Consumer series. Angela Rippon investigates the dangers of safari holidays, and Joe Crowley checks into a hotel in Malta which has attracted scathing online reviews.
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Right now I'm prepared to guess that there are millions of you
flicking through those glossy, holiday brochures.
Because it's that time of year again,
when we all decide where we're going to spend our well-earned breaks.
# Sun is shining in the sky
# There ain't a cloud in sight. #
We all put our trust and our hard-earned cash in the hands
of the holiday industry, hoping it delivers on its promise.
But on occasion, things can go wrong
and that can end up turning a dream break into a nightmare.
The last memory I have - everyone's smiling, happy.
Next thing is I woke up in hospital.
We were on the cruise ship. My nan suddenly had a stroke.
From uncovering the bad...
My terror is that a child could fall in and not be seen.
..to highlighting the good.
I don't think I need to say anything about this.
We are the Holiday Hit squad
and it's our mission to ensure you avoid all of those holiday
horrors and really get the best out of your annual break.
Coming up on today's programme, we're on call at a Turkish A&E.
Four breaks. You made a proper jump of it, didn't you? Yeah.
There are thrills and some spills as Joe and I take
-on a challenge to find the perfect weekend for adventure lovers.
-You can't have more fun in a wetsuit.
And I'll be investigating whether or not
we really are as safe as we expect to be on a safari holiday.
They're completely chilled but put one foot out of this vehicle
and you'd have the attention of every lion there instantly.
But first I check into a hotel that's been winding up more than
a few British guests.
Whether we're holidaying on a paradise island
or in a bustling metropolis,
there's one thing that will always scupper our fun.
If our hotel sucks our holiday will too.
# Baby, please don't go
# Baby, please don't go. #
'That's why I'm pulling back the covers...'
That's really horrible.
'..and rattling cages...'
I'm worried. This is a hospital trip.
'..at some of the hotels that have been driving you crackers.'
What would you say to people looking at coming to this hotel?
'And today I'm in one of our favourite holiday destinations.'
# Yesterday my life was filled with rain. #
One of the world's smallest countries,
Malta is a jewel in the Med. Lying just south of Sicily, it
attracts nearly half a million Brits every year.
Malta may be a tiny island but it has a big history and, of course,
very strong links with the UK.
English is one of the two official languages here
and it has a long season.
Lovely and warm until late in the year which is why
thousands of Brits come back here time and time again.
But recently, one thing on this island has been leaving some
# I'm gonna raise a fuss
# I'm gonna raise a holler. #
With rooms costing over £100 per night,
the four-star Cavalieri used to have a great reputation.
And with its idyllic location in the popular resort of St Julian's Bay,
it's easy to see why.
But recently, the number of unhappy guests has risen dramatically.
# Sometimes I wonder what I'm going to do
# But there ain't no cure for the summertime blues. #
The bathroom had four cracked tiles on the floor.
The shower curtain was supposed to be beige
but at the bottom it was black.
-The staff, most were indifferent.
-There was this huge hair.
Obviously a lady with long hair had been in there before.
It was on the floor and I didn't touch it. I left it.
It was there for three days.
I've stayed in many four-star hotels
and I would say that was the worst one.
So is this once grand four-star on the slide?
The management are unhappy with the reviews too, so have invited us
in to help them spot what's rubbing the clientele up the wrong way.
Joe Crowley, checking in, please.
The Cavalieri has been described by one guest as
'one of the dirtiest hotels I've ever seen'.
'So my room comes as something of a surprise.'
It looks pretty clean.
Looks like they've cleaned the floor properly.
And the bed sheets...
importantly, look very clean.
Doesn't seem so bad, at all.
'But it seems not everyone's experience is as sparkling as mine.'
Two fellow Brits I've met who don't wish to be filmed are
so disgruntled with their room they've asked to be moved.
They've let us check out the room and I can see why they're not happy.
'Mouldy walls and dirty linen is not exactly a four-star experience.'
It's grubby, it's stained.
That is really disgusting.
'But what's worse, the new room they've been offered,
'comes with the kind of extras no-one would welcome.'
They've come straight in here and quickly
and quite rightly had a look at the bedding.
Because that's one of the biggest problems in the room they've currently got. And...
I dread to think what that is.
'I've heard of leaving a chocolate on your pillow,
'but this takes the biscuit.'
Clean bedding, that's what people expect
when they come to a four-star hotel
and the hotel doesn't seem to be on top of those details at the moment.
And other Brits have also spotted the hotel's fading grandeur.
It's got fabulous potential.
But it's become tired and lack of attention to detail.
There's a few beds that are broken. It could be absolutely ideal.
It's got everything going for it.
But it's let down by poor attention to maintenance.
Steve is worried it'll be the guests, not the hotel, that'll fall
flat on their face.
As you can see this is fairly slimy.
-When it gets really wet it becomes lethal.
-And this slime has built up.
-It's been there several weeks.
-Have you seen anyone have problems here?
I did see someone slip yesterday.
They didn't actually go down but they could have gone down
and quite easily broken something.
This is one slip-up too many.
Time to call in the cavalry.
Welcome back to Dr Lisa Ackerly,
an expert inspector with more than 20 years' experience
riding to the rescue of establishments like this.
-Shall we start there and have a look at the beds?
I don't like the look of this at all. I think it's horrible.
We've uncovered more dirty bedding.
'Not looking good so far.'
-So, we've got a stocked minibar.
