Going to Japan? Top Travel Tips for First-Timers

Japan is a country that is rich in culture, history, and natural beauty, and a bucket-list destination for travellers from all over the world. However, for first-timers, navigating Japan can be overwhelming. From dealing with the language barrier to cultural differences, here are travel tips to help you make the most of your trip.

Japan Travel Image

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1. Timing is everything

Japan is a beautiful country all year round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. If you want to see the famous cherry blossoms, plan your trip between late March to early April. If you want to experience the vibrant fall foliage, visit in late October to early November. Keep in mind that peak seasons mean higher prices and larger crowds, so plan accordingly.

2. Book Accommodation in Advance

Japan is a popular tourist destination, and accommodation can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. It’s best to book in advance to ensure you have a place to stay during your trip.

Top tip: consider staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan for a unique experience.

3. Get a Rail Pass

If you plan on travelling to multiple cities in Japan, consider getting a Japan Rail Pass. This pass allows you to travel on most trains operated by Japan Railways, including the famous bullet trains. It can save you a significant amount of money on transportation costs.

4. Learn Basic Japanese Phrases

While many Japanese people can speak English, it’s always helpful to learn some basic Japanese phrases. This will not only make it easier for you to communicate with locals, but it will also show that you are making an effort to respect their culture.

5. Respect Local Customs

Japan has a rich culture and many customs that may be different from what you’re used to. It’s important to respect these customs, such as taking off your shoes before entering a home or temple, and not tipping at restaurants.

6. Try Local Cuisine

One of the best ways to experience a new culture is through its food. Japan has a diverse and delicious cuisine, from sushi and ramen to okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and explore different restaurants.

7. Carry Cash

While credit cards are widely accepted in Japan, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you. Some smaller shops and restaurants may only accept cash, and it’s always helpful to have some on hand for vending machines and public transportation.

8. Get travel insurance for your trip to Japan!

You want your trip to be memorable for all the right reasons. Having the right travel insurance will bring you total peace of mind should your trip not go to plan.


With a 24/7 multilingual helpline and carefully tailored policies to suit your unique needs, our policies offer the cover you know you need.

Get in touch with us today for a quote by calling 01892833338 or visiting worldwideinsure.com



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Pregnancy Coverage in Travel Insurance

Embarking on a babymoon is an exciting and memorable experience, but it also comes with its own set of risks and concerns. Here’s what you need to know about specialist pregnancy travel insurance to have a worry-free trip.

Image of pregnant lady on holiday

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Why Is Travel Insurance Important for Pregnant Women?

Pregnancy can bring unexpected complications, and travelling to a foreign country can add to the stress and uncertainty. Having travel insurance can provide peace of mind and financial protection in case of any unforeseen circumstances involving the health of you and your baby as well as your belongings.

Medical Coverage – One of the main reasons to have travel insurance while pregnant is to ensure you are covered in case of any medical emergencies, such as premature labour or pregnancy-related complications. Travel insurance can cover the costs of medical treatment, hospital stays, and even emergency medical evacuation if needed.

Trip Cancellation or Interruption – Pregnancy can also bring unexpected changes in plans. If you need to cancel or cut short your trip due to pregnancy-related complications, travel insurance can cover the costs of non-refundable expenses such as flights, accommodations, and activities.

Peace of Mind – Travelling while pregnant can be stressful, and having travel insurance can provide peace of mind. Knowing that you are covered in case of any emergencies can help you relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about the financial burden.


What Does Pregnancy Travel Insurance Include?

In a nutshell, travel insurance for pregnancy includes the usual cover for any travel insurance, but with the added protection of pregnancy related complications and a variety of gynaecological conditions.

image of pregnancy travel insurance benefits

●      Medical Expenses

●      Repatriation

●      Trip Cancellation or Interruption

●      Emergency Assistance

●      Loss or theft of personal belongings

●      24/7 multilingual helpline

However, if you have had complications in a previous pregnancy or are travelling beyond 28 weeks and have an existing medical condition that could impact your pregnancy, you will need to be screened by our team to ensure that we build the right travel insurance package to meet your needs.

Get peace of mind before you travel – call our team on 01892833338 to get a pregnancy travel insurance quote to cover you on your next trip.


Travel Safety While Pregnant

  • Although you can travel up until 36 weeks pregnant (note that some airlines have a lower limit, especially for long-haul flights) a babymoon is best taken before you reach 28 weeks. Not only is it considered safer, but you will likely have more energy to enjoy your break before baby arrives.
  • For your comfort and to minimise risk of DVT, keep to flights that are under three hours and try to avoid lengthy transfers at your destination.
  • Choose a location that has good transport connections and medical facilities, and don’t forget to take your GHIC (the new European Health Insurance Card), and make sure you have adequate travel insurance to meet your needs.
  • Remember to pack your maternity notes! If you become unwell during travel or at your destination this will make things a whole lot easier when you go to get treatment.
  • It is recommended to avoid areas where you would need a vaccination to travel – live vaccines can be harmful to an unborn child, but having them is recommended if travelling to a high risk area. Places with Malaria, Zika, and Dengue are very high risk destinations during pregnancy.

