Ingenious Cash-Hiding Hacks For Holidaymakers

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Having your travel money stolen can ruin your holiday. Here are some amazing ways you can keep your cash safe on holiday…

1. Stash your cash in a lipstick, or chapstick if you prefer.

We’re talking the wind-up kind of cosmetic case. Simply scoop out the contents and clean it up with a cotton bud, then roll up your paper cash and pop it in the tube. To get your money out, just wind it up!

2. Keep your cash in your shoes beneath sheepskin shoe liners.

The bulkiness of the sheepskin will make it more confortable on your feet, and less noticeable if you take your shoes off in a public place. No good for a hot holiday where you’ll be in flip-flops though!

3. Pop the contents of your purse into a padded bra.

No one is going to pick pocket your bra without you noticing it. The reason for choosing a padded bra is so that it’s less obvious to see it’s hiding some cash. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you could always sew a small pouch on the inside for extra security.

4. Hide your holiday money in a hair roller.

Not for everyone, but some travellers think that popping a curler in is a viable way to get the glam look back after a long haul flight. While you are at it, you can keep a bit of cash rolled up in there too.

There are heaps of money belts, and underwear and accessories with hidden pockets – however, opportunistic thieves are well versed with such advances in technology, and ready to pick hidden pockets too. Make sure that you have travel insurance before you leave, as this will help cover the costs of having money stolen abroad. Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.

9 Ways To Get A Free Airline Upgrade

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If you aspire to live like an A-lister (or just want to enjoy a long-haul flight rather than dread it) here are a few tips that might get you an upgrade next time you travel.

  1. Be A Loyal Customer – Frequent flyers and those who are members of an airline loyalty scheme are likely to be offered an upgrade if one becomes available.
  2. Choose A Busy Flight – These flights are more likely to have oversold economy class tickets, which means those extra passengers have to be put somewhere – usually business class.
  3. Don’t Buy Discount Tickets – In the interests of fairness, some airlines only offer upgrades to passengers who have paid more for their ticket.

What’s so good about an upgrade?

  • Bigger, fully reclining seats
  • Better quality food and drink
  • No extra charge for food and drink
  • More flight attendants with more experience = better customer service
  • Privacy, and exclusive perks such as a separate airport lounge
  1. Be An (Almost) Important Person – Most flights have an upgrade list for important flyers – VIPs, Journalists and the like, but if you are not one, you could still get on it if you know someone who works at that airline. Ask them if they can put your name forward, if management agrees it, you could be offered an upgrade if one comes up!
  2. Ask in Advance – Most free upgrades are approved at least 24 hours before the flight, leaving requests made at check in or while boarding mostly futile.
  3. Give A Last Minute Request A Go – Despite the above information, some (well, very few) last-minute hopefuls do get lucky so there is no harm in asking! Just make sure you…
  • Ask politely
  • Have a valid reason
  • Are smartly dressed

First Class Vs Business Class

First class has the biggest seats, and these are usually in a well-equipped pod and offer complete privacy. Pods are complete with workstations, TV, entertainment, and privacy dividers. First Class flight attendants are also the best, a bit like having your own butler, plus the quality of the food served will be even higher than the meals served in Business Class. First Class comes with a premium price tag – expect to pay AT LEAST twice the price of business class.

First class travel to New York right now could cost between £3,584 and £5,400 with BA. You could bag a business class seat for around £1,800.

While some airlines keep business class and first class separate, other airlines have merged these two classes into one cabin that has different seats and service quality. Whether they are separate or merged, they are never in the same area as economy class.

  1. Trade In Air Miles – It will take quite a few, but a big bunch of air miles might just help you bag an elusive free upgrade.
  2. Travel Solo – Those travelling alone are definitely at an advantage when it comes to free upgrades, especially if just one or two premium seats become available.
  3. Have A Valid Reason – Things that will go in your favour: being very tall, being heavily pregnant, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, going on a honeymoon. Also, if you have a faulty seat or entertainment system but there are no more spaces in Economy Class you could ask for that elusive upgrade.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! If your flight is cancelled it could help cover the costs of getting to your destination (and home again!) Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.

