Curacao – A Brief Guide To A Colonial Caribbean Paradise

Travel Insurance to Curacao Image by Patrice_Audet CC0

Image by Patrice_Audet CC0

A Caribbean holiday is what dreams are made of – white sandy beaches, clear blue seas, delicious cocktails filled with fresh fruit and mouth-watering cuisine. So why haven’t you been? It’s expensive right? And hard to get to.  Maybe you’re worried about tropical storms. Well let us introduce Curacao, an under-the-radar Caribbean paradise that deserves to catch your attention.

Curacao is cheaper than you’d expect

It is actually the cheapest of the Caribbean islands to visit. It doesn’t mean the prices here are low, they are just cheaper than Jamaica, Barbados and the Bahamas etc. Prices here are usually in dollars, but as a Dutch destination (yes, it really is), you have the option to pay in Guilder at some places too.

Curacao is easy to get to from the UK

There are direct flights from the UK to Curacao International airport. So, no need for stopovers, sea planes or boats to get to your destination.

Curacao is unlikely to be hit by bad weather

The island’s close proximity to South America takes it more or less out of the path of hurricanes. In fact the last one to hit was in 1877. Because it is outside the hurricane belt it is actually less windy during hurricane season (start of June to end of November)!

Curacao Lagoon Image by MariaMichelle CC0

Image by MariaMichelle CC0

Curacao has over 35 beaches all within a 45-minute drive

And it is great for adventure travel. Coral reefs and shipwrecks make for great diving, and the rugged landscape is great for hiking – if you can tear yourself away from just kicking back on one of its many sandy beaches!

Curacao is culturally diverse

You’ll see a whole host of European influences on this island – but most notably, Dutch as it’s part of the Netherlands. Dutch architecture, trinkets, snacks and foods are present across the island, but fused with a distinctly Caribbean flavour. An insight into its varied past lies in the languages spoken here – Dutch, Spanish, Papiamentu, and English.

Curacao is a foodie paradise

The cuisine here is unlike food anywhere else in the world. Dishes such as iguana stew and fried cactus are served with a side of bitterballen no less! There is also the Dutch liqueur famously named after the island, made with oranges grown here. The food trucks are not to be missed either. These places serve up fusion fast food, like fries with peanut sauce, to hungry locals and tourists after a night on the town.

Curacao has a great nightlife

That brings us nicely to the fact that the island has a decent nightlife. It is a popular place for music festivals, DJs, and club-life in general. The music is as diverse as the food and many of the beaches are transformed into bars by night for a truly tropical feel.

Curacao sunset Image by Mariamichelle CC0

Image by Mariamichelle CC0

Get travel insurance for the Caribbean from worldwideinsure.com We can tailor your policy to provide cover for a wide range of watersports and activities, many of which are covered as standard

 

 

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Eco Friendly Travel Insurance

Image courtesy of Health and Fitness Travel © Chris Allan Photography

Seeing this beautiful planet we live on doesn’t have to be bad for the environment, or the local communities you are visiting. In fact, tourism can play a big part in helping make this world a better place, as well as benefiting the lives of those who rely on tourism. Here are some top tips for being an even more eco-minded traveller on your next trip and ways to support the community you are visiting.

  • Consider travelling by train rather than by plane where possible.
  • Choose non-stop flights to minimise CO2 emissions.
  • Use public transport for transfers and travelling at your destination.
  • Take a reusable water bottle – more and more places are installing water coolers for people to refill from as an alternative to buying bottled water.
  • Say “no” to straws and plastic cups at bars, restaurants, hotels, trains and planes.
  • Eat local cuisine with low food miles.
  • Choose vegetarian dishes over meat dishes.
  • Ask if the food you’re choosing is sustainably caught or grown.
  • Keep showers short.
  • Switch off the electrics in your hotel, apartment or hostel.
  • Ask housekeeping not to change sheets and towels daily.
  • Open windows instead of using air con.
  • Choose resorts and hotels that are eco-minded.
  • Choose packages that give back to the local community.
  • Book excursions with local tour operators rather than the package provider.
  • Join a local litter pick.
  • Choose to do activities with minimal impact on the local environment such as hiking and biking.
  • Share images of plastic pollution on social media to raise awareness and prompt change.

 

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Loads of activities are covered as standard with Worldwideinsure.com, and every policy can be tailored to meet your unique adventure needs.

 

10 Must-Visit Wes Anderson Wonderlands

If you want your next holiday to feel like you’ve fallen into a Wes Anderson movie, then take a trip to the following locations. Each is a picturesque Wes-like wonderland that could well be the backdrop to his next film.

