A Gluten-Free Holiday Guide – Advice For Coeliacs

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If you have to watch what you eat for health reasons, going on holiday can throw up a whole host of food-related challenges. This month we are focussed on sharing helpful information for those who can’t eat gluten.

Get location specific advice

Coeliac.org.uk has some excellent country-specific information sheets to help gluten-free holidaymakers ensure their food is safe to eat. This includes information about the cuisine, local coeliac groups and useful phrases you can show to those in charge of your food. For example, when visiting Vietnam:

I suffer from an illness called coeliac disease and have to follow a strict gluten-free diet, or I may become very unwell.
Tôi bị một căn bệnh gọi là bệnh celiac và phải
tuân theo một chế độ ăn không có gluten chặt chẽ, nếu không tôi có thể trở nên rất khó chịu trong người.

Make your dietary needs clear when booking EVERYTHING

Whether it is your flight, a hotel, or a restaurant, state your needs clearly when booking. This not only gives your host more time to ensure your needs can be met, but will also mean you are more likely to get a decent gluten-free meal.

Double check your dietary needs have been understood when you arrive

Remind the person that you booked with that you are the gluten-free individual, or ask to speak to the chef to make sure that your needs have been taken seriously and that you will be served food that won’t make you ill.

Pack essential foods

Things don’t always go to plan, so pack bare essentials you know you can eat. Take your own gluten-free breads and pastas for example, not just snacks. There aren’t many establishments that will deny someone breaking out their own gluten-free bread roll if they aren’t able to cater for their needs.

But do check that you can take them into the country!

Some countries have strict policies on what foods can be brought in. Check with your airline, and also ask your GP to write a cover letter explaining the importance of these foods for your health.

Go to Italy – it is a top gluten-free destination!

Ok, so this is the home of pasta and pizza dishes, so how can it be so good for those who need to avoid gluten? Well, there was a national coeliac screening programme that raised awareness of coeliac disease, and in turn educated a whole country on the importance of gluten-free menus and preparation areas. The Italian Coeliac Society, understanding that gluten based foods are a staple in every Italian household then set about publishing a list of eateries and B&Bs in the country that are certified gluten-free.

Talk to your travel insurance provider

As a coeliac, you must make sure that you tell your travel insurance provider about your condition. As a general rule a customer with a medical condition (or several) can declare their recent medical history and current situation and if the condition is stable and well controlled, not awaiting investigation or treatment, for example surgery, then the condition can be covered.

At Worldwideinsure.com for a condition such as Coeliac, we are able to cover customers with a stable condition, including those with Stomas, provided they haven’t had an unplanned hospital admission in the last 6 months.

For more information please see Travel Insurance Medical Conditions.

Choose self-catering

If you can’t trust what other people might serve you, then you can ease the stress and opt to cook up your own gluten-free cuisine on a self-catering basis. While you’ll have to be patient and shop carefully for ingredients, it is a great way to learn a few new words. Life is made a bit easier if you are holidaying in the EU, as the packaging has to have the same labelling information that we are used to in the UK, where allergens are written in bold.

Opt for a resort

Resorts are more likely to cater for a variety of dietary needs, and are more likely to be familiar with the seriousness of cross-contamination. Another bonus is that they are also more likely to have nutrition sheets where every dish has its ingredients explained in minute detail.

 

*** Please Note ***

Policies, terms and conditions may change – all information published in this blog pertaining to travel insurance from worldwideinsure.com is only deemed valid at the time of publication.

Things To Do In Russia Instead Of Watching The World Cup

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With World Cup fever in full swing we thought we’d share some interesting things to do in each location of the tournament. Great for a bit of sightseeing before or after a match, or as a way to escape the footballing throngs!

Nizhny Novgorod

The Chkalov Stairs is a monumental flight of steps – 560 in total – in the centre of Nizhny Novgorod. The steps have been built in a figure of eight shape, and connect Minin and Pozharsky Square, the Upper Volga and the Lower Volga embankments, and offer spectacular views of the surrounding area. This is the place to go to chill out and take in the views, for locals as well as visitors to the area.

Kazan

Kaban Lakes is a huge body of water rife with rumour of treasure! According to legend, this lake has hidden gold, looting by troops of Ivan the Terrible, that once belonged to Khan’s Queen Syuyumbike. Treasure aside, visitors will be blessed with beautiful views of sweeping cityscapes that are great from the shore, and even more impressive if you take a tour on a paddleboat.

