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Planning A Ski Holiday – A Guide For Beginners

If you want to know how to do something well, you need to find out from those in the know! We asked some leading experts on the ski scene about what to pack, how to get fit, where to head, what to do to avoid injury, and a bit about etiquette so you can hit the slopes with confidence this ski season!

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Learning to Ski

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

Paul Deadman, ski expert at Neilson Holidays, shares ten things you need to know before skiing abroad for the first time.

  1. The fitter you are the more fun you’ll have. There’s no need to go into any extreme fitness training before a ski holiday, but doing a small amount of exercise in preparation will make a big difference to your fun factor.
  2. You need the right shoes. As well as packing ski boots you’ll need shoes for off the slopes too. Resorts are still snowy and can be icy, so take practical shoes – a sturdy pair of trainers or walking boots work well. Bars and restaurants won’t turn you away if you’re not in fancy heels or polished brogues – slope style is much more relaxed, think more along the lines of ‘practi-cool’.
  3. You still need sunscreen. Even if you don’t think it’s sunny, the sun reflects off the bright white snow and increases the chances of sun damage to your skin. Take lip balm with UVA and UVB protection as well as sun cream for your face and apply regularly over the course of the day.
  4. Helmets are a must. Hire or buy your own, but either way don’t hit the slopes without one.
  5. Accept that you will fall over. A lot. The people who get to grips with skiing the fastest are those who aren’t afraid of falling over. Don’t be discouraged by falling down, it would be really weird if you learnt to ski without falling over at least eight times a day!
  6. Après ski is the post-ski social scene. The ski lifts usually close between 4 and 5pm. This is when everyone comes off the mountain, back to the town and enjoys some après ski. Bars and restaurants will have live bands or DJs, some more lively than others, and you’ll find somewhere to relax to suit you whether you want a chocolat chaud, a vin rouge or a round of Chartreuse.
  7. Ski boots feel a bit odd at first. In my experience, at best ski boots are mildly uncomfortable and at worst can prevent you from enjoying skiing completely. Putting ski boots on will feel strange the first time, and for your first trip it’s worth getting someone with experience to help you with your boot clips to make sure they’re tight enough each morning. The correct boot should feel tight, but not unbearable, you should be able to wiggle your toes…just. Tip: make sure you wear thick socks when you pick them up – you don’t want to get a pair fitted in thin socks to realise that they’re too tight when you put on your ski socks.
  8. Pistes are colour coded. For most European resorts the ski runs (pistes) are marked to show what ability they’re suitable for. Nursery or green slopes will be where you’ll start your ski education, and you could progress to slightly steeper blue runs by the end of the week. Red slopes suit intermediate skiers and black runs are for advanced skiers. ‘Off piste’ refers to any territory that isn’t on marked out ski runs and isn’t something you’d need to worry about as a beginner. North America and Canada mark their pistes slightly differently so make sure you know what the colours are for the resort you’re travelling to.
  9. Lessons start early! Lessons typically start first thing in the mornings (approx. 9.30am) each day and finish at lunch.
  10. You might get hooked. Skiing is one of the best feelings in the world! It might feel like hard work, but the mountain views, endorphins, delicious food and après ski will make you want to return year after year. It’s that feeling you get when you nail that tricky run you’ve been struggling with all week that really gets you hooked though!

How To Get Fit For The Ski Season

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

Luke Thornton, Fitness Advisor to Discount Supplements takes us through the best moves to boost physical fitness for maximum on-piste performance.

Balance is one of the most important aspects of fitness for snow sports. Twists, turns and high speeds mean you need to have a strong core and an incredible sense of balance. These exercises focus on full body movements and stabilising exercises to really tax your midsection, and lock in that core strength.

Squats – a fantastic movement for working your entire body. This move not only uses your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads, but also your core for stabilising your body whilst in motion. Keep your abs tight, place your feet shoulder width apart with your head up and descend down into a sitting position, then using your legs, drive upwards until standing. Repeat for 8-12 reps. These can be done with just body weight, or you can add a barbell to increase resistance.

Press Ups – the king of all upper body moves. The press up works your triceps, biceps, chest and shoulders. Add an advanced variation with an exercise ball to increase your core stability and improve balance. Lie face down and place your hands on the floor either side of your shoulders. One by one put your feet onto an exercise ball and assume the push up position.

Long Distance Cycling – not only is this fantastic for your overall cardiovascular health, it also increases endurance and strength in your legs, which is essential for snow sports. If you don’t have a road bike or access to one, use a stationary bike at your gym. Start short at 2km, then move to 5, 10 and 20. Mix it up and try to beat your time on each distance.

Lunges – another brilliant move for leg development, core strength and balance. Try adding walking lunges at the end of every workout to increase endurance in the quads and glutes, and to mix up your cardio. Try 10 stationary lunges for each leg, then 20, then move onto walking lunges. You can also mix it up further by walking with dumbbells.

Packing For A Ski Holiday

Image by tookapic CC0

Image by tookapic CC0

While toothbrush, passport and boarding passes may be obvious items to pack, there are a few essentials that might not be obvious to a first-time skier. Claire Flynn at Powder Beds shares some insider tips.

Skis, boots and helmet: For novices or people relatively new to skiing, it’s worthwhile renting skis, boots and a helmet, rather than buying them AND paying for ski carriage on a flight. Skiset work in resorts across Europe offering different ski hire packages depending on what you want. It’s also worth booking in advance to make sure you get the best deal and what you want.

Taking your own ski equipment? Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) have created a nifty Baggage Allowance Finder. The tool helps you find the baggage allowances for major airlines across the UK, perfect for finding out how much it will cost to get your skis across the skies!

Clothes for the slopes: Bring thermals, fleeces, warm jacket, salopettes, thick socks, goggles and don’t forget proper waterproof gloves. Also, neck scarves (Buffs) are useful for keeping your face warm on the slopes.

Sun protection: Make sure to bring suncream (or buy it in the resort), and apply it even when it’s cloudy. It’s also a good idea to bring a decent pair of sunglasses, so you can change out of your goggles if you stop for lunch on the slopes.

Clothes for off-piste activities: Bring warm clothes and decent shoes with good grip for walking about the resort in the evening.

Other items that might make your time in the snow warmer, easier or more fun are:

Sundown Lock

Sundown Ski Lock, Blacks

• Day rucksack
• Water bottle
• Ski Lock
• Thermos
• Hand warmers
• Foot warmers
• Muscle rub/soak
• Ankle, knee and wrist supports

Check out skiclub.co.uk for a foolproof packing list, and if you are looking to grab some ski clothes and accessories – without paying a design label premium – Blacks have a superb range.

