A quarter of Brits have been struck down with food poisoning while on holiday, with more than half admitting they now avoid foreign food when they are abroad for fear of falling ill.
Spain, Turkey and Egypt topped the list of dodgy destinations which have left holidaymakers hitting the bathroom more often than the beach.
A third of those who had fallen victim to food poisoning said they had spent most of the break in bed as a result, with one in 20 being forced to cut their holiday short.
While many said their illness had wrecked their holiday, more than half said it had ruined the break for their travelling companions as well with one in six ending up admitted to hospital.
The research of 2,000 holidaymakers was commissioned by travel specialists at law firm, Slater and Gordon, who say they have seen a rise in the number of people seeking their help after falling ill abroad.
The local food was a factor for one in four people when booking a foreign holiday and almost 40 per cent said concerns over hygiene would affect where they decided to go.
India caused the most concern with over 20 per cent of people choosing not to chance a bout of the country’s infamous ‘Delhi Belly.’
Paul McClorry, head of travel law at Slater and Gordon, said: “Thankfully the majority of foreign travellers have a happy and healthy time abroad – but illness can turn a much-needed holiday into a miserable experience.
“We have successfully helped thousands of people who have been unfortunate enough to have their holidays ruined in this way and we do see certain destinations crop up time and time again.
“If there is a problem and it’s not dealt with properly, illness can and does spread very quickly because everyone is using the same facilities.
“Fortunately most illnesses which are caused by food poisoning are short-lived and can be easily treated, but others, like salmonella, can be a lot more serious and have life-changing effects.”
The research, also revealed that 43 per cent had chosen the self-catering option when booking a holiday because they considered it safer to cook meals for themselves.
Even vegetarians got a raw deal with half of those surveyed saying they didn’t trust that dishes would be prepared separately from meat.
Thirty-seven per cent had seen a vegetarian option containing meat on the menu.
Sixty-two per cent of people asked claimed they didn’t always understand what they were ordering.
But of the holidaymakers surveyed, the majority of hardy Brits say food poisoning wouldn’t put them off and only three per cent would rule out returning to the same country again.
Germs didn’t discriminate by age or gender among the people surveyed, although women seemed to be more cautious than men about what they ate.
More than 60 per cent of Brits said they would only drink bottled water abroad, almost 30 per cent wouldn’t eat salad, eight per cent avoided meat and 15 per cent only ate English food.
Nearly half avoid ice, 16 per cent steer clear of the buffet and eight per cent survive on fast food outlets like McDonalds and KFC.
A third even travel with their own teabags to make sure they get a proper brew, with half taking other emergency supplies such as cereal bars, packet soup and baked beans.
And a third also said they sometimes booked four and five star luxury resorts as they thought it would be more hygienic with better quality meals and less chance of getting sick.
Paul McClorry added: “It often doesn’t matter whether it’s a budget resort or you’ve broken the bank. If it’s not clean or the food isn’t cooked correctly then you could still get caught out.
“Although most people’s travel insurance will cover them for medical expenses while away, they should also be aware that most policies won’t stretch to things like compensating them for time off work once they get home.”
Top 10 places for getting sick abroad
Top tips for tourists
Before you travel
1. Ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance with adequate medical cover and make a note of any helpline numbers on the policy.
2. If travelling to Europe, obtain a free European Health Insurance Card.
3. Pack basic medication in case you become ill while away.
If you do fall ill while on holiday
1. Seek medical attention immediately and inform your travel rep or hotel manager.
2. Keep any documentation – including receipts for treatment and incident report forms – and make a note or take a photograph of any hygiene concerns which could have led to you becoming ill.
3. If the illness is severe enough for you to consider making a claim, check to see if other people in the resort have been affected and ask for their details
On return to the UK make an appointment to see your GP and report the illness to your tour operator.
Slater and Gordon have won compensation for many people who suffered from food poisoning abroad caused by Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, Hepatitis A virus and E. coli. For a free consultation call our No Win, No Fee Solicitors on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online to begin your claim.