Samara

Stalin’s Bunker is a top attraction in this city, and while Stalin was never actually here, it is packed full of everything that would have been required had he needed to come. Top tips for visiting include to wear comfy shoes, as this attraction is either 8 or 16 floors below ground (depending on your sources), and also brush up on your Russian as there is no English version of the guided tour. There is an excellent bar and restaurant at the facility where you can get your strength after burning all those calories on steps!

Sochi

Mount Akhun is the highest point in Sochi. Follow the long and winding road to the top and you’ll reach an observation tower that delivers breath-taking views of the Black Sea and surrounding forests as well as the Matsesta and Khosta rivers, which flank the mountain. Top tip is to go on a clear day, otherwise all you’ll see from the tower is fog.

St Petersburg

There is so much to see here that it is recommended that you jump aboard a tour. These will give you a fly-by experience of Russian Imperial palaces, the Peterhof Fountain Park, the Hermitage Museum and includes a canal cruise through the ‘Venice of the North’. For an added dose of Russian culture, get tickets to see a ballet.

Moscow

St Basil’s Cathedral is the number one attraction in Moscow. It was built by Ivan the Terrible in the 16thCentury, and borders the second must-do thing in Moscow, Red Square. The Cathedral is a colourful architectural delight, featuring nine separate chapels, each with a unique design and capped with its own individually shaped and coloured dome. Fun fact – it wasn’t always this colourful, it was once white to match the Kremlin, with the domes painted gold. The colours began to be added in the 17thCentury to reflect the colours that described the Kingdom of Heaven in the Book of Revelation.

UV Lens App Review – Travel App of the Month June 2018

After sharing our top tips on safe tanning, we thought this simple to use, and free UV awareness app should get some exposure!

What is the UV Lens App?

It is a simple app that can predict the UV levels anywhere in the world, and also give personalised advice about staying safe in the sun based on a skin type quiz.

What can the UV Lens App do?

As well as letting you know how strong those rays might be at any given time, the app can be personalised to your skin type, allowing users to enable reminders to apply more sun cream based on the strength of the sun and their skin. It also gives a nudge as to whether sunglasses, hats, full clothing, or parasols need to be used. It has an extended forecast so it can be used to prepare for the day ahead too.

 

Why is the UV Lens App good for holidays?

This is a useful app to have for the British summer when it’s easy to underestimate the strength of the sun, but on a hot holiday it comes into its own. This app has the power to prevent sunburn disasters that are so common in the first few days of a sunny break abroad. It’s a great way of reminding and educating holidaymakers about how strong the sun can be, and a gentle nudge to exercise a bit of self-care with the right SPF.

What do the UV Lens App reviews say?

Users like its simplicity, and its levels of personalisation. On the downside, users would like to see more accurate real-time UV updates, and a longer forecast spell.

Get UV Lens on Google PLay

Get UV Lens on iTunes

Visit uvlens.com

The Worst Holiday Destinations In The World To Visit in June

Ever planned a badly-timed break? Spent your Round The World Trip visiting every destination in the wrong season? If you are thinking of a last-minute getaway this month, you’ll do well to avoid the following locations!

Dubai, UAE

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In June in Dubai it is really really hot, and really really humid, which makes really really hot feel like a bath in a volcano. Basically the seasonal high of 40°C combined with 58% humidity makes it feel like a searing 59°C! That is hotter than the hottest place on earth! If you must go, stick to indoor activities – thankfully quite easy due to the many luxury shopping malls and the world’s largest aquarium.

The Everglades, Florida

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June marks the start of several seasons in the Everglades – The Wet Season, The Hurricane Season and the Mosquito Season, not the most sought after combination on anyone’s travel itinerary! Plus the thunderstorms at this time of year can last for hours, so you’ll find yourself hiding for cover most of the time. FYI, the best months to visit are December to April.

Havana, Cuba

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Hot, wet and very very windy. June in Havana marks the start of the Hurricane Season, and the stats say it will rain on average for half the month. We all know that wind and rain are the number one enemies of enjoying a Cuban cigar, so save your trip for another time, ideally between December and May.