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE

ossur-image-2-ski-mega-blog

© Courtesy of Össur

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE IS AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF YOUR KIT WHEN YOU HEAD OUT ON SKIS! Even if you are holidaying in the EU, you should make sure that your travel insurance covers you for the activities you plan to do. Wintersports insurance from worldwideinsure.com provides cover for equipment, ski packs, cancelled flights, medical assistance and repatriation for all destinations including even if you want to go off-piste, heli-skiing, and parapenting!

Best Ski Resort for Beginners – Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

• Only truly car-free resort in France.
• Offers access to the fantastic Portes du Soleil ski area.
• Perfect for beginners thanks to the several easy green runs through the village, plus a great selection of ski schools, including Le Village des Enfants (located in the heart of the resort with two distinct areas for skiing abilities). Avoriaz Alpine Ski School is another excellent ski school – small team of British and local instructors offering high quality tuition, for all ages.
• Also great range of runs for intermediates and over 30 black runs for advanced, including the World Cup Downhill which drops from Les Hauts Forts.
• One of the world’s leading freestyle centres with three snowparks and a superpipe.
• Good areas for beginner and intermediate boarders, as well as plenty of powder for freeriding.
• One of the highest resorts in the Alps so snow cover isn’t often a problem, except for some of the runs below resort height.
• Accommodations are generally all ski-in/ski-out offering easy access to the slopes for first-timers.
• Also great non-ski activities available to keep everyone busy – Aquariaz claims to be Europe’s highest waterpark, complete with a main pool, lazy river, half-pipe, mini flume, Jacuzzis and tropical vegetation. There’s also dog sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating.
• Where to stay – Residence L’Amara offers luxurious ski-in/ski-out apartments at the entrance of the resort, with a private car park, indoor swimming pool, fitness room and Deep Nature Spa.

Best Ski Resort If You Are Travelling With Intermediates – Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

• One of the biggest resorts in the Alps, with a choice of four different base villages, located in the huge and varied Paradiski area.
• More than 125km of fast long and blue and red runs on the Les Arcs side of Paradiski alone – superb for intermediate skiers.
• Can also use the Vanoise express to cross over to the La Plagne side to experience more terrain. Although, as there is so much terrain in Les Arcs, it is only worth doing this for a day, so opt for the Paradiski Discovery Pass rather than the full Paradiski pass.
• Also has a strong reputation for advanced terrain with more than 40km of black runs, divided into 19 runs.
• Beginners are also well-catered for with gentle slopes right by the four base villages. Plus, the relatively recent Mille 8 development in Arc 1800 includes a dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for snowboarders – the Apocalypse Snowpark is fitted with tricks and treats for all ability levels, with great progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced features. Well-maintained and one of the better parks in the Alps.
• Non-ski activities also available – mostly from Arc 1800 – snowshoeing, dog sledding, bowling, shopping and there’s a small cinema.
• Where to stay – La Source des Arcs offers stylish and spacious ski-in/ski-out apartments in the highest altitude village of Arc 2000. However, if you’d like to be closer to the action in Arc 1800, try Residence Edenarc.

Best Ski Resort If You Have Advanced Skiers In Your Party – Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

• Ski area traditionally known as Espace Killy, although more commonly known as Val d’Isere-Tignes these days – regarded as one of the most exciting ski areas in the world.
• One of the world’s great resorts for advanced skiers with 25 black runs to test your abilities on – including the world famous La Face run (descends nearly 2 miles from its peak) – only those brave enough should attempt it.
• The area is most famous for its off-piste (10,000 hectares), with forested areas like Daniades, accessed from the Solaise Express among the more popular.
• Also a great ski area for intermediates, with over 100 blue and red runs in the Espace Killy.
• With the redevelopment of the Solaise area due to open for this winter, Val d’Isere is also set to become a great resort for novices, with a new dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for boarders with a highly regarded snowpark spread over 35 hectares. Other terrain parks to try out across the Espace Killy into Tignes too.
• Also, one of the most snowsure resorts in Europe thanks to its high altitude.
• Always stays at the forefront of winter sports but has remained a picturesque main resort village, meaning it continues to attract guests from all over the world.
• With a sports centre, glacier walking, husky racing and 70 shops available, there are plenty of non-ski activities to keep you entertained also.
• Where to stay: for self-catering, opt for Chalets du Jardin Alpin, but if it’s a luxurious hotel you’re after, the five star Hotel Christiania in the centre is a very popular choice.

Après-Ski – Social Life On The Slopes

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

If going out for drinks after a long day on the slopes appeals to you, make sure to pick a resort with a good après scene. Val Thorens is great, with several bars on and off the slopes, as well as Malaysia, the highest nightclub in Europe. Val d’Isere is also a good option, being the home of the original La Folie Douce. Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes, Meribel and Verbier are also renowned for their après scenes.

The off-slope vibe may be laid back, but make sure you show your fellow après party people some respect. Here are some top tips:

Pack your gear away before heading to the bar. No one wants to have to manoeuvre their way around a bunch of skis and snow boots!

Welcome strangers into your fold – in other words, don’t hog a huge table to just a few of you. Likewise, don’t be shy if someone offers you a seat at their table – the après scene is a great way to get to know people.

• Come as you are, which means there is no need to get showered and dressed up as soon as the lift stops spinning. Unless of course you are heading to a hot tub – in which case always, ALWAYS rinse before going in.

And one more thing: If you respect your fellow guests, endeavour to not puke on them. High altitudes will have a major affect on your tolerance to alcohol. Pace yourself and have a glass of water in between drinks – skiing is heaps more fun without a hangover anyway!

Injuries At Altitude

Courtesy of Össur

© Courtesy of Össur

Nothing can bring a fun holiday to an abrupt halt like hurting yourself, and on a ski holiday the head, wrists, knees, ankles and spine are all at risk. We asked injury experts Össur for some top tips on how to avoid injuries on the slope and what to do if things don’t go to plan.

How to avoid injuries on the slope

Whilst on the whole injuries are unavoidable and sometimes just happen, there are things you can do to minimise the risk as the last thing you want is to injure yourself on day one and spend the rest of your holiday looking at the slopes rather than being on them.

1. Wear the right gear
Wearing the right gear is a good start. Without a doubt you need to wear some good winter clothing as it’s cold up in the mountains but there are a few other things which could help you.

