Tiny Covid Travel Tips For Travelling Safely in 2022

The travel world went a bit wonky for a while, but things are getting back to normal. People are heading by plane, train, boat, bus… two wheels, four wheels, and who knows maybe even more wheels across the globe once more. As such we thought it was time to share some updated travel tips, including covid and travel insurance with the mantra “hands, face, space” in mind.

Covid Travel Safety Tips

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  1. Visit during the shoulder seasons – This is the magic space between high seasons where prices are lower, but things are generally hotting up, cooling down, or drying out to near-ideal conditions for visiting. The other plus side is that there are far fewer people than you’d get during the peak times, making it easier to keep your distance and enjoy the vistas and attractions more safely.

 

  1. Consider a road trip and hire a camper – Van life was gaining popularity before travel got difficult, but now the idea of being in your own little road-trip bubble is more appealing than ever. Whether you plan to go off the beaten track and avoid people as much as possible or you plan to go check out some tourist hot-spots, having your own contained living space to take wherever you go is a big bonus! Check out our top tips for the ultimate road trip!

Don’t forget your Camper Van Hire Excess Insurance!

Don’t let worries about accident, damage or theft of the vehicle spoil your holiday. Avoid costly collision damage waiver policies from your rental firm with a much more affordable excess cover with our International Motorhome Hire Excess Insurance through Worldwide Insure!

 

  1. Plan a flexible itinerary – As we discovered during the past 18 months, things can change pretty quickly, so plan a flexible itinerary to give you options if restrictions suddenly come in. It could be as simple as having a bunch of hikes you’d like to do if attractions are shut, or if budget allows alternative destinations where things look a little more rosy.

 

  1. Choose outdoor activities and attractions – Rubbing shoulders indoors with a whole host of strangers that may have travelled from all over the globe may seem a little risky in the current climate, especially if you are travelling during high season. Advice is to keep your time in such spaces to a minimum, so choose a destination where outdoor activities and attractions are plentiful, or aim to keep your focus on sightseeing rather than visiting museums and galleries and the like.

 

  1. Dine Al Fresco – Even the coldest and wettest destinations are primed for folks that would rather keep their dining outside. All that fresh air and space is just the ticket for staying fit and healthy on your holiday!

 

Don’t forget these travel essentials:

  • Reusable straws – that way you know exactly what’s touching your lips when you have a drink.
  • Masks – the rules are always changing but take enough to last the whole of your holiday just in case.
  • Hand sanitiser – no need to handle the same dispenser as everyone else whenever you walk through a door.
  • Sanitising wipes – handy for wiping down touch-points when you arrive at your hotel or holiday apartment.
  • Covid Travel Insurance – A new(ish) addition to our travel insurance policies that can help protect against the unexpected when it comes to Coronavirus and travel. Cover varies depending on policy type, so please refer to the information provided when you obtain an online quote.

 

 

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12 Month Travel Bucket List – A Dream Adventure Itinerary

While 2022 is getting off to a great start, we have our eyes set to 2023 and all the wonderful adventures we can hope to go on. Here’s a dreamy month-by-month list of love-to-dos to look forward to!

January –  Antarctica To See Penguin Chicks

Summer is in full swing at this time of year with a blissful 20 hours of daylight to illuminate your explorations. The summer season is also when the ice retreats exposing rock that makes the perfect playground for penguin chicks. The safest and most eco-friendly way to enjoy this adventure is as part of a polar expedition – there are a number of reputable operators to choose from.

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February – Abu Dhabi To Experience It Without Melting In Unbearable Heat

Enjoy the Goldilocks effect in full swing and visit this awesome city at a time when the weather is “just right”. It’s warm enough to enjoy time at the beach and cool enough to explore all the attractions without relying on air-con.

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March – Nepal To Sleep At Everest Basecamp

The views in March in Nepal are picture-perfect. The weather is usually clear and rainfall is minimal. The days are also long, meaning more hiking hours to take in those gorgeous views and to enjoy the 14 day trek to basecamp.