Find out where you could spend your babymoon in our Babymoon Destination Guide!



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Japan – A wonderful mix of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology

If you’re looking for a travel destination that harmoniously blends ancient customs with cutting-edge technology, then Japan is for you. Here’s how one traveller explored Japan’s futuristic cities and serene countrysides.

Shibuya Crossing Japan Image

Image © Simran Kabotra

Where to stay in Japan

In Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, I stayed at Hotel Wing International Tokyo Akabane. I picked this place because I wanted to be close to the main areas of Tokyo at an affordable price.

In Hakone, I stayed at K’s House. This hostel was a perfect base to visit the local attractions in Hakone. I wanted to cook meals so the large kitchen was useful. A bonus was that this had an indoor and outdoor onsen (a natural hot spring).

In Kiso Valley, I stayed at Komao as it was a good base to visit Kiso Valley and see the buildings from the Edo period.

In Kyoto, I stayed at Hostel Niniroom. I chose this hostel as it was affordable, had a large social space to meet people and a kitchen to cook meals.

In Japan’s second city, Osaka, I stayed at J-Hoppers Osaka Universal as it was very close to Universal Studios Japan (USJ) – only 15 mins walk away.

Kiso Valley Japan Image of road and traditional houses

Image © Simran Kabotra

What to do in Japan

In Tokyo:

Akihabara neighbourhood. This is a vibrant and bustling area, renowned as the centre of Japanese otaku culture, which includes anime, manga, video games, and electronics. It was fun to walk around and enter the various buildings to soak up the atmosphere. I recommend trying a ‘rhythm game’ in a Gigo building – can be difficult but super fun!

Shibuya Crossing. An iconic landmark, the Shibuya crossing is a must-do experience. As well as the crossing, the surrounding area is a bustling hub of activity day and night. With tall buildings, neon signs and giant screens, this is the epitome of Tokyo.

In Hakone:

Tenzan Onsen – a natural hot spring for day and night use. This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. This onsen has multiple hot water pools at various temperatures and there is a perfect temperature milky water pool that will give you soft skin. Men and women are separated as you need to be fully unclothed to go into the water. For those who are body conscious, don’t worry – no-one will care how you look. You’ll see bodies of all shapes and sizes and will get used to being naked pretty quickly!

Owakudani – a volcanic valley with visibility of Mt Fuji. Here you can see steam vents, bubbling pools of hot water, and sulphurous fumes rising from the Earth’s surface. On the cable ropeway to get to Okwaudani, you can see the fumes right below you. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Mt Fuji on your right if it’s a clear, sunny day. Also try the black eggs boiled in the hot springs of the volcanic valley. It’s rumoured that eating one egg will extend your life by 7 years!

Hike the Old Hakone Highway / Old Tokaido Road – one of the oldest highways in Japan. Created during the Edo period, this cobblestone path winds its way through lush forests, past tranquil rivers, and alongside traditional villages. I took the route from Motohakone-ko pier to Amakaze Teahouse which took about 45 minutes. Fun fact: the teahouse hasn’t changed its interior in over 200 years! A wonderful hike in the quiet countryside really makes you wonder what life was like back then.

In Kiso Valley:

Hike around and explore the natural beauty. I hiked from Magome to Tsumago which took about half a day. On the trail you get to explore traditional Japanese houses and streets that have been maintained for 200 years. Much of the landscape hasn’t changed and you can really soak up the rich history by walking through the villages, forests and rivers.

In Kyoto:

Walk around wearing a kimono. In the geisha district of Gion, you’ll see many tourists dressing in traditional Japanese kimonos. There are many shops in this area for you to rent a kimono for the day and walk around the area. The kimono is slightly uncomfortable at first but you get used to wearing it very quickly and it makes for great pictures when standing next to traditional buildings!

In Osaka:

Universal Studio Japan (USJ). One of the best days I’ve had was at USJ. It’s an incredibly immersive experience full of thrilling rides and variety. No two rides are the same and each area has captivating set designs. USJ often opens earlier than its scheduled time so get there an hour or two earlier than opening time. If you want to go into Nintendo World (my favourite place of the park), you need to get to the area before 9:30am, otherwise you’ll need a timed entry ticket. The Flying Dinosaur ride in the Jurassic Park area is VERY intense but I highly recommend going on it.

Nintendo World Japan Image

Image © Simran Kabotra


What I loved (and did not love) about Japan

I love how hospitable and clean Japan is. The customer service is unparalleled as the staff always make sure you have what you need and no request is a burden! There is no litter on the streets and everywhere you go, it’s very clean. Japan is also extremely safe, I did not feel uncomfortable at all – day or night. I left my phone in a restaurant and the owner didn’t clean the table as he was waiting for me to come back and get my phone. The train system is something I love. The train stations are practically shopping centres and the train seats can be moved forwards and backwards.

I did not love that vegetarian food was hard to come by. Unless you pay a premium by going to a specific vegetarian/vegan restaurant, it’s hard to find cheap veggie food. It’s difficult to ask the waiters to take out meat as well.


Top tips for visiting

Bring cash. Japan is still traditional in the sense that it still uses cash in a lot of places so make sure to bring enough Japanese Yen with you. Some places offer card payments but you’ll find a majority of places will ask for cash. Not to worry though, ATMs in Japan have no withdrawal fees.

