Category Archives: The places we’ve been

Where do we go on our holidays? Posts by Worldwide employees on the we’ve visited

Getting Married Abroad – 10 Facts You’ll Want To Know

Destination weddings are decidedly en-vogue. If you and your other half are one of the increasing number of couples taking to the skies to get married abroad take a peek at our top 10 wedding facts.

1. The average spend on an overseas wedding is around £7,000 – half of what the average UK wedding costs!

2. You can’t actually get married at the top romantic destination, the Maldives. Instead couples can head here to renew vows.

3. You can only marry on certain days at many destinations, this is often dependent on the flights that go to your chosen location.

4. Seasons are different abroad! The summer months at your chosen destination might well be during the UK winter. Check your climate facts before booking a wedding, or else you might find you bag a bargain because it is monsoon season!

5. If you change your passport to your married name before you travel, you may have trouble entering the country as the ticket name has to match the passport. You don’t want to miss your own wedding!

6. You’ll want to purchase wedding insurance as well as travel insurance for your destination wedding. Wedding insurance provides cover should a close relative become ill and the wedding has to be cancelled, or if adverse weather conditions mean that the bride and groom, and the majority of guests cannot get to the wedding.

Worldwideinsure.com Wedding Insurance includes:

  • Cover for damage to the wedding dress and other ceremonial attire
  • Loss or damage of wedding gifts
  • Loss or damage to the wedding cake, wedding rings, flowers

7. Weddings abroad are more likely to be rescheduled due to inclement weather. Therefore it is advisable to avoid having your wedding date on any gifts or décor at the reception.

8. Wedding gowns and suits made of natural fabric can be rescued after a long journey by being hung in a hot steamy room.

9. You must reside in the destination of your choice for a set amount of time before you marry. This varies from country to country. For example in Turks and Caicos Islands you must be in the country for at least 24 hours, but in France you need to arrive at least 40 days before the wedding. Check your destination to find out before you book!

10. The Top 10 Wedding Destinations of 2015!

  1. Mauritius
  2. Sri Lanka
  3. St Lucia
  4. USA
  5. Barbados
  6. Thailand
  7. Antigua
  8. Mexico
  9. Maldives – renewal of vows only
  10. Seychelles

Find out more about wedding insurance for the UK and away in our recent blog.

Travelling Europe – A Guide for Students August 2015

With exams well out of the way, and the new term on a distant horizon, now is the time for students to don their backpacks and explore Europe!

Where to go

Head to the cities, or head to a festival! As a student, chances are you are looking for a wild time, an adventure worthy of posting on Facebook so folks back home become green with envy!

  • Zurich Street Parade, Switzerland – 29th August – one of the world’s largest techno street parades.
  • Tomatina, Buñol, Spain  – 26th August – an unusual festival where thousands of participants hurl tomatoes at one another.
  • Rock en Seine, Paris, France – 28th August –  the biggest rock festival in France takes place over three days on the outskirts of Paris.
  • Mysteryland,  Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands – 28th August –  electronic music, culture and arts festival.

How to get there

Saving precious pennies is paramount! After all, there are better things to spend beer money on than transport! Put those hitch-hiking thumbs away, and check out these money-saving options!

Interrail is synonymous with gap year adventure! Interrail lets travellers discover up to 30 European countries on just one pass. Prices for a pass start at £30 for one country and £140 for all 30!

Bla Bla Car is the budget friendly and environmentally friendly option for adventurous individuals. Simply find someone on Bla Bla Car who is travelling from where you are to where you want to go, and chip in for petrol. It is great way to meet new people, and ace for travelling on a budget!

Where to stay

If you want to meet new people and keep your spend minimal you can forget pitching up at a dusty campsite – there are better ways to get to know fellow travellers and sort out a roof over your head!

One of the best ways to get to know a new place is to stay with someone local. Couchsurfing is the number one cost-effective way of getting the lowdown on the local area and making new friends while you travel. Half hospitality exchange and half social networking, the site has members in every corner of the globe, so plenty of options for a European adventure!

The Youth Hostel Association has hostels and bunk houses well suited to those looking to maximize their budget. Hostels are well known places to meet like-minded travellers and find a fun place to stay, and for those looking to find somewhere to stay abroad, Hostelling International is the brand name of more than 90 Youth Hostel Associations around the world, with a total of over 4,000 hostels in 90 countries!