-And we have some mould.
-At the back.
And at the bottom it's all a bit cracked.
Let's have a look at the ice.
-People would be using this in their drinks. So it's not very nice.
'I certainly wouldn't want a drink from this minibar.
'Nor would I fancy a dip in the hotel pool.'
Have a look at that. That really is disgusting.
-A whole ecosystem going on here.
-It's actually just
coming off in your hands.
We've got slime, body fat.
We've got dirt, we've got a biofilm of bacteria.
How long has it been like this? Surely, quite a while.
-Weeks or months. Maybe years.
-A whole season.
Nobody's bothered to get in there and clean it. Astonishing.
Look at it.
That doesn't fill me with confidence.
So what horrors might be lurking in the indoor pool?
Right, this looks lovely.
It may look lovely but appearances can be deceptive.
'In Lisa's bag of tricks she has a kit for testing the water's
Really good for a quick indication. Give that a wiggle in the water.
-I can see it change colour immediately.
-Look on the scale.
And you can see that's greater than 10 parts per million.
The top of the scale there would close the pool.
And this is off the scale.
It is so off the scale, I've never seen anything like it before.
I'm only able to estimate but I reckon around 70 parts per million.
-And it should be one or two.
-What would happen to me if I went in here?
-It could irritate your skin.
Basically, you should not let anyone swim
if it's more than 10 parts per million.
So we're seven times over that in the estimate I'm able to do
with the kit I've got.
-We need to make sure this is closed.
It would be terrible if someone jumped in there.
Chlorine in low doses is necessary to kill dangerous organisms
such as E-coli.
But it is still a highly hazardous substance. Swimming in an
overly chlorinated pool would be akin to swimming in diluted bleach.
Side effects could include nausea and vomiting,
it could make your eyes and throat sting and burn,
not to mention causing you to cough and wheeze.
This is so serious that we need to take immediate action.
We've been doing some tests on the pools
and the inside pool has too much chlorine in it. It's off the scale.
And it's not safe for people to swim in.
-Thank you for letting us know.
-Thank you, Joe.
Thankfully they've taken our advice and the pool has been closed.
But there are more signs of decline at the Cavalieri,
'and later we'll discover that's it's not just the water that's overdosed.'
I've no idea what killed him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't starvation.
Gluttony may well have been on the list.
Hopefully you're never going to know they're there
but in resorts around the world, backstage as it were, there's a
dedicated army of professionals who are always on stand-by to pick
up the pieces just in case something goes wrong.
# I need a hero
# I'm holding out for a hero... #
I've been following emergency crews all over Europe,
and today I'm feeling the heat in a Turkish A&E.
# The heat is on
# The heat is on-on. #
I've come to Marmaris, on Turkey's South West coast, to get
an idea of what happens when sunseeking Brits end up
needing urgent hospital treatment during a Mediterranean holiday.
I have an access-all-areas pass to one of the busiest hospitals in
the area, the Ahu Hetman, a private hospital in the heart of town.
In 2012 alone they treated 1,308 British casualties.
And just about all of them went through this door right
here into Accident and Emergency.
'The problems the doctors encounter...'
Where's the pain? All down there?
Turns out I had a cyst on my ovary and it was twisted.
-You know the plastic bit?
-On your goggles?
Yeah. It scratched down my eye.
But one of the most common complaints at this Turkish
hospital is tummy trouble.
A staggering 66% of adults in the UK have experienced
digestive problems while on holiday. Contaminated water, food poisoning
or just over-indulgence can all cause problems
and Scottish holidaymaker Linda Watson has just been admitted
with severe abdominal pain.
-When did this start? To get like this?
-Friday night, Saturday.
They've stuck you on a drip already.
Because you've been feeling quite wretched up until now.
I've been drinking plenty of fluid but it's just going.
-It must be a bit worrying for you, as well?
-Aye, it is.
If you don't see them getting better, they get worse and worse.
-Thank goodness for health insurance.
-I would recommend it to anyone.
Dehydration is a potentially dangerous side effect
of an upset stomach but in high summer temperatures it can affect
us all. So to avoid its debilitating
effects, aim to consume two to three litres of water a day. More if
you are exercising or out and about in the heat of a hot summer's day.
Back in A&E, the stream of casualties continues.
It looks as if you've been in the wars. What have you done?
Broken me wrist.
Broken bones are an unexpectedly common
complaint at hospitals in holiday hotspots.
Often as a result of exuberant and exciting activities.
Crikey! That is a pretty impressive cast.
'But as Shirley Hanger discovered to her cost, you don't
'have to be taking part in a dangerous sport to break a bone.'
Four breaks. You made a proper job of it, didn't you?
Yeah. Good job.
-How did you do that?
-I slipped on a wet floor.
Slipping on wet surfaces is one of the most common
causes of fractures on holiday.
Marble floors are commonplace
in foreign hotels and apartments.
Add wet feet from swimming or impaired balance
and we can often find ourselves with a bruised backside.
Or as in Shirley's case, much worse.
That's an amazing piece of engineering, isn't it?
-How long did that take?
-About three hours.
Shirley has had a lot of potentially expensive surgery.
And she's a long way from home.
-Please tell me you were insured?
-Yes, I was.
It would have been a nightmare otherwise, wouldn't it?
It would, yeah.
Without insurance, Shirley would have had ended up
paying for a very expensive holiday.
Around the world medical costs vary enormously,
with the United States topping the chart.