• Helmet: Would you ever ride your bike without a helmet? No? It’s the same for winter sports. We’re not just talking rocks that you could land on, as compacted snow could be just as hazardous if you whack your head on it, so stay safe.
• Knee Bracing: Prophylactic knee bracing is becoming more popular with many professionals now sporting these carbon fibre (lightweight and strong) exoskeletons to protect the knee from injury following a fall but also to offer stability to help manage pre-existing injuries.
• Wrist Guards: Everyone falls down on the slopes, some more often than others. When we fall we put our arms out to break our fall but that can lead to broken wrists, arms, or dislocated shoulders. Wrist guards offer a degree of protection when you fall.
• Boots: A standard piece of kit but make sure you pick something suitable. Have a chat with the professionals and see what is best for you given your expertise and what you want to achieve, as more freedom of movement may be good for tricks but potentially bad for your ankles.

2. Know your limits
If you’re just starting out then it’s understandable you want to follow in the footsteps of famous skiers, but it is important that you take it easy and practice, even Jonny Moseley had to start somewhere. It’s ok to push yourself as that is the only way to get better, but you know yourself what is pushing yourself and what could be considered a little foolish.

3. Take lessons
Taking lessons is a great way to start and even the experienced skiers still take lessons to brush up on their skills, especially if you’ve had a few months off (like when there is no snow). Lessons ensure you have the right technique and most importantly, know how to fall (as in minimising the risk of injury) so book them in, listen and learn.

4. Stick to the path
When you finally arrive at your resort you’ll be as giddy as a kid at Christmas and want to do everything. Just remember that there are routes designated for each level of ability so stick to them and practice before moving up and deciding to do something adventurous. Being on the slopes is extreme enough when you’re starting out without going off-piste in search of something different and potentially dangerous.

5. Be aware of your surroundings
It’s important to remember where you are on the slopes and that you don’t only have to watch what you’re doing but also what everyone else is doing as well. It only takes one person to either do something daft or lose control and they could wipe you out as well as leave you battered and bruised, or worse.

What to do when you’ve been injured

Following an injury there are a number of steps to consider both in the immediate aftermath and throughout your overall rehabilitation journey.

1. Stop what you’re doing
If you’re injured then stop what you’re doing as carrying on could make it worse. Sprains, for example, are graded 1 to 3 depending on their severity, with a 1 being a few days of hobbling and 3 being a few months using crutches. If you sprain your ankle when running then failing to stop could turn a grade 1 to a grade 2, as you’re increasing the chances of your ankle rolling as a result of the instability.

2. Remember RICE
It’s the standard protocol following an injury and stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Rest is simply giving the body time to repair itself and heal naturally.
Ice can be used to help manage inflammation as well as offering a degree of pain relief.
Compression is typically achieved through bracing but helps to manage inflammation when on the move, again having pain relieving qualities,
Elevation is the act of raising the affected area of the body above the level of the heart to reduce blood flow and in turn reduce inflammation.

You will know if an injury warrants urgent medical attention, in which case, you should seek this right away to minimise the risk of the injury worsening.

3. Obtain a professional diagnosis
If RICE doesn’t work after a few days then you should seek a professional diagnosis as it may require additional treatment following a more detailed examination.
You may be sent for an X-ray, an MRI or simply referred to a physiotherapist depending on how severe they believe the injury to be.

After a professional diagnosis you may need physio, a brace and even surgery. Overseas this can be a lot more complicated. Make sure you contact your travel insurance provider and discuss what procedures and treatments are covered.

Well, that’s the essentials covered, but nothing compares to the real thing – stay warm, stay safe and have fun wherever you end up!

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

For more information about getting the right wintersports travel insurance for this ski season, get in touch with one of the team on 01892 833338

Road Trip 101 – Everything you need to know before you go!

Hitting the highway for your holiday? Make sure you read our awesome guide to planning a road trip!

Image by fancycrave1 CC0

Image by fancycrave1 CC0

We cover everything you need to know from what essentials to pack, planning your route and budgeting for fuel, food and fun – to information about vehicle hire, what transport to choose and the pros and cons of camping, caravanning, hotels, Airbnb and more! We’ve even got some handy hints on what NOT to do on a road trip too. To get you started, here are five great reasons you should make your next holiday a road trip…

Five Reasons You Should Go On A Road Trip:

  1. You get to see so much – being on the road means you get to see places you’d miss if simply travelling from A to B, take the scenic route wherever you go, and you’ll catch a whole heap more!
  2. It’s spontaneous – if you see something you can stop, you can detour and you can change your plans altogether… for the whole holiday!
  3. You get “together” time – whether you are going with your partner, your kids or your friends, being on a road trip leaves plenty of time to kick back, relax and chat on every journey you make.
  4. The playlist! – second only to the wedding playlist! The tunes you choose for your road trip will set the vibe for the whole journey and remind you of your awesome adventure for years to come.
  5. It feels like you have all the time in the world – the freedom of living life on the move can be truly liberating! As long as you have a very loose plan in place it doesn’t matter when you arrive at the next destination, or whether your next destination was part of the plan at all.

Planning Your Route

TomTom GO 5200 Sat Nav

The TomTom GO 5200 Sat Nav should stop any map reading disputes!

To plan or not to plan? Make a loose plan! Have a start and an end, tick off some places that you’d like to see in between and then see what fits into your timescale. It’s good to add a couple of days “spare” for unexpected adventures and detours.

Budget is an obvious factor in making that plan – more on that later, but before you decide what you think you’ll do, it’s good to have a rough idea of what you’d like to do, but not so tight that there isn’t room for plans to go awry!

How Our Scottish Road Trip Didn’t Go To Plan:

Day 1. Plan: Drive from Essex to Scottish border, stopping off in Lincolnshire to get side windows fitted to the camper. What actually happened is that our exhaust disintegrated just as we reached the fitters, they bodged a repair, we got as far as Rugby before it fell apart again and spent a few hours in a supermarket car park waiting for more help. By nightfall we had only got as far as Cumbria when bad weather hit, so we spent our first night in a service station car park already behind by a day according to our schedule.

If you are leaving the UK for your road trip adventure, then you may need to make some solid plans around ferries, trains or even fly drive holidays – especially if you are on a set budget.