LuckyTrip Travel App Review – App of the Month October 2017

Do you have a tough time deciding where to go and what to do on holiday? Imagine that all of that is decided for you in just one click. You’ve just imagined LuckyTrip, the most simple and perfect holiday planner on the planet!

What is the LuckyTrip app?

It is an app that finds awesome holidays on your behalf, including somewhere to stay, how to get there, and things to do while you are there. The clever bit is, it has a Lucky mode, so, you can just put in your budget, press the Lucky button, et voila! The app will show you a complete trip to one of 300 amazing destinations!

If this all sounds waaaaaay too much like total freedom, you don’t have to let the button decide everything, you can use filters to select dates, type of holiday, number of people and also airport.

What does the LuckyTrip app do?

  • It finds you Somewhere to Go – using the cheapest flights from Skyscanner.
  • It finds you Somewhere to Stay – locating the best rooms from Booking.com.
  • It finds Something to make you Happy – such as unique things to do, handpicked by the LuckyTrip team.

It also saves trips, and allows you to share your adventures with friends and of course, book a holiday. As we mentioned before, you can filter your results to personalise the perfect trip.

Who is the LuckyTrip app for?

In Lucky mode, it is for the adventurous, the frivolous, the spontaneous, those who believe in destiny, and of course, the indecisive! Even if you don’t use Lucky mode, we think it is a fun and simple way to discover a new destination, and go where luck takes you.

What do the LuckyTrip Reviews say?

LuckyTrip is only available on iPhone, it won best app of 2015, and it has had lots of positive publicity. As far as user reviews go – it gets 5 stars.

  • TechCrunch: ‘Incredibly simple’
  • USA Today: ‘10 Best Travel Apps’
  • The Scotsman: ‘Simple, but revolutionary’
  • Evening Std: ‘Brothers cook up travel app’
  • The Express: ‘Best Apps 2015’
  • Daily Star: ‘Top 10 Apps’
  • CityAM: ‘Quicker than any travel agent’
  • ProductHun: ‘Brilliant’
  • KYM: ‘Best iPhone Apps of 2015’

GET LUCKYTRIP!

20 Tips To Break The Boredom On A Long Haul Flight

At this time of year, holidaymakers are resigned to taking a long haul flight in search of sun. We share some top tips on how to survive the monotony of a long haul flight.

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  1. Listen to an audio book.
  2. Read a magazine.
  3. Watch a movie (or two or three, or four).
  4. Chat to your fellow passengers.
  5. Talk with the cabin crew.
  6. Listen to a new album.
  7. Read a newspaper
  8. Go to sleep.
  9. Listen to a podcast.
  10. Draw a picture.
  11. Start a new book.
  12. Do a crossword.
  13. Play some Sudoku.
  14. Eat your food slowly.
  15. Treat yourself to regular snacks.
  16. Start a new game on your smartphone or hand held console.
  17. Practice speaking the local lingo.
  18. Play a solo card game.
  19. Get up and stretch your legs in between every activity.
  20. Take up knitting – do check luggage restrictions before hand.

Bonus Mega Tip: Divide your flight into chunks of time, and have an activity for each slot. It’s easier to find 15 activities to fill 15 segments of travel time than decide what to do for 20 hours!

 

5 Of The Best Places To Spend Halloween

1. Mexico

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In Mexico, Halloween is for the kids, and greatly overshadowed by the Day of the Dead, which falls on 02nd November. This celebration however is just bursting with colour and excitement, which probably makes it the best destination in the world at this time of the year.

What is Day of the Dead?

Day of the Dead is an annual gathering in Mexico where people come together to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Streets are packed with lavishly decorated market stalls selling lavishly decorated goods such as sugar skulls and ornaments for altars, there are parades of people dressed in costumes, with skulls painted on their faces; and amongst all that you’ll also find street vendors selling delicious foods, and altars where revellers can pay their respects.

2. Amsterdam

Image by Chase Elliott Clark CC BY 2.0

The Halloween Festival Amsterdam is a whopping three-day event, so even if you didn’t dress up as a zombie for Halloween, you might well look like one by the end of the festivities! Costume parties, all night horror film marathons, and gory makeup workshops are just some of the major events happening during the festival.

