Episode 3 Holiday Hit Squad


Episode 3

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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Transcript


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Right now I'm prepared to guess that there are millions of you

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flicking through those glossy, holiday brochures.

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Because it's that time of year again,

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when we all decide where we're going to spend our well-earned breaks.

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# Sun is shining in the sky

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# There ain't a cloud in sight. #

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We all put our trust and our hard-earned cash in the hands

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of the holiday industry, hoping it delivers on its promise.

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But on occasion, things can go wrong

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and that can end up turning a dream break into a nightmare.

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The last memory I have - everyone's smiling, happy.

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Next thing is I woke up in hospital.

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We were on the cruise ship. My nan suddenly had a stroke.

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From uncovering the bad...

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My terror is that a child could fall in and not be seen.

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..to highlighting the good.

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I don't think I need to say anything about this.

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It's breathtaking.

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We are the Holiday Hit squad

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and it's our mission to ensure you avoid all of those holiday

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horrors and really get the best out of your annual break.

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Coming up on today's programme, we're on call at a Turkish A&E.

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Four breaks. You made a proper jump of it, didn't you? Yeah.

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There are thrills and some spills as Joe and I take

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-on a challenge to find the perfect weekend for adventure lovers.

-Home...

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-You can't have more fun in a wetsuit.

-'..and away.'

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And I'll be investigating whether or not

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we really are as safe as we expect to be on a safari holiday.

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They're completely chilled but put one foot out of this vehicle

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and you'd have the attention of every lion there instantly.

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But first I check into a hotel that's been winding up more than

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a few British guests.

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Whether we're holidaying on a paradise island

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or in a bustling metropolis,

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there's one thing that will always scupper our fun.

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If our hotel sucks our holiday will too.

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# Baby, please don't go

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# Baby, please don't go. #

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'That's why I'm pulling back the covers...'

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That's really horrible.

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'..and rattling cages...'

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I'm worried. This is a hospital trip.

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'..at some of the hotels that have been driving you crackers.'

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What would you say to people looking at coming to this hotel?

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-Don't bother.

-Don't come.

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'And today I'm in one of our favourite holiday destinations.'

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# Sunny

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# Yesterday my life was filled with rain. #

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One of the world's smallest countries,

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Malta is a jewel in the Med. Lying just south of Sicily, it

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attracts nearly half a million Brits every year.

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Malta may be a tiny island but it has a big history and, of course,

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very strong links with the UK.

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English is one of the two official languages here

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and it has a long season.

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Lovely and warm until late in the year which is why

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thousands of Brits come back here time and time again.

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But recently, one thing on this island has been leaving some

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Brits cold.

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# I'm gonna raise a fuss

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# I'm gonna raise a holler. #

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With rooms costing over £100 per night,

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the four-star Cavalieri used to have a great reputation.

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And with its idyllic location in the popular resort of St Julian's Bay,

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it's easy to see why.

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But recently, the number of unhappy guests has risen dramatically.

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# Sometimes I wonder what I'm going to do

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# But there ain't no cure for the summertime blues. #

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The bathroom had four cracked tiles on the floor.

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The shower curtain was supposed to be beige

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but at the bottom it was black.

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-The staff, most were indifferent.

-There was this huge hair.

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Obviously a lady with long hair had been in there before.

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It was on the floor and I didn't touch it. I left it.

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It was there for three days.

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I've stayed in many four-star hotels

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and I would say that was the worst one.

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So is this once grand four-star on the slide?

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The management are unhappy with the reviews too, so have invited us

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in to help them spot what's rubbing the clientele up the wrong way.

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Joe Crowley, checking in, please.

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The Cavalieri has been described by one guest as

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'one of the dirtiest hotels I've ever seen'.

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Right.

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'So my room comes as something of a surprise.'

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It looks pretty clean.

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First impressions.

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Looks like they've cleaned the floor properly.

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And the bed sheets...

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importantly, look very clean.

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Doesn't seem so bad, at all.

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'But it seems not everyone's experience is as sparkling as mine.'

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Two fellow Brits I've met who don't wish to be filmed are

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so disgruntled with their room they've asked to be moved.

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They've let us check out the room and I can see why they're not happy.

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'Mouldy walls and dirty linen is not exactly a four-star experience.'

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It's grubby, it's stained.

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That is really disgusting.

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'But what's worse, the new room they've been offered,

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'comes with the kind of extras no-one would welcome.'

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They've come straight in here and quickly

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and quite rightly had a look at the bedding.

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Because that's one of the biggest problems in the room they've currently got. And...

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I dread to think what that is.

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'I've heard of leaving a chocolate on your pillow,

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'but this takes the biscuit.'

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Clean bedding, that's what people expect

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when they come to a four-star hotel

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and the hotel doesn't seem to be on top of those details at the moment.

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And other Brits have also spotted the hotel's fading grandeur.

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It's got fabulous potential.

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But it's become tired and lack of attention to detail.

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There's a few beds that are broken. It could be absolutely ideal.

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It's got everything going for it.

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But it's let down by poor attention to maintenance.

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Steve is worried it'll be the guests, not the hotel, that'll fall

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flat on their face.

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As you can see this is fairly slimy.

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-When it gets really wet it becomes lethal.

-And this slime has built up.

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-It's been there several weeks.

-Have you seen anyone have problems here?

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I did see someone slip yesterday.

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They didn't actually go down but they could have gone down

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and quite easily broken something.

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This is one slip-up too many.

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Time to call in the cavalry.

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Welcome back to Dr Lisa Ackerly,

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an expert inspector with more than 20 years' experience

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riding to the rescue of establishments like this.

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-Shall we start there and have a look at the beds?

-Yeah.

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I don't like the look of this at all. I think it's horrible.

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We've uncovered more dirty bedding.

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'Not looking good so far.'

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-So, we've got a stocked minibar.

-And we have some mould.

-At the back.

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And at the bottom it's all a bit cracked.

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Let's have a look at the ice.

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-Grim.

-People would be using this in their drinks. So it's not very nice.

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'I certainly wouldn't want a drink from this minibar.

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'Nor would I fancy a dip in the hotel pool.'

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Have a look at that. That really is disgusting.

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-A whole ecosystem going on here.

-It's actually just

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coming off in your hands.

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We've got slime, body fat.

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We've got dirt, we've got a biofilm of bacteria.

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How long has it been like this? Surely, quite a while.

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-Weeks or months. Maybe years.

-A whole season.

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Nobody's bothered to get in there and clean it. Astonishing.

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Look at it.

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That doesn't fill me with confidence.

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So what horrors might be lurking in the indoor pool?

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Right, this looks lovely.

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It may look lovely but appearances can be deceptive.

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'In Lisa's bag of tricks she has a kit for testing the water's

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'chlorine levels.'

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Really good for a quick indication. Give that a wiggle in the water.

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-I can see it change colour immediately.

-Look on the scale.

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And you can see that's greater than 10 parts per million.

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The top of the scale there would close the pool.

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And this is off the scale.

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It is so off the scale, I've never seen anything like it before.

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Wow. Really?

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I'm only able to estimate but I reckon around 70 parts per million.

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-Of chlorine.

-And it should be one or two.

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-What would happen to me if I went in here?

-It could irritate your skin.

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Basically, you should not let anyone swim

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if it's more than 10 parts per million.

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So we're seven times over that in the estimate I'm able to do

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with the kit I've got.

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-We need to make sure this is closed.

-We do.

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It would be terrible if someone jumped in there.

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Chlorine in low doses is necessary to kill dangerous organisms

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such as E-coli.

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But it is still a highly hazardous substance. Swimming in an

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overly chlorinated pool would be akin to swimming in diluted bleach.

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Side effects could include nausea and vomiting,

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it could make your eyes and throat sting and burn,

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not to mention causing you to cough and wheeze.

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This is so serious that we need to take immediate action.