Learn some Japanese (or download Google Translate). Speaking a little bit of Japanese can go a long way for you; English is not widely spoken there. Phrases such as ‘excuse me’, ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ can make a world of a difference!

Respect onsen rules. Make sure to use the showers provided before entering the onsens. You can’t take your towel into the onsen area either but you’ll be given a tiny towel to take with you. You’ll just have to embrace being naked in front of other people!

Book things in advance. Unlike many other parts of East Asia, things will get booked up quickly, so book in advance. Arrive early to popular restaurants as you’ll likely be waiting in long queues.

Would you go to Japan again?

Absolutely! I fell in love with Japan and its contrasting nature – the bustling, hectic cities and the serene, picturesque landscapes. There aren’t many places where I would redo my itinerary but I would definitely do my trip to Japan all over again if I could. I would also love to visit Japan’s north all the way to the south.

Kyoto In A Kimono in Japan Kiso Valley Japan Image

Kiso Valley Japan Image © Simran Kabotra

Travel Writer Bio

Simran Kabotra is a writer, avid reader & crocheter who loves travel. She is currently travelling across Southeast Asia, searching low and high for new adventures, beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Get longstay travel insurance for you worldwide adventure!

For a quick and easy to understand quote to meet your unique needs head on over to our dedicated travel insurance page or call our team on  01892833338!

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From Backpacking to Luxury: Travel Ideas for Every Budget

With the right planning anyone can experience the joys of exploring new places. But where you end up will depend on your budget and the type of adventure you’re looking for. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination, from backpacking to luxury breaks!

Save… Budget travel ideas

Backpacking travel insurance Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0


Backpacking is a popular way to travel on a budget. It’s cheaper because you only take what you can carry on your back and usually involves staying in budget accommodation, such as hostels, campsites, or even couch surfing!

Keeping the costs down requires careful planning and budgeting, but keep the following in mind and you may be able to backpack on a shoestring:

  • pack light
  • stay in affordable accommodation
  • choose budget-friendly destinations
  • travel by train, coach, bus, or bike
  • eat local

Volunteer travel

Volunteer travel, also known as “voluntourism”, is a great way to give back while exploring new places, and also have a “budget break”. Why the parentheses? Because the budget bit here is relative!

Volunteer opportunities abroad, where you can work on projects such as conservation, community development, or teaching often come with quite a high price tag, but what you get in return is well worth the investment. These programs often cover accommodation and meals, and run for an extended period of time making it an affordable way to travel to these destinations compared to “going on holiday” there.

Travel hacking

Travellers on a tight budget turn to travel hacking tips – a whole range of ways that you can get travel and accommodation cheap or free! For all the best ideas head on over to our travel hacking blog!

Spend… Mid-range budgets

car hire excess insurance

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Road Trips

Road trips are a great way to explore a country or region at your own pace. They offer the flexibility to stop at any point and take in the scenery, and can be more affordable than flying. Plus, if you choose a camper van for your wheels, your accommodation cost is thrown in too!

Tip: Thinking of hiring a car or camper for a roadtrip? Make sure you get Car Hire Excess Insurance to keep the costs of a Collision Damage Waiver down!

City Breaks

City breaks are short, sweet, and reasonably affordable because you usually go for a weekend or a few days. They’re a great option for those with limited time and budget, as they offer a taste of a new destination without breaking the bank.

Group Travel

Travelling with a group can be a more affordable option, as you can split the cost of accommodation, transfers, car hire and groceries too. With an open mind, travelling with friends can open doors to luxury villas that you could usually only ever dream of. Hiring out a 8 bed villa with pool, spa, and private beach could set you back £10,000 for the week – but split that cost between 8 couples and suddenly, that ultra-luxe lifestyle is within reach and well within budget!

Splurge… Luxury travel ideas

Cruise ship image sea sky boats

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Luxury accommodation and fine dining

Private villas, and five-star hotels and resorts offer a high-end travel experience. They often come with luxurious amenities, such as spas, fine dining, and personalized service which in some places means a team of people catering for your party alone. These types of breaks usually come with fine dining and unique culinary experiences as standard. From dining at Michelin-starred restaurants to trying local delicacies cooked up just for you.

Cruise ship holidays

Cruises don’t come cheap but they are filled to the brim with luxury and entertainment, plus you get to see the world and all its wonders in between! The costs of the cruise don’t just come from the cabin price, the food and beverage packages are quite costly, as are the gift shops on board, not to mention the Wi-Fi if you want some! They are however an experience of a lifetime, and those who enjoy this type of holiday life think the facilities and activities on board are well worth the price tag!

Tip: Thinking of going on a cruise? Make sure you get Cruise Travel Insurance to protect your investment should your trip get cancelled or you fall ill aboard.

You might also be interest in: What Type Of Travel Insurance Do I Need For A Cruise?

 Private tours and experiences

Private tours and experiences offer a personalized and exclusive travel experience. They can range from private city tours to helicopter rides over scenic landscapes, private yacht charters to hot air balloon rides, private safaris to, well, whatever your money can buy!