The Mistakes We Made On Our French Road Trip:

Our planning for this trip was “loose”, and we didn’t have an “end” to our plan, apart from knowing we had to be back in the UK. In addition, because we would be slumming it in the back of our van, we allowed ourselves the luxury of a cabin on board the outbound ferry, with sea views. This combination made it one of our most expensive excursions to date! Here’s why…

  • A ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao with a large vehicle is expensive, even more so when you book an exterior cabin.
  • We didn’t think about taking our own food to our cabin, so had to fork out for high priced food and drink on board.
  • Without a set agenda, we didn’t really know where we would be heading, so only booked a ferry out, a return of some description would have saved quite a lot of money.
  • By the time we finally knew where we’d be in France close to the end of our trip (turns out it was St Malo), last minute ferry bookings were EXPENSIVE.

 

Useful Resources:

Book trains to Europe: Eurostar

Book Ferries to France and Spain: BrittanyFerries

Fly Drive worldwide: VirginFlyDrive and BritishAirwaysFlyDrive packages

To Hire or Not To Hire? The Car Rental Dilemma.

Image by Unsplash CC0

Can your vehicle cope with your chosen route? If not, you might need to hire or buy one that can! Image by Unsplash CC0.

Taking your own vehicle has its merits – you know it’s condition, can make sure that it is fully serviced before your trip, know how many miles you get to a gallon, and most importantly you don’t have to answer to a car hire company if something gets damaged – or worse still, the vehicle is stolen.

However – your own vehicle may not be up to the job of your planned road trip, either because of its size or because of its condition, in which case you have a few options:

Hire A Vehicle. Pros: It should be in great condition, quite new and of course up to the task. Cons: It can be costly especially if you are planning to hire something nostalgic like a VW T25!

Buy and Sell a Vehicle: A popular option if your road trip is abroad. Pros: You can fly to your destination, pick up a car or camper when you get there and then sell it on when you reach the end of the road to fly home. You also don’t have to answer to a car hire company. Cons: Quite a lot of hassle compared to booking a hire car, plus you don’t know whether you are purchasing a lemon!

Relocation Hire: Pros: Much cheaper than a straightforward hire, and you don’t have to do a “round trip”. Cons: You will probably be travelling against the grain, people have paid more to travel in the opposite direction on a one way hire for a reason. There may be a limited choice of vehicle, and you may have to compromise your route.

Useful Resources:

Relocation Hire US and Canada: AutoDriveaway

VW Campervan hire UK and Europe: Camperbug

Car Hire worldwide: HolidayCarsDirect

Car Rental Insurance

If you are going to hire a car, camper, or van, you really must take out car rental insurance, even if the car hire company has it’s own policy (which incidentally will not offer the cover you really need). Car rental insurance from WorldwideInsure.com not only insures for the excess on damage, but the deluxe covers the car for total loss up to £50,000, similar to a CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) policy. Please note that Third Party Liability Insurance is not included in this policy.

Travel Insurance

Car hire insurance doesn’t cover everything you need for going on a road trip – cancelled ferries or trains, lost luggage, illness, injury or repatriation all need separate cover even if you are in a hire car. Make sure you have the right insurance for your needs with our flexible and affordable travel insurance options that can be tailored to suit you.

Car Insurance and Breakdown Cover

If you are taking your own vehicle, you need to make sure that your motor insurance covers you for driving abroad, and that your breakdown cover includes overseas recovery. You may want to check exactly what happens if you do have an accident or your vehicle breaks down – some policies may not automatically include a replacement hire car, or cover the costs of shipping your vehicle back separately.

Where To Sleep On A Road Trip

Image by MemoryCatcher CC0.

Image by MemoryCatcher CC0.

Purists would say that to truly experience a road trip, you should be living, eating and sleeping in your transport of choice – but that isn’t always practical. Here are the pros and cons of travel and sleeping arrangements…

Camper van: Travelling in a camper offers the most freedom in the easiest package, everything you need is with you in one easy to drive and easy to park vehicle, and it doesn’t matter if your plans change as you probably haven’t booked to be anywhere for a specific time. You can park up in a layby or beauty spot for free, or spend the night in a campsite if you choose – a nice option if a hot shower is needed!

Caravan: A slightly cumbersome way to tackle a road trip as it’s not as easy to just park up wherever you fancy. Chances are you have more space and home comforts than in a van, plus if you decide to spend a bit of time in one place, you have the freedom of taking your car off to explore the local area. Towing a caravan takes quite a bit of fuel too, so you’ll need to budget for this.

Tent: This is the space saving option. Driving about in a car is cheaper and easier than in a van, or towing a caravan, and with a tent you still have the freedom to pitch wherever you fancy, or take your tent to a campsite. It is a bit of a hassle packing up your pitch each and every night, but the money-saving perks might be worth it.

Hotel: A luxurious way to finish off a day driving, and an almost guaranteed nights rest. Big plus point is that you don’t have to lug a second home around, but this is definitely a pricey option that fuel savings don’t make up for. Also, hotels generally need to be booked in advance, which takes away many spontaneous opportunities.

Airbnb: A cheaper way to have the luxury of staying in a hotel. Airbnb is hugely popular as you have the freedom to treat the accommodation as your own and it is more like a home from home. As with hotels, you may lose money if travels don’t go according to plan, or have to kip in your car if you plan to find somewhere on the fly.

Couchsurfing: The free way to find a decent bed for the night and you may find that hosts are more accommodating if you are early or late even if it is by a day or two! Couchsurfing is a great community and definitely more open to the impact adventures can have on schedules.

Don’t Make These Road Trip Mistakes!

  • Don’t drive an unreliable vehicle – you don’t want to spend your road trip in a layby.
  • Don’t travel with people you don’t get on with – arguments don’t make the right kind of road trip memories. Avoid people that you find boring too.
  • Don’t drive when you need to rest – just because it is a road trip, it doesn’t mean you need to drive 24/7. Stop regularly, and get a good sleep every night for your own safety, and everyone else’s.
  • Don’t rely solely on sat nav – pack an old fashioned paper map too. Not only can sat navs be wrong, you don’t want lack of signal or power to scupper your pathfinding powers!
  • Don’t pick the fastest route – unless all you want to see is tarmac. Go the scenic way, detouring and stopping off at beauty spots and places of interest.

How To Budget For A Road Trip

Image by Unsplash CC0

You wouldn’t want to run out of money for fuel with views like this ahead! Image by Unsplash CC0

Fuel is the obvious cost of a road trip, so do your research and find out the fuel prices in all the places you plan to pass through. Once you have this, work out the average price per gallon, and hopefully you already know how many gallons you can fit in a tank and know how far a tank of fuel will get you – if you are driving your own vehicle anyway! Next calculate the distance you’ll be travelling, and add an extra 50 miles or so per day just to be on the safe side.

