Holiday Illness – What to do if you Fall Ill on Holiday?

A holiday is a well-earned rest from the rigors of daily life, it’s a reward for all of the hard work you have put in throughout the rest of the year.

To many of us, the annual holiday is an opportunity to spend quality time in the sunshine, relax with friends and family, participate in leisure pursuits and enjoy some good food and some good wine.


But what if this chance for rest and recuperation ends up being ruined by illness?


Unfortunately, falling ill on holiday is a possibility. Sickness and gastric complaints being the most common illnesses that holidaymakers experience whilst away.


The reasons for this are simple. It could be that the illness comes as a result of contact with bacteria in food and drink, through poor sanitation or because of contaminated swimming or bathing water.


Whatever the cause, a holiday illness of this type can be very disruptive and in some cases, debilitating.


The frustration and indignity of falling ill whilst on holiday can be a huge disappointment and a massive disruption to your plans. Your well-earned holiday risks at the very least, being compromised or in the worse case, being cut short altogether.


Stomach cramps, sickness, diarrhoea and gastric illness serve only to restrict the enjoyment of those precious weeks away, and in extreme cases the symptoms can linger on long after you touch down on British soil.


So, what can you do about a holiday illness?


Should you chalk it up as “a bad experience”? No, the answer is most definitely not!

If you are taken ill whilst away on a package holiday, you may be entitled to seek damages for the pain and suffering caused, and also the loss of enjoyment of your holiday.


Under the legislation known as the Package Tour Regulations, your tour operator has a contractual duty to you, as the supplier of the goods and services contained within your holiday to ensure that the performance under the contract and the provision within the contract do not fall short of the standards expected of a reasonable prudent holidaymaker.


Therefore, it follows that if in the performance of the obligations arising from the contract (or the failure to do so) and from which you acquire illness or sickness, the tour provider may be held liable to you and ordered to pay you compensation.


By way of a simple example, if you or any member of your party were to acquire food poisoning as a result of poor food preparation at your hotel, your tour provider may be held liable for the poor performance of the obligations by the hotelier in serving you food unfit for consumption.


How do I know whether my holiday falls within a Package Tour?

The technicalities of a package tour is defined by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992, as being the pre-arranged combination of at least two components when sold or offered for sale at an inclusive price and when the service covers a period of more than 24 hours.


Therefore, in the usual course of booking a holiday with any high street tour operator, where you are commonly sold the travel arrangements, accommodation and food, this would fall within the definition of a Package Holiday.


The failure of the supplier of any component within your package holiday would extend to the tour operator, giving you a right of action in the Courts of England and Wales to seek redress for the damages arising out of the illness acquired.


What do I need to do?


  • Gathering evidence is always recommended.
  • Make a note of any other residents whom you are aware of as having similar symptoms as you.
  • Take photographs of any deficiencies you observe within the accommodation
  • Retain your booking documentation
  • Keep a diary of the symptoms you suffered and their effect upon you
  • Retain receipts of medical expenses made as a consequence of your illness;


And finally, contact our specialist lawyers so that we can advise you in relation to making a holiday illness claim.

Speak to an experienced member of our team on Freephone 0800 195 95 90 or alternatively, submit a claim online here.