Category Archives: Travel Advice

The Worst Holiday Destinations In The World To Visit in June

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

Dubai, UAE

Image by Charly-G CC0

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

The Everglades, Florida

Image by revilo82 CC0

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

Havana, Cuba

Image by 12019 CC0

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

Death Valley National Park, California

Image by JungR CC0

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

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

 

Scorchio! 10 Tanning Tips Sun Seekers Tend To Ignore

Image by VViktor CC0

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

What is the Simple Habit App?

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

What Does The Simple Habit App Do?

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

Why Is the Simple Habit App Good for Travellers?

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

What Do The Simple Habit App Reviews Say?

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

 

 

Get Simple Habit on iTunes

Get Simple Habit on Google Play

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

Image by Free-Photos CC0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Zen of Travelling

Image by ottogarcia CC0

Philosophical musings for enjoying far-flung adventures.

Live In The Moment

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

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

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

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

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

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

Employ The F**k It Philosophy

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

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

Don’t Buy Stuff, Do Stuff

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

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

Memrise Review – Travel App Of The Month April 2018

Get your linguistic lips around Memrise, a language-learning app that has more than 200 languages to choose from!

What is the Memrise App?

It’s an app packed with tools and games that promise to make learning a new lingo fun, and less of a challenge.

What Does The Memrise App Do?

  • Lets you improve your linguistic skills with chatbots
  • Gives the opportunity to learn via video
  • Serves up games to hone your skills
  • Option to learn just by listening
  • 3 levels to boost your grammar and vocabulary skills
  • Gives you learning stats to track your progress

Who Is The Memrise App For?

With 15 million people using it, it is tempting to say everyone! We have picked this app for its huge range of languages, and the fact that you can continue to use the resources offline. This makes it perfect for practice during a flight on aeroplane mode, or swotting up in your remote destination when you have no signal or access to wi-fi!

What Do The Memrise App Reviews Say?

It won best app on both iTunes and Google Play, and those using it do seem to love it. Bear in mind that there is a free and a paid-for version, so your experience might differ from other users.

Memrise on iTunes

Memrise on Google Play

Detour Review – Travel App Of The Month March 2018

Private tours are only in the realm of the rich, right? Wrong! There is an app that offers location aware audio tours, an immersive experience that will make you feel like a VIP next time you take a select city break.

 

 

What is the Detour App?

It is an app that offers immersive audio walks. Using your GPS signal, it will guide you through the world’s most interesting places, with the people that know them best telling you all about it via your headphones.

How does the Detour App work?

  • Detour uses GPS to keep your selected narrator in sync with your location. This means that you can look at what is around you rather than staring at your screen.
  • Detour can be a solo or social experience – in fact it is the world’s first social audio tour, you can sync Detour with friends for a shared experience!
  • Each Detour audio tour lets you walk in the shoes of a narrator with a special connection to the place, giving you access to voices and experiences you couldn’t otherwise have.
  • Detour is available at some of the world’s most iconic locations including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New Orleans, Boston, Portland, Savannah, Charleston, Austin, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, and Marrakech.

Who is the Detour App for?

Anyone who wants to know more than they will learn from a guide book about their destination. Whether you are between flights, on a business trip, or on a holiday, Detour will make every step you take an unforgettable experience.

What do the Detour App reviews say?

Excellent mini tours that you can take to suit your own travel itinerary, and an unusual – and cool – way to experience a new place. Moreover people are saying that these tours deliver a real connection, on an emotional level via the stories told by the narrator. The downside? Wanted in more locations!

Get the app on Google Play and iTunes, or tune into the Detour website to find out more.

play.google.com

itunes.apple.com/gb

detour.com

 

 

12 Travel Photography Tips You Don’t Want To Miss

Image by Free-Photos CC0

Want to take some Nat-Geo worthy snaps on your next trip? Take a look at these top tips, guaranteed to improve your travel shots!