DON’T FORGET TO BUDGET FOR TOLLS! In some countries, the cost of travelling on toll roads can really add up. Check your route carefully as you travel. And always consider taking an alternative toll-free option.

Make your fuel go further with these fuel-saving tips:

  • Have your vehicle serviced before your trip
  • Fill up with fresh oil
  • Keep your tires at the right pressure
  • Keep your speed down and your driving style relaxed
  • Keep your load as light as possible
  • Have a good navigator so you don’t waste fuel on getting lost!

Unless you plan to wild camp, you need to factor in the cost of accommodation, even if it is just a campsite for a night. Even if you think you’ll do the duration without needing to arrange accommodation – allow a little for a luxurious night somewhere – either for a good night’s rest or just the lovely shower!

Food is the other big cost to budget for, allow a little for a few meals out, and have a basic daily budget for supermarket essentials.

Don’t forget that you’ll probably want to do a few fun things too. Although a road trip is often about the scenic views and visiting cool places, no doubt there’ll be the odd occasion where you’ll need to pay an entry fee to an attraction.

Know The Rules of The Road

Motor retailer Lookers share some tips on planning a road trip abroad….

“The rules of the road can differ a lot from country to country, so you need to do a lot of research before you set off. It’s also a good idea to double-check the appropriate driving laws during your journey before you cross any borders. This way, you’ll be less likely to encounter any problems and your journey will go a lot smoother.

Certain European countries’ driving regulations are particularly different to the UK’s. In France, for example, drivers are required to carry a breathalyser. Also, if you wear glasses and are planning to drive through Spain, you must have a spare pair with you while you’re travelling.

In Germany, it’s illegal to drive without winter tyres at certain times of the year and it’s illegal to pick up hitchhikers in Russia. Additionally, driving a dirty vehicle is against the law in Belarus, so you must keep your vehicle clean if your journey takes you that way.

These are just some of the regulations you might come up against during your trip and, while they might seem extreme or bizarre, they’re in place for a reason. If you respect and abide by the rules set out by every country you visit, you’ll have a much easier time, so it’s worth doing the research.”

What To Pack for a Road Trip

Just Put It Up Top by Christoph Rupprecht

Just Put It Up Top by Christoph Rupprecht CC2.0

So this list will vary depending on whether you are camping, “camper”ing or stopping off at nice hotels. To keep it simple we have included essential on-the road equipment that everyone will need, especially in the event you break down somewhere remote, and a few items that caught our eye that will make living life on the road that little bit more luxurious! Just don’t forget your toothbrush and other holiday essentials – check out our Zen of Packing blog for some helpful hints!

Four Essential Things You Need For A Road Trip With The Kids

Road trips can be a lot of fun when your kids come along for the ride. You can spend hours singing along to all your favourite songs, playing car games and enjoying quality time as a family. Although, if you run out of ideas and your children get bored, things could take a turn for the worse and you might be faced with bad moods and tantrums.

Putting together a ‘road trip kit’ will help you to keep your entire family entertained on long journeys. Here are some essentials to take on the adventure!

1. Food and Drink

If you’re planning a particularly lengthy trip, buying food from service stations along the way will get pretty pricey. Instead, pack a range of healthy food and drink into a practical carrier, like the Sakura 12v plug-in cooler bag from DriveDen. This will save you money and ensure that all of your snacks stay fresh for longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Electronics

Of course, you won’t want your kids to travel the entire way with their heads down and eyes glued to the screen of a portable DVD player or tablet. However, if they’re used to playing with these gadgets at home, they’re likely to come in handy when you’ve settled into the journey and the boredom starts to set in. Tech Advisor has put together a list of the 48 best free and cheap apps for kids, toddlers and teens perfect for pre-loading on mobile devices.

3. Activities

When you’re bored of playing ‘I Spy’ and your kids’ electronics have run out of charge, you’ll be glad to have brought some old-fashioned activity supplies with you. Pen, paper, activity books and even a whiteboard with dry-wipe markers will help to keep your kids entertained along the way.

4. Travel pillows

Long road trips can be tiring, and pillows are important for when the need to nap strikes. Young children in particular are more likely to snuggle down for longer with a fun and colourful travel pillow. Not only does it provide the right support for a good rest, but it doubles up as a cuddly toy too!

Extra cute and cuddly Kids Travel Pillow from Go Travel

Bon Voyage!

We’ve written oodles of travel advice over the years, so thought we’d share a few choice blogs that might help you plan your perfect road trip! In the meantime – happy planning, happy driving, and here’s wishing you an adventure of a lifetime wherever the road takes you!

50 Tips For First-Time Travellers

30 Ways To Use A Sarong – Essential Advice For Travellers

Best Packing App for 2016

The Zen of Packing

Travel Health and Safety – Have You Packed These?

Image by Unsplash CC0

Image by Unsplash CC0

Ten Ways To Improve Your Travel Photography

By Unsplash CC0

By Unsplash CC0

You don’t need to be wielding the latest DSLR to be able to take amazing photos, you just need to know how to spot a shot and capture what you see on whatever photography device you have. Here are our top tips…

1. Have your camera ready.

Not such an issue if you are using your smartphone, but if you like the old-school touch of a film camera, or indeed carry a more modern digital camera about, make sure it isn’t at the bottom of your bag, without a film, missing a battery or attached to the wrong lens.

2. Look for colour.

Neon lights, colourful market stalls, flowers in full bloom, the bright hues of fabrics, or simply a big blue sky. A strong splash of colour can add a dramatic feel to an otherwise ordinary snap.

3. Look for contrast.

You don’t need to be working in Black and White to make the most of light and dark. Seek shadows and silhouettes for a dramatic effect even with the most saturated film or filter. Especially good at sunset!

4. Find the story.

Whether you are at an event or festival or you are wandering the streets, seek a narrative every time you look through the viewfinder. Traditional festivals are a great place to find a story, but so are portrait opportunities with every person you meet!

5. Turn off auto.

Take time to experiment with your equipment, playing around with long exposures of city lights or the night sky, super-fast shutter speeds for action shots, and changing depth of field to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject.

6. Don’t forget to document.

Chances are you’ll forget how great that al fresco fish dinner tasted on the Aegean coast unless you capture on camera. Your travel photos aren’t just for sharing with friends and family, they are for keeping memories too.