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April – Japan To Experience The Cherry Blossom Festival

The festivals actually take place from January to May depending on where in Japan you are – the time the blossom appears varies from region to region. Be mindful not to travel during Golden Week when the whole of the country is on the move enjoying all the attractions and and the many bank holiday festivities – unless you like extra high prices and lots of queueing!

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May – USA To Kayak The Grand Canyon

No bucket list travel itinerary would be complete without a mention of this great wonder of the world. Clear skies and high temperatures make this the best time of year to take to the water in the Grand Canyon, it’s only 10 degrees! Should you take an unexpected dip, which you are quite likely to do, at least you’ll warm up fast once you are out.

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June – Peru To Visit Machu Picchu

This is the driest time of the year to experience Peru’s interior – exactly what you want if you’re going to trek or venture to Machu Picchu. It’s officially the start of winter but you can expect temperatures to be a comfortable 20 degrees C during the day, but be prepared for chilly nights.

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Don’t forget your travel insurance! Who knows what might happen on the trip of your dreams. It could be as minor as your baggage getting held up, or a flight being delayed, but it could also be something a lot more serious with the potential to turn the holiday of a lifetime into an expensive trip doing the worst kind of admin. Travel insurance can take that burden away – get in touch to find out what kind of cover suits your needs and your budget the best.

 

July – Switzerland To Enjoy An Alpine Summer

The shoulder season in Switzerland is a dream, with the start of July being as warm as it’s likely to get without all the crowds of high season. The mountain scenery at this time is at its best with jaw-dropping and unforgettable views. Be warned, if you leave your trip until the end of the month it’s likely to get expensive as well as a lot more busy.

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August – Santorini To Experience A Summer in Full Swing

Hot weather, warm seas, the best beach breaks and a vibrant nightlife are the hallmarks of a Santorini Summer in August. It is also the busiest time to visit – but if you are prepared to brave the crowds and take this delectable destination in your stride, you’ll have a great time.

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September – Morocco To Sleep Under The Stars in the Sahara Desert

Avoid sandstorms, freezing temperatures, and believe it or not – the chance of flash floods by visiting the Sahara Desert in September. This is the tail end of the season when it is still warm enough to sleep outside but has the perfect conditions for star-gazing.

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October – Fiji To Celebrate Fiji-Day

The shoulder season is about to end, prices are still low and the temperatures are starting to rise… and all before cyclones and rain could stop play. Go at the start of the month to discover a whole week of celebration of Fijian and Indo-Fijian diversity that reaches a crescendo on October 10th aka Fiji Day!

Fiji Travel Image

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November – Iceland To See The Northern Lights

At this time of year not only is the Aurora Borealis at its most active, but the skies are at their darkest and clearest – the perfect combination for viewing the most spectacular light show on the planet! There are some other great locations you might want to consider – check out our blog about Best Northern Lights Destinations.

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December – New Zealand To Visit The Fjords at Milford Sound

It may be the middle of the peak-season, but it means that the rains that this part of the world is known for – and the reason why the vistas are so spectacular – are less likely to make an appearance and obscure the picture-perfect views!

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Take Me To The Sunshine: Destination Barbados

What better time than the mid-winter solstice to let our minds wander to thoughts of a hot sunny beach holiday to beat those winter blues. We are thinking blue skies, white sands, crystal clear seas and weather so hot you’ll want to be in the shade. Barbados anyone?

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Why Barbados?

It has over 70 miles of stunning beaches, arguably the best in the Caribbean, and you can choose where to go by deciding whether you want to swim, surf, paddle board, snorkel… you get the picture. The weather is a delight and the laidback vibe is made for relaxing – in the daytime! By night you’ll soon discover that this is when the island wakes up, and there is much fun to be had!

Where to Stay

The island is small, approx 32km by 25km, but you still might like to base yourself near the type of beach that fits your preferred activity. The west coast is a bit more expensive but has a calm sea so good for swimming and snorkelling, the east coast is the place to be for surfing and the generally more rugged terrain will appeal to hikers too.