Get more tips for travelling on a budget in our travel for free blog and to find some value for money insurance for your journey, check out worldwideinsure.com.

Roadtripping in Western Australia

Travellers in their millions flock to Australia each year, and most will head to the vibrant yet relatively densely crowded East Coast, either hopping on and off bus tours or flying into the main cities and out again.  For a totally different experience, set your sights on the rugged and less-travelled state of Western Australia (WA), and travel at your own speed.

Driving through the country’s largest state is a truly unique experience and one you won’t forget.  It takes up a third of the vast continent – most of Europe would fit inside of it – yet is home to only a tenth of its population, 92% of which are crammed into the teeny tiny south-west corner.  This is also where you’ll probably find 92% of the backpackers.

There are many amazing sights in the south-west region around Perth and Margaret River.  To the east you can travel through the tall trees of Pemberton to the magnificent rock formations of Albany and eventually to picturesque Esperance.  To the north lies the Nambung National Park, home to more unusual rock formations (Australian’s are very proud of their rocks!), the Pinnacles.

Head any further north or east, however, and it becomes hard to comprehend the huge distances between everything, so there are so many things you just can’t see on a tour bus.  With your own wheels you can get to places which make you feel like you’re the only person left on Earth.  You can drive right onto some of the unspoilt beaches, and find yourself camping under more stars than you ever imagined existed.  Don’t drive after sunset though, as that’s when the ‘roos come out and they don’t have too much road sense!

So many of the especially incredible places are only accessible via unsealed roads which are too rough for some vehicles – true hidden gems, in a vast wilderness of nothing.  In the north-west you can get to the campsite at Karijini National Park just fine, but unless you have a sturdy vehicle (or you can hitch a ride) you still can’t get to the dramatic river gorges – a rugged oasis where you can trek and swim for hours, and a little courage is rewarded with breathtaking sights.

Near the town of Northampton, a mere hour and a half’s drive along a rickety unsealed road actually delivers you to whole new country!  The must-be-seen-to-be-believed Principality of the Hutt River has been a sovereign state and independent of Australia since 1970, and you will actually get your passport stamped.  If you’re lucky, the monarch Prince Leonard might even tell you his fascinating tale himself.

Still more roads are so bumpy that they are passable only in a 4×4, so you’ll find even fewer people en route. One such road is the Gibb River Road in the northeast, and into the wilderness of the Kimberley National Park, which is one of Australia’s last remaining true frontiers and boasts yet more wacky rocks, the Bungle Bungles.  Make the effort to get out here and you will be privileged to sights few others have ever seen.

Not your ordinary travellers

Though you will obviously meet other like-minded travellers on your journey, you’re also likely to meet many Australians with the same idea.  Plenty of citizens reject the rat race for the freedom of exploring their own country and creating their own lifestyle.  “Grey nomads” retire and sell up so they can buy a camper and set off on the road.  Families break from convention, homeschooling their children and living in campsites, finding various means to earn a living on the move.  Young couples on their honeymoons shun the busy beaches of popular tourist destinations for the pristine coastline and sense of adventure of their home country.  You will meet people who are drawn to the vastness of WA for many reasons, and you can bet the perspectives they share will be fascinating and eye-opening.

So, are you convinced yet?

Are you revved up for an Antipodean adventure?  If you need more convincing, there is the fact that staying in campsites will be much cheaper than hostels.  There are even many free camp spots along the major routes, some of which are just carparks next to the road, while some turn out to  be stunningly picturesque.  Camping in National Parks however, which is also often free or for a nominal fee, is absolutely unforgettable, and the scenery, space and wildlife will blow your mind.

Should I rent or buy?

This is the first big practical question you need to consider, and really depends on where you want to start and finish your trip, and how long you want to be on the road for.  There are countless rental companies – try Wicked Campers, Spaceships and Jucy to name but a few.

Rentals will always have limits however, and the cost mounts up if you are planning to be away for more than a few weeks.  If you really want to feel free to go where you please and take as long as you want, it is worth looking into buying a vehicle.  Many travellers do this and are able to sell theirs for almost as much as they bought it for, so it actually may not be as expensive as it seems. Advice for purchasing a vehicle is outside the scope of this post but these two blogs here and here give a great overview of what you need to be aware of.