7. Go for Golden Hour.

The light just after sunrise and just before sunset is softer and slightly redder than the rest of the day, the perfect light for beautiful photography! Make sure you don’t miss this “golden” photo opportunity, use the Golden Hour Calculator to check out times at your destination.

8. Find your frame.

Get down low, get up high, look up, look down, zoom in, crop, add space, centre your subject… there are a kerzillion ways to frame a shot, and the best way to find out what works is to experiment! Don’t be afraid to break the rules – use your viewfinder until you hit the aesthetic sweet-spot.

9. Don’t forget the details.

Macro photography is an art in itself, with super-close-ups requiring specialist equipment to get National Geographic quality shots. Most phone cameras and mid-range digital cameras have quite a good digital zoom function that can capture excellent textures and fine details – as long as you have an eye to find them!

10. Share!

Use social media to share your best shots with other travellers and to inspire other adventurers. If you are on a longstay adventure, you could create an online journal using the 365Project, a place where you can share your photos with the community and document your adventures, all for free!

 

Top 5 Surfing Destinations

Not sure where to head this summer to catch some decent surf? Fear not! British Surfing Champion Jonny Wallbridge has a massive wealth of knowledge when it comes to enjoying the waves of the world.

Born on the island of Guernsey, which measures a mere 30 square miles, Johnny Wallbridge has always been surrounded by water. It’s, therefore, perhaps unsurprising that he took up surfing at the age of 14 and didn’t look back. Since then he’s become a British Surfing Champion, has travelled the world in search of bigger, better waves, and has even opened his own surf clothing and accessories shop, Yakwax.

Here are his top five places to go…

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

1. Indonesia

July and August are prime months to chase waves off the coast of Indonesia. From Bali to the Mentawaii Islands, the conditions are perfect almost every day. Indonesia — or “Indo”, as it’s commonly known within the surf community — is well-regarded for having some of the best waves on the planet thanks to the consistent swells, light winds, hot air, and fantastic water temperatures.

Some of the most popular surf spots in Bali can be found on the Bukit Peninsula and include the likes of Uluwatu, Padang Padang, Bingin, Impossibles, and Balangan. Alternatively, if you have some money to spare, charter a private yacht from a reliable company like Pulau Luxury Charter and sail through the Mentawaii Island chain in search of perfect, uncrowded waves that you spend dark winters dreaming about.

2. Mexico

During the summer months, Mexico gets pummelled by consistent southwest swells that march across the Pacific. Thanks to the steep continental shelf that sits off Mexico, the power of the waves is magnified, making the country home to some of the most intense beach breaks in the world. If you’re willing to take some risks to catch the best barrel of your life, spots like Puerto Escondido and Pascuales should definitely be on your list.

If you don’t have much experience of surfing abroad, an organised camp or tour might be for you. Surf Las Palmeras is a camp in Salina Cruz, southern Mexico, and offers packages that include everything you could possibly need. It’s a brilliant option if you’ve never been to Mexico, as you’ll be guided towards all the best spots.

Boards WWI

Image by Patsacha.

3. South Africa

Back in 2015, three-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning made headlines after being attacked by a great white shark while surfing in South Africa. These waters aren’t for the faint-hearted, but that just adds to the rush of surfing in them.

Seasoned surfers put the dangers to the back of their mind to take advantage of the world class waves that J-Bay, which is considered to be the best right hand point break on the planet, provides. Although, according to National Geographic’s list of the World’s Best 20 Surf Towns, Muizenberg, South Africa, is an ideal place for beginners to start out, so the area can truly suit anyone.

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image by Helloolly.

4. Guernsey

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the place where it all began: Guernsey. While the island itself is relatively small, it boasts some stunning coastal scenery and a very tight-knit surfing community. It might not attract the crowds that more exotic locations do, but it has a lot of heart and, no matter where in Guernsey you go, you’re never too far away from a fun surfing spot.

If you’re unfamiliar to the area, Vazon Bay is the best place to start. It’s the most popular surfing spot and is also home to Guernsey Surf School, the only of its kind on the island. There’s even a handy beach café nearby where you can refuel after a session.

Image courtesy of Jonny Wallbridge

Image by Dongpung.

5. Oahu, Hawaii

North Shore, Oahu in Hawaii is one of the most celebrated surfing locations on the planet. In the winter months its world-class waves play host to a range of professional competitions and attract serious, international surfers who fancy a challenge.

During the summer the water becomes a lot calmer, making this the ideal time for more casual surfers, beginners, or those who are just looking for a relaxing holiday, to descend upon the coast. Oahu’s official travel website is a great place to learn about what happens on the island throughout the year if you’re considering a visit.

Surfing in itself is an exhilarating sport, but your overall experience depends on choosing the perfect location. From someone who’s travelled the world with his surfboard in tow, these five are fantastic places to start.

WorldwideInsure.com automatically cover loads of sports and activities on their travel insurance policies, including surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, canoeing and water skiing. For more info, get in touch on 01892 833338 or visit WorldwideInsure.com for a fast online quote.

Six of the Most Stylish Suitcases and Holdalls For 2016

If you and your family like to travel in style, then you’ll love our selection of suitcases and holdalls that are trending in the Spring Summer season 2016!

For Him…

Ted Baker – Falconwood 4 Wheel Suitcase

Most stylish suitcases 2016 Ted Baker - Falconwood

£199.00 from Amara

Super strong, ultra lightweight, and finished in superb style. This suitcase has Business Class written all over it, perfect for long-haul networking. Bonus points go to the 360 degree trolley wheels, they guarantee transporting your luggage will be effortless, even if your meeting isn’t! 

Dune – Philip Holdall

Most Stylish Holdalls 2016  Dune Mens - Philip

£65 from Dune London

A roomy and stylish weekend bag, which won’t break the bank. It’s big enough to pack your weekend wardrobe and your badminton gear too. Plus it doubles up as a fabulous everyday gym bag when you aren’t jetting off on a mini break!

For Her….

Tripp Tulip Navy and Teal Suitcase and Holdall

Best suitcases 2016 Tripp Tulip

£49 and £29 from Debenhams

Lightweight and easy to spot on the airport luggage belt. Tripp suitcases come in a range of patterns and plenty of sizes to suit the length of your stay (or the size of your wardrobe) and there are a variety of matching holdalls to choose from too. 

Sophie Allport Hare Weekend Stamford Bag

Best holdalls of 2016 Sophie Allport Hare Weekend Stamford Bag

£48 from SophieAllport.com

Understated style combined with practicality. We love this weekend bag for its soft oilcloth finish, and the studs on the base that will keep it looking smarter for longer. The size makes it perfect for a night or two away, especially if you only want to take hand luggage on a flight.