What to Do

Island Tour: A five hour feast for the eyes, (and the belly!) where you can experience the people, culture and history of Barbados. Stops include taking in the beautiful architecture of  Speightstown, a visit to the Animal Flower Cave, Bridgetown, the Platinum Coast and the Garrison – a world heritage site. Expect to be offered rum and banana bread as well as delicious traditional cuisine for lunch.

Snorkelling: For most of the year visibility is between 40 and 70 feet, making it the perfect place to explore the water’s wildlife and shipwrecks! The best spots are within the two marine parks. You may well be able to spot seahorses, turtles, parrotfish, grouper, squid and nurse sharks.

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Rum Tasting: Barbados is considered the birthplace of rum, and The Mount Gay Rum Tour is well recommended. The distillery was founded over 300 years ago so home to the world’s oldest rum. It’s not the only rum tour on offer though, check out St Nicholas Abbey, Foursquare Rum and Heritage Park and the West Indies Rum Distillery if you are really serious about your spirits.

Food and Drink: We’ve covered rum, but for something a little less potent try mauby – a favourite amongst locals. It’s made from mauby bark and is delicious with ice and a slice of lemon on a hot day. It’s quite a tonic, said to alleviate symptoms of arthritis, reduce cholesterol and treat diarrhoea. The national dish is Flying Fish with a side of cou cou (cornmeal cooked with okra). If meat is off the menu, check the roti options – available with a wide variety of fillings all over the island.

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Good to Know

  • The best time to go is January through to March when temperatures average 29°C.
  • The tap water is safe to drink.
  • In Barbados they drive on the left.
  • Although the island is considered safe, it is wise to have your wits about you when visiting the capital Bridgetown, just as you would in any city, as petty crime is a reality even in paradise; a good reason to make sure you get your travel insurance!

Barbados Travel Insurance: Longstay, multitrip  or single trip, either way you’ll find that our Travel Insurance fits the bill for what you want to do abroad. Annual Multi-trip covers any number of trips in a year, and covers travellers up to the age of 74, as well as business trips and families. Single Trip will cover you for up to 94 days of adventure, if you are going for longer – check out the longstay which covers overseas adventures that last from 3 to 18 months.

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Best Places To See The Northern Lights This Winter

The Aurora Borealis, aka The Northern Lights. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, but unlike the other wonders you have no guarantee that you’ll even get a glimpse of its beauty when you get to your destination. It is an elusive luxury money can’t buy. For this reason we’ve compiled a list of top destinations that offer the traveller something amazing to do while waiting for the best light show on the planet to show up!

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Tromso Norway

Tromso is billed as the best place in THE WORLD to see the Northern Lights. It is a gorgeous historic city, 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, with colourful timber buildings that look magical against the rugged and snowy terrain. The Aurora is so strong here that (should they show) you’ll even be able to see the lights from your hotel window in the city!

  • Whale Watching: Take to the water to watch migrating Orca and Humpback whales in the fjords of Norway. These tours often have an option to stay overnight in a glass-roofed cabin to watch the skies at night.
  • Snow Mobile Safari: An action packed day where you get to grips with handling a snow mobile before heading off to explore the fjords, mountains and spectacular views of Tromso.
  • Sami Culture Reindeer Experiences: Options to take a sledding experience with the Sami during the day, or to join the herders in an overnight camp. Both offer an excellent opportunity for immersing yourself in the culture of the tribe, but opting for the camp comes with an extra opportunity to view the Northern Lights.
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Reykjavik Iceland

Situated slightly south of the Arctic Circle, Iceland isn’t positioned quite as well as Tromso for light spotting, but there’s still no need to head to the hills to see the spectacle, you can get a good view even in the city should the Northern Lights show. The city itself is a wonder of colourful buildings and interesting architecture with plenty to see and do while you are here.

