Holiday traumaHelp in dealing with a death on holiday

09 May 2006

About 2,000 British travellers die abroad each year, Holiday Which? reports this month.

The magazine is offering advice on dealing with the trauma and bureaucracy that can follow a death abroad.

Of the 60 million foreign trips made by British nationals each year around 2,000 deaths are reported. It's estimated a third are due to natural causes and the rest are caused by accidents and crime.

Duty of care

Dealing with a death abroad should be straightforward for relatives if the deceased was on a package holiday. Under the industry's code of conduct, drawn up by trade body Abta, tour operators have a duty of care to help customers in this situation.

For independent travellers, the first port of call is the nearest British Embassy or consulate, which should be able to provide help and advice.

Holiday Which? offers some tips in the unlikely event of a tragedy abroad. These include:

  • making sure you take out a travel insurance policy that includes adequate repatriation, as related costs can run into thousands of pounds
  • if you are on a package holiday, let the tour operator do as much as possible on your behalf
  • never sign anything unless it is crystal clear what it means - particularly if it is in a foreign language
  • chase up the insurance company - the insurer will employ a foreign funeral director on your behalf
  • if the insurance does not cover repatriation, try to use a reputable agency. It will help to reduce the stress as the bureaucracy involved in arranging everything yourself is potentially overwhelming.