Category Archives: Travel Advice

Best Places For Backpacking in 2019

Backpacking travel insurance Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0

Here are the top places to head in 2019 with a pack on your back and just enough money in your wallet for a hostel. Idyllic whether you are backpacking for gap year giggles, travelling on a budget, or you just fancied having a wholesome adventure!

Philippines

Seeking adventure? Tick! Seeking tropical beaches, with crystal clear sea? Tick! A unique honeymoon location? Tick! You’ll need to think of things to add to your bucket list after backpacking in the Philippines.

backpacking Philippines Image by my000693 CC0

Image by my000693 CC0

Made up of over 7,000 islands, you’d expect a taste of paradise, adventure and excitement and that’s exactly what you get. Go scuba diving, swim with great white sharks, indulge yourself under the tranquil waterfalls or relax with a beer by a lagoon. It’s also cheap – a pint of beer is about 75p at the going rate.

Iceland

Spectacular, rugged, breath-taking, glacial – it’s hard to describe Iceland within a limited word count. You’ll be able to honestly hashtag #nofilter when you snap the majesty that are the northern lights in all their prancing, dancing, ethereal beauty.

backpacking Iceland travel insurance Image © 43kcreative.com

Image © 43kcreative.com

Hire a car to tour the glaciers and ice fields, bathe in the geothermal springs for a unique getting back to nature experience and take in the local Reykjavik culture, with its charming Nordic nightlife. Be warned Iceland isn’t cheap, but this small island nation packs in more natural beauty per square mile and you get more than what you pay for.

Nepal

Nepal is a mountain nation. Get your head around that for a moment and think what that can offer. You don’t even have to climb a mountain (only recommended with proper guidance) to have a life changing experience in Nepal. Paraglide through the soaring valleys, take a plane ride across the Himalayas, visit temples, national parks and stunning monuments.

backpacking insurance nepal Image by Squirrel_photos CC0

Image by Squirrel_photos CC0

Nepal is a true adventure. If you do choose to trek around Everest, put at least a week aside and go off season – it gets extremely busy. If you’re after an experience that doesn’t require as much extra oxygen, take a trip to one of the national parks and observe tigers in their natural habitat.

Turkey

If you’re looking for a unique backpacking experience at a low, low cost, you can’t beat The Shoestring Cave House in the Cappadocia region. From just £7.00 a night, you can sleep in a cave, relax at the outside pool and even enjoy a ride in a hot air balloon.

backpacking turkey Image by adibalea CC0

Image by adibalea CC0

With views that are going to set your Instagram alight, balmy Turkish evenings and a once in a lifetime opportunity to sleep below the ground, this is a perfect stop off for any backpacker. Be warned, Turkey is politically unstable at the moment and this may not be the time to go. If you’re determined however, the people are some of the most charming on the planet and a joy to share a shisha pipe with.

Worldwideinsure.com Longstay Travel Insurance has been tailored to meet the needs of those on extended breaks and backpacking adventures! It has greater flexibility than standard travel insurance, and you can add activities as you go.

 

Airport Travel Hacks – Tiny Tips To Save Your Sanity

Airport Travel Hacks Image by skitterphoto CC0

Image by skitterphoto CC0

Air travel is a mixed bag of experiences. Waiting, rushing, mild panic, boredom, elation, feeling travel sick… Here are a few things you can do to even out those highs and lows and be a bit less stressed next time you travel by aeroplane.

Hacks for before you check in

  • Customise your hold bag – bright tape is perfect for making your luggage stand out at baggage collection.
  • Pack all essentials in your hand luggage – just in case your hold bag goes missing, you’ll still have your chargers and toiletries to get you through the first day.
  • Download all your tickets and passes – just in case you have no connectivity make sure you can access them offline!
  • Have a hard copy of all essential travel documents – just in case your phone gives up altogether.
  • Take a photo of where you park – bay 6B is not memorable after a week in the Bahamas.
  • Wear your bulky items – to avoid paying for extra baggage.