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We've been doing some tests on the pools

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and the inside pool has too much chlorine in it. It's off the scale.

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And it's not safe for people to swim in.

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-Thank you for letting us know.

-Thank you, Joe.

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Thankfully they've taken our advice and the pool has been closed.

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But there are more signs of decline at the Cavalieri,

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'and later we'll discover that's it's not just the water that's overdosed.'

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I've no idea what killed him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't starvation.

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Gluttony may well have been on the list.

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Hopefully you're never going to know they're there

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but in resorts around the world, backstage as it were, there's a

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dedicated army of professionals who are always on stand-by to pick

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up the pieces just in case something goes wrong.

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# I need a hero

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# I'm holding out for a hero... #

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I've been following emergency crews all over Europe,

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and today I'm feeling the heat in a Turkish A&E.

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# The heat is on

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# The heat is on-on. #

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I've come to Marmaris, on Turkey's South West coast, to get

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an idea of what happens when sunseeking Brits end up

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needing urgent hospital treatment during a Mediterranean holiday.

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I have an access-all-areas pass to one of the busiest hospitals in

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the area, the Ahu Hetman, a private hospital in the heart of town.

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In 2012 alone they treated 1,308 British casualties.

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And just about all of them went through this door right

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here into Accident and Emergency.

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'The problems the doctors encounter...'

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Where's the pain? All down there?

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'Are many...'

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Turns out I had a cyst on my ovary and it was twisted.

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'..and varied.'

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-You know the plastic bit?

-On your goggles?

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Yeah. It scratched down my eye.

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But one of the most common complaints at this Turkish

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hospital is tummy trouble.

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A staggering 66% of adults in the UK have experienced

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digestive problems while on holiday. Contaminated water, food poisoning

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or just over-indulgence can all cause problems

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and Scottish holidaymaker Linda Watson has just been admitted

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with severe abdominal pain.

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-When did this start? To get like this?

-Friday night, Saturday.

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They've stuck you on a drip already.

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Because you've been feeling quite wretched up until now.

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I've been drinking plenty of fluid but it's just going.

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-It must be a bit worrying for you, as well?

-Aye, it is.

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If you don't see them getting better, they get worse and worse.

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-Thank goodness for health insurance.

-I would recommend it to anyone.

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Dehydration is a potentially dangerous side effect

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of an upset stomach but in high summer temperatures it can affect

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us all. So to avoid its debilitating

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effects, aim to consume two to three litres of water a day. More if

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you are exercising or out and about in the heat of a hot summer's day.

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Back in A&E, the stream of casualties continues.

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It looks as if you've been in the wars. What have you done?

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Broken me wrist.

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Broken bones are an unexpectedly common

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complaint at hospitals in holiday hotspots.

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Often as a result of exuberant and exciting activities.

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Crikey! That is a pretty impressive cast.

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'But as Shirley Hanger discovered to her cost, you don't

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'have to be taking part in a dangerous sport to break a bone.'

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Four breaks. You made a proper job of it, didn't you?

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Yeah. Good job.

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-How did you do that?

-I slipped on a wet floor.

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Slipping on wet surfaces is one of the most common

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causes of fractures on holiday.

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Marble floors are commonplace

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in foreign hotels and apartments.

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Add wet feet from swimming or impaired balance

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and we can often find ourselves with a bruised backside.

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Or as in Shirley's case, much worse.

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That's an amazing piece of engineering, isn't it?

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-How long did that take?

-About three hours.

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Shirley has had a lot of potentially expensive surgery.

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And she's a long way from home.

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-Please tell me you were insured?

-Yes, I was.

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It would have been a nightmare otherwise, wouldn't it?

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It would, yeah.

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Without insurance, Shirley would have had ended up

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paying for a very expensive holiday.

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Around the world medical costs vary enormously,

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with the United States topping the chart.

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A broken leg there could cost as much as an average Brit's

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annual salary and here in Turkey, medical care is far from cheap.

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So always make sure that you are adequately covered.

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One thing you must do, when applying for travel insurance,

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is to be absolutely honest about any pre-existing condition.

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If you're not, and you leave it off, and find yourself in hospital

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being treated for that condition, the insurance company will not pay

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and however much you may have had to pay as an extra,

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if you're not covered and you have to pay up,

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you can bet your boots you'll have to add at least a couple of noughts to the figure.

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Now, don't go thinking that Holiday Hit Squad is

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all about holiday hell - it's not.

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We've got holiday heaven too.

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Throughout this series, I've been asking Helen and Joe to come up

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with great ideas for holidays,

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not just abroad but at home where two in three of us

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now regularly take a break in the UK.

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# Anything you can do I can do better... #

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Each week I've been giving Helen and Joe a theme,

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a budget and a challenge.

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To find out if Britain can compete with the rest of the world...

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From city breaks...

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I will be amazed if Joe can top this.

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..to beach treats...

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Surely the perfect family beach holiday.

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They're going head-to-head in a

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battle of vacation versus staycation...

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You'd have to go a long way round the world to beat this!

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Tonight, a holiday for the thrill-seekers among us.

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# Thrill me... #

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I've given Helen and Joe a budget of a grand each to create a long

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weekend for two people filled with thrills and spills.

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This week I'm fighting for the foreign field trip,

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so with a wonderful wide world to choose from, where have I picked?

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Ahhhhh!

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DRAMATIC MUSIC

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Epic Iceland.

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It's just a three hour flight away, and it's like another planet,

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let alone another country.

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Everything screams adventure.

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It's just outside the Arctic Circle,

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populated by the descendants of Vikings,

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and check out the landscape. These aren't special effects!

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And if it's thrills you want, then Iceland has

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an abundance of activities -

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underwater, on the ice, in raging torrents,

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anything you can think of you can do in this magical, alien landscape.

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Iceland is all well and good but why go all that way when in

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Britain we are lucky enough to have the Scottish Highlands?

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# In a big country dreams stay with you... #

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That's right, this week I'm fighting on the home front and I think

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Scotland more than holds its own, if you're seeking a thrilling break.

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Mighty mountains, gargantuan glens,

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and larger-than-life lochs

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all hold the key to an adventure packed holiday.

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Look at that. It's basically God's playground.

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I've found a way of exploring it with a little motorised help.

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This activity is run on a 50,000 acre estate

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so you can speed along rivers, head to the hills,

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or race through ancient Caledonian forests.

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If you wanted proof that Scotland has world-class scenery,

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then look no further.

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Talk about a buzz. I'm as high as a kite.

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That was fantastic.

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Anyone who comes here can have a go, you just have to be 12 or older,

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they even had an 80-year-old woman doing this.

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Whether you want heart pumping adrenaline action or

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just use it as way to see this beautiful scenery,

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I would thoroughly advise that when you come to Scotland,

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on an adventure holiday, you give this a go.

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I can go riding through the wild landscape too, Joe,

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but my thrills have got the cute factor.

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Ready, guys? Hey!

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# Walking the dog... #

0:19:050:19:07

My guides do this in all sorts of landscapes - they'll usually

0:19:100:19:14

do it on snow or ice up on the glaciers, where you can have

0:19:140:19:18

a full-on adrenaline adventure, or if you want something slightly less

0:19:180:19:21

extreme but just as exhilarating they'll use these buggies on grass.

0:19:210:19:25

I've got the handbrake on.

0:19:270:19:30

Kids and adults would love this - the huskies are wonderful

0:19:320:19:35

animals, and it's a great way to connect with Iceland's nature.

0:19:350:19:39

# Ice ice, baby... #

0:19:390:19:41

And if it's wildlife you love, Iceland has it - there's fab

0:19:410:19:46

horse riding on land or whale-watching on the water.

0:19:460:19:49

PEOPLE CHEER

0:19:490:19:50

There's no denying that Iceland's fantastic, Helen,

0:19:520:19:55

but it doesn't have a monopoly on the great outdoors, you know.