Whatever your budget, you can’t afford to NOT get travel insurance!

Get a quick and easy to understand travel insurance quote online or call our team on  01892833338!


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Is Single Trip Travel Insurance Worth It?

Travelling literally opens up whole new worlds and is arguably one of the most exciting things to do with your time, but it also comes with its fair share of risks. If you are trying to weigh up if the cost of single trip travel insurance is worth the cost you might be interested in what it could cost if you don’t get cover…

Image by 12019 CC0

Why Do You Need Travel Insurance?

From lost luggage to medical emergencies, there are many unforeseen circumstances that can disrupt your trip and upset your personal finances! That’s where travel insurance comes in. It provides cover for unexpected events and gives you peace of mind while you’re exploring the world.

Protect Your Finances

One of the main reasons to get travel insurance is to protect your finances. Travel insurance can cover the costs of medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost or stolen belongings, and even repatriation. Without insurance, you could end up paying a hefty sum that far outweighs the cost of travel insurance, even if you are going for one trip!

Emergency passport replacement while abroad cost £100 (non refundable)

Examples of medical costs in Spain:

  • Doctor appointment: €100 (free with GHIC)*
  • Emergency room visit: €200 (does not include treatment)

If you were travelling to Thailand, medical appointments can be anywhere from €100 – €700!

Even with a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) it doesn’t mean you can get access to free healthcare – it means you will be entitled to it at the same price the locals pay, which, without insurance may not come cheap! You can find out more about that over on our dedicated GHIC blog.

What if…? you’re hiking in a remote area and break your leg, and need to be airlifted to a hospital for treatment. Without travel insurance, this could cost thousands of pounds. However, with travel insurance, your insurance provider can cover the costs of your emergency evacuation, hospital stay and treatment.

Protect your time (and your sanity!)

Without travel insurance you will have to liaise with local authorities, embassies, and companies yourself. Even if you are fluent in the local language, and even if you are familiar with the customs of the country, this can be a lengthy process that will eat into your holiday time, not to mention your energy!

With travel insurance, you have access to a 24/7 multilingual helpline, and a team of experts who can liaise with the right people at the right time to get any issues you are facing sorted. Leaving you to get on and enjoy your time abroad as much as possible knowing everything is in hand.

Travel insurance doesn’t just kick in on holiday!

Travel insurance can reimburse you if you have to cancel your trip due to a covered reason, such as illness or injury. For example, if you’ve booked a trip to Thailand and have paid for your flights, accommodation, and activities, but a few days before your trip, you become very unwell or have an accident meaning you are unable to travel; with this type of cover, you can file a claim.

Is single trip travel insurance right for you?

The only question is whether you require a single trip or a multi-trip policy! The benefits of travel insurance apply to any length of travel insurance policy, but if you think you might make more than one trip over the next year, an annual travel insurance, or multi-trip travel insurance policy brings greater value for money.

If you just have the one trip on the horizon, then single trip travel insurance will do the trick – make sure to speak to an advisor and ensure that you are covered for any activities you will be doing while you are away, or any pre-existing medical conditions that you may have.

single trip travel insurance benefits

Get your single trip travel insurance quote now!

Quick and easy quote to meet your unique needs. Either visit our single trip travel insurance page or call our team on  01892833338!

Source: https://wise.com/gb/blog/healthcare-system-in-spain


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Vietnam Travel Guide – where peaceful countryside meets chaotic cities

Vietnam has something for everyone – incredible mountain tours in the 4-season North, captivating history for the history buffs, and some inspired nightlife scenes in the city. Here’s what one traveller experienced as she wandered open-minded into Vietnam, and emerged a lover of all things Vietnamese.

Brightly lit Vietnam street at night

Image © Simran Kabotra


Where did you stay in Vietnam and why?

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

In Ho Chi Minh’s namesake city (previously known as Saigon), I stayed in an Airbnb apartment on the 9th floor. This was not your usual apartment in that each floor had a different purpose – one floor had a nursery, another had a cafe and one floor had a nail salon. I chose this because it was cost-effective, being just outside of District 1 (a key hub to visit tourist attractions), as well as its proximity to local shops and transport.

Hoi An

In this coastal trading town turned tourist hotspot, I stayed with a lovely family in their homestay, Qua Cam Tim Homestay. I picked this because it was cost-effective with bike rentals and breakfast included in the price and it was just a 5 minute walk from the night market and the centre of town.

Ninh Binh

For this stay, I wanted to venture out into nature and be away from the busy town. I stayed at Sierra Homestay and had breathtaking mountain views from my room. The homestay hosts were so kind and offered free use of their bicycles. The location was very serene and had almost no tourists – allowing me to immerse myself in the locals’ way of life.


In this chaotic and hectic northern city, I opted to stay in Hanoi City Backpackers Hostel as it was cheap and the location was perfect if you want to be close to all the tourist attractions in the city.


In the North Vietnam’s countryside, I stayed in a beautiful homestay called Surelee Homestay, surrounded by rice paddies, tall green mountains and crisp, fresh air. This was really far from the hustle and bustle of the main city that was clearly targeted at tourists. It was a little difficult to get to, but the stay was worth it as I enjoyed peace and tranquillity for 5 nights.

