Foreign Office safety warning

Last updated at 15:04 17 November 2008

A view of a Caribbean beach with sunloungers and two people strolling along the sand

Winter Caribbean sun: It may be cheap but be prepared, warn the Foreign Office

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The Foreign Office has issued a warning to British holidaymakers enticed by cheap holiday deals, urging them to prepare for the worst when heading abroad this winter.

While some of the current credit crunch inspired low-priced holiday deals on offer may be tempting, the FCO is asking people to think through all the potential costs of their trip and be prepared for all eventualities.

Claire Gorst was one British tourist who fell foul after she booked a holiday to the Caribbean with her sister.

She said: 'We thought we got a great deal on a two-week package and assumed that the rest of the holiday would be cheap too.

'However, on arrival we discovered that the food and drink at the hotel was not only extremely expensive but the hotel was also very remote and leaving the vicinity wasn't recommended by the staff.

'This meant we had to spend the whole holiday stuck in the hotel where it cost £14 for a tube of Pringles and a bottle of Coke! We hadn't budgeted anywhere near enough and had to use our credit cards for nearly everything.'


She added: 'If we'd done some research before booking, we wouldn't have gone to that particular location and we would have made sure we had more spending money saved up. It's no fun having no money on holiday!'

Research has shown that one in five Britons think that the local embassy can lend money to stranded tourists who have run out of cash abroad.

The FCO stresses that this is only the case in very exceptional circumstances.

Jess Prasad, from the FCO's Know Before You Go campaign, said: 'British embassies and consulates around the world are regularly faced with Brits who have run into financial problems when on holiday – many of whom are not covered by travel insurance.

'Taking out comprehensive travel insurance and taking some simple steps to minimise costs could significantly reduce the risk of having an exceptionally expensive Christmas break.'

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