  • Icelandic Horse Riding Tour: The Icelandic horse is the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of Iceland in total peace. Tours are kept small and usually only in the south of the island during the harsh winters – more to protect people than these hardy horses!
  • Explore Lava Tunnels: It may not be the longest, but the best known and possibly most beautiful lava tunnel is in Raufarhólshellir in the south-west. Dazzling rock formations, rainbow coloured walls and magnificent mosses make it almost as magnificent as the Aurora Borealis.
  • The Blue Lagoon: An other-worldly geothermal spa in a lava field. As well as providing a surreal spa experience, the Blue Lagoon has a wealth of amazing pampering treatments including complimentary treatments at the mask bar where you can enjoy the revitalising wonders of the natural minerals found here.

The Best Times To See The Northern Lights

The solar cycle dictates when you are more likely to see the Northern Lights. It has an 11 year cycle – the next peak (so the year you are most likely to see the lights at one of these destinations) is 2025!

The best time of the year to see The Aurora Borealis is from late September to March when the phenomenon is more active and the skies are at their darkest. Having said that there is a peak in the action around the autumn and spring equinoxes.  

Time of day is also important! Expect to see the lights any time from 6pm until 4am – again there is a peak in performance usually around 11pm/midnight.

And the weather… unless there is a clear sky there will be very little to see even if there is a massive solar storm raging in the skies above. Later in the season is likely to be less cloudy.

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Yukon Canada

Once a gold-rush territory, Yukon in Canada makes the most of a different type of glittering natural resource to attract visitors – the promise of shimmering night skies. Yukon is just 12km north of the Arctic Circle and is very sparsely populated, the ideal Northern Lights destination if escaping modern life is top of your agenda! But what is there to do if the lights don’t show? Let’s find out:

  • Be a Culture Vulture: Connect with the history of the gold rush and try your hand at panning for gold at The MacBride Museum of Yukon History. Or step back even further in time, 26,000 years perhaps, explore the natural history of Yukon at the Beringia Interpretive Center – home to the oldest and best preserved Yukon Horse, as well as wooly mammoth and giant beaver replicas, and fossil collections.
  • Yukon Wildlife Preserve: If living things are more your thing, take to skis, snow shoes, or catch a tour bus to go see caribou, elk, lynx and bison that have been rehabilitated after injury and released by the animal-loving staff at the preserve. The three mile loop is home to over 180 individual animals in 350 acres of beautiful landscape.
  • Dog Sledding: Multi-day winter dog-sledding trips are one way to get your fill of arctic wonder! Join an experienced musher and their four-legged friends for training and then a few days of using and honing those sledding skills. Choices to camp under the stars or in a lodge.

 

Don’t forget your wintersports travel insurance! Ski and snowboard insurance that covers a wide range of winter sports and your equipment too!

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White Christmas City Breaks

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Fancy a city break to celebrate Christmas this year? Here are some amazing destinations that will fill you with festive cheer and seasonal sparkle.

Helsinki Finland

Reasons to go: The traditional Christmas drink is Glögi, made of spiced wine, almonds and raisins and often a warming dash of Vodka! This seasonal speciality is sure to keep you toasty whether you plan to shop ‘til you drop on Aleksanterinkatu, the official Christmas Street of the city – this is where you’ll find all the biggest names in Finnish design; or decide to explore the Helsinki Christmas Market, a winter paradise with over 120 stalls selling gifts and festive food and drinks.

• Approx Flight Time: 3h
• Chance of snow: 10%
• Average Temperature: -4°C

Quebec Canada

Reasons to go: Each year Old Quebec City transforms into a Christmas village adorned with glittering lights, nativity scenes and all things festive. Quebec also has an amazing German Christmas market serving up delights such as roast chestnuts and sausages as well as plenty of stalls selling artisan Christmas gifts that you won’t find on the high street. What really makes it our choice for a Christmas break is the famous toboggan run, where you can speed down the hill on a wooden sled whilst taking in the city views.