Lake surrounded by mountains in Vietnam

Image © Simran Kabotra

What is there to do in Vietnam?

In Ho Chi Minh City:

Bui Vien Walking Street – an 850 metres long walking street full of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. This is the quintessential asian city nightlife and buzzing atmosphere that you want to experience.

War Remnants Museum – a war museum depicting the history and consequences of the Indochina and Vietnam wars. Whilst it is emotional, it’s important to learn about the history of Vietnam and the atrocities of war. You can easily spend 3-4 hours here, reading and absorbing all the information and images.

Củ Chi Tunnels – an extensive network of tunnels over 120km (75 miles) dug by the Vietnamese during the Indochina war (1945-1954) and the Vietnam war (1955-1975). It’s so interesting to learn about the tunnels and how they lived in there. You can also go into the tiny tunnels yourself!

In Hoi An:

Clothes tailoring – Hoi An is known for its extensive range of tailoring shops that are at an affordable price range. To make your trip worthwhile, it’s best to get clothes tailored that would otherwise be expensive back home such as suits, gowns and dresses.

River boat tour with lanterns – a pretty vision of lights at night. Whilst this is quite touristy, cruising down the river in Hoi An with the lanterns is a very beautiful sight and surprisingly peaceful.

In Ninh Binh:

Trang An River Tour –  discover ancient limestone karsts, caves, and ancient temples on a 1.5 to 3 hour tour. The entire experience is on a boat with occasional stops to visit temples. As an UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a must-do! Very serene and picturesque, you can sit and take in the beautiful nature. This was also where Kong: Skull Island (2017)was filmed!


Train Street where shops have been set up along the train tracks and you get VERY close to the trains passing through. It’s an exhilarating experience that you’ll do once but it’s worth doing for the adrenaline rush.

Ride through the Ha Giang Loop – a 3-4 day motorbike loop taking you through Vietnam’s beautiful mountains and countryside. It was a highlight of my trip and I would definitely recommend doing the Ha Giang Loop Tour with easy riders as the mountain roads have sharp turns and some roads aren’t very well-maintained. You get to see geological UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as the Hmong people (one of the 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam). I did a 4 day tourwith a small group of easy riders – they were fantastic in every regard and extremely safe and careful.

Ha Long Bay cruise – a UNESCO World Heritage Site only 1-2 hours drive away from Hanoi. I opted for a 5* cruise with Sapphire Cruise for 3 days and 2 nights as I wanted to do as many activities as possible and have a luxury cruise experience. Cruising around Ha Long Bay was truly beautiful with its impressive cliff structures and it’s also where they filmed Kong: Skull Island (2017).


Hikes, hikes and more hikes! Sapa is a great place to hike by yourself or with a local guide. I chose to hike by myself as the routes were easy to follow and weren’t too challenging. If you’d like to know the history and learn more along the route then you can hire a local guide. With green mountains, red clay soil and clear flowing rivers, you’ll see a range of colourful terrain and landscapes!

Image of brightly lit boats on a river at night in Vietnam

Image © Simran Kabotra

What did you love (and not love) about Vietnam?

I loved how easy and tourist friendly everything was. From transport to food, all signs were in English and it was easy to communicate with vendors. I also loved how easy it was to book things online and on an app – very handy when you want to go somewhere quick!

Unfortunately, I didn’t love the amount of littering all over Vietnam. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the tourists leaving trash behind but the locals themselves! I saw a Vietnamese woman take her carrier bag of snack wrappers and dump it all out into the street – even though she already created a bin bag out of the carrier bag! I’ve been told there have been efforts to educate the locals but it seems like there is a long way to go.

Top tips for visiting Vietnam

Carry antibacterial soap and toilet paper with you. While I didn’t come across any squat toilets, the many western-style toilets often didn’t have toilet paper or soap in the bathroom. Best make a habit of bringing soap and tissue with you every time you leave your house!

Learn basic phrases – it lights up people’s eyes. Learning basic phrases such as ‘hello’, ‘let’s go’ or ‘where is…’ can bring you closer to the Vietnamese people and they’ll really open up to you.

Bring some layers for the North – it can get cold! You’ll be forgiven for thinking all of Vietnam is really hot but due to the mountainous region in the North, there is a lot of cold air circling around – especially if you’re visiting between January and April.

Avoid the burning season (January – March). Burning season is when the countryside is full of smoke due to farmers burning their crops to make the soil more fertile. The smokey haze will restrict your view of the landscape and you won’t be inhaling much of the fresh mountain air.

Would you go again?

Absolutely! I would love to visit other areas of Vietnam I didn’t get to see such as Dalat and Da Nang. I also would love to see the North again in the summer to experience nature in a different light (literally) with golden rice fields and clear blue skies.

Image © Simran Kabotra

Travel Writer Bio

Simran Kabotra is a writer, avid reader & crocheter who loves travel. She is currently travelling across Southeast Asia, searching low and high for new adventures, beautiful landscapes and rich history.

Get longstay travel insurance for you worldwide adventure!

For a quick and easy to understand quote to meet your unique needs visit our longstay travel insurance page or call our team on  01892833338!