 

Hacks for before you go through security

  • Pack your devices and liquids at the top of your hand luggage – it saves time!
  • Empty your pockets before you get to security – it saves time!
  • Finish up the water in your bottle – so you can get a cheap refill the other side.
  • Choose the security queue with business travellers – they tend to be more prepared so go through faster.
  • Never queue behind families, hen parties or stag dos – they tend to faff more and be less prepared so go through slower.
  • Choose the left queue – apparently most people are right-handed so will go right as it is easier. Left hand lanes should therefore be quicker.

 

Hacks to get you through the wait the other side

  • Use headphones for noise cancellation – not for music so you don’t miss important announcements.
  • Connect to the airport Wi-Fi – or risk maxing out your data allowance before you even get to your destination.
  • Brush up on key phrases – Duolingo is an addictive language learning game and will make the time fly while you actually boost your language skills!
  • If you haven’t already got it, get your travel insurance! A call with the lovely team at worldwideinsure.com will make the time fly while you’re waiting for your flight.

 

Hacks for on the plane

  • Board last – if you are the last on, you may well get that elusive upgrade.
  • Sit over the wing – you are less likely to feel turbulence. Morning flights are less likely to be turbulent too.
  • Don’t sit by the bulkhead – that’s the safest place to secure babies in bassinets, so more likely to be where the screaming is.
  • Ask for seconds if you are hungry – not all passengers take their meal so why not have what’s leftover if you are still hungry.

Tour de France 2019 – What To Eat, Drink and See (Other than Cycling)

Tour de france travel insurance

Image by stokpic CC0

Heading across the Channel to catch a slice of Lycra-clad cycling action? Well, at the pace they go, spectating will be over in a flash. Here’s what to eat, drink and do once you’re done during every stage of the 2019 Tour de France.

 

Brussels (6th– 7thJuly)

What to Eat: Mussels

What to Drink: Trappist Beer

What to See other than cycling: The Atomium

 

Binche – Épernay (8thJuly)

What to Eat: Pan fried crayfish

What to Drink: Chimay beer

What to See other than cycling: Bonne-Espérance Abbey

 

Reims – Nancy (9thJuly)

What to Eat: Local seafood

What to Drink: Champagne

What to See other than cycling: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims

 

Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Colmar (10thJuly)

What to Eat: Foie gras

What to Drink: Local wine

What to See other than cycling: Wine tasting tour

 

Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles (11thJuly)

What to Eat: Pork trotters

What to Drink: Alsatian Muscat

What to See other than cycling: Skiing

 

Belfort –Chalon-sur-Saône (12thJuly)

What to Eat: A cheese board

What to Drink: Cote Chalonnaise wine

What to See other than cycling: Musée Nicéphore-Niépce

 

Mâcon – Saint-Étienne – Brioude (13th-14thJuly)

What to Eat: Steak

What to Drink: Cocktails

What to See other than cycling: Basilique Saint-Sernin

 

Saint-Flour – Albi (15th– 17thJuly)

What to Eat: Warm goat cheese

What to Drink: Local white wine

What to See other than cycling: Sainte-Cecile Cathedral of Albi

 

Albi – Toulouse – Bagnères-de-Bigorre (17th– 18thJuly)

What to Eat: Cassoulet

What to Drink: Quinquina

What to See other than cycling: Garonne River Cruise

 

Pau (19thJuly)

What to Eat: Lamb

What to Drink: Sweet white wine

What to See other than cycling: Funiculaire de Pau

 

Tarbes – Tourmalet (20thJuly)

What to Eat: Street food

What to Drink: Local red wine

What to See other than cycling:  Jardin Massey

 

Limoux – Foix (21stJuly)

What to Eat: Lobster Bisque

What to Drink: Sparkling wine

What to See other than cycling: Etang de Soulcem

 

Nîmes (22nd– 23rdJuly)

What to Eat: Truffles

What to Drink: Rosé

What to See other than cycling: Local Roman sites

 

Pont du Gard – Gap (24th July)

What to Eat: Giant prawns

What to Drink: Chardonnay

What to See other than cycling: Roman Aqueduct

 

Embrun – Valloire (25thJuly)

What to Eat: Pork Ribs

What to Drink: Local glacier water

What to See other than cycling: Col du Galibier

 

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes (26thJuly)

What to Eat: Seafood

What to Drink: Chignin

What to See other than cycling: Snowboarding

 

Albertville – Val Thorens (27thJuly)

What to Eat: Veal

What to Drink: Peron Jean-Yves wine

What to See other than cycling: Maison des Jeux Olympiques

 

Rambouillet – Paris (Champs-Élysées) (28thJuly)

What to Eat: Anything and everything

What to Drink: Take your pick

What to See other than cycling: The Eiffel Tower

Packr App Review – Travel App of the Month June 2019

packr travel appTake the stress out of travelling by using an app that has your back when it comes to packing and links with TripIt for the ultimate travel companion combo.