• Approx Flight Time: 10h
• Chance of snow: 20%
• Average Temperature: -10°C

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Prague

Reasons to go: A mouthwateringly wonderful cinnamon sugar covered pastry treat called Trdelnik! It goes great with a Svařák – the Czech equivalent of a hot mead or mulled wine – and is commonly served with a scoop of ice cream; and believe us when we say you’ll need the calories for hitting the Christmas markets! Make sure the Old Town Square Christmas Market is on your itinerary, it’s said to be the most scenic one in the city. Other favourites include markets at Peace Square, Prague Castle, and Wenceslas Square.

• Approx Flight Time: 2h
• Chance of snow: 69%
• Average Temperature: -1°C

Reykjavik

Reasons to go: Being so far north, Reykjavik gets just four hours of daylight at this time of year. The dark skies coupled with frost, snow, (maybe northern lights) and the bright festive lights in the city makes it a truly magical place to be for Christmas. It’s also the place to be to enjoy an early Christmas, because here it is celebrated on the 24th. The fun starts with Þorláksmessa on 23rd of December, the time to join locals for a few beers, or pastries and hot chocolate whilst taking in the last hours of Christmas shopping.

• Approx Flight Time: 3h
• Chance of snow: 9%
• Average Temperature: -2°C

New York

Reasons to go: The city is alive with festive wonder, there is more shopping here than you can shake an Amex card at, and the entertainment is next level. Top places to head for are: Bryant Park Winter Village – here you’ll find over 120 holiday stalls and a huge ice rink; Fifth Avenue for Christmas window displays – a riot of festive imagination where you are just as likely to see seven million Swarovski crystals twinkling away (actually true!) as you are fairy lights on a tree; and Dyker Heights Brooklyn, where even the locals ramp it up all the way to 11 at this time of year – check it out, it’s even got its own tour bus.

• Approx Flight Time: 7h
• Chance of snow: 3%
• Average Temperature: 0°C

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Cancelled flights, lost luggage, missed flights, illness or injury can all turn a dream holiday into a bit of a nightmare without the right cover.

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England in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries To Travel 2020!

With travel restrictions likely to affect our holiday plans for some time, there is no better time than to plan UK staycation! With miles of coastline, and a wealth of countryside to explore, why not make it a roadtrip and reconnect with this beautiful place we call home. Here are some must-do activities on a tour of England!

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Cotswolds

A quintessentially English market town in a truly delightful country setting. Being in an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty, it is an ideal base if you like to enjoy the great outdoors whilst being close to urban comforts.

York

A medieval marvel with cobbled streets, teeny tea rooms, and lots of history to explore! Must-do’s are the Jorvic Viking Centre which offers olfactory insights into centuries past, and of course York Minster.

Lake District

This national park offers stunning scenery and is an amazing place to be for outdoor activities. Whether kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, gorge scrambling, via ferrating, abseiling… (you get the picture) is your adrenaline rush of choice, you’ll find it here.

Cambridge

The place to be if you’re after that wind-in-the-willows vibe. Cambridge is a university town with a distinctly erudite atmosphere. Number One activity here is to take a punt tour on the river Cam, and also wander the city’s many bridges. You can see where it got its name.

St Ives, Cornwall

The light here is magnificent, the beaches are beautiful, and the winding streets are a delight to explore. St Ives has a wonderfully cosmopolitan vibe without losing any of its quaint charm. Also excellent for surfing.

Did you know? The England Coast Path is due to be completed in 2020 – this will be an epic 3000 miles long trail of uninterrupted coastal walk!

 

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London

The Capital of the country and full of tourist attractions that are oddly overlooked considering everyone in the country can get here for a day trip. Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, British Museum, National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum will reconnect you to the culture of the country, and give you an insight into why the tourists flock here – history!

Whitby Bay

Fish and chips followed by a wander along the pier, maybe a ride on the steam train, and if the weather is warm enough a dip in the sea. The North East Coast of England is a rugged and spectacular place to be, and Whitby is the perfect base to explore from.