0:19:550:19:58

# You raise me up...

0:19:580:20:00

# So I can stand on mountains... #

0:20:000:20:06

Just look at that, the views are spectacular.

0:20:060:20:09

There's one other thing to watch as well.

0:20:090:20:12

There's a mountain bike trail that comes down.

0:20:120:20:14

Here's someone coming now. Really popular with mountain bikers.

0:20:140:20:17

It's used in the Mountain Bike World Cup and it's fantastic to see people whizzing by

0:20:170:20:21

as you sit comfortably above.

0:20:210:20:24

But I'm not up here for the brilliant mountain biking.

0:20:240:20:27

I've got a spot of alfresco indulgence planned...

0:20:270:20:30

If you stay in the UK, you save money on flights,

0:20:320:20:35

and you can treat yourself to a luxury hamper.

0:20:350:20:39

And where would you want to eat this

0:20:390:20:41

more than halfway up a Scottish mountain in the sunshine?!

0:20:410:20:45

Stunning view, Joe,

0:20:450:20:47

but just the oatcakes for company? Anyway, with the cost of

0:20:470:20:51

living in Iceland being

0:20:510:20:52

so high, my lunch won't be quite as lofty as yours.

0:20:520:20:55

But I will be in good company... I think this is it.

0:20:550:20:57

# You ain't nothing but a hound dog... #

0:20:570:21:01

I've been tipped off about an Icelandic institution...

0:21:010:21:06

These are good, yeah?

0:21:060:21:07

These guys have come from America for a hotdog.

0:21:070:21:09

That's the only reason they're in Iceland?! OK.

0:21:090:21:11

Right.

0:21:110:21:12

-Good, yeah.

-Thumbs up.

0:21:160:21:18

This board has lists of people who've allegedly been here.

0:21:190:21:21

Elvis Presley's on there! Bill Clinton - there's a picture of him.

0:21:210:21:24

He's definitely been here.

0:21:240:21:25

If it's good enough for the King, it's good enough for me.

0:21:250:21:28

It's good.

0:21:280:21:30

It's not just the food and drink that are pricey here - the hotels

0:21:340:21:37

are also considerably more expensive than the UK which means I've

0:21:370:21:41

had to choose basic accommodation in order to stay in budget.

0:21:410:21:44

I've booked a hostel in Reykjavik.

0:21:440:21:47

I don't want to look cos I promised

0:21:490:21:51

myself I'd never stay in a hostel again! But that was years ago.

0:21:510:21:55

And this is nice.

0:21:550:21:57

My berth in this four-bed room, works out from around £35 per night.

0:21:570:22:03

It's modern and clean. It's basic, but it's on a budget

0:22:030:22:06

so if you want to come somewhere like Reykjavik,

0:22:060:22:09

somewhere like this is perfect.

0:22:090:22:11

I like it, bagsy top bunk.

0:22:120:22:15

That one's mine!

0:22:150:22:17

I'm going to need a good night's sleep with what I've got planned.

0:22:170:22:21

-Now, that is impressive.

-Very good, but anything you can do, Helen...

0:22:220:22:27

I've got the ultimate in thrills and spills to come.

0:22:270:22:30

Being inside a waterfall is amazing!

0:22:320:22:34

Still to come: how a safari holiday could end up driving you wild.

0:22:370:22:42

I flew through the air into the top of a tree...

0:22:420:22:46

And the parade of patients continues at the beach surgery.

0:22:460:22:49

You've got pain on that side?

0:22:490:22:51

What about on that side?

0:22:510:22:54

First, I continue my inspection into that hotel that's driving Brits barmy.

0:22:540:22:58

Judging by guests' reviews, the four-star Cavalieri hotel in Malta,

0:23:060:23:10

may be slipping from its lofty perch.

0:23:100:23:14

So expert inspector Dr Lisa Ackerley and I are on their case to

0:23:140:23:18

try to make sure they don't let any more British holidaymakers down.

0:23:180:23:22

They've made a few mistakes, they've allowed these peaches to come out -

0:23:220:23:26

quite clearly they're inedible.

0:23:260:23:28

One of the areas of concern to some former guests is the food,

0:23:280:23:32

and I'm keen to investigate further.

0:23:320:23:34

Lisa, in some of these online reviews there are a couple

0:23:360:23:40

of complaints about not just food but its preparation,

0:23:400:23:44

questioning some of the hygiene standards of the staff.

0:23:440:23:48

I'm guessing they're referring to this.

0:23:480:23:50

You can see into the kitchen here. This is the pool snack bar.

0:23:500:23:54

-Yeah.

-What do you make of it?

0:23:540:23:56

From the outside I haven't been impressed, so I'm itching to

0:23:560:23:59

get in there, there's lots of debris around.

0:23:590:24:02

You don't need to be a hygiene expert to see it's quite dirty.

0:24:020:24:06

If you look over there you can see those chips on the floor.

0:24:060:24:09

And all round the edges. This is actually built up over some time.

0:24:090:24:15

One on-line complainant reported an outbreak of sickness

0:24:180:24:22

and diarrhoea affecting many guests. The hotel denied responsibility.

0:24:220:24:26

But it's clear the state of this kitchen is far from acceptable.

0:24:260:24:31

-This should be five degrees?

-Yes, looking at five. Maximum, eight.

0:24:360:24:42

The probe is saying...

0:24:420:24:43

18. So that means the chicken is too warm so if there's any bacteria

0:24:430:24:47

-on there, they'll be starting to grow.

-OK.

0:24:470:24:50

-We don't know when that was put in there.

-So bad practice all round.

-Yeah.

-Bad practice.

0:24:500:24:55

And everywhere we look, it's the same story...

0:24:550:24:59

So dirty. Everything is...

0:24:590:25:02

From what you've seen so far, how bad is their kitchen?

0:25:020:25:05

Erm, it's filthy. So I reckon in the UK I'd be thinking about

0:25:050:25:10

serving a hygiene improvement notice.

0:25:100:25:14

Look at the state of that chopping board.

0:25:140:25:16

-That's a ready to eat chopping board.

-Is there anything we can swab?

0:25:160:25:20

The point of swabbing is, if you look at what seems to be a clean

0:25:200:25:23

surface and check if it really is

0:25:230:25:25

clean, but very little of this kitchen seems to be clean.

0:25:250:25:28

The only thing which looks clean is the inside of these handles.

0:25:280:25:32

-Probably because they're being touched quite a lot.

-Good idea.

0:25:320:25:36

To be fair, I'll take the bits the hands would touch.

0:25:360:25:40

Which is all around here...

0:25:400:25:42

-Quite a lot of dirt on.

-Looks very grubby.

0:25:420:25:46

This swab is a nice cheap and cheerful way of finding out

0:25:460:25:49

whether there's been some protein

0:25:490:25:51

left on a surface so it's quite useful in catering premises.

0:25:510:25:54

The swab test detects protein which should not be

0:25:540:25:57

present on a clean surface.

0:25:570:25:59

If it goes green it's clean.

0:25:590:26:01

Grey is dirty and purple is really dirty.

0:26:010:26:05

As we can see, it isn't clean.

0:26:050:26:06

In a kitchen you'd expect to get green on those surfaces.

0:26:060:26:11

Or for example on a chopping board.

0:26:110:26:15

-No chance we'd get green on there.

-No.

0:26:150:26:18

If it's this bad in the area visible to customers,

0:26:180:26:21

I dread to think what it's like behind the scenes where

0:26:210:26:24

there's a small food preparation area.

0:26:240:26:26

I've got something you'll want to see.

0:26:260:26:29

Yes, fine example.

0:26:320:26:34

Cockroaches are just about the worst kind of creature you'd

0:26:350:26:38

want in your kitchen.