A broken leg there could cost as much as an average Brit's
annual salary and here in Turkey, medical care is far from cheap.
So always make sure that you are adequately covered.
One thing you must do, when applying for travel insurance,
is to be absolutely honest about any pre-existing condition.
If you're not, and you leave it off, and find yourself in hospital
being treated for that condition, the insurance company will not pay
and however much you may have had to pay as an extra,
if you're not covered and you have to pay up,
you can bet your boots you'll have to add at least a couple of noughts to the figure.
Now, don't go thinking that Holiday Hit Squad is
all about holiday hell - it's not.
We've got holiday heaven too.
Throughout this series, I've been asking Helen and Joe to come up
with great ideas for holidays,
not just abroad but at home where two in three of us
now regularly take a break in the UK.
# Anything you can do I can do better... #
Each week I've been giving Helen and Joe a theme,
a budget and a challenge.
To find out if Britain can compete with the rest of the world...
From city breaks...
I will be amazed if Joe can top this.
..to beach treats...
Surely the perfect family beach holiday.
They're going head-to-head in a
battle of vacation versus staycation...
You'd have to go a long way round the world to beat this!
Tonight, a holiday for the thrill-seekers among us.
# Thrill me... #
I've given Helen and Joe a budget of a grand each to create a long
weekend for two people filled with thrills and spills.
This week I'm fighting for the foreign field trip,
so with a wonderful wide world to choose from, where have I picked?
It's just a three hour flight away, and it's like another planet,
let alone another country.
Everything screams adventure.
It's just outside the Arctic Circle,
populated by the descendants of Vikings,
and check out the landscape. These aren't special effects!
And if it's thrills you want, then Iceland has
an abundance of activities -
underwater, on the ice, in raging torrents,
anything you can think of you can do in this magical, alien landscape.
Iceland is all well and good but why go all that way when in
Britain we are lucky enough to have the Scottish Highlands?
# In a big country dreams stay with you... #
That's right, this week I'm fighting on the home front and I think
Scotland more than holds its own, if you're seeking a thrilling break.
Mighty mountains, gargantuan glens,
and larger-than-life lochs
all hold the key to an adventure packed holiday.
Look at that. It's basically God's playground.
I've found a way of exploring it with a little motorised help.
This activity is run on a 50,000 acre estate
so you can speed along rivers, head to the hills,
or race through ancient Caledonian forests.
If you wanted proof that Scotland has world-class scenery,
then look no further.
Talk about a buzz. I'm as high as a kite.
That was fantastic.
Anyone who comes here can have a go, you just have to be 12 or older,
they even had an 80-year-old woman doing this.
Whether you want heart pumping adrenaline action or
just use it as way to see this beautiful scenery,
I would thoroughly advise that when you come to Scotland,
on an adventure holiday, you give this a go.
I can go riding through the wild landscape too, Joe,
but my thrills have got the cute factor.
Ready, guys? Hey!
# Walking the dog... #
My guides do this in all sorts of landscapes - they'll usually
do it on snow or ice up on the glaciers, where you can have
a full-on adrenaline adventure, or if you want something slightly less
extreme but just as exhilarating they'll use these buggies on grass.
I've got the handbrake on.
Kids and adults would love this - the huskies are wonderful
animals, and it's a great way to connect with Iceland's nature.
# Ice ice, baby... #
And if it's wildlife you love, Iceland has it - there's fab
horse riding on land or whale-watching on the water.
There's no denying that Iceland's fantastic, Helen,
but it doesn't have a monopoly on the great outdoors, you know.
# You raise me up...
# So I can stand on mountains... #
Just look at that, the views are spectacular.
There's one other thing to watch as well.
There's a mountain bike trail that comes down.
Here's someone coming now. Really popular with mountain bikers.
It's used in the Mountain Bike World Cup and it's fantastic to see people whizzing by
as you sit comfortably above.
But I'm not up here for the brilliant mountain biking.
I've got a spot of alfresco indulgence planned...
If you stay in the UK, you save money on flights,
and you can treat yourself to a luxury hamper.
And where would you want to eat this
more than halfway up a Scottish mountain in the sunshine?!
Stunning view, Joe,
but just the oatcakes for company? Anyway, with the cost of
living in Iceland being
so high, my lunch won't be quite as lofty as yours.
But I will be in good company... I think this is it.
# You ain't nothing but a hound dog... #
I've been tipped off about an Icelandic institution...
These are good, yeah?
These guys have come from America for a hotdog.
That's the only reason they're in Iceland?! OK.
This board has lists of people who've allegedly been here.
Elvis Presley's on there! Bill Clinton - there's a picture of him.
He's definitely been here.
If it's good enough for the King, it's good enough for me.
It's not just the food and drink that are pricey here - the hotels
are also considerably more expensive than the UK which means I've
had to choose basic accommodation in order to stay in budget.
I've booked a hostel in Reykjavik.
I don't want to look cos I promised
myself I'd never stay in a hostel again! But that was years ago.
And this is nice.
My berth in this four-bed room, works out from around £35 per night.
It's modern and clean. It's basic, but it's on a budget
so if you want to come somewhere like Reykjavik,
somewhere like this is perfect.
I like it, bagsy top bunk.
That one's mine!
I'm going to need a good night's sleep with what I've got planned.
-Now, that is impressive.
-Very good, but anything you can do, Helen...
I've got the ultimate in thrills and spills to come.