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Travelling Abroad With A Mental Health Condition

As many as 1 in 4 people in the UK experiences a mental health problem each year. Whether it is you, or a loved one, we are here to offer support – sharing tips to make travelling abroad with mental health concerns as stress-free as possible.

Man standing on a mountain stress-free

Image by Andrei Tanase via @pexels CC0

Travelling abroad can be stressful (even without mental health concerns)

Travelling abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it is often a source of stress and anxiety for anyone who is travelling. However, with the right preparation and mindset, travelling can be enjoyable and stress-free even if anxiety, worry and overwhelm is part of your life.

Reframe your trip as travel therapy

Jetting off to foreign lands can actually be a form of therapy and a way to improve one’s mental health. A change of scenery and a break from daily routines have the potential to be extremely beneficial for those struggling with mental health issues.

Travelling overseas can also offer a sense of adventure and excitement, which can boost mood and overall well-being, as well as provide opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery.

Choose a retreat holiday for the ultimate stress-free break

For those seeking a more structured and intentional type of break with minimal planning, retreats are a great option. On a retreat everything happens at a slower pace, in a safe and supportive environment – ideal for individuals who want to focus on their mental health and well-being.

Retreats often include activities such as yoga, meditation, and therapy sessions, as well as opportunities for cultural immersion and exploration. Generally speaking retreats are also a complete package so you don’t have to think (or worry) about flights, transfers, food, activities or accommodation – it is all done in one simple booking.

Preparation is key when planning

Before embarking on a trip abroad, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience. This is especially important for those with mental health concerns. Here are some tips for preparing for a trip abroad:

  • Talk to your therapist or get some mental health support – if you have a history of mental health issues, it is important to consult with a mental health professional before travelling abroad. They can provide guidance and support, as well as help you develop coping strategies for any potential challenges that may arise during your trip. If you take medication you may also need guidance on protocol and advice on taking that medication abroad as it may be restricted at your destination.
  • Try therapies for overcoming specific anxieties – if you have a fear of flying, or any other block that is causing anxiety around your trip, try hypnotherapy, emotional freedom technique (EFT), or a talking therapy to reduce the associated stress.
  • Research Your Destination – because preparation is key! Researching your destination can help alleviate any anxiety or concerns you may have about travelling to a new place. Familiarise yourself with the culture, customs, and potential language barriers. It can also be helpful to research mental health resources and support available in the area.

Top Tip – take to Google street view! You can explore every road at your location, and work out the best routes form A to B as if you were already there. This is a great way to familiarise yourself with your destination before your trip.

  • Pack Medications and Coping Tools – make sure to pack any necessary medications and coping tools for your trip. This may include medication, a journal, or items that bring you comfort and help you relax. It is also important to have a plan in place for accessing medication and support while abroad.
  • Travel Mindfully – while travelling, it is important to practice self-care and be mindful of your mental health. This may include taking breaks when needed, setting boundaries, and being open and honest with travel companions about your needs. It is also important to be flexible and not put too much pressure on yourself to have a perfect trip.
  • Get travel insurance that covers mental health conditions – finding a travel insurance policy that can provide cover for your individual needs is essential. Many travel insurance policies have exclusions or restrictions on existing medical conditions, including those affecting mental health, so choose a policy such as Travel Insurance for Mental Health conditions from worldwideinsure.com which gives you the right cover to let you enjoy your holiday.

Travelling abroad can be a transformative and therapeutic experience for those with mental health concerns.

Contact us today to discuss your needs for stress-free travel by calling 01892833338 or visiting worldwideinsure.com

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Slow Travel – The New Trend of Exploring the World Mindfully

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but why carry this into a holiday? If you like the idea of taking a step back to slow down and travel at a more mindful pace the Slow Travel Movement is for you!

Slow Travel Train In Mountains

Image by Oleksandr Lutsenko Via Pexels CCO

What is Slow Travel?

It is a mindful approach to travel. Slow travel is a way of travelling that focuses on quality of time over quantity of activities in any given place. It’s about taking the time to fully experience a destination, rather than rushing through a checklist of “must see” and “must-do” attractions. It’s about being mindful, being present in the moment, and truly connecting with the people, culture, and environment around you.

Slow Travel = Sustainable Tourism

At the risk of greenwashing, it is fair to say that slow travel is a more sustainable form of tourism. By staying in one place for a longer period of time, you reduce your carbon footprint, especially if you choose sustainable travel during your stay. Without having to rush from pillar to post, you have more time to get from A to B by walking, cycling, or taking public transport, reducing your impact on the local and global environment.

Slow travel also allows you to support the local economy and gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and customs. This is likely to result in ethical choices that support the local community as well.

Choose Slow Travel For An Authentic Experience

One of the main benefits of slow travel is the opportunity to have rewarding, immersive experiences. By staying in one place for a longer period of time, you have the chance to really get to know the local culture and way of life. You will have time to explore destinations that are off-the-beaten-path, try new foods, and participate in local traditions and activities. This allows for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destination, rather than just scratching the surface.

Less Stress = More Relaxation

Slow travel is also a great way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. By taking your time and not rushing from one place to another, you can truly unwind and enjoy your surroundings. This can be especially beneficial for those who are used to a fast-paced lifestyle and need a break to rest, relax, recoup and regroup.