0:26:380:26:40

Feasting on anything from rotting food to excrement and even the

0:26:400:26:44

toenails of sleeping people, it's believed that they spread a number

0:26:440:26:49

of diseases to humans including salmonella and gastroenteritis.

0:26:490:26:53

-We expected we'd see something like that here.

-We did.

0:26:560:26:58

So, where there's one I presume there's a few more.

0:26:580:27:00

Very likely to be more.

0:27:000:27:02

I've no idea what killed him. I'm pretty sure it wasn't starvation.

0:27:020:27:05

Gluttony might be on the list.

0:27:050:27:08

He's actually leaking fluid on me now so I might put him down.

0:27:080:27:11

Ohhh! You might want to ditch the gloves at this point too.

0:27:110:27:14

He's going in the bin, with my glove.

0:27:140:27:16

Cheerio.

0:27:170:27:18

Some consumer advice. If you're worried about a pool

0:27:200:27:23

kitchen like this, what's safe? Chips and pizza?

0:27:230:27:27

Chips is usually a good bet. Pizza, pretty much.

0:27:270:27:30

Anything cooked to a high temperature.

0:27:300:27:32

To be fair, the hotel's main kitchens seem well run and maintained,

0:27:370:27:40

so it's all the more frustrating that they should be getting

0:27:400:27:43

areas like the snack bar so wrong.

0:27:430:27:46

Quite rightly people come here with high expectations, this is a four-star hotel,

0:27:480:27:53

and even though the star system can be misleading sometimes,

0:27:520:27:56

the principle is you expect to be treated well here.

0:27:560:28:00

You expect the little details to be right.

0:28:000:28:03

And I don't think they are right, here.

0:28:030:28:05

And sometimes it is the small things that drive you nuts,

0:28:050:28:07

and it really can ruin a holiday.

0:28:070:28:09

That's what the management here need to get on top of.

0:28:090:28:12

Time to see what manager Mark intends to do about it,

0:28:140:28:18

starting with that supercharged indoor pool.

0:28:180:28:20

-There is quite a big problem there, a chlorine problem.

-Yes.

0:28:220:28:25

The pool maintenance man, and I think this is where the problem comes from,

0:28:250:28:28

his equipment was broken.

0:28:280:28:30

He couldn't actually tell how much chlorine was in the pool.

0:28:300:28:33

And he was adding chlorine, and it got to a point

0:28:330:28:36

where it was actually quite dangerous.

0:28:360:28:38

The problem is being sorted now, I believe,

0:28:380:28:40

he is draining the pool and sorting it out.

0:28:400:28:42

Not only that but yesterday I held a meeting

0:28:420:28:44

with the maintenance manager about it,

0:28:440:28:47

we bought another kit straightaway yesterday.

0:28:470:28:49

We take it seriously because at the end of the day

0:28:490:28:51

it is not only the results, it is about people using the indoor pool.

0:28:510:28:54

-Yeah.

-I'm sure people would have issues with that

0:28:540:28:58

and we can't afford to have that at the moment.

0:28:580:29:00

'It's a positive response from Mark -

0:29:000:29:02

'but what will he make of that dodgy poolside kitchen?'

0:29:020:29:06

I have to say we were quite shocked by what we found.

0:29:070:29:10

It's not clean, there is nowhere to wash your hands properly,

0:29:100:29:15

a lot of dirt on the floor,

0:29:150:29:16

we also found some cockroaches, some pests,

0:29:160:29:20

and the food in the fridges was also quite warm.

0:29:200:29:23

It is quite serious, what you are saying, of course.

0:29:230:29:26

With regards to the pests and whatnot,

0:29:260:29:28

we have just changed our pest control company here

0:29:280:29:33

and what happens is when you have companies coming over

0:29:330:29:38

on a regular basis,

0:29:380:29:40

as soon as they do the treatment, then all of a sudden you see pests.

0:29:400:29:44

There is too much food on the floor.

0:29:440:29:46

The floor isn't being cleaned properly,

0:29:460:29:48

so it is a banquet for cockroaches.

0:29:480:29:50

That's the problem, not because of where you are or anything like that,

0:29:500:29:53

it's because all of yesterday, nothing was cleaned.

0:29:530:29:57

Behind the counters, on the floor, there was food.

0:29:570:30:01

-And it's still there now.

-It's very bad.

0:30:010:30:02

So that is what is encouraging the pests.

0:30:020:30:05

And actually the funny thing is your main kitchen is fantastic,

0:30:050:30:08

it's clean, there are good processes in place,

0:30:080:30:11

the staff know what they are doing,

0:30:110:30:13

and the quick fix is the staff from your main kitchen

0:30:130:30:16

to be running the snack kitchen,

0:30:160:30:18

because the standards in the main kitchen are very, very good.

0:30:180:30:21

Yes, unfortunately, there are a lot of shortcomings

0:30:210:30:24

but I can assure you that come next season

0:30:240:30:26

it will be completely different.

0:30:260:30:28

Well, Mark's attitude is really encouraging -

0:30:330:30:36

he seems to be taking on board mine and Lisa's comments, and has

0:30:360:30:40

promised a major refurbishment programme for the hotel's bedrooms.

0:30:400:30:44

And I'm able to make a real change straightaway - getting both

0:30:460:30:49

the slimy shower and the filthy kitchen tackled there and then.

0:30:490:30:53

We've highlighted some of the problems with the manager,

0:30:550:30:58

he has responded well,

0:30:580:30:59

he promises us that changes will be made,

0:30:590:31:01

and I'm optimistic, I genuinely think this place will improve

0:31:010:31:05

and made a lot better for all the British holidaymakers who come here.

0:31:050:31:11

But I've been doing this long enough not to take anything for granted.

0:31:120:31:16

So later in the show I'll be back to make sure Mark is true to his word.

0:31:160:31:20

Fortunately, most holidays run problem free

0:31:260:31:29

but all kinds of medical mishaps can get in the way of fun in the sun

0:31:290:31:33

and that's why the Beach Surgery is open for business.

0:31:330:31:36

Over the course of the series, Dr Chris Van Tulleken and I will be

0:31:380:31:42

on call for British holidaymakers experiencing some of those common...

0:31:420:31:46

Every time I fly my feet swell up.

0:31:460:31:49

..and not so common holiday ailments.

0:31:490:31:52

It might be a running skinworm.

0:31:520:31:54

This is the first time I have advised anyone

0:31:550:31:57

to medically go topless on the beach.

0:31:570:32:00

First up today is Danny Haggan whose holiday fun

0:32:030:32:06

has been compromised from the moment he came in to land.

0:32:060:32:10

-How long have you been here?

-Ten days so far.

0:32:120:32:15

What is going on?

0:32:150:32:17

My ear hasn't popped.

0:32:170:32:20

It's very painful.

0:32:200:32:23

And I can't hear well.

0:32:230:32:26

Cos you hear it, on the plane, go, then as you land, it goes again.

0:32:260:32:31

-But it didn't do that for you.

-It didn't do that with me.

0:32:310:32:33

-That must be frustrating.

-It is frustrating.

0:32:330:32:37

Danny's is a problem most of us have encountered at some point

0:32:370:32:40

and given that over 40 million of us fly every year,

0:32:400:32:43

that's an awful lot of blocked ears.

0:32:430:32:46

What have you done to try and pop the ear?

0:32:460:32:48

I've tried putting my finger in my ear.

0:32:480:32:51

-Your finger in the ear?

-Yes.

0:32:510:32:53

-OK.

-I tried yawning.

0:32:530:32:55

-That presumably didn't work.

-No.

0:32:550:32:57

On the other side of our eardrums is a cavity filled with air

0:32:580:33:02

that needs to be at the same pressure as the air on the outside.

0:33:020:33:06

When our plane descends for landing,

0:33:060:33:08

the pressure in the cabin increases quickly

0:33:080:33:10

and if the air in the middle ear doesn't do the same,

0:33:100:33:12

that's when it will feel painful or blocked.

