%) involved an illness of some kind. The countries where people were most likely to be struck down were Spain (14%), Greece (12%) and Canary Islands (also 12%). Mild sickness was the highest in Canary Islands (5%), however Spain had the highest proportions of all other illnesses (1% major sickness; 3% food poisoning; 5% sun stroke). On average, fortunately, only 1% of visits featured an injury. The countries with the highest proportions of injury per visit were neck-and-neck between Spain (2%), Greece (2%) and Canary Islands (2%). Dental injuries were most reported in France and sprains in Greece.

Some people experience a mishap before they’ve even managed to get to their holiday destination by dealing with delayed or cancelled flights. Russia seems to be the place to avoid if you are looking for a smooth travelling experience as those polled showed it topped the flight issues (delayed or cancelled) list at 3%.The place most likely to lose your luggage was also Russia (2%), but for cancellations it was Spain (1%) that again, came out on top.

1 in 5 Brits (20%) confess to being put off skiing by the fear of an accident happening, and over a quarter (28%) would not take part in some sporting activities for fear of hurting themselves. The countries with the highest proportion of accidents was tied across France, Austria and Spain. Natural disasters were most reported in Iceland, car accidents in France and activity-based accidents in Austria.

In all countries except Spain, Portugal, Czech Republic and Iceland, a mild illness was the most common mishap to suffer on a visit. In Spain and Portugal it was sunstroke; in the Czech Republic it was lost or stolen money, whereas in Iceland it was a natural disaster.

Stephanie Corbett

Stephanie Corbett

Travel Product Manager

"Our new map gives an insight into where people have told us they experienced an issue in Europe. No one wants their holiday to be blighted by a mishap – big or small – so it’s always worth taking the necessary precautions. Keep an eye on your belongings, use a hotel safe and don’t fall asleep in the midday heat of the Spanish sun!"

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