Being inside a waterfall is amazing!
Still to come: how a safari holiday could end up driving you wild.
I flew through the air into the top of a tree...
And the parade of patients continues at the beach surgery.
You've got pain on that side?
What about on that side?
First, I continue my inspection into that hotel that's driving Brits barmy.
Judging by guests' reviews, the four-star Cavalieri hotel in Malta,
may be slipping from its lofty perch.
So expert inspector Dr Lisa Ackerley and I are on their case to
try to make sure they don't let any more British holidaymakers down.
They've made a few mistakes, they've allowed these peaches to come out -
quite clearly they're inedible.
One of the areas of concern to some former guests is the food,
and I'm keen to investigate further.
Lisa, in some of these online reviews there are a couple
of complaints about not just food but its preparation,
questioning some of the hygiene standards of the staff.
I'm guessing they're referring to this.
You can see into the kitchen here. This is the pool snack bar.
-What do you make of it?
From the outside I haven't been impressed, so I'm itching to
get in there, there's lots of debris around.
You don't need to be a hygiene expert to see it's quite dirty.
If you look over there you can see those chips on the floor.
And all round the edges. This is actually built up over some time.
One on-line complainant reported an outbreak of sickness
and diarrhoea affecting many guests. The hotel denied responsibility.
But it's clear the state of this kitchen is far from acceptable.
-This should be five degrees?
-Yes, looking at five. Maximum, eight.
The probe is saying...
18. So that means the chicken is too warm so if there's any bacteria
-on there, they'll be starting to grow.
-We don't know when that was put in there.
-So bad practice all round.
And everywhere we look, it's the same story...
So dirty. Everything is...
From what you've seen so far, how bad is their kitchen?
Erm, it's filthy. So I reckon in the UK I'd be thinking about
serving a hygiene improvement notice.
Look at the state of that chopping board.
-That's a ready to eat chopping board.
-Is there anything we can swab?
The point of swabbing is, if you look at what seems to be a clean
surface and check if it really is
clean, but very little of this kitchen seems to be clean.
The only thing which looks clean is the inside of these handles.
-Probably because they're being touched quite a lot.
To be fair, I'll take the bits the hands would touch.
Which is all around here...
-Quite a lot of dirt on.
-Looks very grubby.
This swab is a nice cheap and cheerful way of finding out
whether there's been some protein
left on a surface so it's quite useful in catering premises.
The swab test detects protein which should not be
present on a clean surface.
If it goes green it's clean.
Grey is dirty and purple is really dirty.
As we can see, it isn't clean.
In a kitchen you'd expect to get green on those surfaces.
Or for example on a chopping board.
-No chance we'd get green on there.
If it's this bad in the area visible to customers,
I dread to think what it's like behind the scenes where
there's a small food preparation area.
I've got something you'll want to see.
Yes, fine example.
Cockroaches are just about the worst kind of creature you'd
want in your kitchen.
Feasting on anything from rotting food to excrement and even the
toenails of sleeping people, it's believed that they spread a number
of diseases to humans including salmonella and gastroenteritis.
-We expected we'd see something like that here.
So, where there's one I presume there's a few more.
Very likely to be more.
I've no idea what killed him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't starvation.
Gluttony might be on the list.
He's actually leaking fluid on me now so I might put him down.
Ohhh! You might want to ditch the gloves at this point too.
He's going in the bin, with my glove.
Some consumer advice. If you're worried about a pool
kitchen like this, what's safe? Chips and pizza?
Chips is usually a good bet. Pizza, pretty much.
Anything cooked to a high temperature.
To be fair, the hotel's main kitchens seem well run and maintained,
so it's all the more frustrating that they should be getting
areas like the snack bar so wrong.
Quite rightly people come here with high expectations, this is a four-star hotel,
and even though the star system can be misleading sometimes,
the principle is you expect to be treated well here.
You expect the little details to be right.
And I don't think they are right, here.
And sometimes it is the small things that drive you nuts,
and it really can ruin a holiday.
That's what the management here need to get on top of.
Time to see what manager Mark intends to do about it,
starting with that supercharged indoor pool.
-There is quite a big problem there, a chlorine problem.
The pool maintenance man, and I think this is where the problem comes from,
his equipment was broken.
He couldn't actually tell how much chlorine was in the pool.
And he was adding chlorine, and it got to a point
where it was actually quite dangerous.
The problem is being sorted now, I believe,
he is draining the pool and sorting it out.
Not only that but yesterday I held a meeting
with the maintenance manager about it,
we bought another kit straightaway yesterday.
We take it seriously because at the end of the day
it is not only the results, it is about people using the indoor pool.
-I'm sure people would have issues with that
and we can't afford to have that at the moment.
'It's a positive response from Mark -
'but what will he make of that dodgy poolside kitchen?'
I have to say we were quite shocked by what we found.
It's not clean, there is nowhere to wash your hands properly,
a lot of dirt on the floor,
we also found some cockroaches, some pests,
and the food in the fridges was also quite warm.
It is quite serious, what you are saying, of course.
With regards to the pests and whatnot,
we have just changed our pest control company here
and what happens is when you have companies coming over
on a regular basis,
as soon as they do the treatment, then all of a sudden you see pests.
There is too much food on the floor.
The floor isn't being cleaned properly,
so it is a banquet for cockroaches.
That's the problem, not because of where you are or anything like that,
it's because all of yesterday, nothing was cleaned.