0:33:120:33:16

A very small tube goes to the back of your mouth,

0:33:160:33:19

called the Eustachian tube, which you might have heard of.

0:33:190:33:21

When you yawn or swallow, that tube opens

0:33:210:33:25

and allows the pressure in your middle ear

0:33:250:33:28

to equalise with your mouth on the onside.

0:33:280:33:30

So what you need to do is open that Eustachian tube.

0:33:300:33:33

And you've done all the right things, done some yawning,

0:33:330:33:35

chewing gum.

0:33:350:33:37

-What about sweets?

-Sweets help.

0:33:370:33:39

Anything that helps you move your jaw and yawn.

0:33:390:33:42

The other thing you can do that you've got to be really careful of

0:33:420:33:45

is blocking your nose and trying to pop your ears.

0:33:450:33:47

You've got to do this gently.

0:33:470:33:48

-It can be a risky thing to do, cos you can burst your eardrum.

-Right.

0:33:480:33:51

But it will hurt before you burst your eardrum, so the trick

0:33:510:33:54

is to do it without causing any pain.

0:33:540:33:56

-OK, stop doing that now. No luck?

-That one popped.

0:33:560:33:59

-That one popped?

-Yeah.

-But the other one didn't?

-No.

0:33:590:34:01

What I can do is reassure you, nothing bad is going on,

0:34:010:34:04

it is common, and it will pop.

0:34:040:34:06

So, to try to keep your ears balanced when you fly

0:34:060:34:10

yawn, chew and swallow as the plane descends.

0:34:100:34:13

It's a good idea to feed babies or give them a drink

0:34:130:34:16

to encourage them to swallow during descent.

0:34:160:34:19

And if you have a cold, or suffer regularly on flights,

0:34:190:34:22

consider decongestants or anti-histamines

0:34:220:34:25

to help keep the Eustachian tube clear.

0:34:250:34:27

Next to visit our beach surgery today

0:34:340:34:36

is Debbie Wright and her family.

0:34:360:34:38

Chris, Debbie, Katie, you're on your family holiday

0:34:390:34:42

but it's not going to plan, tell us, what's the problem?

0:34:420:34:46

Last night I noticed I had a blister underneath my tongue

0:34:460:34:49

and this morning when I got up, it's like my glands are swollen now.

0:34:490:34:53

-Is it painful?

-Just a bit, yeah.

0:34:530:34:55

Let's have a look in your mouth.

0:34:550:34:58

I'm going to start, actually, can you see just in there?

0:34:580:35:01

Just behind the front two teeth.

0:35:010:35:03

It looks like there is a flap of skin there that...

0:35:030:35:06

it seems like you might have cut it.

0:35:060:35:08

Have you got pain on that side?

0:35:080:35:10

-Nuh-uh.

-And what about on that side?

0:35:100:35:12

-Uh-huh.

-Yeah, a little bit inflamed there.

0:35:120:35:15

I think we can be pretty confident that you have

0:35:150:35:17

an ulceration or a cut in the mouth.

0:35:170:35:21

Along with stress or illness,

0:35:210:35:23

a common cause of mouth ulcers is damage to the tissue in your mouth.

0:35:230:35:28

But of course getting stuck into the local cuisine is one of the best

0:35:280:35:31

things about a holiday,

0:35:310:35:33

Just be careful when you're tucking into that lovely paella,

0:35:330:35:36

with their sharp shells, mussels and other shellfish can bite back.

0:35:360:35:40

It's nothing to worry about then?

0:35:410:35:42

Nothing to worry about, unless it goes on for a few weeks.

0:35:420:35:47

-Have you got a kettle in your hotel room?

-Yeah.

0:35:470:35:49

I'd boil some water, make it as hot as a cup of tea,

0:35:490:35:52

stir in loads of salt, a couple of big teaspoons of salt

0:35:520:35:55

so it really tastes disgusting.

0:35:550:35:58

Don't swallow it, slush it around the mouth, keep it as hot as you can

0:35:580:36:02

on that bit of tongue, without burning it.

0:36:020:36:04

You have to judge the temperature. And if in 48 hours it's not better,

0:36:040:36:07

I'd get a very simple antibiotic, like a penicillin from the chemists.

0:36:070:36:12

If in two weeks it's not better, you need to see your GP.

0:36:120:36:16

Most mouth ulcers won't require special treatment

0:36:160:36:19

so if you get a mild one, cleaning it with salty water might help.

0:36:190:36:24

Avoid hard, sharp or spicy foods.

0:36:240:36:27

Take care brushing your teeth

0:36:270:36:28

and reduce your stress levels by doing something relaxing.

0:36:280:36:33

Fine by me.

0:36:330:36:34

Things can go wrong in a heartbeat.

0:36:410:36:44

One minute you're in paradise, the next, just like that,

0:36:440:36:48

everything is turned on its head.

0:36:480:36:50

Which is why I've been investigating those things

0:36:500:36:53

that can really ruin a holiday.

0:36:530:36:56

From the shattering...

0:36:560:36:58

If people go down head first you are looking at, possibly, a fatality.

0:36:580:37:01

..to the shocking...

0:37:010:37:03

There is no Europe-wide, world-wide standard.

0:37:030:37:07

..I've discovered that you're not always as safe as you might think.

0:37:070:37:11

Today, the hidden dangers of a safari holiday.

0:37:120:37:16

Once the preserve of the very rich, the thrill of witnessing wild

0:37:200:37:24

animals at close quarters is now available to all,

0:37:240:37:27

with a range of safari holidays to suit many budgets.

0:37:270:37:31

But should we take it for granted that a safari tour is a safe,

0:37:320:37:36

risk-free way of getting up close and personal with wildlife?

0:37:360:37:41

Like thousands of others each year, The Ellison-Perret family travelled

0:37:410:37:44

to India in search of a glimpse of one of the world's rarest big cats.

0:37:440:37:49

But their trip would end in a terrifying accident.

0:37:490:37:53

I have to say that a safari holiday has always been my dream holiday.

0:37:530:37:58

It sounds as if the latest one was a bit of a nightmare. What happened?

0:37:580:38:02

We were travelling around India

0:38:020:38:04

and it was the highlight of the holiday, to see the tigers.

0:38:040:38:07

On safari, in a canter.

0:38:070:38:10

Canter trucks are widely used in India, and the Ellison-Perrets

0:38:120:38:16

took their place at the back of a high sided 16-seater.

0:38:160:38:20

The tour began better than anyone could have hoped,

0:38:200:38:23

with the group enjoying a rare sighting of a pair of Bengal tigers.

0:38:230:38:28

-Everybody was incredibly excited about what we saw.

-You saw tigers?

0:38:280:38:32

We saw them. Which was amazing. You very seldom see tigers.

0:38:320:38:35

We were quite late to leave, because the park closes.

0:38:350:38:39

-And the exit is up a short and very steep hill.

-Like that?

0:38:390:38:43

Like that. And as you came up to go to the top of the hill, he stalled.

0:38:430:38:46

And then, of course, it started to turn over.

0:38:490:38:52

I flew through the air into the top of a tree.

0:38:520:38:54

Hit the top of the tree, bounced out of the tree,

0:38:540:38:57

onto the very hard ground.

0:38:570:39:00

I just lay there, and went,

0:39:000:39:02

"For goodness' sake, that really hurts!"

0:39:020:39:04

In the incident, Kevin broke his nose, Beth was concussed

0:39:040:39:08

and Rose suffered bruising and ligament damage.

0:39:080:39:11

But Diane suffered more serious injuries,

0:39:110:39:13

breaking several ribs and damaging her back, arms and hips.

0:39:130:39:18

Do you still have problems from the injuries that you had?

0:39:180:39:21

I take lots and lots of painkillers.

0:39:210:39:25

The family were incredibly lucky that there were no

0:39:250:39:28

tigers in the vicinity when the accident happened.