What is Packr?

Packr is a well-thought out packing checklist that will ensure you have the right things you need in your suitcase based on what you like to do, and the sort of weather you’ll be expecting at your destination.

What does the Packr app do?

It generates automated checklists based on your destination, weather and types of activities you’ll be doing and adds quantities of each item based on the length of your stay.

  • Automated Lists
  • Tailor Made Lists
  • Multiple Destination Trips
  • Weather Forecast Driven Lists
  • Family Packing Function
  • Connects To TripIt
  • Learns From Each Trip How You Like To Organise Lists

The lists can be edited and customised, and you can create your own custom lists too, perfect for times when the pre-defined activities don’t match your plans! Packr also synchronises with your TripIt app, can be shared, printed, and used across multiple devices!

packr travel app

packr travel app

Who is the Packr app for?

The app caters for families with its multiple traveller mode, backpackers with its multiple destination function, and the fastidious traveller with its customisable features.

What do the Packr app reviews say?

Pay for the pro version! While the free version is great, the small one-off payment is great value for money as it unlocks the real gems that make this customisable tool truly flexible for everyone’s needs.

packr travel app reviews

 

Get Packr on iTunes

Go to the Packr website.

Adventure Travel – Holidays with Good Karma

travel insurance for adventure holidays

Kilimanjaro © Discover Adventure

If you love the idea of adventure you have probably considered signing up for a fundraising adventure – a great way to realise travel dreams and raise money for a good cause at the same time. We spoke to Discover Adventure to find out what makes this type of break a great alternative to a regular holiday, and what to say to sponsor sceptics who think they are just paying for someone else’s holiday!

Why choose a fundraising adventure over just going on holiday? 

On a fundraising adventure, your trip has purpose. Each step you take, you are making a difference to people’s lives and each challenge that you face within your adventure is overcome with the motivation of supporting a meaningful charity and the sum of money that your supportershave donated.

And when it comes to the actual adventure – exploring a new location as part of a sponsored challenge allows you to disregard the expectations you would usually have on holiday. You are more likely to embrace the local culture and communities you meet and expose yourself to the natural elements – refreshingly liberating compared to the usual holiday comforts.

You will also push yourself out of your comfort zone, make friends for life as the emotional rollercoaster of your adventure draws you closer, and you will experience totally new things, things you probably never expected you would.

Ultimately, the benefits of an adventure last for much longer than a relaxed holiday would!

Which are the most popular adventure holidays?

Our Kilimanjaro challenge has been a really popular adventure this year, especially due to the recent #ReturnToKili celebrity team that trekked Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief. However, our iconic once-in-a-lifetime adventures are constant favourites: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Trek, Great Wall of China Trek and the London to Paris Cycle to name a few. Although we have found in recent years our shorter adventures are seeing an increase in popularity as people can squeeze them into busy schedules. Our Saharan Mini Adventure is 5 days long and gives you the real desert experience whilst lapping up Moroccan culture, and our Northern Lights Winter Trek in Iceland is another growing fascination for many of our participants.

travel insurance for adventure holidays

Stelvio © Discover Adventure

Which are the most challenging adventure holidays?

Our adventures are measured on a scale of Yellow, Orange and Red, with Red graded trips considering factors such as altitude, tough terrain and long days on the ground. Our King of the Mountains Cycle Series includes some of our toughest rides, such as the Stelvio & Classic Italian Climbs Cycle. This takes on some legendary climbs including Passo di Gavia, Passo di Mortirolo and Passo dello Stelvio. Whilst on the trekking side of our adventures, trekking Kilimanjaro, Africa’s biggest mountain, and our Everest Base Camp Trek are challenging treks to take on.

