'High life' holidays are popular with the young

Young adults may travel alone or in groups.

  • Some go in search of adventure, to study, on volunteering programmes or for new experiences (see course 1)

  • Others may go to spend time in the sun, go clubbing or search for sexual adventures.

Travelling with infants and young children is discussed in course 7

Hazardous activities and sports

There is a wide range of, potentially risky, adventurous activities which are particularly appealing to the young.

  • Climbing, skiing, bungee jumping, paragliding, scuba diving, white water rafting, kayaking and horse riding are examples.

  • If these activities may be arranged as part of a 'package holiday'. It is very important to choose reliable operators with safe equipment and not simply choose the cheapest.

Paragliding is one of the sports that carries a small but serious risk if there is an accident


All travellers, especially the inexperienced, must be aware that tourists are often targeted by pickpockets and muggers. Young travellers are often adventurous and may be more likely to get into risky situations.

  • Sexual assaults are a risk mostly for females but also for men. There is some evidence that these are more likely to involve other holiday-makers than locals.

  • Going out alone should be undertaken with caution in areas in which the traveller is not familiar.

  • It is important to ensure, especially in low budget accommodation that it is possible to lock bedrooms securely.

  • Important items such as passports and bank cards should be kept on the person unless the traveller is sure they are secure in their hotel - perhaps in a specially designed inconspicuous belt. Scanned copies of passport and visa details can be prepared in advance and made available electronically if needed.

Many varieties of travel wallets are available which can be secured around the waist or under clothing

Cost factors affecting health

Young people tend to take the low budget holidays and as well as missing out on some important vaccinations because they are expensive.

  • There may be a temptation to decide to obtain cheaper medications abroad such antimalarials but there is a risk, mostly in some resource-poor countries, that some of these may be ineffective or even dangerous counterfeits.


Many travellers especially the young consider alcohol to be an essential part of their holiday.

  • Acute alcohol poisoning can lead to confusion, coma, acute liver failure and inhalation of vomit.
Heavy alcohol consumption is a major cause of accidents and sexual risk taking
  • Alcohol also increases the risk of accidents: on the roads, in swimming pools and in the sea.

Sexual risk taking

While some may go in search of sexual adventures, others may be drawn into them inadvertently into risky situations when visiting clubs or bars. Sometimes bar attendants are also sex workers.

  • Advice about safe sex practices and the use of good quality condoms is important.

  • Unwise sexual liaisons are more likely under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Illicit drugs

Possessing illicit drugs may only result in a police caution in some countries, but in many countries, it can lead to imprisonment, long jail sentences or even a death penalty especially if trafficking is suspected.

  • This also applies to possession of substitute drugs such as methadone and opiate derivatives such as codeine (see also course 8)