Stonehenge

A peek into our pagan past, and a wonderfully mystical site to visit. Stonehenge attracts tourists from all over the world, but it is a place we Brits seldom put on our itinerary. Take a trip to connect with your Druid roots!

Tip: Take a hire car! If you are on an epic tour of England, you really should do it in comfort, especially if traveling with the whole family! Remember to take out car hire excess insurance – it will protect you from the potentially high fees associated with exclusions, and save you from purchasing the hire company’s more expensive protection.

New Forest

This is a place where horses, donkeys and cows wander free – a novel and unusual experience, especially if you spend most of your time in a city. The New Forest has a serene outdoorsy feel, great for camping, family bike rides, and kayaking.

Brighton

A small place with everything you could ask for. As well as a vibrant nightlife, great shopping, and a fabulous beach all wrapped up in Victorian splendour, Brighton also sits just on the edge of the South Downs. The perfect balance of city life with country living  – whatever takes your mood.

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Don’t forget your car hire excess insurance – it’s not just for breaks abroad, it offers peace of mind for UK car hire too. 

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Google Translate App Review – Travel App of the Summer 2020

google translate logoThis is an app that could really save your bacon if you get into a pickle abroad. While it’s great if you can decipher a menu and read a few signs, even travellers who are reasonably good at a basic conversation will struggle should they need to find medical assistance or help in an emergency. Thank Google someone developed this app!

What is the Google Translate App?

It’s arguably the most useful app for those who travel around the world, because it simply isn’t possible to learn every language. This app uses the camera, the keypad and the microphone to translate from your native langue into another, or to translate something you don’t understand into something you do.

What does the Google Translate App do?

The camera can be used to instantly translate text in images or in print – a freakily amazing experience! Simply hold your camera over the text and it magically changes into your chosen language. For steadier results, you can take a picture, and then use the translate function.Another option is to speak into the phone, and then the app translate on your behalf. Or you can type or draw characters and have them translated that way

  • Text translation: Translate between 108 languages by typing
  • Offline: Translate with no Internet connection (59 languages)
  • Instant camera translation: Translate text in images instantly by just pointing your camera (90 languages)
  • Photos: Take or import photos for higher-quality translations (50 languages)
  • Conversations: Translate bilingual conversations on the fly (43 languages)
  • Handwriting: Draw text characters instead of typing (95 languages)
  • Phrasebook: Star and save translated words and phrases for future reference (all languages)

google translate screenshot

google translate screenshot

 

Who is the Google Translate App For?

Absolutely everyone who is travelling to a different country should have this app on their phone. While Google search does have a translate function, this app has so much more, anf it really does alleviate the stress of communication, especially in critical situations.

What do the Google Translate App Reviews Say?

Mind-bogglingly useful, but with limitations. We are pretty sure that advancements in AI technology will overcome all of these little niggles in due course. Basically it’s not perfect, but it does the job well enough to be understood.

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Get it on GooglePlay

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Inspirational Holiday Reads for 2020

There’s nothing quite like kicking back on a sun lounger or comfy sofa and indulging in a good book. We’ve picked a handful that’ll have you hooked on booking your next holiday.

 Motel Vegas by Dr Fred Sigman

Motel Vegas Book Cover Image

Motel Vegas showcases the rise and fall of Las Vegas’ iconic roadside motels as told by photographer and art historian, Dr. Fred Sigman.  The book is a photographic ode to a bye-gone era and a reflection on America’s iconic automobile culture.

Motels and auto-courts played a significant role in the development of car culture, especially with the advent of famed Route 66, the “Mother Road”. Motel Vegas celebrates the praised architectural vernacular that once dominated Las Vegas’ skyline and served as the foundation for today’s mega-resorts. This book is bound to have you planning your next American Road Trip!

Motel Vegas is available to buy in hardback, published by Smallworks Press.