3. New Orleans

Image by Infrogmation CC BY 2.0 CC

They know how to party in New Orleans, and Halloween celebrations are no exception. The New Orleans Halloween Parade is second only to the famed Mardi Gras for dressing up street party fun for all ages. Celebrations are preceded by ghost tours, and visitors can get into the feel of the night by visiting any of the many voodoo shops that can be found in the city for some extra spooky fun!

 

Did you know? New Orleans is regarded as one of the most haunted cities in the whole of the US!

 

4. Barcelona

Image by Leon F. Cabeiro CC BY 2.0

This is another city well known for its party atmosphere! Among the many fiestas that happen throughout the year here you’ll find La Castanyada around Halloween. It is a popular All Saints’ Day festival celebrated throughout Spain, and it translates as chestnut time! As such, amongst the festivities you’ll find plenty of roast chestnuts being served alongside sweet potatoes, almond cakes, and sweet wine!

5. Bratislava

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The Slovakian city of Bratislava has gained a reputation of having the most frightening Halloween celebrations in the world! Pubs, Clubs and bars all get in on the action turning the entire city into one big spooky party. Hotels also offer fright nights for guests, so make sure you book ahead if you want to spend Halloween here.

Avoid the fright of your life…. Get travel insurance!

Finding yourself in a pickle on holiday over a lost passport or stolen wallet is far more frightening than any of these Halloween events! Make sure that you get the cover you need should your holiday not go to plan.

bSafe Review – Travel App of the Month September 2017

Following on from our theme earlier this month of travel safety, we thought it would be timely to feature a personal safety app. Introducing bSafe, a FREE app designed to keep you safe when you might feel at your most vulnerable.

What is the bSafe app?

It is a personal tracker packed with special features that makes it easy to let key people know if you are in a potentially dangerous situation or emergency situation.

What does the bSafe app do?

• Allows you to set up your own social personal safety network of friends, family and co-workers
• Option to share locations between your personal network members
• Follow Me is a live GPS option to enable your personal safety network to follow your route in real time, a virtual walk home
• Timer Mode gives users an option to program an automatic alarm that will trigger if you have not arrived at your destination when expected
• The I’m Here feature allows users to notify selected people of exact location
• Use Fake Call to make the phone ring when you want it to – you can even define who the call should be from
• The Guardian Alert button is an emergency button that will immediately notify your friends and family members that you need help, let them know where you are (GPS) and what’s happening (video) so that they can contact the emergency services on your behalf. It even has the option to set off a siren.

What makes bSafe the app of choice for travellers?

This app is ideal if friends and family back home are going to be worried about you if you haven’t been in touch for more than a few hours. Instead of having to go online, message, email, call, or update a status – knowing that you’ve got a button to press in the event of an emergency, or the very least at the slightest hint of danger will ease their worry. Also, it is a very good idea to ensure you can let people know where you are or where you are meant to be, just in case something does go wrong – vital if you are travelling solo.

What do the bSafe reviews say?

Both Android and iOS users have offered a very mixed bag of reviews, but overall, the app scores highly. The website states that the app is under new ownership and currently undergoing improvements, which will hopefully iron out the latest issues and bring it back to its former glory!

Fastpacking – Trail Running Holiday Guide

Pack light, move fast, see more than most would on a hiking holiday. Fastpacking is fast becoming the way to enjoy an outdoor adventure – even for those who don’t have trail running experience. The principles are simple, and there are even holiday companies headed by experienced runners just waiting to take you on an adrenaline-fuelled adventure. Intrigued? Read on to find out what it’s all about…

Image Courtesy of Run the Wild © Simon James

What is fastpacking?

Think fast backpacking, think endurance trail running, think about covering a day-long hike before it’s even brunchtime. Fastpacking is all about covering ground quickly, which means you get to see more over the course of your holiday. To do this, you have to pack light – you need to be able to run with everything you need to survive.

How fit do you need to be to fastpack?

It depends on what adventure you are hoping to go on! Run the Wild say they have a running adventure for everyone – for those who are starting out, right through to pro packages. Their bespoke guiding service means that all abilities can be catered for, from those who have never run before to runners just looking to elevate their technique. While you don’t have to have done much running before, they advise that to take part in their scheduled adventures, it does help if you can run at least 10km, and for more challenging adventures they like to have a chat about your experience and ability to ensure that you get the best out of your trail running adventure. They also host “technical series” events, which are aimed at improving understanding on all aspects of trail running through demonstration and instruction.