For the Teens…

Tripp Lemon, Watermelon & Lime Suitcases

Best suitcases 2016 - Tripp

£69 at Debenhams

These bright tones are bang on trend, and look funky enough to be loved by teenagers in the family! Add a few stickers, and maybe a bit of sharpie art and these plain cases would be transformed into coveted customised cases.

For the Kids…

Becky & Lolo Kids’ Rolling Luggage – Pirates

Best suitcases 2016 Becky & Lolo Kids' Rolling Luggage- Pirates

£35.99 from BeckyandLolo.co.uk

This teeny suitcase is too cute not to take on holiday if you’ve got little ones. Wheels and telescopic handle make it easy to pull, and there is a mesh pocket for storing a drink. Suitable for children age 3 and over. 

Top 5 Cities In The World For Skateboarding

If skateboarding is your passion, then you’d probably choose a holiday destination where your board will have a fun time too. We caught up with some people who live to skate to find out where in the world you should go with your skateboard… and why! Here’s our top 5.

By Evan Brant, from Grind For Life 2014 @ NSB Skatepark

By Evan Brant, from Grind For Life 2014 @ NSB Skatepark

5: Seoul, South Korea – Street skating is still quite novel here, and people are generally keen to watch boarders. Take to the streets in Seoul and you are likely to attract a crowd of curious onlookers rather than a mob of angry locals.

 

4: Barcelona… just because it looks like it would be awesome to skate, there are beautiful places suitable for skateboarding everywhere. After you’ve had your fill of tapas, check out Barcelona Skate Spots for info on where to skate in this beautiful beachside city. Alternatively, you could head to Amigos skate shop to get some insider knowledge!


SKATE Barcelona with Jesus Fernandez Pt. 1

3: New York City – There are plenty of skate parks, street spots, and all in all it is “pretty awesome” from a boarder’s point of view. Plus the big apple is synonymous with 24 hour fun, frivolity and well, lots of likeminded people. Check out NYSkateboarding.com to find out what’s on, when and where.

2: Dubai – There is a growing scene in Dubai, and because this prestigious destination is pretty much perfect everywhere, you are guaranteed a very smooth skating experience. We Are Blood, a film that celebrates the universal bond of skateboarding, shows it in its fullest glory. There may only be two skate shops in Dubai, but a visit to Rage is a must as it has a bowl above the shop. Apparently you’ll find it located in a mall by the Burj Khalifa. Also check out the Business Bay skate park. While the locals seem to accept skaters, it might be wise to stop when the Muslim call to prayer comes on, so as to not be intrusive with noise.

1: Tokyo – According to one skater who lives here there are more street spots than could possibly be mentioned, a fair amount of parks, and lots of really friendly local skaters. While he says that his local park isn’t what he’d call awesome, we think it looks pretty good, plus it has a great view of the Tokyo skyline, but the info that seals the deal for us is that fact there is a giant robot out the front. Check out H.L.N.A. Skatepark Vol.1 on Vimeo to see for yourself!

WorldwideInsure.com cover many sports and activities, some are included automatically within the Travel Insurance such as recreational skateboarding, others need to be added when you are buying your policy online, for example skateboarding with stunts or competitive skateboarding. Check out the comprehensive list of sports and activities covered under the wintersports policy.

Singapore Travel Guide For F1 Fans

As if Formula 1 isn’t exciting enough as it is, the Singapore Grand Prix has been billed as a “National Festival” by Mr S Iswaran – Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry. So we thought that we would take a look at what F1 fans and curious globetrotters can expect of the city during this spectacular event!

Singapore in a Nutshell

Singapore is diverse, clean, organised and expensive. In fact, it is the most expensive city in SE Asia, so perfect for hosting such a prestigious event as Formula 1 racing! There are lots, and we mean LOADS of high-end shopping malls – vast landscapes of consumerism – to explore, and with the price of running a vehicle and the price of alcohol very high here, it is a comparably quiet and safe place as far as major cities go.

What to wear…

Weather-wise, in September you can expect temps of around 30 degrees C during the 12 daylight hours, with only a small drop to high 20s in the evenings. Humidity is likely to be high, with plenty of overcast skies, light rain and thunder. Best to pack light layers of your best Prada, Versace and Gucci to ensure you don’t overheat, get too cold, and at the same time maintain the essential high-society style! Oh, and ladies, flat shoes are essential as the circuit entails a fair bit of walking to explore all 799,000 square metres!

The Race

The Singapore Grand Prix takes place on the 20th Sept, but the weekend will be packed with plenty of F1 action from the 18th! The race takes place on public roads around the Marina Bay area, illuminated by powerful lighting systems to replicate daylight conditions.

There will be room for more than 80,000 spectators, but as with any prestigious racing event, you better book a seat in advance to get the best price, and the best views!

Singapore F1 2015 MapImage Credit: singaporegp.sg

The Entertainment

So, hitting the event are over 300 artistes from around the world including Pharrell Williams, Jon Bon Jovi, and former Cirque du Soleil artists Duo MainTenanT. There will be fireworks, death-defying motorcycle stunt riders, illusionists, street performers, a huge selection of restaurants, exclusive access to circuit-side activities, and plenty of well-branded shopping opportunities.

Other Activities

Chances are that if you are heading to the race, you’ll be staying longer than the weekend – unless your Lear Jet hire is for a limited time only! Here are some must-not-miss activities to seek out during your stay:

  • Visit the ultra luxurious restaurant KU DÉ TA. Not only is it the place to be seen, it is the place to see! From here you can view Singapore in full 360° glory!
  • Go to Marina Bay Sands’ Sky Bar at CÉ LA VI – but only if you have a head for heights! The restaurant is on the 57th floor, a staggering 200 meters above the ground.
  • Get some retail therapy in Little India. This place is full of people, very colourful and has a fantastic buzz, a great place to feel full of life.
  • Another activity for those with a head for heights… a visit to the Supertrees Grove, a vertical garden at Gardens by the Bay. Here you can take a wander 22 metres above ground!
Supertree Grove

Supertree Grove

For a full event guide, and advice on what to take and leave behind, and what to expect in general – visit the Singapore GP website! For travel insurance for your visit, visit us at WorldwideInsure.com

Travel for Free(ish)

Travel for Free(ish)
They say that the best things in life are free, but there is no such thing as a free lunch, so we have decided that free(ish) is good enough – here’s how…

Free Travel
We can’t condone hitchhiking, but we have heard of one chap who, to reduce his carbon footprint, hitchhiked from Paris to Chamonix to indulge in some less-than-eco skiing. What we’d rather recommend to thrifty travellers though is Bla Bla Car, a handy service that connects people who want to get from A to B with the people who are already travelling from A to B. It isn’t totally free, but it is cheaper than travelling alone, or paying for public transport, and it covers Europe. After a quick check, we just found a lift we could get from London to Madrid for as little as £47!