The Island by Victoria Hislop

The Island is set in the village of Plaka, in sunny Crete, and tells the tale of a woman searching for the truth of her family’s past. Making her first visit to the small village, the protagonist is taken in by the deserted island of Spinalonga, an ex-leper colony, just a short distance across the bay.

This wonderfully atmospheric, award-winning novel will have you yearning to be in the Mediterranean summer sun, especially with the way the book depicts the warmth and charm of the Cretan culture.

One Hundred Summers by Vanessa Branson

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Vanessa is the founder of the Marrakech Biennale, and the well-travelled sister of Richard Branson. One Hundred Summers tells a family tale of the first and second world wars, the rough and tumble of a village childhood, through Cool Britannia and beyond.  The book waves a tapestry of English eccentrics, heroes, lovers and villains and along the way reveals:

  • Tales of Vanessa’s accidental forays into tourism, transforming the Scottish Island of Eilean Shona into a destination retreat and a developing El Fenn, once a crumbling palace into a landmark hotel in Marrakech.
  • Early years spent at Necker Island, a mosquito-infested barren rock.
  • The story of the Marrakech Bieniale, an arts festival that placed that city firmly in the forefront of African, Middle Eastern and Mediterraean art world.

One Hundred Summers is out in May.

 

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Living The Adventure While Life Is On Pause

Don’t stop dreaming! A positive outlook and having future travel plans in place are ways to get through these challenging times; and while no one knows what worldwide travel will look like in a few months time, there is nothing wrong with keeping our hopes high and planning ahead anyway.

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1. Make a meaningful destination wishlist

It is likely that access to affordable travel will be reduced even when we are all allowed to travel freely between countries. As such, make your wishlist a meaningful one – a weekend museum trip to Milan may well be superseded by a hike up Kilimanjaro, even if it means you won’t travel as soon as you are able.

2. See longstay travel adventures as the new eco-option

With fewer planes in the skies, and less traffic on the roads it has been noted that the air is cleaner and that the planet may be happier. Now is the time to embrace lower carbon travel so we can keep these benefits. Taking the slow way on an extended trip to a dream location is by no means a bad thing, especially if you choose to do the bulk of your travel by rail – and think of all the places you get to visit en route!

3. Altruistic adventures make a “holiday” more purposeful

Whether you sign up for a charity fundraising adventure holiday, or you plan to go abroad as a project volunteer – taking the altruistic approach may well give your break abroad more purpose. Not only do you get to enjoy the delights of a dream destination, you also get to support a good cause while you do it.

Be More Keanu Turtle Sanctuary Image by Kerry McCarthy CC0

Image by Kerry McCarthy CC0

4. Get planning to keep motivated

Get the ball rolling so you know what you need to do when the time comes. You could plot routes, make itineraries, create a packing list, work out a budget, make a savings plan, find out what visas and vaccinations you need and even start getting fit if your adventure requires it. Start doing all these things now, and you will be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime when the time comes.

5. Do your research

There has been no better time to read books, watch documentaries and consume travel blogs and vlogs about your chosen destination and activities. Indulge your heart and your mind with the possibilities that await and it really will feel like you are living the adventure even though life is currently on pause.

Your travel adventures, whenever they happen will require travel insurance – while you may not need to purchase a policy right now, we are still open for business and ready to provide the right cover – wherever they are!

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How To Boost Your Wellbeing With Wanderlust During Lockdown

Times are certainly difficult right now, but it is possible to boost your wellbeing even if you can’t leave your home.  Psychology professors have long known that both expressing gratitude, and pursuing goals can measurably raise happiness levels.  So, by looking ahead with an optimistic eye to travel adventures next year, and looking back with thankfulness to adventures past you could make your day that bit better.

Wanderlust and Wellbeing Image

Image by sasint CC0

The Optimistic Outlook– Which Destinations are on your wishlist?

Arguably, while we can’t go anywhere – we have the potential to go everywhere with a bit of daydreaming. By using some goal setting techniques, you could even start to build some plans to make those daydreams come true.