Behind the counters, on the floor, there was food.
-And it's still there now.
-It's very bad.
So that is what is encouraging the pests.
And actually the funny thing is your main kitchen is fantastic,
it's clean, there are good processes in place,
the staff know what they are doing,
and the quick fix is the staff from your main kitchen
to be running the snack kitchen,
because the standards in the main kitchen are very, very good.
Yes, unfortunately, there are a lot of shortcomings
but I can assure you that come next season
it will be completely different.
Well, Mark's attitude is really encouraging -
he seems to be taking on board mine and Lisa's comments, and has
promised a major refurbishment programme for the hotel's bedrooms.
And I'm able to make a real change straightaway - getting both
the slimy shower and the filthy kitchen tackled there and then.
We've highlighted some of the problems with the manager,
he has responded well,
he promises us that changes will be made,
and I'm optimistic, I genuinely think this place will improve
and made a lot better for all the British holidaymakers who come here.
But I've been doing this long enough not to take anything for granted.
So later in the show I'll be back to make sure Mark is true to his word.
Fortunately, most holidays run problem free
but all kinds of medical mishaps can get in the way of fun in the sun
and that's why the Beach Surgery is open for business.
Over the course of the series, Dr Chris Van Tulleken and I will be
on call for British holidaymakers experiencing some of those common...
Every time I fly my feet swell up.
..and not so common holiday ailments.
It might be a running skinworm.
This is the first time I have advised anyone
to medically go topless on the beach.
First up today is Danny Haggan whose holiday fun
has been compromised from the moment he came in to land.
-How long have you been here?
-Ten days so far.
What is going on?
My ear hasn't popped.
It's very painful.
And I can't hear well.
Cos you hear it, on the plane, go, then as you land, it goes again.
-But it didn't do that for you.
-It didn't do that with me.
-That must be frustrating.
-It is frustrating.
Danny's is a problem most of us have encountered at some point
and given that over 40 million of us fly every year,
that's an awful lot of blocked ears.
What have you done to try and pop the ear?
I've tried putting my finger in my ear.
-Your finger in the ear?
-I tried yawning.
-That presumably didn't work.
On the other side of our eardrums is a cavity filled with air
that needs to be at the same pressure as the air on the outside.
When our plane descends for landing,
the pressure in the cabin increases quickly
and if the air in the middle ear doesn't do the same,
that's when it will feel painful or blocked.
A very small tube goes to the back of your mouth,
called the Eustachian tube, which you might have heard of.
When you yawn or swallow, that tube opens
and allows the pressure in your middle ear
to equalise with your mouth on the onside.
So what you need to do is open that Eustachian tube.
And you've done all the right things, done some yawning,
-What about sweets?
Anything that helps you move your jaw and yawn.
The other thing you can do that you've got to be really careful of
is blocking your nose and trying to pop your ears.
You've got to do this gently.
-It can be a risky thing to do, cos you can burst your eardrum.
But it will hurt before you burst your eardrum, so the trick
is to do it without causing any pain.
-OK, stop doing that now. No luck?
-That one popped.
-That one popped?
-But the other one didn't?
What I can do is reassure you, nothing bad is going on,
it is common, and it will pop.
So, to try to keep your ears balanced when you fly
yawn, chew and swallow as the plane descends.
It's a good idea to feed babies or give them a drink
to encourage them to swallow during descent.
And if you have a cold, or suffer regularly on flights,
consider decongestants or anti-histamines
to help keep the Eustachian tube clear.
Next to visit our beach surgery today
is Debbie Wright and her family.
Chris, Debbie, Katie, you're on your family holiday
but it's not going to plan, tell us, what's the problem?
Last night I noticed I had a blister underneath my tongue
and this morning when I got up, it's like my glands are swollen now.
-Is it painful?
-Just a bit, yeah.
Let's have a look in your mouth.
I'm going to start, actually, can you see just in there?
Just behind the front two teeth.
It looks like there is a flap of skin there that...
it seems like you might have cut it.
Have you got pain on that side?
-And what about on that side?
-Yeah, a little bit inflamed there.
I think we can be pretty confident that you have
an ulceration or a cut in the mouth.
Along with stress or illness,
a common cause of mouth ulcers is damage to the tissue in your mouth.
But of course getting stuck into the local cuisine is one of the best
things about a holiday,
Just be careful when you're tucking into that lovely paella,
with their sharp shells, mussels and other shellfish can bite back.
It's nothing to worry about then?
Nothing to worry about, unless it goes on for a few weeks.
-Have you got a kettle in your hotel room?
I'd boil some water, make it as hot as a cup of tea,
stir in loads of salt, a couple of big teaspoons of salt
so it really tastes disgusting.
Don't swallow it, slush it around the mouth, keep it as hot as you can
on that bit of tongue, without burning it.
You have to judge the temperature. And if in 48 hours it's not better,
I'd get a very simple antibiotic, like a penicillin from the chemists.
If in two weeks it's not better, you need to see your GP.
Most mouth ulcers won't require special treatment
so if you get a mild one, cleaning it with salty water might help.
Avoid hard, sharp or spicy foods.
Take care brushing your teeth
and reduce your stress levels by doing something relaxing.
Fine by me.
Things can go wrong in a heartbeat.
One minute you're in paradise, the next, just like that,
everything is turned on its head.
Which is why I've been investigating those things
that can really ruin a holiday.
From the shattering...
