6 The Explore General Information Booklet
HIV/AIDS To state the obvious, do not have unprotected sex – full stop. HIV/ AIDS can also be contracted from direct contact with infected blood, contaminated needles or poorly sterilised medical equipment. Some travellers like to take their own sterile needles, syringes and other such items, which can then be used by medical staff in case of accident or illness whilst abroad. Research shows that mosquitoes cannot transmit HIV.
Animals/Rabies I (dogs) Do not touch – or even feed – any animal you come across, unless you are on a tour/excursion where you are expected to do so as part of the experience. Rabies is still common in many countries and on tour you are much more likely to encounter animals, especially stray dogs and cats. Wise up to the basics of animal behaviour and body language (e.g. don’t run away from a barking dog); if you are scratched or bitten, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and clean water for at least five minutes and seek medical assistance immediately.
Animals/Rabies II (monkeys) More people contract rabies from feeding monkeys than from any other source. You should take care in areas where monkeys live, and under no circumstances touch them or try to feed them.
Bird Flu The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring countries where there have been outbreaks of Avian Flu and acts accordingly. The best personal protection is to take the same precautions as you would with any contagious illness – wash your hands thoroughly and frequently,
particularly after going to the toilet and before eating. If you are in a country where there has been an outbreak, avoid any contact with birds – domestic or wild (bird markets, poultry farms, or any other situations where there might be infected fowl) and never eat undercooked poultry.
Insurance Our tours often involve a wide variety of activities – both optional and as part of the overall programme. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover you for any activity that you take part in. If your policy doesn’t and you have an accident, you could be liable for all the costs incurred, including medical expenses. If you have any doubts about the cover your policy offers, please check with your insurance company before you travel.
Glass panels In many countries it is not mandatory to use safety glass for windows, glass doors, cabinets etc. Take care when walking through patio doors, for example, as in bright sunlight it is not always easy to notice whether doors are open or closed.
Slipping & tripping Pavements, tracks and steps are often not maintained to the same standards overseas as we are used to at home. With this in mind, it’s important to take extra care while out and about, as a twist or fall can seriously disrupt your holiday. Few hotels provide non-slip mats in their baths and showers. Tiles are often used as a floor covering and can be slippery, particularly when wet.
Electrical appliances Exercise extra caution when using electrical appliances abroad and ensure that your own appliances
are suitably equipped for the local voltage. Report any electrical defects in your room to the hotel reception or Tour Leader. Never handle electrical equipment/ sockets/ plugs when wet.
Fire Safety/Smoking All accommodation on our tours is checked regularly for fire safety. Familiarise yourself with your room/ corridor/stairs and any fire safety information displayed. We have a strict no smoking policy in our vehicles and if sharing a room.
Swimming Many hotels and resorts do not employ lifeguards so please heed any advice given locally and look out for any warning signs or flags. Swimming is one of the most pleasurable activities on holiday, but also a common cause of mishaps – from slipping on a wet surface and careless diving, to stomach cramps brought on by swimming on a full stomach. Ask before bathing in pools/lakes, as these can harbour bugs – or sometimes even larger, hungry creatures! As a rule always check with your Tour Leader that the location is safe. Avoid swimming out of your depth if not confident and, ideally, do not swim alone, or where no lifesaving equipment is available.
Food & hygiene Good personal hygiene is crucial when travelling, as it can make the difference between a trouble-free holiday and an uncomfortable experience. Make sure that you always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating or handling food. Never share drinks bottles, as this is one of the quickest ways of spreading germs. Be wary of food (particularly salads) that might have been washed in unclean water and never eat food that has not been properly prepared or cooked. Hygiene is not
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