Pachuca, Mexico

Pachuca Mexico Image by DomAlberts CC0

Image by DomAlberts CC0

Why do we think that Wes would choose this as a location? The architecture here is influenced by Cornish mining immigrants – a fabulous fact that would fit a quirky script!

Curacao

Travel Insurance to Curacao Image by Patrice_Audet CC0

Image by Patrice_Audet CC0

The pastel colours of this colonial paradise in the Caribbean fit the Anderson aesthetic perfectly.

Las Vegas, USA

Travel Insurance to Las Vegas wedding chapel Image by Falkenpost CC0

Image by Falkenpost CC0

Whimsical wedding chapels and neon motel lights make Vegas a must-visit destination for Wes fans.

Furka Pass Strasse, Switzerland

Furka Pass Strasse, Switzerland Image by LoggaWiggler CC0

Image by LoggaWiggler CC0

Hotel Bélvedère sits along the iconic Furka Pass, a breath-taking backdrop fit for an Anderson movie.

Venice, Italy

Gritti Palace Venice Image by Mariamichelle CC0

Image by Mariamichelle CC0

Gritti Palace is a suitably opulent 15thcentury palazzo on the Grand Canal, the place to be for eccentric escapes.

Havana, Cuba

travel insurance to havana cuba Image by 12019 CC0

Image by 12019 CC0

The ageing colonial architecture offset by practically pristine classic cars makes Cuba a go-to if you’re looking for a Wes-style Wonderland!

St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg metro Image by Tama66 CC0

Image by Tama66 CC0

The metro features grand columns, marble interior, and chandeliers – a palatial place surreal enough to feature in a film script.

Budapest, Hungary

hungarian parliament Budapest Image by visualcreator CC0

Image by visualcreator CC0

Forget the Grand Hotel – the Hungarian Parliament building’s Gothic Revival architecture would be a resplendent backdrop for a Wes film.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland Image by Francesco Ungaro CC0

Image by Francesco Ungaro CC0

Bright orange paintwork set against the barren backdrop of the Icelandic landscape has the Anderson aesthetic written all over it.

Dinant, Belgium

Dinant, Belgium Image by Ben_Kerckx CC0

Image by Ben_Kerckx CC0

The juxtaposition of Gothic church, colourful houses and rocky outcrop looks like it dropped right out of a Wes Anderson film already.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like, insure you while you are already travelling, and provide car hire excess insurance too.

 

 

Wi-Fi Map App Review – Travel App of the Month November 2019

Wi-Fi Map App reviewFed up of buying a coffee just for a Wi-Fi code every time you are trying to avoid a data roaming charge? Fret no more; this app could save you a small fortune!

What is the Wi-Fi Map App?

It is exactly that – a map of all the Wi-Fi hotspots near you with the passwords needed to gain access. It uses crowd-sourced information, so gets better as more people use the app.

What does the Wi-Fi Map App do?

It shows you where the hotspots are – download the offline maps while you have Wi-Fi to ensure you don’t incur roaming charges – and allows you to add any new ones that you find for other travellers to make use of. The app also has the following features:

  • Unlimited secure VPN
  • Social media sharing

Wi-Fi Map travel App review

Who is the Wi-Fi Map App For?

Anyone, anywhere who is trying to keep his or her data costs down! This is especially useful if you are on holiday and trying to avoid roaming charges.

What do theWi-Fi Map App reviews say?

There are some usability issues, especially when trying to use the free version. Some users are saying that they can’t access it without signing up to the ad-free subscription. The developers have come back with the following fix: “You can use the Free version of Wi-Fi Map. When you run the application, tap “CLOSE” on the welcome screen of the app.” Having said that, the feedback for the app is significantly better on iTunes than it is on GooglePlay.

Top tip – refresh your app often for the most up-to-date crowd-sourced results!

Wi-Fi Map Google Play App reviews

Wi-Fi Map iTunes App review

Get it on iTunes

Get it on GooglePlay

10 Steps to Beat the Holiday Blues

holiday blues

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Post-adventure blues can hit like a brick after a trip. If you feel down in the dumps after a holiday, why not give these things a try

1. Re-create your favourite dishes.

There is bound to be a dish that won your heart on holiday. Cooking it up back home will bring back great memories and help that feel-good factor linger for longer.

2. Enjoy a tipple of your favourite drink.

Every part of the world has its own unique beverage. Whether it is a freshly made herb tea or a drop of something stronger. Take time to sit and savour whatever it was you enjoyed while you were away and you are sure to feel the relaxation wash over you!

