West Australians holidaying in Bali are putting their health, safety and finances at risk by binge drinking, riding scooters without helmets and failing to take out adequate travel insurance.
Nearly half of WA travellers in Bali said they were more likely to binge drink while visiting the popular island destination than when they were at home, while a quarter said they were more likely to take part in extreme sports such as bungee jumping, according to an HBF travel survey.
Experts say these risk-taking behaviours only exacerbate other potential pitfalls that come with holidaying in Bali, such as contracting gastroenteritis, dengue fever or being in a road accident.
But holidaymakers can minimise the risks by taking reasonable precautions, from drinking bottled water and eating well-cooked food to packing preventative medicine and taking care not to drink too much alcohol.
Perth GP and author Joe Kosterich said one of the biggest dangers of holidaying in Bali was that its familiarity stopped travellers from having their guard up.
"One of the things that happens when people are on holidays is that they're in relaxation mode, which is great, but you do tend to forget the basics," he said.
"The thing about Bali is it's starting to be seen by people here as an extension of Perth. People go to Bali almost like they go to Rottnest and that's where issues arrive - people feel like they're at home but it's not home."
He said drinking bottled water and sticking to restaurants that catered to tourists was a simple way to reduce the risk of contracting so-called Bali Belly. And although people "don't need to take a huge medicine chest" packing basic supplies such as insect repellent and sunscreen was advised.
According to the study of more than 400 West Australians, 43 per cent of the people surveyed were more likely to drink more than four standard drinks in one session while in Bali, while 13 per cent said they would be more likely to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.
The numbers dropped when it came to eating from a roadside stall (10 per cent), getting a tattoo (8 per cent) or cosmetic or dental surgery (9 per cent).
The survey found eight out of ten West Australians travelling overseas - not just to Bali - took out travel insurance.
But Dr Kosterich said many people did not realise the policy may not cover them if their injuries were incurred through alcohol or drug use.
"If you're drunk and have injured yourself because you are drunk then there may be some issues there," he said.
Perth resident Trish Sinclair-Jones, who travels to Bali several times a year, said she believed staying safe was mostly about common sense. She said she enjoyed Bali because it was a "dead easy" holiday spot, with friendly people and cheap prices.
"I feel a lot safer (in Bali) than I do in Northbridge," she said.
Dr Kosterich agreed most dangers could be avoided, or at least minimised, by being sensible."I think the overarching advice is to keep your wits about you and inherent in that is, don't get yourself in a state where you can't think and use your common sense," he said.
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