As always, whatever type of trip you’re planning, travel insurance is a necessity.  The friendly advisers at Worldwide Insure are ready with expert advice to make sure you have the cover you need for your trip-of-a-lifetime.  Call 01892 628584 or visit www.worldwideinsure.com today for an instant online quote.

Bank Holiday Breaks – How to find a great last minute deal

We all love a bargain, but what is the best way to save money on a last-minute break, especially in the run-up to a busy bank holiday? We share some top tips to bag a bargain!

Visit High Street Agents

The windows of high street travel agents are awash with deals, and quite often you can bag yourself a bargain as long as you aren’t too restricted on travel times and aren’t set on a specific destination or hotel. These agents have fingers in many pies, so can access a broad range of deals, and tweak prices to suit your budget.

Check Out Online Comparison Websites

Travel Zoo was voted the best travel deals provider in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Their success lies in the fact they have a team of travel experts around the world with their eyes peeled for the best deals around. To add to that, they actually test the deals themselves, making sure they are current, accurate and do everything they say. If you are looking for a great experience as well as a great deal – this is certainly a good way to go about it!

Look On Last Minute Websites

Although many travel providers have a last-minute deals section, dedicated website lastminute.com is where you should head when time is running short. Not only can you book a last minute hotel, flight, or whole package holiday on their website, but you can also get your hands on cut-price tickets for events and attractions at your destination too.

Get Organised

By far the best way to save yourself some pennies is to make sure that you have your travel insurance arranged before hand, as well as your airport parking and your currency exchange! When things like travel insurance are added to a deal, you will find yourself paying over the odds, probably for insurance that doesn’t actually cover you for what you need.

For advice about making sure you have the right travel insurance for your journey, give us a call – we are a friendly bunch, here to make sure that you only pay what you need for the cover you need! Find out more on our website, or call 01892 833338.

 

Early May Bank Holiday UK Mini Break Ideas

Bank Holidays were made for mini breaks, and the Early May Bank Holiday is the perfect time to explore the UK, thanks to fine weather, blossoming trees and an abundance of wildlife. Here are our top picks for May 2015!

City Break – York

York is a top UK destination for a mini break thanks to stunning architecture, rich heritage, great shopping and some fabulous attractions too.

Ideas to add to your itinerary:

York Minster – One of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe.
Jorvik Viking Centre – Discover the sights (and smells) of the past at this unique museum.
York Castle – A stunning fortress right near the river in York.
The Shambles – The oldest street in York, now vibrant with touristy boutiques, cafes and bars.

Where to stay on a budget – Mercure York Fairfield Manor Hotel, from £28.00 pppn.
Where to stay for a treat – Best Western Kilima Hotel, from £120.00 pppn.

Countryside Break – Cotswolds

As an official Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) you can expect nothing but serene and quintessentially British countryside here, mixed in with traditional market towns.

Ideas to add to your itinerary:

Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens – Discover 260 different species in 160 acres of parkland.
Cotswold Way – A 120 mile walk, but you can hop on the trail anywhere any time!
Cotswold Water Park – 150 lakes in 40 square miles full of fab outdoor water activities.
Stow on the Wold – The highest village in the Cotswolds, well worth a visit during your stay.

Where to stay on a budget – Hatton Court Hotel, from £33.75 pppn.
Where to stay for a treat – Thornbury Castle, from £97.50 pppn.

Coastal Break – Dorset

The coast here is another AONB, a Natural World Heritage Site, and also part of The Jurassic Coast, stretching 155km from East Devon to East Dorset blessed with excellent fossil hunting grounds, and stunning views.

Ideas to add to your itinerary:

Durdle Door – A stunning natural lime archway just off the coast of East Lulworth.
Brownsea Island – Woodland and wildlife meet in this small island off the coast of Dorset.
Weymouth Beach –  A three mile long sandy beach, close to the bustling town of Weymouth.
Oceanarium Bournemouth – Full of creatures from across the world, landlubbers not welcome!