Death Valley National Park, California

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This destination holds the impressive Highest Recorded Temperature In The World title, and guess when it was recorded? Yup, June – a whopping 56.7°C! The previous record of 58°Crecorded atEl Azizia, Libya, and held for around 90 years, was deemed to be inaccurate by as much as 7°C because the measurement was taken over tarmac, not a true representation of the desert terrain.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! A well-chosen policy can help you out when Mother Nature decides to scupper your travel plans. Bad weather can mean cancelled flights, long delays, and in extreme cases the need for replaced belongings and even repatriation! Speak to our travel insurance advisors to make sure you’ve got the cover you reallyneed for your next break!

 

Self-Indulgent Dads Go To Iceland For Fathers Day

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The pressures of parental responsibility should be rewarded with at least a long weekend of awesome activities, right? Well Iceland is the destination of choice for adrenaline junkies, and just close enough for a whirlwind weekend break – perfect for Father’s Day!

Dog Sledding

An awesome activity that won’t take up much of your day, but will definitely get the adrenaline pumping! The great thing about booking a sledding experience is that while it is weather dependent, it can be done in snowy, and non-snowy conditions.

Where: Most tour pickups are from Reykjavík.

Ice Caving

The most popular ice cave experience happens in Vatnajökull, but only during wintertime. So, this time of year, the best option is to head to the Kötlujökull glacier to experience a beautiful ice cave with blue/black walls sat atop a volcano! While this sounds a James Bond experience of a lifetime, the tour is labelled as easy.

Where: Katla,Kötlujökull

Ice Climbing

This activity is available all year round, and suitable for both beginners and experienced climbers. It can be a long day out on an Ice Climbing tour, around 10 hours, but only 4 or so of that will be spent scaling an incredible glacier!  The beauty of going this time of year is that you’ll get to see a couple of fabulous waterfalls on your journey!

Where: Sólheimajökull in South Iceland

Paragliding

Adrenaline junkies who have a passion for being airborne will love the many summer paragliding tours available. Tours on the south coast are particularly popular, delivering unforgettable birds-eye views of unique landscapes such as black sand beaches, basalt stacks, ocean waves, lunar lava fields, waterfalls, and glaciers.

Where: South Coast, Iceland.

Skiing in The Midnight Sun

In North Iceland the ski season runs until the end of June, which gives the lucky visitor a chance to ski in the midnight sun! Gentle slopes and the lack of trees make it the perfect place for a beginner. There are 7 ski areas, most of which can be found in the Sauðárkrókur-Tindastóll ski area.

Where: Sauðárkrókur-Tindastóll,North Iceland

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Scuba Diving In Hot Springs

Ok, so you have to be a bit of a pro to take this on, but it is an incredible experience only available in the summer months. Scuba Diving into a hydrothermal vent has been likened to diving into an earthquake. Apparently the air bubbles coming out of the vent create a pressure so intense it makes the rocks vibrate, a sensation which the divers feel deep in their bones!

Where: Lake Kleifarvatn

Trekking, Hiking and Mountain Biking

June is the perfect time to take to the many varied landscapes of Iceland on foot, or on two wheels.  Tours can take in beaches, hot springs, mountains, valleys, glaciers, waterfalls – you name it. And because the sun doesn’t set at this time of year, you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world to explore.

Where:Anywhere and everywhere in Iceland!

White Water Rafting and Whale Watching

Because the two go hand-in-hand right? Well, they do in Iceland! This tour starts in Reykjavik’s old harbour, goes out to sea to see the wildlife then back up the Hvita River for a white-knuckle white water rafting adventure. If that wasn’t enough, tour guides encourage a leap into the glacial waters before a warming sauna and hot choc experience. Just what you’ll need after 11 hours of aquatic activities!

Where: Reykjavik

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We cover a huge range of activities and sports as standard, and even more can be added to your policy if you need!

Scorchio! 10 Tanning Tips Sun Seekers Tend To Ignore

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With the holiday season well underway and temperatures soaring in the UK, we thought this list of tips that sun-worshipers tend to ignore would be rather timely.

  1. Wear sunscreen to suit your skin type – never choose anything less than SPF 15.
  2. Make sure your sunscreen provides UVA protection as well as UVB protection.
  3. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  4. Reapply sunscreen regularly, and always after swimming.
  5. Wear clothes that protect from the sun.