If people go down head first you are looking at, possibly, a fatality.
..to the shocking...
There is no Europe-wide, world-wide standard.
..I've discovered that you're not always as safe as you might think.
Today, the hidden dangers of a safari holiday.
Once the preserve of the very rich, the thrill of witnessing wild
animals at close quarters is now available to all,
with a range of safari holidays to suit many budgets.
But should we take it for granted that a safari tour is a safe,
risk-free way of getting up close and personal with wildlife?
Like thousands of others each year, The Ellison-Perret family travelled
to India in search of a glimpse of one of the world's rarest big cats.
But their trip would end in a terrifying accident.
I have to say that a safari holiday has always been my dream holiday.
It sounds as if the latest one was a bit of a nightmare. What happened?
We were travelling around India
and it was the highlight of the holiday, to see the tigers.
On safari, in a canter.
Canter trucks are widely used in India, and the Ellison-Perrets
took their place at the back of a high sided 16-seater.
The tour began better than anyone could have hoped,
with the group enjoying a rare sighting of a pair of Bengal tigers.
-Everybody was incredibly excited about what we saw.
-You saw tigers?
We saw them. Which was amazing. You very seldom see tigers.
We were quite late to leave, because the park closes.
-And the exit is up a short and very steep hill.
Like that. And as you came up to go to the top of the hill, he stalled.
And then, of course, it started to turn over.
I flew through the air into the top of a tree.
Hit the top of the tree, bounced out of the tree,
onto the very hard ground.
I just lay there, and went,
"For goodness' sake, that really hurts!"
In the incident, Kevin broke his nose, Beth was concussed
and Rose suffered bruising and ligament damage.
But Diane suffered more serious injuries,
breaking several ribs and damaging her back, arms and hips.
Do you still have problems from the injuries that you had?
I take lots and lots of painkillers.
The family were incredibly lucky that there were no
tigers in the vicinity when the accident happened.
But if you think the Ellison-Perret family's terrifying ordeal
is unique, think again.
Only last year a British tourist was killed by an elephant
at another site in India, and around the world there were several
incidents where animals attacked.
And things could have gone the same way for Michael and Trish Hawker
and friends in South Africa, had luck not been on their side.
The ranger decided that we should go into the predator area,
where they had five lions.
We were very, very close indeed, so much so that the girl said,
"Please, we're too close, we would like to back off a bit."
Suddenly, the lioness raised herself off the ground and looked at us,
and then just charged.
Their guide reversed away at speed but lost control
and rolled the vehicle just yards from the pride of lions.
We got thrown out. We were obviously shaken.
The next question was, where are the lions?
We had nothing to defend ourselves with at all, the ranger made
no suggestion that we might do anything, even sound the horn.
So we lay there. The girls thought they were going to be eaten.
I thought, frankly, one of the lions would come and pull somebody out.
Yeah, we all thought we were going to die.
And the lioness literally got to within two metres of the vehicle.
Fortunately another vehicle
arrived in the nick of time and rescued them.
But their terrifying ordeal could so easily have been avoided
if their guide had been better trained and better equipped.
I've come to Woburn Safari Park to meet expert Chris MacKintyre.
All cats are very fast. They are so much faster than you are.
He's going to give me some advice
on how to avoid danger whilst on safari.
There they are, a whole pride, under the tree there.
They are completely chilled. But put one foot out of this vehicle
and you have the attention of every lion instantly.
So if you had an accident, this close to a pride of lions,
-what would you do?
-You would be in a real mess. A real mess.
You would stick with the vehicle and, come the worst,
if they started to show an interest in you,
you might well beep the horn.
-Make a noise?
-Make as loud a noise as you could.
You would try hard to be seen as part of the vehicle
and not as a separate animal.
Vehicles aren't something they eat, you would stay with that vehicle,
stay in that vehicle if you possibly could.
So whose job is it to ensure your safety while on safari,
and do tour operators have any obligation to check that
safety standards overseas are met?
In search of answers,
I head to the Association of British Travel Agents.
All ABTA members will be responsible for the safety of that safari,
they will be legally liable for it.
We do a lot of work in this area, trying to raise standards,
to make it safe for people to visit those destinations.
What are the sort of precautions that British holidaymakers should
take when they go on safari?
First and foremost make sure they book through a reputable company.
Ask questions as well if you are unsure about any health
and safety standards, ask questions before you depart.
If you're uncomfortable with anything, don't go on the tour.
And make sure you have an emergency contact number, should you be out
in the bush and something happens, you know what the procedures are.
It's a message echoed by safari expert Chris, who says,
book with someone reputable and with real expertise
and experience in the region you're visiting.
Ask the person you are booking with, "have you been to this lodge?
"Have you been to this safari?"
And if they haven't, put the phone down and talk to someone else.
-And that way you really will have the holiday of a lifetime.
And it can be, and it is, for most people.
Safaris are fantastic holidays.
Each week on Holiday Hit Squad, from cream...
-Your whole body.
-That is a lot.
I've been tackling some of the great
British holiday-makers most common consumer questions.
And this week,
it's how to avoid being weighed down by unexpected costs.
Everyone knows someone who has been caught out at the airport with
excessive baggage charges.
Ironically, it is the low-cost airlines that charge you
the most for even the smallest of bags.
But you only need to know the basics to keep hold of your cash.
Adding excess baggage charges has become the norm
with most low-cost airlines expecting you to pay
if you want to put any baggage in the hold.