0:39:280:39:31

But if you think the Ellison-Perret family's terrifying ordeal

0:39:320:39:35

is unique, think again.

0:39:350:39:37

Only last year a British tourist was killed by an elephant

0:39:370:39:42

at another site in India, and around the world there were several

0:39:420:39:46

incidents where animals attacked.

0:39:460:39:48

And things could have gone the same way for Michael and Trish Hawker

0:39:490:39:53

and friends in South Africa, had luck not been on their side.

0:39:530:39:56

The ranger decided that we should go into the predator area,

0:39:580:40:03

where they had five lions.

0:40:030:40:05

We were very, very close indeed, so much so that the girl said,

0:40:050:40:08

"Please, we're too close, we would like to back off a bit."

0:40:080:40:13

Suddenly, the lioness raised herself off the ground and looked at us,

0:40:130:40:18

and then just charged.

0:40:180:40:19

Their guide reversed away at speed but lost control

0:40:210:40:25

and rolled the vehicle just yards from the pride of lions.

0:40:250:40:28

We got thrown out. We were obviously shaken.

0:40:280:40:33

The next question was, where are the lions?

0:40:330:40:36

We had nothing to defend ourselves with at all, the ranger made

0:40:360:40:41

no suggestion that we might do anything, even sound the horn.

0:40:410:40:45

So we lay there. The girls thought they were going to be eaten.

0:40:450:40:48

I thought, frankly, one of the lions would come and pull somebody out.

0:40:480:40:53

Yeah, we all thought we were going to die.

0:40:530:40:55

And the lioness literally got to within two metres of the vehicle.

0:40:550:40:59

Fortunately another vehicle

0:40:590:41:01

arrived in the nick of time and rescued them.

0:41:010:41:03

But their terrifying ordeal could so easily have been avoided

0:41:040:41:08

if their guide had been better trained and better equipped.

0:41:080:41:12

I've come to Woburn Safari Park to meet expert Chris MacKintyre.

0:41:150:41:19

All cats are very fast. They are so much faster than you are.

0:41:190:41:23

He's going to give me some advice

0:41:230:41:25

on how to avoid danger whilst on safari.

0:41:250:41:27

There they are, a whole pride, under the tree there.

0:41:290:41:32

They are completely chilled. But put one foot out of this vehicle

0:41:320:41:35

and you have the attention of every lion instantly.

0:41:350:41:38

So if you had an accident, this close to a pride of lions,

0:41:400:41:44

-what would you do?

-You would be in a real mess. A real mess.

0:41:440:41:48

You would stick with the vehicle and, come the worst,

0:41:480:41:52

if they started to show an interest in you,

0:41:520:41:55

you might well beep the horn.

0:41:550:41:57

-Make a noise?

-Make as loud a noise as you could.

0:41:570:42:01

You would try hard to be seen as part of the vehicle

0:42:010:42:05

and not as a separate animal.

0:42:050:42:06

Vehicles aren't something they eat, you would stay with that vehicle,

0:42:060:42:09

stay in that vehicle if you possibly could.

0:42:090:42:12

So whose job is it to ensure your safety while on safari,

0:42:140:42:18

and do tour operators have any obligation to check that

0:42:180:42:21

safety standards overseas are met?

0:42:210:42:24

In search of answers,

0:42:260:42:28

I head to the Association of British Travel Agents.

0:42:280:42:31

All ABTA members will be responsible for the safety of that safari,

0:42:310:42:36

they will be legally liable for it.

0:42:360:42:39

We do a lot of work in this area, trying to raise standards,

0:42:390:42:42

to make it safe for people to visit those destinations.

0:42:420:42:46

What are the sort of precautions that British holidaymakers should

0:42:460:42:51

take when they go on safari?

0:42:510:42:53

First and foremost make sure they book through a reputable company.

0:42:530:42:56

Ask questions as well if you are unsure about any health

0:42:560:42:59

and safety standards, ask questions before you depart.

0:42:590:43:03

If you're uncomfortable with anything, don't go on the tour.

0:43:030:43:07

And make sure you have an emergency contact number, should you be out

0:43:070:43:11

in the bush and something happens, you know what the procedures are.

0:43:110:43:16

It's a message echoed by safari expert Chris, who says,

0:43:160:43:20

book with someone reputable and with real expertise

0:43:200:43:24

and experience in the region you're visiting.

0:43:240:43:27

Ask the person you are booking with, "have you been to this lodge?

0:43:270:43:30

"Have you been to this safari?"

0:43:300:43:32

And if they haven't, put the phone down and talk to someone else.

0:43:320:43:35

-And that way you really will have the holiday of a lifetime.

-Absolutely.

0:43:350:43:38

And it can be, and it is, for most people.

0:43:380:43:41

Safaris are fantastic holidays.

0:43:410:43:43

Each week on Holiday Hit Squad, from cream...

0:43:500:43:54

-Your whole body.

-That is a lot.

0:43:540:43:56

..to currency...

0:43:560:43:58

I've been tackling some of the great

0:43:580:44:01

British holiday-makers most common consumer questions.

0:44:010:44:04

And this week,

0:44:040:44:06

it's how to avoid being weighed down by unexpected costs.

0:44:060:44:09

Everyone knows someone who has been caught out at the airport with

0:44:150:44:18

excessive baggage charges.

0:44:180:44:20

Ironically, it is the low-cost airlines that charge you

0:44:200:44:22

the most for even the smallest of bags.

0:44:220:44:25

But you only need to know the basics to keep hold of your cash.

0:44:250:44:28

Adding excess baggage charges has become the norm

0:44:300:44:32

with most low-cost airlines expecting you to pay

0:44:320:44:35

if you want to put any baggage in the hold.

0:44:350:44:39

Last year, research showed that the cost of some airline extras

0:44:390:44:42

had risen by a staggering 66 percent - meaning that in some

0:44:420:44:47

cases these can add up to well over half the cost of your flight.

0:44:470:44:51

If you book a 20kg suitcase online, you can expect to pay up to £90,

0:44:530:44:59

depending on where you're flying.

0:44:590:45:00

But if you turn up at the airport without booking your bag

0:45:000:45:03

in online, you could be charged up to £140 at the busiest time of year.

0:45:030:45:08

They'll also charge you an extra £20 for every kilogram

0:45:080:45:12

over 20kg you go, so a 23kg bag could end up costing you £200.

0:45:120:45:19

£200 just to take your luggage on holiday with you.

0:45:190:45:22

To avoid being stung, here are the best ways to limit your load.

0:45:270:45:31

Beat those airport scales

0:45:320:45:34

by investing in some lightweight luggage.

0:45:340:45:37

Make a list before you pack -

0:45:370:45:39

think about how many days you'll be there

0:45:390:45:41

and what you're likely to need.

0:45:410:45:43

Why not go with one overall colour scheme to mix and match,

0:45:440:45:48

so you'll need fewer bags, belts and shoes?

0:45:480:45:51

And if you're really looking to cut costs,

0:45:510:45:54

there's always the option of taking just a carry-on bag.

0:45:540:45:56

Budget airlines only allow you to take one piece of hand luggage,

0:45:560:46:00

which is fine if you can fit everything into that one bag.

0:46:000:46:03

# Papa's got a brand-new bag. #

0:46:030:46:06

So here are some great ways to squeeze a lot in

0:46:060:46:09

if you want to bring down the bulk of your baggage...

0:46:090:46:13

Save space by vacuum packing your clothes.

0:46:130:46:16

But remember, you are going to need to access a vacuum cleaner

0:46:160:46:19

in time for your return journey.

0:46:190:46:21

Roll clothes rather than fold -

0:46:210:46:23

you can squeeze much more in that way -

0:46:230:46:25

and they'll be less creased.

0:46:250:46:27

And instead of packing bulkier items like jackets,

0:46:270:46:30

wear them when you travel

0:46:300:46:33

But do beware of weight and size restrictions.