3. Listen to the music.

Whether it was the music playing in bars and cafes, local performers, or the favoured local station of taxi drivers, you are bound to have heard a few tunes that sum up the vibe of your time away. Playing some choice tracks when you are back will lift your mood in no time.

4. Get together with friends.

Seeing all your friends will make you realise that you are actually pleased to be back, and you’ll get to share all your favourite stories, adventures and experiences. Why not give them a themed treat and cook up your favourite dishes, serve the local drinks, and put on the tunes for added ambience.

5. Create a photobook.

Don’t leave your best pictures to get lost on a laptop or somewhere on social media. Create an album and get it printed. It’ll make for a wonderful coffee table book that you can flick through with friends and family.

6. Journal the best bits of your break.

Make note of what your trip felt like, what stood out, what amazed you, what surprised you, and how you changed during your time there. It can be good to reflect on how the experience of a different culture can change our own perspectives on the way we live our lives back home. You can even add your thoughts, notes, and experiences to your photobook!

7. Meditate.

A great mood enhancer and a wonderful opportunity to recognise what you are grateful for in your life at home, and for your experiences while travelling. Meditation also brings “me time” into our daily routine – a treat that we don’t just have to save for when we are on holiday.

8. Exercise.

This is the number one way to lift your spirits. A short walk, swim, or time in the gym can make all the difference to how you feel. While it might not be an exercise that relates to your recent adventure, it’ll help you banish the blues fast.

9. Explore your local area.

You don’t have to travel far to have an adventure. Try exploring your local area with fresh eyes, make time to see and do the things that attract visitors from out of town. See a local band, eat somewhere that serves traditional fresh food, and take in the sights on a touristy day off.

10. Plan your next overseas adventure.

There’s nothing quite like having a new adventure planned to rekindle the feeling of wanderlust. Make a long list, make a short list, make a bucket list and decide where you’ll be heading next!

beat the post holiday blues

Image by stokpic CC0

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like, insure you while you are already travelling, and provide car hire excess insurance too.

Winter Snow WITHOUT The Ski – Best Christmas Holiday Breaks Abroad

wintersports insurance

Image by adege CC0

If you want to enjoy the beauty of a winter wonderland without exerting too much effort – or risking an injury or two – here are our tops tips for breaks that are so off-piste there isn’t a ski in sight!

Visit Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan

Inside the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park there is a unique opportunity to watch wild Japanese Macaques, also known as Snow Monkeys, enjoying the equivalent of a hot-tub in the snow. Troops of monkeys come to bathe in a man-made pool, which is fed by a hot spring. It’s a popular spot all year round but more so from December to March when it snows.

travel insurance winter holiday

Image by Santa3 CC0

Stay at the original ICEHOTEL® in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Part hotel, part art installation, and one hundred percent luxury, the original ICEHOTEL® is an immersive travel experience built each year from snow and ice taken from the nearby Torn River. With temperatures of -7C, it is advisable to only spend your first or last night in a “cold room” where you’ll be given expedition quality sleeping bags to keep you warm over your thermal layers. The rest of your stay can be in the warmer parts of the hotel.

Go Dog Sledding in the Yukon, Canada

Husky adventure holidays are the next big thing, and there are plenty of hands-on options where you can look after the pack as well as have a go at mushing. A four-day experience is recommended for beginners, and you should be reasonably fit to take part. It is a fantastic way to see the more remote parts of Canada and feel at one with the wilderness in winter.

dog sledding wintersports insurance

Image by skeeze CC0

Say Hi to Santa in Lapland

Deep inside the Arctic Circle it is easy for the younger members of the family to experience a truly magical Christmas experience. There are a number of resorts to choose from, and each has its own take on what the magic of Christmas is all about. Whether you like a fun-packed Santa theme park or something low key with outdoor adventure, Lapland is the place to be.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! KIDS GO FREE on many policies from Worldwideinsure.com and a whole host of winter sports are covered as standard.

 

Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Packing Guide

What to take and why to take it, whether you are staying on the coast, in the city, or heading to hill country in Sri Lanka! 

MONEY

  • Bank Card– The best way to get currency is from an ATM as you go, expect to pay a small charge for each withdrawal. Go to the ATM at Colombo airport on your arrival to get cash for your tuk tuk or taxi.
  • Calculator– Advertised prices are rarely what you will pay, taxes are added to the cost of the bill, and usually a service charge too – so you’ll need to brush up on your maths. 