Crazy Fact: A regular t-shirt actually offers less protection than an SPF 15 sunscreen. Choose clothes that are tightly woven, or have been given a dedicated SPF rating – especially for children!

  1. Stay out of the direct sun between 11am and 3pm when it’s at its strongest, or at least limit your time exposed during these times.
  2. Wear sunglasses to prevent cataracts caused by sun damage – make sure they have a protection rating.
  3. Buy a new sunscreen at the start of each season, its shelf life is reduced when exposed to hot temperatures.
  4. Apply sunscreen even on a cloudy day or when sitting in the shade. The rays are still strong and can damage your skin.
  5. Check the SPF of your cosmetics, if it is less than 15, or has no SPF at all, use with sunscreen.

Top Tip: Get on the fake tan, but don’t be fooled into thinking your skin is protected because it is darker! How long you can stay in the sun isn’t actually determined by how dark your skin is; it is down to your skin type. So, a person who is classed as Type I (very fair) who has darker skin is just as vulnerable to the effects of UV damage as they are without a tan.

 

Simple Habit App Review – Travel App Of The Month May 2018

Following on from our blog that shares the secrets to achieving a zen-like experience when travelling, we thought we’d check out an app that might just help. Welcome to Simple Habit!

What is the Simple Habit App?

It is a sweet as a nut app that offers your mind a “daily vacation” from the stresses and strains of life based on the things that actually cause you stress. Simply pick from a list of topics when you fire up the app for the first time, and you’ll be offered a selection of 5 minute meditations that will help you sleep better, eat more mindfully, be less anxious… or whatever it is that you need a little assistance with.

What Does The Simple Habit App Do?

It is like an audio library of tailored meditations from experts in the field all around the world with far-ranging approaches. You could just as easily end up listening to a former monk as you could a mindful expert at Google. The app also sends a timely reminder, at a time of your choosing so you don’t miss your daily dose of tranquillity!

Why Is the Simple Habit App Good for Travellers?

With over 1000 meditations stored, there were bound to be a few that were focussed on travel. We found: just landed, waiting at the airport, fear of flying, and commuting by bus. However, we do think that the standard meditations focussing on generic topics like relaxation and sleep will be of great benefit to a weary traveller.

What Do The Simple Habit App Reviews Say?

The app gets lots of praise on both iTunes and Google Play, but only a certain scope of meditations are available to listen to without subscribing, and it doesn’t come cheap. New users can explore 50 free sessions before having to subscribe.

 

 

Get Simple Habit on iTunes

Get Simple Habit on Google Play

Things To Do In Turkey For Adrenaline Junkies

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Calling all thrill-seekers! If you are looking for high octane adventures on your next holiday, you’d do well to take a look at what Turkey has to offer. Here is our pick of the best adrenaline-fuelled touristy things to do at this amazing destination!

Paragliding– The place of choice is Babadag Mountain, one of the highest take-off sites in the world! On your flight you’ll get beautiful views across Fethiye, and come to land on the gorgeous Oludeniz beach.

Skydiving– Take to the skies over the ancient city of Ephesus, and you are guaranteed a VIP view not many other tourists dare attempt! The local tour operator also offers solo dives, and microlight experiences which give extra awesome views of Virgin Mary House, Pamucak Beach, and Kusadasi Yacht Marina.

Scuba Diving At Night– Bodrum is known for having a stunning coastline, but it’s what’s in the water that attracts the adventurous. Book yourself on a scuba dive to the Graveyard of Ships, at night-time, to really get your pulse racing!

Hot Air Ballooning– Cappadocia is the place to go, with its ethereal lunar-like landscape and super-surreal light. Flights depart at dawn, and you’ll be guaranteed a rush of silent wonder as you float over arguably the most “other worldly” landscape on the planet.

White Water Rafting– Köprülü Kanyon is the place to be, even if you are a beginner. Starting at nearby Antalya, you’ll paddle your way with comparative ease through the Taurus Mountains to where the rapids begin in the heart of the national park. Here you’ll suit up ready for white water action, and enjoy every inch of the eight and a half mile rapids!

Rock Climbing– The place to be is Geyikbayiri! There are over 850 routes across all grades with both north and south facing crags, but what really draws climbers from abroad are the routes through the cave systems, impressive routes that offer something different to other destinations.