Free Accommodation
There is only one way to traverse the globe and sleep for free (indoors anyway), and that is to join the Couch Surfing community. With over 7 million members and counting, with their homes open to travelling guests, it isn’t hard to find somewhere to stay just about anywhere you want to go. What sets the community apart isn’t necessarily that you get somewhere free to stay, but you get an experience that money actually can’t buy – living like a local!

Free Cruises
If you get invited on a free cruise, and it isn’t by a family member or friend – watch out! Free cruises are an age-old scam that sees people flocking to enjoy what they think will be a free break on the open seas, only to be harangued by a hefty sales team into joining a travel club, or buying into a timeshare. Think you are resistant to their charms, and will take the free ride anyway? There are probably a long list of T&C’s that include charges and restrictions that will outstrip any savings this “free” opportunity actually offers!

Free Food
If you are staying in a hostel or small hotel, you can get cheeky and ask to swap some of your time helping out in exchange for some food. Another tip from thrifty travellers is to wait until small shops, market stalls, and bakeries are shutting shop for the day and ask for food before it gets thrown out. Quite a common practice throughout Europe according to some! If you prefer to dine like a king, but for less money – many tourist hotspots vie for customers by offering deals that beat their neighbor. Ask around, strike a bargain, and consider clubbing together with fellow travellers to secure the best deal in town!

Free Travel Insurance
Kids go free on our family travel insurance, which is great if you are watching the pennies! We also do great deals on comprehensive cover, with flexible policies that cover you for what you need, and take off what you don’t!

For more comprehensive advice about keeping your costs down while travelling, we heartily recommend the Travelling on a Shoestring series from Lonely Planet. You’ll find a guide for just about every destination in their online shop.

Wikitude App of the Month October 2014

While we wait for Google Glass to become the travel accessory of choice, Wikitude allows us to use our mobile devices to explore the world around us in full augmented reality (AR to those in the know) glory!

Wikitude Logo

Wikitude – what is it?

It’s an AR (augmented reality) app. This essentially means that you can hold your phone up in front of you and what you see through the camera will be annotated with information about your surroundings.  This means the app has the power to tell you everything you don’t know about the place you are in – perfect when you find yourself in a new city!

Wikitude Smart Search

What does Wikitude do?

Wikitude integrates information from Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and the like to:

  • Show nearby hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes
  • Highlight last minute deals
  • Offer up reviews
  • Find attractions
  • Locate hotels, restaurants and transport
  • Give important information about what is nearby

Essentially, it allows users to visualise the world around them and actively engage with it in an easy and convenient manner. It’s like having your own pocket tour guide!

The interface has a ‘worlds’ tab, which users can use to select where their information comes from, say Wikipedia, Trip Advisor, YouTube, and content from that stream that is relevant to the location will show as an overlay on your camera.

Wikitude Reviews

This is one AR app that has been deemed worth using by many. It is free and available on all operating systems: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows… The open-source nature of the platform does mean that there is the occasional bit of irrelevant information that gets included, but the many ‘worlds’ to choose from makes it easy for users to find the sort of content they like and trust to be added to their view.

Travelling In Europe With Pets

Whether you are thinking of taking your pet on an adventure, or you need logistical advice for a home move, we share essential tips to make sure you and your pet aren’t parted along the way.

Travelling to Europe with a pet is becoming more common. It helps avoid costs at kennels and catteries, and it allows everyone to enjoy the companionship of the family’s ‘best friend’. As well as holidaymakers taking pets across borders, there are also many people with second homes overseas that want to keep their pet with them at all times. Here’s what you need to know to travel with yours.

Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)

This scheme allows cats, dogs and ferrets to be taken from the UK to Europe and back again without the need for quarantine. There are, however, entry requirements that need to be met.

  • Your pet must be microchipped
  • The rabies vaccination must be up to date
  • You must have a pet passport
  • Dogs must have been treated for tapeworm
  • If you have 5 or more pets, you will need a ‘fit and healthy travel certificate’
Getting Your Pets Ready for Travel

Make sure youe Pet Passports are sorted with the PETS scheme! – Image courtesy of Brittany Ferries

Ticking Boxes

Note that your pet must be microchipped prior to vaccination, or the record won’t count. Also, be aware that you must wait 21 days from the date of the rabies vaccination before travelling. Finally, to make sure that your dog is allowed back in the UK, a tapeworm treatment must be administered one to five days before you are scheduled to arrive back in the country.

The Pet Passport

This is a collection of paperwork that has your pet’s microchip number recorded on it and details of any vaccinations and treatments your pet has had. Each time you visit the vet, it is essential that your vet updates and records the chip number on the vaccination record.

Modes of Transport

To comply with PETS, you must use an “authorised carrier and an approved route”. Fortunately, pet travel is quite widely accepted and you will find that most mainstream ferry companies allow pets, as does Eurostar, and many airlines. Note that budget airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair do not offer facilities for pets, although guide dogs may be an exception.  There are two downloadable lists available that cover approved routes, these can be found by searching for: gov.uk pet air routes and gov.uk pet sea and travel routes.

Check our Brittany Ferries’ guide to travelling with pets on their ferries:

Pet Welfare

Before pushing Pooch onto the next ferry, you should carefully consider if the trip is suitable. Sub-zero temperatures in the Alps, and baking hot beaches in southern Spain could cause your pet extreme discomfort. If you do decide that your destination is a good place for your pet, it is also recommended that you take a trip to the vet for a pre-travel check.

  • Discuss what the health risks are for your pet at your chosen destination
  • Arrange a clinical examination to ensure your pet is fit to travel
  • Check vaccinations are up to date
  • Ensure that the microchip is working
  • Take preventive measure to guard against parasites

The Animal Welfare Foundation have an informative downloadable leaflet on pet travel Taking your pets abroad.pdf and further information can be found on the pet travel overview on the gov.uk website.

Don’t forget your pet insurance! You’ll find all the info you need on our dedicated pet insurance page!