  1. Get up early. Sunrise is an awesome time, take the time to capture it in your location. An early start also gives you a better chance for capturing well-known landmarks without the masses.
  2. Stay out late. Long exposures of city lights, or of the stars at night sweeping by. Staying up late might also reveal a more decadent side to your destination!
  3. Use a tripod. It’ll give you time to set up your shot, and wait for the ideal light, or opportunity to take a remarkable shot.
  4. Shoot from the hip. A unique perspective, and a fun way to get some candid shots.
  5. Plan an itinerary. Don’t kick yourself for missing a photo opportunity, make a comprehensive list of locations you’d like to shoot.
  6. Let yourself get lost. Some of the best photos come from adventure. See where your journey takes you, there could be untold surprises in store.
  7. Recap the rules of composition. The rule of thirds in particular, it is a fast-track way to get a well-balanced shot.
  8. Try out some unusual framing. Break the composition rules and you may well get a dream shot that no-one else discovered.
  9. Learn to use your manual settings. Adjusting the shutter speed and light levels yourself can lead to a signature style that no one else can steal.
  10. Let yourself free with auto. Even the most basic of cameras nowadays are capable of awesome imagery – let your equipment do the hard work.
  11. Backup your image library. The last thing you want is to lose your pictures – keep them backed up!
  12. Make sure your equipment is covered with travel insurance. You also won’t want to lose your camera. Make sure that any equipment you take on your travels is covered on your insurance policy.

Chocolate Themed Breaks – An Alternative Easter Treat

Why have a chocolate egg when you can have a chocolate holiday! Here are four choice ways to have an eggstra indulgent Easter!

© Image Courtesy of Jade Mountain.

Chocolate Alchemy, Jade Mountain Spa Hotel, St Lucia 

This luxury hotel bathes in the glory of Piti and Gros Piton mountains, floating upon the Caribbean Sea, and rather indulgently is set in an estate where there are over 2000 cocoa trees growing! This makes Jade Mountain the place to go for an ultra indulgent chocolate experience!

In the Chocolate Lab guests can taste and help make the estate’s very own Emerald Estate Chocolate. Chocolate infused activities include sensory tastings, educational estate trips, and truffle making classes. There are also chocolate inspired dishes and cocktails in the resort restaurants and bars – plus chocolate themed spa treatments – the coarseness of ground cocoa makes for the perfect scrub, infusing the skin with natural nutrients and anti-oxidants. The Chocolate Alchemy Package Includes:

  • A chocolate welcome amenity and cocktail
  • Chocolate Lovers’ Breakfast in Bed celebration
  • Chocolate infused 1 hour spa treatment
  • A learning excursion to the resort’s Emerald Cocoa Estate
  • Chocolate Sensory tasting
  • Chocolate making class in Jade Mountain’s chocolate laboratory
  • A chance to create your own fudge and personalized chocolate bar

© Image Courtesy of Jade Mountain.

Chocolate Journey Cruise, Worldwide

Princess Cruises offers indulgent on-board chocolate experiences on all its liners, in partnership with award-winning chocolatier Norman Love. Each ship is different – but chocolate is always a key theme. Some for example do a monster Chocolate Indulgence breakfast buffet, and some boast a chocolate fountain or two. Experiences to entice guests aboard include:

  • Exquisite chocolate desserts
  • Chocolate-flavoured cocktails
  • Wine and chocolate pairing tasting sessions
  • Chocolate-themed spa treatments

 

© Image Courtesy of Cruise Critic

Mövenpick Signature Chocolate Hour, Worldwide

 This Swiss hotel chain is so connected with its heritage that it dedicates one hour in the afternoon to an exquisite chocolate tasting experience!

Mövenpick’s Signature Chocolate Hour takes place in the lobby of all their hotels and resorts around the world. Each day you can discover Mövenpick chocolate variations and homemade creations such as éclairs, brownies, truffles, chocolate fountains and much more!