Fastpacking packing tips

The key to having an enjoyable journey is keep your kit lightweight, simple, but sufficient for survival – including in the event of an emergency! Pack weight is vital – you need to be able to run!

Lightweight waterproof day sack – 10 to 30 litres depending on the length of your adventure. Get one with a breathable mesh back, side pockets for storing energy-boosting snacks to eat on the go, and with an integrated hydration system. Sternum and waist straps are essential to keep your pack secure while you run!

• Layered clothing – The number of layers will depend on your destination, but do invest in quick-drying base layers, a warm but light longsleeve top, and a breathable jacket. Spare socks and a woolly hat might seem like an extravagance when packing light, but you’ll be glad of them when you relax at the end of the day.

• Food – What you pack depends on whether you’ll be cooking. Lightweight foods such as pasta and cous cous coupled with compact proteins such as tuna and nuts are a good option. Always pack some herbs as they can transform the taste of a dish and will add nothing in terms of weight to your pack. Pack some high-energy snacks to eat as you run too. P.S. Don’t forget your water!

• Shelter – Pack an ultra-light tarp shelter and a sleeping bag. Make sure you go for lightweight products, but ones that that will stand up to the elements you’ll be facing.

• Essential Accessories – First aid kit, pocket knife, head torch, whistle and mirror (for SOS situations), compass, lighter, ziplock bags (for carrying any waste away with you), repair tools such as duct tape or rope. Pack a water purifying system such as a Lifestraw, Lifesaver, or Aquimira so that you can hydrate healthily should your own supply run out.

• Travel Insurance – Any adventure that takes you off the beaten track (even if it is a well-worn path) requires adequate travel insurance. Trail running carries more risks than a casual hiking holiday, and your policy is the thing that will get you the urgent medical care you need, and back home safely without breaking the bank.

Fastpacking Etiquette

Before your journey make yourself familiar with the 7 principles of Leave No Trace (LNT). It provides information on how to be a responsible wild camper, from how and where to light a fire, wash yourself, and go to the toilet through to how to cover ground in pristine areas to minimise your impact on the local environment. It is worth noting that non-runners also use these trails, and will appreciate a little courtesy when it comes to passing on a path.

Best Places for A Fastpacking Holiday

Easy – the wilderness, and places with well-maintained long-distance footpaths – New Zealand is an excellent example. Countries that support a good network of paths with rest huts and campsites are great for fastpacking too – these can be found in just about any climate that you want to explore from Canada to Columbia, Japan to Germany, and everywhere in between!

Image Courtesy of Run the Wild © Simon James

Like the idea of a trail running holiday but want to hone your skills first?

Simon James, at Run the Wild says “Just try it! Trail running is such a great way to explore the wilder parts of the areas we live. Even living in an urban environment, parks offer a great place to get to experience the freedom that trail running involves.” They are also on hand to guide you on your fastpacking journey as they arrange trail running holidays in both the UK – Chiltern Hills – and France – near Chamonix in the French Alps.

“The Chilterns are just 30 minutes north of London and so very easy to access for most people who want to get into an accessible wild place, as an AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty) which is really hilly, it has a lot to offer! The Alps are on a whole other level, with glaciers pouring down towards the valley floors, and summits pushing up into the clouds, it really can take your breath away. Trail running here is addictive and once you have tasted it you will want to come back for more! The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of our more popular longer distance trails, circumnavigating Mont Blanc in around 6 days.”

10 Safety Tips For First Time Travellers

Stay safe abroad with these easy to remember tips for first time travellers.

image by PublicCo CC0

1. Walk tall

A confident stride, with head held high will give off a “don’t mess with me“ signal, and it will also mean you are more alert and aware of what is going on in your surroundings. Never walk with your head buried in a map, or staring at your phone!

2. Ditch the designer labels

Designer clobber and premium brand accessories will give the impression you have something worth stealing. It’s not just a matter of pick pockets hoping to take a wallet, phone or watch, in some places people will demand you hand over your shoes, trainers or coat as well.

3. Leave expensive electronics at home

It might get broken, it might get lost, or it could attract the attention of an opportunistic thief. Cut the risk of losing your expensive electronics entirely and only take what you need. Thankfully these days, smartphones can take amazing pictures, and keep us in touch via email, so no need to take a camera and laptop on holiday too.

