Insights: Summer peak season for travelling abroad

In a minute, the calendar will flip to June, and this marks the start of SOS International’s summer high travel season. 

Summer 2018

During the months June, July and August 2018, SOS International handled more than 51,000 cases. These cases concerned services provided before, during and after the journey, such as medical pre-assessments prior to travelling, the acute cases reported to the alarm centre in relation to illness or injuries sustained while travelling as well as reimbursement cases at the end of the holiday. 

During this period, the alarm centre received more than 132,000 calls and handled more than 33,000 cases from travellers who had fallen ill or had been injured while travelling abroad.

47% of all these cases occurred in July, which is always the busiest month, and week 29 became the busiest week with more than 3,800 new cases. Spain, Turkey and Greece continue to be the most popular summer holiday destinations of Nordic travellers.

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Preparations for the 2019 summer high season

At the alarm centre for travel assistance, the preparations for the summer high season are underway already during the winter. Here, data on injuries, such as type of case, country, nationality and experiences from the previous summer high season form the basis for adjustment to and optimisation of the alarm centre operations. 

Amongst others, all alarm centre staff receive a brush-up on the handling of the most frequently occurring injuries such as “traveller’s diarrhoea” during which the various teams discuss how to handle such cases.

In addition, this year, the alarm centre once again sends a member of staff to Turkey for the summer period to provide support to the local setup and the increased volume. Having SOS International’s own assistance coordinator present locally offers the possibility of being one step ahead in the more acute and heavy cases.

Expectations: Climate considerations may affect travel patterns

Last year’s nice summer weather and the generally increased awareness of plane travel’s effect on the climate as well as new concepts such as ”flight shame” and ”climate shame” gaining ground in many Nordic countries may mean that many Scandinavians choose to take their summer holiday in their neighbouring countries and, thus, avoid the long plane journeys.  

As a traveller, one needs to be aware that other rules apply when travelling within Scandinavia than when travelling in the rest of Europe. If you fall ill or are injured during a holiday in one of the Nordic countries, you are covered by the Nordic Convention. This means that you are covered on the same terms as the citizens of the country in which you are travelling – just like with the European Health Insurance Card in the rest of Europe.

We still recommend everyone to take out a travel insurance that you may need to cover expenses in connection with illness or injury which are not covered by the Nordic Convention if e.g. there is a need to call in relatives.

Spain, Greece and Turkey are the three top injury countries.


For several years, Spain has been one of the leaders in injuries with SOS International, and we anticipate a significant number of cases reported by Nordic travellers in Spain again this year.  

During the last summer high season, cases from Spain made up more than 21% of the total number of cases involving Nordic travellers and the cases were spread across all age groups; however, with a small predominance of children aged 0-19 of just under 36%. This could be a result of Spain being a preferred holiday destination for young families during the summer high season.

The alarm centre saw an increase in the number of cases from Spain of 17% from 2016 to 2018 which means it continues to be a popular holiday destination.

Read more: How to travel safely and securely in Spain

Read more: Be careful when relying on the blue European Health Insurance Card in Spain


Greece is a popular summer holiday destination for Nordic travellers and has for several years, taken second place in the SOS International ranking of destinations reporting the most injuries. 

However, during the 2018 summer high season, Greece was overtaken by Turkey and now holds a third place in the ranking of destinations reporting the most injuries.

This is not an indication that the number of cases from Greece has decreased. As a matter of fact, we have observed an increase of 10% from 2016 to 2018.

For Greece, there is a slight predominance of women in the accidents statistics with 56% compared to 44% for men.  

Read more: How to travel safely and securely in Greece


SOS International has experienced a decrease in the number of cases from Turkey over the past few years. From 2015 to 2017, we experienced a decrease in the number of cases of 51%. 

However, during the 2018 summer high season, the number of cases from Turkey increased again which means that it is now the second-largest country of the summer high season in terms of the reported number of injuries. Just under 13% of all cases in this period are from Turkey and the number of cases increased by 28% from 2017 to 2018.

Turkey is a popular holiday destination for young families during the summer high season and children aged 0-19 also make up 39% of the cases.

Read more: How to travel safely and securely in Turkey

Other good advice

Insights: Self-drive holidays and roadside assistance abroad

The summer means self-drive holidays and the summer holiday is the busiest period of the year for SOS International – amongst others due to the many motorists who experience their car break down abroad.

Read more: Self-drive holidays and roadside assistance abroad


The security expert’s helpful advice to a safe and secure hotel stay

You have just arrived at the hotel after a long flight, and you are so ready for your holiday.

However, our security experts advise you to spend a moment on hotel safety and recommend that you take several precautions to ensure that you will feel safe and secure throughout your stay at the hotel. 

Read more: The security expert’s helpful advice to a safe and secure hotel stay

Contact us

Are you travelling and in need of acute assistance?

Contact SOS International's alarm centre on +45 7010 5050.

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