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Snowboarder warns of holiday risks

PUBLISHED: 17:04 02 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:49 03 March 2010

ON CRUTCHES and temporarily jobless, one Felixstowe snowboarder knows better than most the risks of going on holiday without insurance.

As the Government launches a campaign to warn youngsters of the dangers of travelling unplanned, Chris Jones is just glad he took advice.

ON CRUTCHES and temporarily jobless, one Felixstowe snowboarder knows better than most the risks of going on holiday without insurance.

As the Government launches a campaign to warn youngsters of the dangers of travelling unplanned, Chris Jones is just glad he took advice.

When a daredevil alpine stunt left the 30-year-old unconscious with a shattered femur, he had no idea his medical bill would soon top £10,000.

Mr Jones, of Leopold Road, had to be air lifted off the slopes to spend nine days in a French hospital.

The seriousness of his injuries later required a nurse to be flown out from the UK to be with him.

And unable to walk, Mr Jones, a mechanical engineer, took up 10 British Airway seats at a cost of £400 each on his way home.

Three months down the line and Mr Jones still faces another month before he can walk.

He said: "I have at least two grand's worth of metal in my leg for a start. Goodness knows what would have happened if I hadn't been insured."

His story is a cautionary tale to the three million young people who travel abroad without insurance.

According to the latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 28% of all 16 to 30-year-olds risk travelling uninsured.

In 2001 alone, 1,356 British nationals died overseas. And from April to June 2002, a staggering 3,306 British nationals were detained overseas, 1,268 of these were drug-related offences.

In the same year two Suffolk holidaymakers were killed when they plunged from balconies in two separate accidents.

Computer design technician Daniel Williams, 27, from Battisford near Stowmarket fell to his death in Ayia Napa in Cyprus when he tried to climb to a neighbouring first floor balcony.

And Monique Williams, 22, from Haverhill plummeted to her death when she tried to climb onto her friends' next door balcony while holidaying in Majorca.

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Top Ten Tips for Happy Holidays

1. Get insurance. Make sure the insurance covers you for medical and repatriation costs as well as any dangerous sports.

2. Have local knowledge. Look at www.fco.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo

3. Check you have the required entry visas.

4. Be health aware. Check the jabs you need six weeks before you go.

5. Avoid drugs. Penalties abroad can be punitive.

6. Be careful with alcohol. More accidents happen when drink is involved

7. Be vigilant. Be aware of rape drugs in drink. Never leave your glass unattended.

8. Take care of your belongings. Make copies of you tickets, passport and insurance policy.

9. Take enough money. British consular staff cannot pay to get you home.

10. Keep in touch. Consider a roam-enabled phone or use email to keep in touch.


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