Last year, research showed that the cost of some airline extras
had risen by a staggering 66 percent - meaning that in some
cases these can add up to well over half the cost of your flight.
If you book a 20kg suitcase online, you can expect to pay up to £90,
depending on where you're flying.
But if you turn up at the airport without booking your bag
in online, you could be charged up to £140 at the busiest time of year.
They'll also charge you an extra £20 for every kilogram
over 20kg you go, so a 23kg bag could end up costing you £200.
£200 just to take your luggage on holiday with you.
To avoid being stung, here are the best ways to limit your load.
Beat those airport scales
by investing in some lightweight luggage.
Make a list before you pack -
think about how many days you'll be there
and what you're likely to need.
Why not go with one overall colour scheme to mix and match,
so you'll need fewer bags, belts and shoes?
And if you're really looking to cut costs,
there's always the option of taking just a carry-on bag.
Budget airlines only allow you to take one piece of hand luggage,
which is fine if you can fit everything into that one bag.
# Papa's got a brand-new bag. #
So here are some great ways to squeeze a lot in
if you want to bring down the bulk of your baggage...
Save space by vacuum packing your clothes.
But remember, you are going to need to access a vacuum cleaner
in time for your return journey.
Roll clothes rather than fold -
you can squeeze much more in that way -
and they'll be less creased.
And instead of packing bulkier items like jackets,
wear them when you travel
But do beware of weight and size restrictions.
Ignoring them could cost you a packet.
For example, take Ryanair and Flybe.
They say that your hand luggage must be no heavier than 10kg,
and Monarch are even stricter.
Hand luggage on their planes can be no heavier than 5kg.
And if Ryanair or Monarch, for instance,
find out that your bag is heavier than it should be,
they could fine you £50-60.
# Hey ya... #
The moral of the story is read the small print
and always book online and in advance if it's possible.
And remember that in some instances it may be cheaper in the long run
to book with a more expensive airline
that doesn't charge extra baggage fees.
Well, here I am -
I've come back to Malta to check up on the Cavalieri Hotel,
to see if it's made the changes it really needs to
to be deserving of that four-star status.
It's certainly a quality hotel,
but had been let down by poor attention to detail.
Time to meet manager Mark.
-Good to see you again, how are you?
-Nice to see you again.
On my first visit,
the outdoor pool had been suffering from neglect around the edges.
-That's good, cos that was thick, black, wasn't it?
-So that's been what, power-washed?
-That was power-washed completely,
-and as you can see, the result.
I'm glad to see it's now in a much better condition.
Next I want to check out that filthy poolside snack kitchen.
Whoa! This is looking a bit different.
It's clearly been pulled around a lot.
What's been going on?
Well, basically, the place is closed now.
-Executive chef took full responsibility for it...
He's preparing a plan. When it comes to reopening the place,
I can assure you that the situation will be much, much different.
And Mark was keen to show me that the indoor pool's chlorine level
was under control, using a simple test strip.
So, in it goes. It changes colour.
These are so good,
because it means that anyone who's not an expert can just quickly check.
The manager, housekeeping personnel, people who are here,
-the maintenance, anyone can do that.
and a very attractive, very pleasant swimming pool,
and I can see people even queuing up to come in here and swim.
-So, we'll leave them to it, shall we?
Mark now seems to have a good grip on this hotel.
There's a major refurbishment under way,
and following our experiences of dirty bedding,
it's great to hear that the hotel have appointed
a new laundry service provider.
Well, I've said it all along, but the key to making this
a really good hotel is staying on top of the small details.
Keeping standards consistently high.
It inspires confidence, and if they can roll that out
across the rest of the hotel,
I think they're going to be in a very good place
come next season.
Earlier in the programme
I sent Helen and Joe off in search of holiday heaven,
just to see if Britain really can compete with the rest of the world
for our hard-earned holiday cash.
Well, this week, the challenge was to find an action-packed weekend
for two, for less than £1,000.
# Don't stop me now
# I'm having such a good time... #
I've chosen Iceland for a unique and exhilarating encounter
with its alien landscape.
Whereas, I opted for the rugged good looks of the Scottish Highlands.
There's everything you need here for a grand adventure -
whether you like things extreme...
..or prefer to take things a little more slowly.
This is the finish line of the West Highland Way,
an official long-distance route starting just north of Glasgow
and finishing here in Fort William.
It's 96 miles long, most people do it in about seven days,
and it's just another example of one of the fantastic
activities you can do in this area.
# Well, I would walk 500 miles
# And I would walk 500 more... #
People come from all over the world
to tramp through some of the best scenery in Britain.
First time to Britain.
First time to Britain, first time to Scotland,
-and you come and do this walk.
-How have you found it?
And they get the awesome high and sense of achievement
when completing it.
How does that feel?
-We didn't want to stop.
-You didn't want to stop?
-No, we want to keep going!
I can't believe it's sunny here!
If you're coming out here for an adventure holiday,
it goes without saying you're a lover of the outdoors.
So there are plenty of places you can stay under canvas,
and there's also stacks of holiday lodges
if you crave a bit more comfort -
but for a unique experience that combines a bit of both...
Look at this!
This is where Mongolia meets Scotland. This is your very own yurt.
And it is brilliantly decked out.
It's got raised flooring, so your stuff isn't going to get wet or damp.
It's got a wood-burning stove so you can keep warm, boil the kettle,
make yourself a hot water bottle.