Don’t forget your travel insurance!

We offer bespoke travel insurance to suit your level of adventure. So whether you plan to jump out of a plane, off a mountain, or into the sea, we’ve got you covered. Check out the list of activities we cover here or call us on 01982 833338.

Vegan Travel Tips – Easy Ways To Keep To Your Plant Based Diet Abroad

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In the UK we are pretty blessed when it comes to eateries understanding “specialist dietary requirements”, but in some places around the world it is harder to get the importance across. Here are some top tips for ensuring your plant-based diet isn’t compromised!

Learn the lingo for the things you want to avoid. It is easier to get a straight answer about the vegan-ness of the food if you ask directly whether it has butter, milk, honey, or egg etc. in.

Say that you have an allergy to the ingredients you want to avoid. In some places dietary choices aren’t given as much respect as they are in the UK, saying you have an allergy, to dairy for example, should ensure your meal is free from animal products.

Tell your host about your vegan diet. You are more likely to bag yourself easy vegan alternatives if you give the hotel or guesthouse a heads up about what you can and can’t eat in advance. Leave it until check in and you might have to go hungry.

Stock up on your own vegan essentials such as milk and spread. If your hotel or guesthouse is somewhat lacking on vegan alternatives, ask them if they can keep your supplies to hand in the kitchen. This way you can be sure you’ll be able to start your day with a vegan-friendly breakfast.

Go online to find vegan restaurants at your destination. Websites such as happycow.net have user-rated recommendations for vegan-friendly eateries all over the world.

Carry vegan condiments and snacks at all times. Whether it is a bottle of soy sauce to stop the street vendor plastering fish sauce on your noodles, or a vegan power bar for when you just can’t find anywhere to accommodate your diet, having your own supplies will prevent you getting “hangry” on holiday!

Choose vegan-friendly accommodation. There are lots of retreats, hostels, and hotels that cater for vegans, or you could choose to couchsurf with a vegan host. As well as ensuring your diet stays clean, you’ll also know that the complimentary toiletries are vegan-friendly and you won’t be confronted with animal-hide furnishings or décor.

The Zen of Travelling

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Philosophical musings for enjoying far-flung adventures.

Live In The Moment

Thinking about life after the big trip, whether that be the internship, your next job, or simply “aaaaarrrrggghhhh, what am I going to do for money?” will definitely put a dampener on your travels. So much so in fact, that you might miss all the things you wanted to go on the trip for. Instead, learn to be present, learn to just be.

How to do it? Taking up the practice of meditation or mindful breathing is a great way to rein wandering thoughts in and get back in the moment!

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Getting anxious, fraught, or upset by minor setbacks, changes of plans, inconveniencies, or mishaps is going to turn your trip of a lifetime into a stress-pit! Stuff happens, and unless it is putting your physical, mental or emotional health and safety on the line, just let it go, save your sweat for real problems!

How to do it? Ask yourself, “Will this matter tomorrow? ”If it’s something small, this should put the incident into perspective.

TIP: If you like the idea of not having to sweat the big stuff either – do make sure you have travel insurance that suits your trip. It can help if you are ill, lose your belongings or have them stolen, find that your flights have been cancelled, and even if you take a nasty tumble during some daredevil adventure!

Employ The F**k It Philosophy

Yes, it is a real thing, there are courses and retreats and all sorts to help people embrace the notion of “F**k It”. There are two basic ways one can employ this method. Either “F**k it, I’m doing it!” with gung-ho enthusiasm, or “F**k it, I don’t need to do it!”, with a laid back assurance that the world will be just fine if you don’t.

How to do it? Approach every opportunity with openness and curiosity rather than caution and resistance. Take a moment to tune in and really feel which “F**k It” is appropriate to you.

Don’t Buy Stuff, Do Stuff

Chances are that your decision to go on a globetrotting adventure was to experience “stuff” and get a taste of freedom, not to burden yourself with “stuff” and feel what has come to be known as “stuffocation”.

How to do it? Set yourself a budget and only buy what you need – this includes trips, excursions, fabulous foods – no need to get too thrifty about spending on experiences! BUT, if the urge for retail therapy strikes, just think which adventure on your itinerary you’d have to sacrifice to have it, and what a pain it’ll be to lug around!