0:46:330:46:36

Ignoring them could cost you a packet.

0:46:360:46:38

For example, take Ryanair and Flybe.

0:46:380:46:40

They say that your hand luggage must be no heavier than 10kg,

0:46:410:46:45

and Monarch are even stricter.

0:46:450:46:47

Hand luggage on their planes can be no heavier than 5kg.

0:46:470:46:50

And if Ryanair or Monarch, for instance,

0:46:500:46:53

find out that your bag is heavier than it should be,

0:46:530:46:56

they could fine you £50-60.

0:46:560:46:59

# Hey ya... #

0:46:590:47:02

The moral of the story is read the small print

0:47:020:47:04

and always book online and in advance if it's possible.

0:47:040:47:08

And remember that in some instances it may be cheaper in the long run

0:47:080:47:11

to book with a more expensive airline

0:47:110:47:13

that doesn't charge extra baggage fees.

0:47:130:47:16

Well, here I am -

0:47:250:47:26

I've come back to Malta to check up on the Cavalieri Hotel,

0:47:260:47:29

to see if it's made the changes it really needs to

0:47:290:47:32

to be deserving of that four-star status.

0:47:320:47:35

It's certainly a quality hotel,

0:47:370:47:39

but had been let down by poor attention to detail.

0:47:390:47:43

Time to meet manager Mark.

0:47:430:47:44

-Good to see you again, how are you?

-Nice to see you again.

0:47:440:47:47

On my first visit,

0:47:470:47:48

the outdoor pool had been suffering from neglect around the edges.

0:47:480:47:52

-That's good, cos that was thick, black, wasn't it?

-Yes.

0:47:520:47:55

-So that's been what, power-washed?

-That was power-washed completely,

0:47:550:47:58

-and as you can see, the result.

-Good.

0:47:580:48:01

I'm glad to see it's now in a much better condition.

0:48:010:48:04

Next I want to check out that filthy poolside snack kitchen.

0:48:050:48:10

Whoa! This is looking a bit different.

0:48:100:48:12

It's clearly been pulled around a lot.

0:48:120:48:14

What's been going on?

0:48:140:48:15

Well, basically, the place is closed now.

0:48:150:48:17

-Executive chef took full responsibility for it...

-Good.

0:48:170:48:21

He's preparing a plan. When it comes to reopening the place,

0:48:210:48:23

I can assure you that the situation will be much, much different.

0:48:230:48:27

Great.

0:48:270:48:28

Looking good.

0:48:300:48:32

And Mark was keen to show me that the indoor pool's chlorine level

0:48:320:48:35

was under control, using a simple test strip.

0:48:350:48:38

So, in it goes. It changes colour.

0:48:410:48:43

These are so good,

0:48:430:48:44

because it means that anyone who's not an expert can just quickly check.

0:48:440:48:48

The manager, housekeeping personnel, people who are here,

0:48:480:48:51

-the maintenance, anyone can do that.

-Yeah. Brilliant.

0:48:510:48:54

Problem solved,

0:48:540:48:56

and a very attractive, very pleasant swimming pool,

0:48:560:48:58

and I can see people even queuing up to come in here and swim.

0:48:580:49:01

-Yep.

-So, we'll leave them to it, shall we?

0:49:010:49:03

-Definitely.

-Excellent.

-Thank you.

0:49:030:49:05

Mark now seems to have a good grip on this hotel.

0:49:050:49:08

There's a major refurbishment under way,

0:49:080:49:10

and following our experiences of dirty bedding,

0:49:100:49:13

it's great to hear that the hotel have appointed

0:49:130:49:16

a new laundry service provider.

0:49:160:49:18

Well, I've said it all along, but the key to making this

0:49:180:49:21

a really good hotel is staying on top of the small details.

0:49:210:49:24

Keeping standards consistently high.

0:49:240:49:27

It inspires confidence, and if they can roll that out

0:49:270:49:30

across the rest of the hotel,

0:49:300:49:31

I think they're going to be in a very good place

0:49:310:49:33

come next season.

0:49:330:49:35

Earlier in the programme

0:49:400:49:42

I sent Helen and Joe off in search of holiday heaven,

0:49:420:49:45

just to see if Britain really can compete with the rest of the world

0:49:450:49:49

for our hard-earned holiday cash.

0:49:490:49:51

Well, this week, the challenge was to find an action-packed weekend

0:49:510:49:55

for two, for less than £1,000.

0:49:550:49:58

# Don't stop me now

0:49:580:50:00

# I'm having such a good time... #

0:50:000:50:02

I've chosen Iceland for a unique and exhilarating encounter

0:50:020:50:06

with its alien landscape.

0:50:060:50:07

Whereas, I opted for the rugged good looks of the Scottish Highlands.

0:50:090:50:13

There's everything you need here for a grand adventure -

0:50:130:50:16

whether you like things extreme...

0:50:160:50:19

..or prefer to take things a little more slowly.

0:50:200:50:24

This is the finish line of the West Highland Way,

0:50:240:50:27

an official long-distance route starting just north of Glasgow

0:50:270:50:30

and finishing here in Fort William.

0:50:300:50:32

It's 96 miles long, most people do it in about seven days,

0:50:320:50:37

and it's just another example of one of the fantastic

0:50:370:50:39

activities you can do in this area.

0:50:390:50:41

# Well, I would walk 500 miles

0:50:410:50:44

# And I would walk 500 more... #

0:50:440:50:48

People come from all over the world

0:50:480:50:50

to tramp through some of the best scenery in Britain.

0:50:500:50:53

First time to Britain.

0:50:530:50:55

First time to Britain, first time to Scotland,

0:50:550:50:57

-and you come and do this walk.

-Yeah.

-How have you found it?

-Wonderful.

0:50:570:51:00

And they get the awesome high and sense of achievement

0:51:000:51:03

when completing it.

0:51:030:51:05

Woo!

0:51:050:51:06

How does that feel?

0:51:080:51:09

-Fantastic!

-We didn't want to stop.

0:51:090:51:11

-You didn't want to stop?

-No, we want to keep going!

0:51:110:51:14

I can't believe it's sunny here!

0:51:150:51:18

If you're coming out here for an adventure holiday,

0:51:180:51:20

it goes without saying you're a lover of the outdoors.

0:51:200:51:24

So there are plenty of places you can stay under canvas,

0:51:240:51:27

and there's also stacks of holiday lodges

0:51:270:51:30

if you crave a bit more comfort -

0:51:300:51:31

but for a unique experience that combines a bit of both...

0:51:310:51:35

Wow.

0:51:360:51:38

Look at this!

0:51:380:51:40

This is where Mongolia meets Scotland. This is your very own yurt.

0:51:400:51:44

And it is brilliantly decked out.

0:51:440:51:46

It's got raised flooring, so your stuff isn't going to get wet or damp.

0:51:460:51:50

It's got a wood-burning stove so you can keep warm, boil the kettle,

0:51:500:51:53

make yourself a hot water bottle.

0:51:530:51:55

It's of course got bunk beds, so you can bring the whole family.

0:51:550:51:58

It just has a really nice, light, airy and yet cosy feel.

0:51:580:52:03

To put it simply, this is luxury in a field.

0:52:030:52:07

Or is it a tent with a hole in the roof?

0:52:070:52:09

Not for me to say.

0:52:090:52:10

Anyway, if you're having to pretend you're in Mongolia, Joe,

0:52:100:52:13

maybe Scotland isn't cutting it.

0:52:130:52:14

I reckon Iceland blows you out of the water.

0:52:140:52:17

# You're unbelievable

0:52:170:52:19

# Oh! #

0:52:190:52:21

Iceland is slap-bang on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,

0:52:250:52:28

which means it's a constantly shifting landscape,

0:52:280:52:31

and all the volcanoes and geothermic activity

0:52:310:52:34

mean great geysers like this.