It's of course got bunk beds, so you can bring the whole family.
It just has a really nice, light, airy and yet cosy feel.
To put it simply, this is luxury in a field.
Or is it a tent with a hole in the roof?
Not for me to say.
Anyway, if you're having to pretend you're in Mongolia, Joe,
maybe Scotland isn't cutting it.
I reckon Iceland blows you out of the water.
# You're unbelievable
# Oh! #
Iceland is slap-bang on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,
which means it's a constantly shifting landscape,
and all the volcanoes and geothermic activity
mean great geysers like this.
There's a distinct smell of sulphur/rotten eggs.
But it's worth it.
This one erupts every eight to twelve minutes,
and never fails to take you by surprise.
I'm so excited I snorted, that's never happened to me in my life!
-# You're unbelievable. #
Look at that!
Whatever you say, Helen.
Well, if it's fun getting wet you want,
join me for what's known as swift water canyoning
Is this as extreme as it gets, then?
-This is as extreme as swift water canyoning gets.
-# Might as well jump
-# Go ahead, jump
'..and even get in behind waterfalls'
'It's a test of nerve...'
'..and utterly, utterly brilliant.'
OK, here we go.
Three, two, one.
# I'm so excited... #
# I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. #
That just blew me away.
This is so cool. So cool.
You really... You can't have more fun in a wet suit.
# I know, I know, I know I know I want to. #
Oh, that's nice - I just got a text message from Joe,
he is canyoning, which looks like loads of fun!
I wanted to go canyoning...
..but even I'm not stupid enough to attempt that.
# This is planet Earth... #
# You're looking at planet Earth... #
And that's what makes this place so very special -
it's an island of unearthly wonders, and it's a world in motion -
still developing, still being formed by powerful natural forces.
Around 4,500 square miles of Iceland is covered by glaciers -
massive slow-moving ice flows
that grind their way through the landscape.
And that's where I'm headed with my Viking guide Ragnar.
Only one of the supercharged four-wheel drive experiences
you can have on this island.
-Is that a crevasse?
-Yes, it is.
-Should we be this close?
This is enough.
Of course, there's a stack of thrill-seeking activities
you can do on the snow and ice - from hiking to snowmobiles.
Or you can just be here
and get your kicks from connecting with this extraordinary place.
This is a real natural wonder.
It's a sea of ice, it's moving, it's living,
there are cracks in it, it's unpredictable.
And because of that, it's exciting.
There's an element of danger, which makes it exciting,
but all of that is manageable because of Ragnar,
so it's not like I'm out here and really getting
into any trouble, because he knows what he's doing.
This, to me, is thrill-seeking, it's adventure, but it's accessible.
You'd have to go a long way round the world to find
something as breathtaking as this, as exciting as this...
Something tells me you're a bit of an expert in this.
But so am I.
Good luck, Joe!
Don't let me fall down a crevasse!
That would be a thrill too far.
Oh, yes! Epic!
Angela set us a budget of £1,000 for two people
on a three-night break.
And based on my hostel stay,
and sticking to cheap
yet tasty food options,
I've just about come within budget.
Well done, Helen. No, really, well done.
But I'm afraid I can top that. I've come in at less than your total
AND I ate at nice restaurants, and had a luxury hamper.
-So, it was Scotland...
-..versus Iceland. How did you do?
I love Scotland, but Iceland has so much to offer.
You can do so many different adventurous activities.
Name it, think of it, you can do it there.
Kayaking, ice climbing, hire a skidoo...
And, yeah, I know you've got to spend a bit of money in Iceland,
but the quirky culture is priceless.
Both countries have a fantastic range of options for thrill-seekers, but...
-And landscape, but you can drive yourself to Scotland.
Actually, I came in well under budget -
-don't like to brag, but I did.
-You never mentioned it(!)
And I could have splashed the cash a bit more.
Well, I have to say, I would not have done the jump that you did,
I really admire you for that.
But on the dogsled, I would have found that absolutely exhilarating.
-Well, I think you've given the viewers a great choice, there.
Passport - train ticket or car...
-Something in both countries for everyone.
-He's so smug!
Look how proud he is of himself! Well done, Joe.
Right, that's it for Holiday Hit Squad.
On next week's programme, I'm on call at the Costa Blanca consulate.
How did you come to be in the hospital with your gran?
-She had a stroke.
-So distressing for you.
I check into another heartbreak hotel...
I'm guessing you won't be coming back.
Not me, definitely not!
It's knives and forks at dawn as I duel with Joe
in the battle to find the best break for food lovers, home...
This is going to go in our salad. Have a try.
How do you make sure that you're not picking up a weed?
-It's falling apart, it's tender, it's delicious...
-It's SO tender.
So, until the next time, from all of us, bye-bye.
Angela investigates the dangers of safari holidays and is on call with the medics at a Turkish A&E department, where she meets Brits with broken bones.
Joe checks into a neglected hotel in Malta whose decline from its glory days has resulted in scathing online reviews, and Helen assists Dr Chris Van Tulleken in a pop-up beach surgery, helping British holidaymakers with common and not-so-common holiday ailments.
Helen also investigates how to avoid being weighed down by the costs of excess baggage and, in a battle of staycation versus vacation, goes head-to-head with Joe to find the best adrenalin-fuelled adventure weekend for two. Will it be thrill-seeking at home in Scotland, or adventures abroad in Iceland?