From week-long adventures to weekend city breaks, escaping the British weather has never been more popular.

According to recent research by ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, almost a quarter of the population plan to spend more on holidays this year.

Unfortunately, while most breaks are trouble-free, accidents can and do happen. Research carried out by the Post Office in 2015 found around 4.4 million people were injured while on holiday overseas.

Common complaints include animal bites and stings, slipping at the swimming pool and food poisoning, though road accidents are also responsible for many serious injuries abroad every year.

More than 3,000 people were hospitalised and 5,000 people died in the five years preceding 2014, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s British Behaviour Abroad Report 2014.

With this in mind, Thompsons’ head of overseas accident claims, Martyn Gwyther, suggests ways to stay safe and what to do if something does go wrong.

International road safety

Road accidents abroad cause many tourists serious injury, and even death, every year. If you’re planning on driving in a foreign country, read up on the local road laws and make sure you have the documents or equipment you’ll need to make a safe trip. If you doubt the quality of the vehicle you’re driving then don’t drive it, and if you plan on taking your own car then make sure you get it serviced before you head off. Use common sense: always wear your seatbelt and put your child in a car seat. Avoid motorcycles but if you must use one then wear a helmet and leathers if possible. Always be alert when crossing the street as traffic may be coming in a direction you’re not used to.

Food poisoning

Experimenting with exotic new tastes is part of the fun of travelling, though you may end up with an upset belly. If you eat something that hasn’t been washed or cooked properly, you could end up being extremely ill. Try to avoid raw meat and seafood and, if in doubt, steer clear of salads and pre-cut fruit. If you’re eating out, get advice on safe places to dine from your hotel or tour operator.

Water risks

Most family breaks in sunny climes revolve around time at the beach or swimming pool. While a great source of fun, it’s important to be aware not only of the risk of drowning but also slips, trips and falls around pools. Limit the risks by choosing a location with a lifeguard; learning a bit about sea conditions, rip tides and the risks associated with local marine life; and taking care pool-side, including by wearing sensible footwear.

Making a claim

If the worst happens and you do suffer an injury or illness while on holiday, remember to report the incident to your travel representative immediately. Keep a note of all information, including names and addresses of any witnesses, and where and when the incident took place. Any photographs of where the accident occurred will strengthen your case.

If you have suffered an illness or injury abroad in the last three years, UK law states that you can begin a claim for compensation. For more information contact our friendly expert accident abroad team on 0800 0 224 224 from your landline or 0330 123 123 0 from your mobile.