HEALTH

  • Mosquito Spray– The mozzies out here are persistent, and not phased for long by natural repellents such as citronella. If you prefer a sensitive solution that really does work try Trek Sensitive by Pyramid Travel. It is (it really really is) as effective as 50% DEET but gentle enough to use on children and whilst pregnant. It smells good too!
  • Bite Cream– Even fully sprayed up, it is likely the blighters will get you, so take something to sooth the itch.
  • Antihistamines– Just in case the Sri Lankan insect bites make you swell.
  • Sun Cream– Can be quite pricey in Sri Lanka, and you will need it, even if it is cloudy.
  • Hand Sanitiser– In the more rural areas you may not have a choice but to eat like the locals (with your right hand, no cutlery). Cleansing gel will be welcome, even if there is somewhere to wash your hands.
  • Tampons– They are hard to find, and very expensive even if you do.

BAGS

  • Suitcase with wheels– It is hot and humid, so lugging a holdall will soon get tiring.
  • Dry Bag– Whether your clothes get wet from the sea, your sweat, or the rain, you’ll want to keep them away from your clean dry stuff!
  • Daysack– Make it a lightweight one that won’t make your back sweat, ideal for beach trips or trekking.
  • Waterproof phone case – Lagoon tours, kayaking, white water rafting, and wildlife boat trips are all popular here. Having a waterproof case for one of your most valuable possessions is a good idea.

ACCESSORIES

  • Trainers for hiking– Leeches are abundant in the jungle, which is more or less everywhere, so you’ll have a nicer trek if your feet are fully covered.
  • Raincoat– It doesn’t need to be monsoon season for it to chuck it down in Sri Lanka. A raincoat is a must if you are hiking.
  • Umbrella– Double useful because it’s great for keeping dry during a downpour, and then ideal for keeping the sun off once the rain has passed!
  • Sarongs– Lots of them. These are great as beach towels, beach cover ups and sarongs are useful for a whole heap of things besides – plus they dry quicker than a regular towel – which, given the humidity here, can take a very long time. Plus, they don’t take up much space in a suitcase.

WELLBEING

  • Ear Plugs– The critters are NOISY! Whether it is monkeys, dogs, geckos or cicada, something is bound to be making a racket when you want to sleep.
  • Eye Mask– Basic accommodation in Sri Lanka is likely to let the light flood in along with the much-needed fresh air. Get a better night’s kip with an eye mask.
  • Water Bottle– While it is wise to only drink bottled water in Sri Lanka, many places have water coolers so you can fill up your own canteen. Plastic pollution is a big issue here, so doing anything to reduce your impact is welcomed.
  • Neck Pillow– It makes the plane journey so much more enjoyable, and it will make lengthy transfers and trips across the country bearable. One thing about travel in Sri Lanka is that you can double the time you expect to get from A to B and add another hour or two on top! It is common for a 2-hour journey to turn into a 5-hour one; a neck pillow will offer some welcome comfort (and rest) en-route.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Pack your policy documents, and save a digital version. Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to suit your travel plans and many activities are covered as standard.

Dark Sky App Review – Travel App of the Month October 2019

dark sky app reviewIf you’re the kind of person who wants to pinpoint the best weather wherever you go, get a load of Dark Sky!

What is the Dark Sky App?

Dark Sky is a hyper-local weather genie with minute-by-minute meteorological updates! It’s also potentially the most accurate weather app going.

What does the Dark Sky App do?

 It gives minute-by-minute weather updates in your EXACT area, and hour-by-hour forecasts for the rest of the day and over the week. The technology used for this magical weather prediction is also used to power super-smooth radar animations so users can see how the weather fronts are moving.

The app also has the following features:

  • Push notifications for severe warnings.
  • A widget so you can see forecasts at-a-glance from your homescreen.
  • Time machine function to explore past weather and upcoming predictions.

dark sky app screenshot

dark sky app review

Why is the Dark Sky App good for travelling?

We think this technology makes it the ideal app abroad, especially if you are planning any extreme adventures. Knowing that a torrential downpour is going to strike halfway through a canyon hike could potentially allow you to make a life-saving decision about when to head off. Likewise, if you simply want to find a secluded, sunny cove to relax for the afternoon, knowing which side of the headland to pick could make a big difference to your day.

What do the Dark Sky App reviews say?

 You don’t have to just save it for holidays. This app is just as useful at home – deciding when to go for that bike ride, for example – as it is when you’re away. Also, well worth the £3.99 asking price.

dark sky app review google play

dark sky app review itunes

Get Dark Sky on iTunes

Get Dark Sky on GooglePlay

How To Travel With Friends and Not Fall Out – 10 Top Tips

Travelling with friends Image

Image by StockSnap CC0

Simple tips to ensure you and your mates make beautiful memories instead of becoming enemies on a group break abroad.