Hammock chair on a sunny empty beach

Image by Quang Nguyen Vinh via Pexels CC0

Slow Travel Trip Ideas

When planning a slow travel trip, it’s important to choose your destination wisely. Look for places that offer a variety of activities and experiences, as well as a strong local culture so you can fully immerse yourself in the destination.

  • Stay in One Place for a Longer Period of Time
  • Embrace the Local Culture
  • Use Sustainable Transportation

Italy is a great option thanks to a reputation for a slow pace of life and appreciation for the simple things. Choose to stay in a small village, participate in cooking classes, and explore the countryside on foot or by bike.

Or you can look further afield to Southeast Asia, known for a laid-back lifestyle and rich culture. It is easy to stay in one place for a month or more, and use it as a base to explore the surrounding areas at your leisure.

Get a quick travel insurance quote for your slow travel adventure!

Contact us today on 01892833338 or visit worldwideinsure.com

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Cambodia – A budget friendly destination full of rich history & great food 

If you’re looking for a travel destination that has beautiful landscape, nature and rich history without the heavy influx of tourists, then Cambodia is a must-see. Here’s how one traveller explored Cambodia’s lively cities and natural landscapes. 

Royal Palace Cambodia

Royal Palace Cambodia Image © Simran Kabotra

Cambodia – where to stay and why

In Cambodia’s second-largest city, Siem Reap, I stayed at Den Hotel Totonou. I picked this place because I wanted to be close to the main centre such as Pub Street but still be relatively quiet.

In Cambodia’s capital city, Phonm Penh, I stayed at Blue Sky Guest House. This hotel was in a perfect central location at an affordable price. It was near lots of restaurants, museums and night markets.

On one of Cambodia’s islands, Koh Rong Sanloem,  I stayed at Lucky Sun Hostel on Saracen Bay. This was a spot that was in a great location with picturesque blue ocean views and pearly white sand. There are some more sociable hostels on Saracen Bay that were geared towards a younger crowd. But I opted for Lucky Sun as it was away from all the noise if you wanted to sleep but not too far if you did want to join in on the drinking and socialising.

Things to do in Cambodia

In Siem Reap:

Angkor Wat –  the largest religious structure in the world. I did a one-day sunset tour. Depending on your preference, you might want to do a 2 to 4 day tour. One day was enough for me to see the main temples and still appreciate the size and significance of the complex.

Made In Cambodia Market – where all products are made in Cambodia by talented Cambodians. There are some high quality souvenirs available such as jewellery, clothes, paintings and more. It’s a small market but if you’d like to help the local people, this is a great way to do that.

Angkor Wat Image

Angkor Wat Image © Simran Kabotra

In Phnom Penh:

Sosoro Museum – a museum of Cambodia’s currency and economy. This was one of the most informative museums I’ve ever visited about a country’s economy, history, politics and religion. There is no need for an audio guide or tour as all the information boards are so detailed and the videos provide further context. There are two floors which you can complete in 2 to 5 hours, depending on how much information you want to absorb. The bottom floor is the most interesting as it tells you about the political turmoil of the 1970s and the Pol Pot regime. At the end of the museum, there is an opportunity to create your own banknote with your own face which can be printed (for a small fee) for you to take home. Entry to the museum will cost about £4.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prision) & Killing Fields. Whilst incredibly emotional and shocking, the museum and killing fields reveal Cambodia’s tragic history and its dedication to remembering the victims. I did a guided tour of the museum and killing fields where you learn about the Pol Pot regime and how it tortured and killed intellectuals and  ‘enemies’ of the regime. Whilst on the tour, you get to meet some survivors and the books they’ve written.

Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda – which is still used as a place of residence for the Cambodian royal family. I recommend doing a tour as it provides context for the beautiful grounds and history. You can find a tour guide in a blue shirt as you enter the palace, it’ll cost around £8 for an hour tour. Inside the Silver Pagoda you can see the emerald buddha and silver plated floors. Entry to the palace and Silver Pagoda will cost around £8.

On Koh Rong Sanloem:

Enjoy the beaches – Saracen Bay, Lazy beach & Sunset beach. There are 3 main beaches on Koh Rong Sanloem and they’re all slightly different from each other.

  • Saracen Bay – lovely white sand and blue ocean water. A relaxing beach with lots of restaurants and hostels. A great bonus is petting the hostel’s dog, Jenny, who loves a good tummy rub!
  • Lazy beach – soft brown sand and crystal clear water. A very quiet beach with only huts for accommodation but no other shops or restaurants.
  • Sunset beach – soft brown sand and clear blue water. A perfect balance between hostels and picturesque views. This is a great spot to see the sunset glowing orange and if you want to be slightly secluded.

Day trip out to snorkel and see bioluminescent plankton. A fun activity on the island is to snorkel, fish and see bioluminescent plankton. If you’ve snorkelled at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, then you’ve already seen the best. On Koh Rong Sanloem, the fishes aren’t as vibrant and there aren’t many of them but there are still lots of coral to see. If you haven’t snorkelled before, this would be a great starting place.