Where to stay on a budget – Carrington House Hotel, from £13.50 pppn.
Where to stay for a treat –  The Christchurch Harbour Hotel & Spa, from £90 pppn.

St Patrick’s Day 2015 – Ireland Travel Guide

If you like a drop of the black stuff, or just enjoy the sights and sounds of the Emerald Isle, a trip to Ireland for St Patrick’s Day celebrations is guaranteed to be a colourful experience!

Dublin

To experience the festivities in full swing, head straight to Dublin. There are parades, walks, talks and plenty of performing art. Expect to see traditional Irish dancing and experience live literary readings and music, paying homage to the country’s artistic talents. Hundreds of thousands of people attend the parade in Dublin, which starts at 10am – so get up early to get a good spot!

A trip to the Guinness Storehouse should be on your agenda, but be warned, it is a busy time of the year – expect crowds! It should all add to the atmosphere of the day though. This year, the Guinness Storehouse is putting on a St Paddy’s Day extravaganza:

What: St Patrick’s Day at Guinness Storehouse

When: Sat 14th to Tues 17th March

Where: St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland

  • Live music
  • Guinness variant samplings
  • Guinness and food tasting
  • Live marching bands
  • Six Nations Rugby hub
  • Face painting
  • And apparently much more!

 

Galway

Galway was once a tiny fishing village, but today it is a thriving bohemian city that has beautiful beaches to explore, traditional cobblestone streets to admire and plenty of shops to peruse. There is of course a wealth of traditional Irish watering holes too, where you’ll find your next dose of St Patrick’s Day passion in the form of real Irish music and real Irish booze.

In the run up to St Patricks’s Day you’ll find fun and frivolities abound at the fortnight-long annual Seachtain na Gaeilge festival. This gathering has become the largest celebration of its kind of the Irish language, culture and heritage – well worth looking in on whether you are already au fait with all things Irish, or have never been to visit before. 

What: Seachtain na Gaeilge Festival

When: Sun 01st  to Tues 17th March

Where: Various venues Around Galway

 

Cork

If you’ve had your fill of Guinness, then maybe you’d enjoy a pint or two of Murphy’s Irish Stout instead. This brew hails from county Cork, so a fitting tipple to enjoy while here. Cork is well known for diversity, and culture, but that doesn’t mean to say visitors to the county can’t get a good dose of all things Irish during their stay. Cork has a 4-day St Patrick’s day festival, starting on Saturday 14th march – where the city streets burst to life with live music, circus acts and street performances.

Alternatively, you can head to one of Cork’s most popular attractions, Blarney Castle for St Patrick’s Day – where you’ll see the castle lit up in glorious emerald green light. The Castle was built around 600 years ago and is renowned for its “stone of eloquence” aka the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that if you hang upside down and kiss the stone you’ll be blessed with the gift of the gab. Whoever first told that story evidently was, so you never know – it might just work!

What: St Patrick’s Day Festival

When: Sun 14th to Tues 17th March

Where: All over Cork, festival finishes with Paddy’s Night Fleadh at Cork Opera House

 

Mother’s Day 2015 – Weekend Break Ideas for March 15th

If you’ve got a mum in a million, and a few quid in the bank too – whisking her away on a mini-break to celebrate Mothering Sunday could be just the treat she needs. We have picked some fab ideas for March 15th that won’t break the bank!

UK Countryside Break – Dorset

Mums that like fresh air, long walks and maybe a tipple of a local brew will appreciate the pleasures of Lulworth Cove in Dorset. They say that Dorset is beautiful wherever you go, and Lulworth certainly doesn’t disappoint. The Limestone Hotel has a fabulous restaurant serving up delicious foods, perfect for Mother’s Day, whether you are staying at the hotel or not. There are also a couple of pubs nearby, one in the Cove itself, which serves up posh pub grub, and another in the village that boasts a year-round ale and cider festival!

Surrounded by the rolling hills, you’ll be spoilt by the views, but this is the Jurassic Coast, which means there is something extra special on offer for visitors here – Durdle Door. Just a 20 minute walk along the coast, you’ll discover a beautiful beach with one of nature’s finest examples of a natural rock archway.