4. Avoid going off the beaten track alone

If you know a certain part of town has a reputation for being on the wilder side, stay clear – at least until you have become more travel savvy. If you can’t resist the urge to explore, book on an official organised tour, with a recognised excursion company. Avoid going off with a local guide unless your travel provider can vouch for them.

5. Be cautious of whose company you keep

While there is safety in numbers, it depends on who’s in the group! Stay alert, stay sober, and always tell someone where you are going – whether it is the hotel or hostel staff, or family and friends back home.

6. Watch your wallet, purse, passport, phone….

Keep what you can in a safe, only take the money you need for the day, and keep your belongings well hidden from others. Always make sure that your essentials are with you, within view, not left on or under a table, and carry your bag in front of you – some pick pockets simply slice open the bottom of the bag to get at stuff – and you won’t even know it is going on if it’s tucked behind your arm, or on your back!

7. Get Travel Insurance

If anything does go wrong… lost or stolen passport, lost or stolen wallet, or if you have been injured in an altercation, travel insurance is the one thing that can help you get back home. It will cover costs such as travel to your local embassy and passport replacement, and of course getting you back even if you’ve lost your tickets.

8. Note down important numbers

To make sure that you can get help if you need it, you need to know who to call. Having the local embassy phone number, your passport number, and travel insurance number on your phone is great, but make sure you have a hardcopy of these details back at your accommodation in case your phone is lost, damaged, or stolen. You should also make a note of family numbers in case of an emergency.

9. Think first aid

Infections and illness abroad is no laughing matter – make sure you keep an eye on bites and stings, and at the hint of a tummy bug, make sure that you avoid dehydration, it can be deadly! At the very least, pack a simple first aid kit with antiseptic cream and rehydration sachets in – ideally take a first aid kit that covers the risks specific to your destination – this could include sterile IV kits, antibiotics, and malaria treatment

10. Do all you can to avoid food poisoning

Food poisoning can make you very ill indeed. At best it’ll ruin your holiday, at worst, you’ll find yourself in hospital in a life-threatening situation. Make sure you follow the guidelines for avoiding food poisoning abroad. The risk varies between destinations, but generally speaking, as long as food is piping hot and thoroughly cooked, it should be safe to eat. Particular foods to be aware of include cheese, ice cream, seafood, salads, and unpeeled fruit and vegetables. Tapwater and ice are a no-no too.

Be a savvy traveller! Get comprehensive travel insurance tailored to your needs and your getaway. Call us on 01892 833338 or get an online quote.

Best September City Breaks for Couples

The kids are back at school, and the sun is still shining – the perfect combo for couples looking to take a late summer city break. Here are the top 5 places you’ll want to be and why this September…

Paris

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Would a list like this be complete without it? Not only is the city said to be the epitome of romance, it is a short flight, or even train journey from the UK – which means more time gazing into each other’s eyes on holiday. Plus it is packed with boutique bars, restaurants and cafes – just perfect for indulgent couple time.

Reykjavik

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Sensational scenery, vibrant nightlife, and the city centre has just about everything within walking distance. Three great reasons for couples to take a short break in Reykjavik! Also, temperatures just about to cling on to double figures right until the end of the month, fresh but pleasant.

Amsterdam

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Like Paris, this city is quick to get to, but the atmosphere is certainly more heady! The titillating city centre will bring some added excitement to a romantic weekend, but don’t forget that Amsterdam is blessed by a myriad of beautiful canals and winding cobbled streets, ideal backdrops for a romantic getaway.

Venice

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This Italian city is literally awash with romance. Whether you catch an opera in the opulent La Fenice opera house, take a gondola ride at sunset (please refrain from warbling the words from the Cornetto ad), or just wander the piazzas soaking up the amazing architecture – it’ll be a city break of a lifetime for two.

Marrakech

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Adventure, luxury, a taste of the exotic… and it takes less than 4 hours to get there from the UK – no wonder this Moroccan city has made our list! It’s also a super-toasty temperature in September, around 35 °C. The dose of late summer sunshine is guaranteed to keep your romantic intentions topped up as well as your tan!