What I loved (and didn’t love) about Cambodia

I loved how delicious and accessible vegetarian food was in Cambodia. Everything had a tofu or vegetable alternative and it was so delicious. My favourite food in Cambodia was the Khmer vegetable curry – a must try!

Of all the things not to love I guess this is pretty minor, but browsing at shops is a slightly suffocating experience. Prepare to be closely followed and told about the things you’re looking at whether you want the information or not! Maybe some people would find it attentive, but I found it pushy and uncomfortable.

Beaded vurtain on beach in Cambidoa sea views

Lucky Sun Hostel Image © Simran Kabotra

Top tips for visiting Cambodia

  • Bring US Dollars.  A lot of businesses and shops take US dollars rather than the Cambodian currency, Riels. You will get some change in Riels so it’s best to take a mix of US Dollars and Riels but have more US Dollars on hand.
  • Use the GRAB app for tuktuks. This is a safe way to get around in Cambodia as your location will be tracked and you won’t be overcharged.
  • Bring mosquito repellent equipment, lotions & sprays.I had very bad reactions to the mosquitos in Cambodia.
  • Get travel insurance. Knowing help is at hand if something goes wrong so far away from home is peace of mind worth every penny!

Would I go to Cambodia again?

Absolutely! There is so much to see! I would love to visit the north of Cambodia for its waterfalls and forests. I would also love to go to Koh Rong Sanloem and stay at sunset beach and also visit another island – Koh Rong. I felt very safe in this country and the people were lovely.

Travel Writer Bio

Simran Kabotra is a writer, avid reader & crocheter who loves travel. She is currently travelling across Southeast Asia, searching low and high for new adventures, beautiful landscapes and rich history.   

Big golden dog on beach in Cambodia

Jenny, Hostel Dog Image © Simran Kabotra

Get travel insurance for visiting Cambodia!

Don’t let lost luggage, missed flights, stolen passports, injury or illness ruin your holiday – get travel insurance that covers you for what you need with a 24/7 multilingual helpline.

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Unveiling the Art of Travel Hacking

Are you tired of spending a fortune on travel expenses? Do you dream of jet-setting around the world without breaking the bank? If so, then it’s time to learn the art of travel hacking.

Travel Insurance Airport Image

Image by JoshuaWoroniecki CC0

What is Travel Hacking?

Travel hacking is taking thriftiness to the next level to get the most out of your travel budget. Think loyalty programs, credit card rewards, deals, promotions, and holiday loopholes. The aim of travel hacking is to save money so you can travel further, for longer, more often – and if you get the upgrades in more style too!

By making the most of these travel hacks you could significantly reduce the cost of travel and accommodation, as well as unlock perks such as free upgrades, lounge access, and exclusive benefits.

Travel Hacks You Need to Know!

1. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs – These programs are offered by airlines, hotels, and other travel companies and allow you to earn points or miles for every purchase or stay. These points can then be redeemed for free or discounted travel, hotel stays, and other rewards.

2. Utilise Credit Card Rewards – Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses, which can be redeemed for free or discounted travel or hotel stays. Additionally, some credit cards offer bonus points for travel-related purchases, making it easier to accumulate points for your next trip.

3. Get a Supermarket Loyalty Card – The points can be used with third party reward partners and are often worth more than the points themselves. Tesco Clubcard for example usually doubles the value of the points and has partners such as:

  • APH Airport parking
  • Le Shuttle
  • Royal Caribbean International Cruises
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • com
  • Cosmos Travel Tours
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Eurocamp
  • Intrepid Travel
  • P&O Cruises & Ferries
  • Stena Line

4. Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates – Flights, ferries, trains and accommodation are often cheaper during off-peak seasons or mid-week. By being open to different travel dates, you can take advantage of lower prices and save money on your trip.

5. Go Incognito when Searching for Flights – Did you know that airlines and travel websites use cookies to track your search history and increase prices accordingly? To avoid this, use incognito mode when searching for flights. This will prevent websites from tracking your search history and potentially save you money on your flight.

6. Think Beyond Staying in a Hotel – Alternative accommodation such as Airbnb, hostels, house-sitting or couch-surfing can help save money on your trip and also provide a more authentic and unique travel experience.

7. Travel Hacking Apps and Blogs – Hopper, Skyscanner, and Kayak are just a few examples of apps that can help you find cheap flights and accommodation. As for travel hacking bloggers take a peek at Nomadic Matt for inspiration!

8. Credit Card Comparison Websites – Rewards on some cards stack up better than others for travel rewards, check out moneysupermarket.com for latest deal information. You can also compare bank account travel perks on there too.

9. Travel Insurance – The Ultimate Travel Hack! – Having the right travel insurance and car hire excess insurance can save you so much money in the long run! Whether it is replacing a lost or stolen passport, covering the cost of a missed or delayed flight or even the cost of medical expenses overseas or repatriation – travel insurance easily pays for itself.

Travel hacking takes time and effort. Getting Travel Insurance Doesn’t!

It’s important to be patient and persistent in your pursuit of travel deals and rewards. You must keep an eye out for promotions and be ready to act quickly when you find a good deal. But getting the right travel insurance takes just one click – head on over to worldwideinsure.com and get your quote today!

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