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! Many activities are covered by worldwideinsure.com policies as standard, adventure sports travel insurance can easily be added to your policy, we provide flexible cover for casual or competitive participation AND we offer travel health cover for snowboarders and skiers with our Winter Sports Travel Insurance.

Any tips how to choose the right challenge?

The bigger the challenge, the bigger the sense of achievement – but what one person considers a walk in the park, is another’s mighty mountain. Start a little out of your comfort zone and choose something that excites you. Whether it’s a rush of adrenaline, or a stir of emotion, if it gets you thinking, could I really achieve that? That’s your challenge.

travl insurance for adventure breaks

Great Wall of China © Discover Adventure

What about those who think fundraising adventures are just “sponsoring someone’s holiday”?

A lot of charities may never have seen this fundraising had it not been for the individuals deciding to do these challenges. Bear in mind that people are always willing to sponsor others to do things beyond their comfort zone. Training is essential, preparation is key and the determination to overcome whatever it is that challenges you most from the experience is more than enough to warrant being sponsored.

When you are fundraising you want to showcase the challenges you are facing in order to drum up donations, and you want to be able to pull out some of the most challenging elements of the experience. Whether it’s the fact you are trekking three countries in three days or the many lows you’ll endure alongside the mighty highs along the way. These are the things that make it totally different from a holiday!

Adventure travel challenges are designed to test you, so don’t be fooled by the mesmerising views you’ll catch en route, and remember – it is an incredible achievement to raise any money for a cause close to your heart.

 

Rome2rio App Review – Travel App of the Month May 2019

Get from A to B anywhere in the world with what is essentially the knowledge of a local guide in your smartphone. This app promises to show you the best options available from your front door, hotel, hostel… to your chosen destination by plane, train, bus, ferry and car.

 

 

What is the Rome2rio app?

It’s a transport search engine that even works for remote locations, finding the best routes between point A and point B and displaying a list of options for the traveller to choose from.

What does the Rome2rio app do?

Rome2rio displays travel options, along with estimated prices and durations, accommodation should you need it and handy tips on things to do in those areas. It also provides booking details, so you can essentially plan your entire trip from this one app!

Who is the Rome2rio app for?

While this app is useful to anyone travelling from A to B, it is exceptionally useful for the spontaneous traveller. Whether you are backpacking and have yet to decide on where you’ll end up next, or you feel the sudden urge to go see a landmark on the horizon, this app makes it easy.

What do the Rome2rio app reviews say?

It seems that the iPhone and iPad users are happier with the app than android users – and one of the best features is being able to compare prices of the transport options available. A nine-hour bus journey for £30 suddenly becomes appealing when it is £300 cheaper than a two-hour flight! Should you find that the app doesn’t float your boat, Rome2rio also has a highly rated website you could use instead.

Rome2rio on iTunes 

Rome2rio on Google Play 

Ten Stress-Busting Travel Tips for Your Next Holiday

Image by VANESSA_BMS CC0

1. Keep calm and plan early. Booking a few months in advance will give you time to research the best deals without panicking that they won’t be there in half an hour.

2. Consider going by boat or train rather than going by plane. Air travel is notoriously stressful and tends to destroy all the loveliness of a holiday on the way home.

3. If you are going by air, stand behind business travellers going through security. They will have packed light, know the drill, and want to be the other side of security swiftly.

4. Do not stand behind families going through security. Lots of stuff, lots of directing children to do the right thing – you could find yourself getting impatient.

5. Sort your home out so it’s nice to come back to. The stress of getting back to reality after an idyllic break will be less if you come back to somewhere clean, tidy, and with food in the cupboards.

6. Use a packing app. You can create multiple lists for all types of trip and some even have templates based on climate, weather, activities and reasons for travelling.

7. Always leave for your destination with PLENTY of time, especially if you are flying. Airport hotels are a wonderful resource for busting “Ahhhhh, I hope I don’t miss my flight!” stress.

8. Embrace a chance to relax. Sitting around and waiting while travelling is inevitable. Rather than getting impatient, get stuck into a book, sketch your surroundings or take some time to journal.