© Image courtesy of Mövenpick.

The Chocolate Indulgence Break, Vale Resort, Wales

A complete hands-on experience in chocolate making, combined with a luxury break. The chocolate indulgence break includes:

  • 1 night luxury 4* break
  • Full Welsh breakfast
  • Vale Grill, A la Carte dinner
  • Half a day hands-on course making dipped chocolate & hand rolled truffles
  • Take home 25-30 chocolates
  • Tasting session & recipes
  • Half day in the Vale Spa with 25 minute facial or massage

© Image Courtesy of Vale Resort.

Mothers Day Weekend Getaways – Go On Treat Yourself!

Image by NRThaele CC0

Whether you are looking to spoil your mum, or you are a mum looking to get away from it all on a Mother’s Day break, here are three sensational destinations to choose from!

MILAN – for the mum who likes to shop

Synonymous with design and fashion, the Italian city of Milan is the place to go on a shopping spree! The top five spots to shop are:

  • Via Montenapoleone – Luxury shopping from world-class designers including Gucci, Prada, and Valentino. It’s also where you’ll find the best of Italy’s leather goods!
  • Corso Venezia – Exclusive, elegant, and surrounded by beautiful gardens, parks and palaces. This is the place to be seen if you are in to fashion.
  • Corso di Porta Ticinese – Alternative brands, unique boutiques, and boasting a very cool hipster vibe. You’ll also find well-known brands like Vans, Levi and Diesel here.
  • Corso Vittorio Emanuele II – High street fashion from the likes of Zara and Mango, plus it’s got one of the biggest department stores in the city, 8 floors of retail therapy heaven!
  • Corso Buenos Aires – Europe’s longest shopping street with the highest concentration of clothing stores. A sure fire guarantee that you’ll shop till you drop.

 

BUDAPEST – for the mum who likes a pamper

The Hungarian capital is brimming with thermal baths, and spas, offering a wide range of pampering opportunities such as mud therapy, massage, facials, and salt cave experiences. Top places to go are:

  • Rudas Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool – A glorious historical building where you can get the most authentic hammam experience. There are 6 baths, all of a different temperature, a steam chamber and a Finnish sauna. Divine!
  • Lukács Bath – An enormous spa space with everything you could wish for under one roof. Outdoor hot pool with mini river, massage services, swimming, and Himalayan salt steam room – all supplied by what is touted to be the best quality thermal spring in the city.
  • Széchenyi Baths – As the largest spa complex in Europe, you know that this place has everything you could possibly want, but one spa in particular comes to attention – the Beer Spa! Here you can soak in the mineral-rich thermal water but blended with natural extracts used to brew beer. While the spa lists many benefits to this spa, the fact it has beer on tap within reach of the tub is a winner.

 

ICELAND – for the mum who likes an adventure

There is just so much for an adrenaline junkie to do in Iceland! Here are some top activities and where you’ll find them:

  • Ice Climbing – Sólheimajökull in South Iceland.
  • Ice Caving – one of the most popular places to explore is on a glacier hike near Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe.
  • Skiing and Snowboarding – Head to Akureyri, Hlíðarfjall, these ski resorts are open for more days in the season.
  • Dog Sledding – Locations vary, but most tour pickups are from Reykjavík.
  • Trekking, Hiking and Mountain Biking – All over Iceland taking in beaches, hot springs, mountains and valleys.
  • Snowmobiling – Tours are mostly at the top of glaciers, so expect awesome views too!
  • Scuba Diving – Silfra Fissure, situated in Þingvellir National Park – one of the top 5 diving sites worldwide!
  • White Water Rafting – Hvíta´ river, south Iceland, Jökulsá Austari in the North East, Vestari Jökulsá in the North West.
  • Paragliding – Birds eye view of Reynisfjara black sand beach, Reynisdrangar basalt stacks, ocean waves, lava rock formations, waterfalls… you get the picture!

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