LONDON (Reuters) - A growing number of older Britons are indulging in risky holiday behaviour, the Foreign Office warned on Friday.
It said it had witnessed the rise of an OAP -- “overseas and plastered” -- phenomenon among the over-55s.
People in this age group are taking more foreign holidays than before, but a fifth of them are taking risks they would not contemplate at home.
Bungee-jumping, parasailing, water-skiing and moped-riding are just some of the activities on the holiday itineraries of today’s older generation.
More than half of those drink more alcohol than usual while on holiday, and a third said they would indulge even more in an all-inclusive resort, according to a poll of 1,020 British adults for the Foreign Office.
Almost a fifth of couples say they or their partner have been injured abroad, 14 percent are less worried about their personal safety abroad than at home and more than a tenth do not follow the safety advice they would give to their children.
Rania Kossiori, British vice-consul in the Greek island of Rhodes, said: “Most problems that we see with the older generation of Brits arise from over-consumption of alcohol and food.
“Drinking and staying too long in the sun can make you ill and undertaking strenuous activity like going swimming or snorkelling after a large meal can put you in unnecessary danger: people have drowned this way.”
Too much alcohol can also lead to the sort of behaviour usually associated with the younger generation, such as becoming abusive, she added.
Despite making three times as many travel insurance claims than younger travellers, 65 percent of those surveyed admitted to taking their last trip overseas without insurance and more than 80 percent do not have a health check before travelling.
Foreign Office minister Meg Munn said: “The FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) is all for over-55s having fun on holiday, but it is crucial that they make some simple preparations to help avoid encountering difficulties whilst abroad.
“Acquiring adequate travel insurance is a must and health scares abroad can be avoided by visiting a GP and having a health check before embarking on a holiday.”
Steve Ashton, of Saga Insurance, the over-50s insurance specialist, said it was a misnomer that only young people could “have new experiences on holiday or take part in exciting and often rigorous activities”.
But he added: “Regardless of age, many people still overlook the essential need to have comprehensive travel insurance cover in place if things do go wrong.”
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