Foreign Office offers drink advice to tourists15th August, 2013 by Andy Young
The UK’s Foreign Office (FO) has issued drinking advice to British holidaymakers after a survey revealed many could be putting themselves at risk when on their travels.
An FO survey found that some young Brits on holiday are putting themselves at risk of serious harm such as hospitalisation, arrest or detention.
The poll of 2,479 UK adults, including 552 in the 16-24 age range, showed that 51% of the 16-24 year olds said they were likely to drink more on holiday than at home, with 62% attributing this to the cheapness of alcohol abroad.
Also, 40% of these young people felt pressure from friends to drink more than they wanted to on trips.
FO consular assistance deputy head Gavin Cook said: “We’re not telling people to stop drinking but we do want people to be aware of the consequences of drinking to excess – and our research shows almost half of young people understand them already.
“Activities which may be legal in the UK may not be legal in another country. To avoid a night in a jail cell or even a criminal record, it’s important to research local laws and customs, including on alcohol consumption, before you go.”
The survey found that 23% of young holidaymakers have gone swimming while drunk abroad. In addition, 11% have put themselves in a vulnerable situation with a stranger while drunk on an overseas trip and 26% of 16-24 year olds have done something they were ashamed of while worse for wear through drink on holiday.
Anne Foster, marketing and communications director with alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “Holidays are the perfect opportunity to relax and have fun, but drinking to excess in the sun can result in more than just a hangover. It’s important to stay hydrated in the heat, especially if you are drinking alcohol, as it dehydrates you even further. To ensure you have a holiday to remember, if you drink, make every other drink a soft one and stick to the daily recommended guidelines of 2-3 units a day for women and 3-4 units a day for men.”
The FO advice for holidaymakers includes: Protect your drink – to avoid the risk of it being spiked, Stay close to your friends – and look out for each other, Drink respectfully – show respect to locals and fellow tourists and remember that your tolerance to alcohol can change in the heat and many bars abroad serve larger measures than in the UK.
Cook added: “Drinking can impair judgment. The effect of being hospitalised or arrested overseas goes far beyond a ruined holiday and can have a devastating impact on family and friends – financially and emotionally.
“So our message is have fun in the sun, but drink responsibly so you don’t put yourself at risk of harm.”