How to stay safe in a party town

Are you heading to Ayia Napa, Ibiza, Malia, or somewhere similar this summer?

You’re not alone. Over 870,000 British tourists head to Ibiza each year, and they’re joined by over 2 million others from around the world.

3 girls going on holiday
Your first holiday with just your friends can be exciting, but it’s important to stay safe.

If you're heading on a party holiday, you'll most likely have the time of your life. However, sometimes things can go wrong, especially if it’s your first holiday without your parents, and sometimes people don’t know where to turn.

We’re here to help with that. Here are our top tips on how to stay safe in party towns.

If you lose your passport

It’s easily done, but it can be absolutely terrifying - how on Earth are you supposed to get home?

There are things you can do once it’s gone walkies but, first, here are a couple of preventative measures:

  • When you’re travelling to the place you’re staying, try and keep your passport in a separate compartment in your bag, not just thrown in the main part. Also try and avoid using the front pocket of your rucksack, as this is easily accessible to those with sticky fingers.
  • When you arrive, find out whether or not your room has a safe or locker. Most hotels will, and they’re good for storing not just your passport, but all of your other valuable items that you don’t need during the day.

If the worst does happen though, don’t panic. The first thing you need to do is cancel the passport, so that no one else can use it, and you can do that here.

Next you need to apply for an emergency travel document. These act as a temporary passport that can get you home, where you can then apply for a new one. This government website is where you do that. Remember though, you’ll probably need to show them booking confirmation of your return flight, so make sure you have the email handy.

If you’re still having trouble doing all this, or you don’t have access to an airport, contact the local British embassy and they’ll be able to give you advice. Here is a list of all the British embassies, consulates and commissions around the world, and their addresses.

If you fall ill

Getting sick on holiday can not only ruin your mood, but it can potentially empty your bank account if you’re not prepared.

The most important thing to do is to purchase travel insurance, making absolutely sure that it covers all aspects of healthcare, including visits to A&E. There are lots of places that sell this, including supermarkets and banks, so shop around to see what the best deal is for the country you’re travelling to.

Brits travel to Europe more than any other continent for their holidays, by quite a large margin. If you are too, you can get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which will either reduce the cost of healthcare or sometimes even mean you can get it for free. You can apply for one online through the Foreign Office, and as a bonus, they're absolutely free.

NB: If you’re travelling to Europe after Brexit, your EHIC card may not be valid. Make sure you check before you travel.

European Health Insurance Card
This is what your EHIC card looks like.

If your night out doesn’t go to plan

Party holidays can be a lot of fun, but when there’s alcohol involved, things can really go wrong.

Here’s some tips on how to stay safe on your night out:

  • Keep your drinks close to you and don’t leave them lying around. That way there’s a far smaller chance of someone being able to get close enough to put something in it.
  • Make sure you have all your friends’ numbers in your phone, or you all have some sort of group chat. That way if you get separated, you’ll be able to check where you all are.
  • Another way of making sure you can find each other is by downloading an app that tracks where your friend’s phones are, such as Find My Friends. This can also come in handy if your phone goes missing or gets stolen.
  • Drink plenty of water. Alcohol is very dehydrating, and in a hot country it can be especially so.

If you feel in danger or are the victim of a crime

The Foreign Office recently conducted research that found 16 to 30-year-olds made up the majority of victims of crime abroad in 2018. Not only that, but 72% of people in survey they conducted said they’d walk home alone and 71% admitted to drinking in excess. You're on holiday, so of course you want to have fun, but you need to be extra careful if you're in unfamiliar surroundings.

If you feel in danger where you are staying, your first port of call would be to tell your holiday rep, your host or a member of staff working at your hotel. Explain your concerns and they will have good advice on where locally you can turn to for help.

If you do end up being the victim of a crime, as well as the local police, your best port of call is the nearest embassy, commission or consulate to where you’re staying. Here’s what they can (and can’t) help you with:

They can’t:

  • Represent you in court or give you legal advice
  • Investigate the crime on your behalf
  • Influence the outcome of a potential trial
  • Pay for any expenses you may incur as a result of the crime

They can:

  • Help you understand the local police and legal system
  • Help you find a translator or an English-speaking lawyer or doctor should you need one
  • Contact your friends and relatives if you are unable to, ie if your phone has been stolen

It’s also important to note that lots of countries require you to report the crime before you return home in order for it to be investigated.

For more information, head to the Government’s information page on crime while abroad.

If you lose your wallet or it gets stolen

The Foreign Office warns of a particular type of theft technique in Spanish airports: thieves posing as police officers will demand to see your wallet on arrival at the airport before making off with it. But sometimes you can be parted with your cash in ways that are far less severe - you may just happen to misplace it.

To prep, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have an emergency stash of cash separate to what you have in your purse or wallet - perhaps store it in the safe or lockers we mentioned earlier, or buried somewhere hidden in your suitcase. This means that even if your purse is lost or stolen, you won’t be completely without cash. Also, on night’s out or day trips, only take how much you’ll need with you.

If you do lose your wallet, check with your bank to see if they have any arrangements to deliver emergency cash. Otherwise, you may have to ask to borrow some from a friend, or ask a relative or someone you trust to transfer some money to a friend which you can then use, and then pay back.

If your purse is stolen, make sure you contact the police immediately. If you’re not confident speaking the local language, contact your nearest embassy who will be able to provide you with a translator, or direct you to an English-speaking police station or officer.

If you fall out with your mates

Being in such close proximity for a week or so, often with a large group of close mates, can often lead to tensions bubbling to the surface. But even if you have the biggest bust-up of the century, you need to make sure you stick with them. A Foreign Office survey found that 43% of young people asked would split from their friends to go off with a stranger. There might be lots of reasons why the people surveyed said they'd do this, but it can put you in lots of danger, so it’s something you should avoid doing at all costs.

3 friends in a swimming pool
If heads are getting hot, take some time to cool off by the pool.

If it’s you that’s angry, maybe give yourself some time to cool off in the comfort of the hotel, away from your pals. Then, see if there’s any way you can chat to your friends to see if you can resolve the issue. If it’s your friend that’s angry, make sure they don’t wander off from the group on their own. BBC Bitesize has some great advice on how to argue like a pro, so both sides come out feeling better.