European City Break – Barcelona

There are loads of deals on weekend breaks abroad, so why not head to Barcelona to enjoy a spot of retail therapy and tapas washed down with some Mother’s Day Sangria – a perfect plan for any senorita! Barcelona is blessed with reasonably warm weather at this time of year, and because you’ll be travelling off-peak, you may well find that it is cheaper to travel here than it is to a nearby city in the UK. The other bonus is the hotel prices! You can pick up a perfectly decent pad in the centre of all the action for as little as 20 Euros per person per night!

Make sure you take time to ramble along Las Rambla and catch the enchanting street performers, and head to Park Guell, also known as Gaudi park to see the fantastic work of this artist and architect in action! Two nights in this wonderful city will leave you with enough time to sample the culinary delights of Spain, without feeling like you’ve rushed too much.

Spa Break – Champneys

A spa break has to be the ultimate indulgence, and who can do that better than Champneys! They have come up with a very special mother and daughter spa break that includes a long list of luxuries: immune boosting ginseng juice on arrival, Champneys robe and flip flops, shoulder, neck and head massage, a hearty breakfast after a night’s stay and Mum gets an additional Champneys Aromatherapy Wrap to make sure she feels extra special on the day!

Additional treatments can be added, and there are lots of exercise classes that you can both book into, and don’t forget the fabulous spa facilities, yours to enjoy during your stay! Champneys has four health spa resorts across the UK, the Mother’s Day Package is available at all of them from 01st to 31st March.

  • Champneys Henlow in Bedfordshire and Champneys Springs in Leicestershire from £278
  • Champneys Forest Mere, Hampshire from £318
  • Champneys Tring, Hertfordshire from £358.

Visit champneys.com for more information.

Shopaholics Travel Guide To the World

With airfares cheaper than ever, more people are hopping on a flight to bag a bargain in a different city. While it may be en vogue to take a plane from Manchester to Milan for a spot of shopping, it made us wonder where shoppers could go further afield to indulge in some retail therapy.

Seattle – Vinyl

Nope, we aren’t talking linoleum, we are on about good old fashioned records. Vinyl has made a comeback, although in a few circles they’ll say it never went, and the pastime of “crate-digging” is enjoying a revival. Seattle is well known for its music scene, so it is little wonder that it is one of the “in” places to go if you are looking for some good tunes in an old-fashioned format.

Capetown – Antiques

Milneton Flea Market is a car-boot style affair that takes place in Table Bay. There are as many as 250 stalls with a wide array of curiosities, and buried amongst them a fair few items that are worth hunting for. The promise of genuine antiques and must-have collectables draws those with a keen eye all the way to this far-out flea market!

Mexico – Crafts

Clothes, rugs, statues, plaques, dioramas, masks and many many more items lovingly crafted by the indigenous people of Mexico can be found in stalls and shops across the country. What they all have in common is how colourful they are. If you are like a magpie for handcrafted goods to bring back from a holiday, head to Oaxaca City, where you’ll find lots that will catch your eye.

Marrakech – Trinkets

Heading to the Medina is the closest you’ll ever get to experiencing the treasures of Aladdin’s Cave. Each souk is packed to the brim with bountiful goods, like jewellery, carpets, ceramics, glassware and even designer clobber. There are now fixed-price boutiques springing up, great for those who don’t fancy haggling, and for one-off super-stylish pieces that you just won’t find anywhere else. 

Singapore – Clothes

Orchard Road is home to a staggering 20 shopping centres, and pretty much sums up the obsession for retail therapy in this part of the world. This is not the only place you’ll find places to go on a spending spree either – Singapore really is a shopper’s paradise. Fashionistas will find familiar labels here, but with a far more favourable price tag than in western outlets.

Before you jet off on your holiday, make sure you get your travel insurance! For an instant quote visit worldwideinsure.com or call 01892 833338.

Unromantic Travel Destinations – Definitive Anti-Valentine Travel Guide!

Want to take a break mid-February, but don’t want to be surrounded by couples kissing and red-rose serenades at your choice of eaterie? Check out these top destinations with a distinctly un-romantic theme.

Belgorod, Russia

From Russia with love? Not from here – St. Valentine’s Day is banned! It is believed that the day of love only promotes promiscuity. Although officially all romantic acts are banned in government buildings and schools, it is likely that visitors can take in the many religious attractions, museums and picnic areas without any romantic couples swooning around each other on St V’s Day.