9. Get travel insurance. Should something go wrong – such as losing your luggage, getting your passport stolen, or finding that your airline has gone bust – trying to sort it out without the help of travel insurance is extremely stressful and potentially very expensive.

10. Eat well and stay hydrated! Getting hangry is a real thing, and when you are flitting between time zones or travelling at crazy hours your routine can take a battering. Eating fresh food and drinking plenty is essential.

Komoot App Review – Travel App of The Month April 2019

Our calorie-burning bucket list inspired us to find an app that could stand up to an adventurous itinerary. Et voila! They say there is an app for everything – this one is designed to generate sport-specific topographic routes that can be navigated even in offline mode!

What is the Komoot App?

It is an app that enables you to plan a route based on how you plan to tackle it, e.g. mountain bike, road bike, hike etc. You can detail your route down to the finest point and even create a plan based on preferences such as silent trails, smooth-as-silk asphalt, traversing scree and the like. Finally, it gives audio navigation so you don’t have to take your eyes off the inevitably wonderful surroundings you have chosen to be in.

What does the Komoot App do?

  • Route plan to the inch.
  • Select route type, surface, and elevation.
  • Verbal navigation en-route.
  • Offline navigation capability.
  • View popular segments on your route including view points and places to get refreshments.
  • Track adventures and upload images for personal collection or to share with the Komoot community.

Who is the Komoot App for?

Adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts! Obviously, it is great for activity holidays and challenges, but it still serves as a useful app back at home. If you are planning on a long stay adventure, this app will be an awesome way to track and treasure your adventure of a lifetime.

What do the Komoot App reviews say?

The ratings are pretty good, some are saying that the UI is a bit clunky, but it seems that the Komoot development team have recently address the usability issues.

Get it in iTunes

Get it in GooglePlay

Calorie-Burning Bucket List – A Year of Adventure Travel Ideas

Looking for a new way to pick a bucket-list destination? Why not sort by step count, or how many calories you’ll burn! Here are 12 “Bucket List Burners” to add to your itinerary.

JANUARY

Run a Polar Night half marathon in Norway – 39,996 steps, 1,676 calories

The sun won’t rise until the end of the month, so when you set off for this run at midday it’ll be under a night sky, and maybe the northern lights.

Tromso CC0

FEBRUARY

Ski the longest ski run in Vallée  Blanche, Chamonix – 54,000 steps, 2,667 calories

It takes about 5 hours to ski from the top of the Aiguille du Midi peak down into Chamonix, where you’ll fully deserve that 1,000 calorie cup of Raclette!

Vallee Blanche CC0

MARCH

Walk the Camino de Santiago, Spain – 960,000 steps, 41,760 calories

If you walk 20 miles a day, you should complete this epic trail in about a month. The 420 mile walk is well worth it if you like an experience with ever-changing vistas.

Camino de Santiago CC0

APRIL

Hike Italy’s Cinque Terre – 8,448 steps, 1,600 calories

Follow trail numbers 587, 598, then 507 for a hike that’s relatively easy on the legs, and totally pleasing on the eye with uninterrupted coastal views.

Cinque Terre CC0

MAY

Hike around Uluru, Australia – 13,728 steps, 1,600 calories

The 6.5 mile perimeter walk should not be seen as an opportunity to scale the rock. Attempts will be met with hostility, and will be illegal from October this year.

Uluru CC0

JUNE

Hike through Yosemite National Park, USA – 15,206 steps, 2,286 calories

It’ll take roughly 8 hours to cover the 7 mile trail mostly due to the fact that the path takes you 2,700 feet up to the top of the tallest waterfall outside Hawaii.

Yosemite CC0

JULY

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro – 103,488 steps, 13,549 calories

This 7-day adventure will take you to the heady height of 20,000 feet, that’s just 15,000 feet below the space that aeroplanes fly!

Mount Kilamanjaro CC0

AUGUST

Run a marathon at Angkor Wat – 52,400 steps, 3,429 calories

By running a marathon you can see everything this place has to offer (40 ancient temples, forests and rice fields) in just 5 hours as opposed to a full day.

