91% of Brits don't pack enough sunscreen when holidaying abroad
Blog by Travel Team
15th August 2019 19:55

91% of Brits don't pack enough sunscreen when holidaying abroad

If you're heading off on holiday soon, now is an excellent time to revisit the amount of sunscreen you plan to take with you. As, according to research undertaken by the online travel agent Holiday Hypermarket, some 91% of Brits ignore NHS advice and don't take enough with them.

Not only could this mean getting sunburnt, which is never fun. But buying enough sunscreen for a family of four could also cost over £100 more while abroad than it would from a supermarket in the UK. Of the 2000 people surveyed, 25% take no suntan lotion at all on their holiday, with 44% taking just a single bottle per adult, which is well below NHS recommendations.

The research also showed that just 9% of families pack enough for the duration of their trip, and 69% of families would have to buy an extra eight bottles during a seven-night holiday. 

What are the NHS recommendations?

The NHS recommends that an adult, wearing just swimming gear needs about two tablespoons of lotion to cover themselves on each application. They also suggest two applications before going out (one 30 minutes before, and one just before), one after every swim and generally re-applying every 2 hours. You can find more information about this and other sun-safety information on the NHS website

Based on the NHS guidelines, Holiday Hypermarket estimates that on average, someone may need five applications of sun-lotion to stay protected. Which means a total of 4 x 200ml bottles of lotion would be needed per adult on a 7-night trip. 

Sun safety tips

Save money by buying sunblock at home

According to the research, the average cost of a 200ml bottle of sunscreen (branded, SPF15) in a UK supermarket is around £4.50. Once you're abroad though, that could be significantly more. The Post Office Barometer report for 2019 suggests that Ibiza is the most expensive place on their list of locations, where the same bottle could cost £17.45. So buying eight bottles while on your holiday there could cost £103.60 more than if you'd bought them in the UK. 

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On the flip side of that, if you're off to Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, you could save money and pay £2.34 a bottle. But for the majority of popular holiday destinations, you are very likely to end up paying more. 

Not all suntan lotions are equal

The NHS recommends a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB. Also, check the star ratings on the bottle and choose at least 4-star protection. Did you know also that sunscreen has a shelf life? If yours is more than 2-3 years old it's likely to be less effective, so it's best to replace it. 

UV index

It's not just about sunblock to keep you safe and well when you're out in the sun, and that's especially the case in hotter parts of the world such as the Meditteranean where UV levels are higher than in the UK. Remember to get some shade - especially during the hottest parts of the day and cover up when you can. 

Don't forget too, that your eyes also need protection, and like suntan lotion, not all sunglasses are equal. To be sure of them properly protecting your eyes from the sun, check your glasses have the CE Mark and British Standard Mark 12312-1:2013 E. For children's glasses the British Standard is BSEN 1836:2005. There's more information about keeping children safe in the sun from the NHS here

Cloudy or sunny - you can still get burnt

Although it's the hottest, sunniest days that everyone perceives there is the highest chance of getting sunburn, in fact even on cooler, cloudier days the sun's rays can still be strong enough to burn you. And the same applies even if it's a cooler, windier day and the sun doesn't feel as strong - it still will be. The strength of the sun isn't related to the temperature.

If you're heading abroad on holiday soon, you can check the latest weather forecasts for all the most popular holiday destinations around the world here

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