Paris, France

But surely this is the city of romance? Not if you are in the sewers! The Paris Sewer Museum, aka Le Musee des Egouts de Paris will keep you well away from passionate Parisians taking up space in the cafes and restaurants. Instead, you’ll embark on a delightful tour that gives an alternative view of the city – without a love-lock adorned bridge in sight!

Rotorua, New Zealand

Do you think love stinks? This beautiful part of the world may look like a fabulous place to bring a sweetheart, but the air is in fact heavy with sulphur, so stinks to high heaven, just like a broken heart. As such, you won’t see couples candoodling in Rotorua, leaving you to indulge in the numerous spas in peace!

New Jersey, USA

Trenton to be specific – but what’s so unromantic about the town? Apparently it is the place that took the least amount of Valentine reservations in 2013. The year before it was Beaverton Oregon. Maybe a lot has changed on the romance front over the last couple of years, but we reckon it is a pretty safe bet that romantic nights out still won’t be high on the agenda at either place!

Indonesia or Dubai

Think couples should “go get a room”? Well, in a Muslim country, that could well be a stay in a jail cell if you are seen holding hands, cuddling or kissing in public! If they are lucky, lovebirds that show their affection out and about will only face a (hefty) fine, but a spell in jail is a distinct possibility – which makes these two destinations the place to go if you want a guaranteed anti-valentine break!

Top Tips for Taking a Detox Retreat

January is traditionally all about good intentions, and more often than not a time when people go on a health kick. Inspired by the recent getaway of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to the We Care Spa in Palm Springs, we thought we’d share some top tips for going on holiday for a detox.

What to look for in a destination

Ideally, you are looking for peace and quiet, somewhere where you can relax. It also has to be a place that doesn’t have a reputation for fast food and bucket sized cocktails! To avoid temptation, it may be wise to head to an isolated location, but it really is your call and your personal preference whether this is a snow capped mountain or a sun-drenched beach.

Where to go: A self-catering staycation is the ideal way to avoid temptation. Only pack what you need then head to a cottage miles away from pubs, shops and restaurants. Sykes Cottages has a superb portfolio of out of the way places to stay.

What to do when you get there

If you are aiming to get fit and healthy, then you’ll probably have to do some exercise! Specialist detox resorts will have a wealth of fitness programmes available, as well as equipment. Plan to embark on an exercise regime that includes running, weights, cycling and swimming to get the most out of your stay. If your abstinence is more about general wellness than weight loss, consider a yoga and meditation retreat, or find a spa that offers these types of classes. If you have headed to the isolated cottage, regular long walks and short runs will soon whip you into shape!

Where to go: Nothing comes as close to idyllic as Silver Island, a dedicated yoga retreat on a  Greek island. The place practically oozes health! It is peaceful, rejuvenating and because it is completely off-grid also offers a digital detox too!

What to eat

The general detox advice is to cut caffeine, sugar and alcohol, and steer well clear of anything that is processed. Red meats are also a popular no-go item on a detox, as is dairy. Instead drink plenty of water, eat fresh seasonal fruit and veg, and add some fish to your diet. Most places that have a healthy outlook will provide a healthy menu, but if you are going self-catering, you may want to check out these tasty New Year detox recipes!

Where to go: Breakfast soups, non-dairy milks, healthy snacks and anti-oxidant-packed juices are on the menu at La Clairiere Bio and Spa Hotel in France. Their ethos is to re-educate guests and help them build a better, and healthier relationship with food.

What to drink

Fruit smoothies, vegetable smoothies, fruit juices, vegetable juices, and water. To mix things up a little you can always break out some mocktails! If you are on a proper cleansing programme (a la We Care Spa) you need to keep your intake of fluids up, which can mean consuming a portion of your liquid diet every 30 to 60 minutes. It must be stressed that you should consult a health advisor before doing this, and that it isn’t something you should embark on at a remote self-catering location!

Where to go: For the ultimate detox, you need to head to We Care Spa in Palm Springs, where you’ll feast on nothing but juices! This is the destination of choice for celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin – be warned, you have to prepare for a juice-only retreat with a fruits and veg only diet for a few days first!