Angkor Wat CC0

SEPTEMBER

Cycle the Bolivian “Death Road” 711,480 steps, 3,048 calories

The 5 hour cycle ride on Yungas Road is safer than ever! The narrow road flanked by sheer drop one side, and sheer cliff the other is largely free of the trucks that once took the same route.

Death Road CC0

OCTOBER

Trek the Inca Trail, Peru – 54,912 steps, 11,888 calories

It will take 4 days to complete this 26 mile trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu passing historic ruins and the iconic Amazonian cloud forest.

Inca Trail CC0

NOVEMBER

Walk (some of) the Great Wall of China – 47,000 steps, 2,515 calories

It would take 10 months to walk the entire thing, but if you take the most popular stretch from Hexi Village to Gubeikou and Panlong you’ll be done in just two days.

Great Wall of China CC0

DECEMBER

Go on a Gorilla Trek in Rwanda – 10,560 steps, 500 calories

Volcanoes National Park is big on adventure even if it isn’t on steps, within 5 miles you can expect to see endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

Rwanda CC0

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com cover a wide range of activities as standard, with plenty of options to add-on something more challenging should adventure call!

An Adventurers Guide to Sleeper Trains

Image by mmillswan CC0

While jet-setting your way around the world sounds pretty glamorous, in reality it is exhausting, and let’s be honest – boring! Riding sleeper trains however is a much more relaxing way to get from A to B, and a far more adventurous experience. Here are our top tips and essential info for adventurers taking the scenic route.

Know Your Sleeping Options!

First and foremost, you need to know what you are booking. The choices are usually:

  • Recliner seat
  • Couchette
  • Sleeper compartments

Recliner seats are just that, a comfy spacious seat that reclines, but doesn’t go fully flat. Great for those on a super-tight budget, not great if you would like a proper night’s sleep! Couchettes are basically a bed in a bunkroom for 4 or 6 people. These spaces aren’t big on privacy – or space – so you’ll be kipping with your day-clothes on. Couchettes usually come with a blanket and pillow instead of proper bedding.  Top tip – Pack a small bag for your essentials as there’s no room to swing a suitcase to get stuff out. Finally – we have sleeper compartments – a veritable palace of comfort complete with bedding, washbasin and the rare luxury of privacy if you get a private compartment.

Food and Drink

  • Some night train tickets include breakfast.
  • Always take your own mug and tea bags/hot chocolate sachets etc. as hot water is freely available from the dining car.
  • If you are on a tight budget, pack lots of snacks, and even pot noodles to avoid having to pay to eat in the dining car. However, if you aren’t on a budget – make the most of the experience!

What to Pack for Travelling on a Night Train

  • Eye mask and ear plugs for a better night’s sleep.
  • Toilet roll and hand sanitizer just in case.
  • A silk sleeping bag liner or sheet for peace of mind even if the bedding looks clean.
  • Flip flops – because you never want to use the shared bathroom in bare feet.
  • Backup charger for your phone. Night trains are notoriously thin on power points, so you may not be able to charge your phone.
  • Pack of cards or travel game to pass the time with your fellow passengers if you are in a shared compartment.

Night trains are really popular, not only because the price of a bed beats paying for a hotel, but because travellers can maximise their destination time. Sleeping while you travel gives you extra days to enjoy the places you really want to see!

Safety

  • Always lock the door to your compartment.
  • Always keep your valuables hidden.
  • Always take your passport and money with you when you leave the compartment.
  • If your fellow compartment passengers make you feel threatened or unsafe tell your attendant and ask if you can be moved.

Night Train Attendants

  • Bribes and tips are part of the service! Tip at the beginning and you are likely to get preferential treatment. If you want to move or upgrade and your attendant isn’t being helpful, a 20 Euro “tip” can help enormously.
  • If your route crosses borders, the attendant will offer to keep hold of your passport so you don’t get woken by border control in the night. You don’t have to do this, but it is a free service well worth the good night’s sleep you’ll get for using it.
  • The attendant will wake you with plenty of time to get ready before you reach your destination. Don’t bother with an alarm just in case your train is running late and you have a chance to get some extra sleep!