The importance of goal setting is to aim for intrinsic goals, the pursuit of things that bring personal happiness, over extrinsic goals, the sort of stuff that brings approval from others. The GREAT news here is that the pursuit of goals while on holiday or travelling is one of the most intrinsic goals out there.*

Task 1:

Start to build your destination wishlist – and really immerse yourself with why you want to go there and what you would do when you are there. Here are some ideas:

  • Sri Lanka to hike the hill country
  • Nepal to go on a yoga retreat
  • Colorado to go white water rafting
  • New Orleans for a Jazz festival
  • Chamonix to go skiing
  • Athens to run a marathon
  • La Rioja to do wine tasting

Don’t hold back, really get your dream on and make a big long list. You could even go as far as printing off pictures and making a vision board – creating a collage that you can look at every day and remind you of what you’d like to do.

“Some of us might wonder if it is feasible or possible to continue striving towards our goals during times of crisis. Research suggests that not only is it possible, but commitment to goals during such times may help us cope better with problems” Prof Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness.

Task 2:

Next, it is time to create a plan of action – you won’t raise your happiness unless you are actually doing something in pursuit of your goals. Here are some ideas:

  • Create a home-fitness plan to increase your skill levels and capability for achieving your goal.
    • Hiking might mean building up your step count in your garden, on your stairs and during your daily exercise.
    • Yoga retreat dreams might mean signing up to a live online class like these from Same Star Yoga, committing to following YouTube videos, or downloading an app for your home practice.
    • There are dedicated workouts online for building up strength and body conditioning to improve stamina for skiing and white water rafting. Right now many instructors are documenting their home workouts such as James Wheatley’s No Gym, No Problem series.
  • If something less active, such as jazz festivals and wine tasting, is on your agenda, boost your knowledge with online courses and joining forums to learn more about your subject.
    • Udemy and Coursera are both great online learning platforms, and some have opened up courses for free while people are being asked to stay at home. The Science of Wellbeing by Yale University is one such course available for free on Coursera – just the thing to help boost your wellbeing while you wait to travel.
  • Create a to-do list ready for when you are able to fulfil your travel goal.
    • Plan an itinerary
    • Make a packing list
    • Make a note of any visas and vaccinations needed
    • Work out your route
    • Plan a budget

Task 3:

Commit and be accountable! The idea is to have a plan of action and then carry out that plan, as pursing goals can add much needed meaning to our daily lives. Make a timetable, commit to measuring and tracking your performance and make yourself accountable by sharing your commitment with family members and social groups online.

surfing holiday Image

Image by Kanenori CC0.jpg

Boosting Happiness by Expressing Gratitude

Out of all the tools available to make people happier, psychology professors found that expressing gratitude was the most instant and long lasting technique that worked across the board. There are a variety of ways that gratitude can be expressed, but the most simple and effective way is:

  • For 14 days choose three things a day to be grateful for and write them down  “Today I am grateful for…”
    • This can be as simple as: “Today I am grateful for the warm weather, that I enjoyed a fabulous trip to Rome last September, and that my neighbour left me some home grown veg on the doorstep”. Or you can take some time to expand on the things you feel grateful for by writing a detailed account of past adventures, good times, travels, and family holidays – or reconnecting with the people you met on those travels and reminiscing about the fun you had and the sights you saw.
  • Text your simple list to a friend or family member, or share with someone in your house – the accountability will make the effect stronger.
  • After 14 days carry on with simple things three times a week, or more detailed gratitudes once a week.

These are just a couple of amazing ways to boost wellbeing – you can find out more in the Yale course mentioned, or in Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness. In the meantime, we are still open for business and ready to provide the right travel insurance for your adventures – whatever and whenever they are!

* Sonja Lyubomirsky, (2007) The How of Happiness, p.217

Posted in Travel Advice | Comments Off on How To Boost Your Wellbeing With Wanderlust During Lockdown