  1. Agree on the type of holiday you’re having – Active? Retreat? Nocturnal?
  2. Decide on a destination together.
  3. Choose a “package level”: Are you going shoestring, or do you want to splurge on eating out every night?
  4. Schedule free time so you have a chance for independent adventures, or just some time to recoup.
  5. Each write a list of things to see and do and schedule an itinerary based on something from each person’s list.
  6. Nominate a group organiser for each individual adventure so the burden isn’t always on the “most organised” person in the group.

    Travel Advice for Groups Image

    Image bu Ri_Ya CC0

  7. Make sure daily plans fit with each other’s personal routine – early-risers and up-all-nighters may not want to do the same things at the same time!
  8. Give people permission to say “no”, and be willing to accept they may want to change plans or do something different.
  9. Embrace the power of the unreasonable request – maybe you have a bucket-list must-do and it requires your buddies to miss a night’s sleep so you can see it! (Don’t forget number 8!).
  10. Remember your manners. Being in close confines – even with those you like the most – can be exhausting, especially if you are on a longstay adventure. Remember your pleases, don’t forget to say thank you, and keep it in mind that a hug can go a long way.

Did you know we do longstay travel insurance? Excellent for backpacking adventures, gap year experiences – and you can even get covered if you are already travelling!

How to stay friends while travelling Image

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Cape Verde – The UK’s Ultimate Winter Getaway?

Travel insurance for Cape Verde Boa Vista Beach

Boa Vista Beach Image by Matthias_Lemm CC0

Fed up of the cold winter days already? Why not book a sun-drenched winter break in Cape Verde? It’s got all the sun, sea, sand and relaxation you could wish for and is the perfect antidote to the hectic pre- and post-Christmas mayhem!

Why Cape Verde?

There are direct flights from the UK to four of the islands in Cape Verde. Travel time is less than 6 hours, and the “wintertime” will be wonderfully warm, without being too hot. Expect average temperatures of 28°C in the day in November and December (about 22°C at night), dropping to daytime temperatures of around 25°C in January/February.

Also, it is really safe – probably the safest place in Africa. There are no large or dangerous animals, and no snakes or poisonous spiders. Rarely, there are reports of scorpions having been spotted.

cape verde travel insurance

Image by morisonandsmith CC0

Where to stay in Cape Verde 

The island of Sal is the most popular, followed by Boa Vista. There are in fact 10 islands that make up the Cape Verde archipelago, but only three of them are home to the glorious white sands that attract travellers. The others are famous for their black volcanic beaches – much like Tenerife.

  • Sal – is only 30km by 11 km, is relatively flat, and is described as a beach-lovers’ paradise thanks to white powder sands and turquoise seas.
  • Boa Vista – home to the most remote, expansive and dazzling beaches in the archipelago; quieter than Sal and ideal for the ultimate relaxing break.
  • Santiago – the largest of the islands, rich in culture, diverse in landscapes and perfect for soaking up some creole culture.
Cape Verde Fishing Image

Image by Schland CC0

What To Do in Cape Verde 

Many people come to Cape Verde to do, well, not much at all. Take a leisurely walk into the local town, stroll on the beach, hop in the pool, and soak up the sun. If you do feel inclined to try out some activities, here are the top things to do during your trip.

Kitesurfing 
These islands can get windy! The dependably gusty Atlantic brings with it the chance to enjoy some watersports, particularly windsurfing and kite surfing.

Snorkelling
There are some great opportunities to get up close to the marine life in the shallow waters off Cape Verde – do be warned that seas here can be rough, with strong undercurrents – keep a keen eye out for flags that indicate if it is safe to swim.

Island Hopping
Head to Fogo for dramatic volcanic landscapes with a dash of Portuguese culture and fantastic trekking. Maio is another must: almost untouched by tourists, this island is a mix of mature forests, beaches, and again wonderful walking opportunities.

Fogo Cape Verde Travel Insurance Image

Image by Alexa_Nbg CC0

Turtle Walk
The Hatchery on Sal offers turtle releasing experiences, where visitors can watch nesting turtles and even see hatchlings being released to the sea.

Shark Experiences
Head to Shark Bay on Sal to see the relatively gentle lemon sharks. Tiger sharks and bull sharks are found in deeper waters; special excursions are available.

Whale Watching
Catamaran cruises are just one way to head out into the ocean where you could be rewarded with the wonderful sight of a humpback whale.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like. Many activities are covered as standard.

cape verde travel image

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