0:52:340:52:37

There's a distinct smell of sulphur/rotten eggs.

0:52:370:52:41

But it's worth it.

0:52:410:52:43

This one erupts every eight to twelve minutes,

0:52:430:52:45

and never fails to take you by surprise.

0:52:450:52:48

SHE SNORTS

0:52:480:52:49

Ooh...!

0:52:490:52:50

I'm so excited I snorted, that's never happened to me in my life!

0:52:500:52:53

-Ever!

-# You're unbelievable. #

0:52:530:52:56

Look at that!

0:53:000:53:01

Whatever you say, Helen.

0:53:010:53:02

Well, if it's fun getting wet you want,

0:53:020:53:04

join me for what's known as swift water canyoning

0:53:040:53:08

Is this as extreme as it gets, then?

0:53:080:53:09

-The canyoning?

-This is as extreme as swift water canyoning gets.

0:53:090:53:12

Amazing.

0:53:120:53:14

-# Might as well jump

-Jump!

0:53:140:53:17

-# Go ahead, jump

-Jump! #

0:53:170:53:20

We jump...

0:53:210:53:23

slide...

0:53:230:53:24

'..and even get in behind waterfalls'

0:53:250:53:28

It's amazing!

0:53:280:53:30

Woo-hoo!

0:53:300:53:31

'It's a test of nerve...'

0:53:310:53:34

Mental!

0:53:340:53:35

'..and utterly, utterly brilliant.'

0:53:350:53:37

OK, here we go.

0:53:370:53:39

Three, two, one.

0:53:390:53:43

# I'm so excited... #

0:53:430:53:44

Woo!

0:53:440:53:46

# I'm about to lose control and I think I like it. #

0:53:490:53:53

That just blew me away.

0:53:530:53:55

This is so cool. So cool.

0:53:550:53:58

You really... You can't have more fun in a wet suit.

0:53:580:54:01

# I know, I know, I know I know I want to. #

0:54:010:54:03

Oh, that's nice - I just got a text message from Joe,

0:54:060:54:08

he is canyoning, which looks like loads of fun!

0:54:080:54:11

I wanted to go canyoning...

0:54:110:54:13

..but even I'm not stupid enough to attempt that.

0:54:140:54:17

# This is planet Earth... #

0:54:170:54:20

It's monstrous!

0:54:200:54:22

# You're looking at planet Earth... #

0:54:220:54:25

And that's what makes this place so very special -

0:54:250:54:28

it's an island of unearthly wonders, and it's a world in motion -

0:54:280:54:32

still developing, still being formed by powerful natural forces.

0:54:320:54:37

Woo!

0:54:370:54:40

Around 4,500 square miles of Iceland is covered by glaciers -

0:54:400:54:44

massive slow-moving ice flows

0:54:440:54:47

that grind their way through the landscape.

0:54:470:54:49

Whoa!

0:54:490:54:50

Buckle up.

0:54:500:54:52

And that's where I'm headed with my Viking guide Ragnar.

0:54:520:54:56

SHE GIGGLES

0:54:570:55:00

Only one of the supercharged four-wheel drive experiences

0:55:000:55:03

you can have on this island.

0:55:030:55:04

-Is that a crevasse?

-Yes, it is.

-Should we be this close?

0:55:060:55:09

This is enough.

0:55:090:55:11

Of course, there's a stack of thrill-seeking activities

0:55:110:55:14

you can do on the snow and ice - from hiking to snowmobiles.

0:55:140:55:18

Or you can just be here

0:55:200:55:21

and get your kicks from connecting with this extraordinary place.

0:55:210:55:27

This is a real natural wonder.

0:55:270:55:29

It's a sea of ice, it's moving, it's living,

0:55:290:55:32

there are cracks in it, it's unpredictable.

0:55:320:55:35

And because of that, it's exciting.

0:55:350:55:37

There's an element of danger, which makes it exciting,

0:55:370:55:40

but all of that is manageable because of Ragnar,

0:55:400:55:42

so it's not like I'm out here and really getting

0:55:420:55:45

into any trouble, because he knows what he's doing.

0:55:450:55:48

This, to me, is thrill-seeking, it's adventure, but it's accessible.

0:55:480:55:53

You'd have to go a long way round the world to find

0:55:530:55:55

something as breathtaking as this, as exciting as this...

0:55:550:56:00

Thanks, Ragnar.

0:56:020:56:03

Thanks, Iceland.

0:56:030:56:04

Snowball fight?

0:56:060:56:07

Something tells me you're a bit of an expert in this.

0:56:070:56:10

But so am I.

0:56:100:56:11

Good luck, Joe!

0:56:130:56:15

Don't let me fall down a crevasse!

0:56:150:56:18

That would be a thrill too far.

0:56:180:56:21

Oh, yes! Epic!

0:56:210:56:24

Angela set us a budget of £1,000 for two people

0:56:250:56:29

on a three-night break.

0:56:290:56:31

And based on my hostel stay,

0:56:310:56:32

and sticking to cheap

0:56:320:56:34

yet tasty food options,

0:56:340:56:35

I've just about come within budget.

0:56:350:56:37

Well done, Helen. No, really, well done.

0:56:410:56:44

But I'm afraid I can top that. I've come in at less than your total

0:56:440:56:49

AND I ate at nice restaurants, and had a luxury hamper.

0:56:490:56:52

-So, it was Scotland...

-Yep.

-..versus Iceland. How did you do?

0:56:520:56:55

I love Scotland, but Iceland has so much to offer.

0:56:550:56:57

You can do so many different adventurous activities.

0:56:570:57:00

Name it, think of it, you can do it there.

0:57:000:57:02

Kayaking, ice climbing, hire a skidoo...

0:57:020:57:05

And, yeah, I know you've got to spend a bit of money in Iceland,

0:57:050:57:08

but the quirky culture is priceless.

0:57:080:57:09

Both countries have a fantastic range of options for thrill-seekers, but...

0:57:090:57:13

-And landscape.

-And landscape, but you can drive yourself to Scotland.

0:57:130:57:16

Actually, I came in well under budget -

0:57:160:57:18

-don't like to brag, but I did.

-You never mentioned it(!)

0:57:180:57:21

And I could have splashed the cash a bit more.

0:57:210:57:23

Well, I have to say, I would not have done the jump that you did,

0:57:230:57:26

I really admire you for that.

0:57:260:57:27

-Slightly surprised!

-Yeah!

0:57:270:57:29

But on the dogsled, I would have found that absolutely exhilarating.

0:57:290:57:32

-Yeah.

-Well, I think you've given the viewers a great choice, there.

0:57:320:57:35

Passport - train ticket or car...

0:57:350:57:37

-Something in both countries for everyone.

-He's so smug!

0:57:370:57:40

Look how proud he is of himself! Well done, Joe.

0:57:400:57:42

Right, that's it for Holiday Hit Squad.

0:57:420:57:44

On next week's programme, I'm on call at the Costa Blanca consulate.

0:57:440:57:49

How did you come to be in the hospital with your gran?

0:57:490:57:51

-She had a stroke.

-So distressing for you.

-Yeah.

0:57:510:57:54

I check into another heartbreak hotel...

0:57:540:57:57

I'm guessing you won't be coming back.

0:57:570:57:59

Not me, definitely not!

0:57:590:58:02

It's knives and forks at dawn as I duel with Joe

0:58:020:58:05

in the battle to find the best break for food lovers, home...

0:58:050:58:09

This is going to go in our salad. Have a try.

0:58:090:58:10

How do you make sure that you're not picking up a weed?

0:58:100:58:13

'..and away...'

0:58:130:58:14

-It's falling apart, it's tender, it's delicious...

-It's SO tender.

0:58:140:58:17

So, until the next time, from all of us, bye-bye.

0:58:170:58:21

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?


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