Category Archives: Travel Advice

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.

AccuWeather App Review – Travel App of the Month August 2017

This award-winning weather app uses crowd-sourcing data and delivers minute by minute updates, making it the most accurate weather forecast app out there.

 

 

What is the AccuWeather App?

It’s a FREE app that tells you what the weather is going to be like at home or on holiday in huge detail and way in advance.

What does the AccuWeather App do?

It uses a range of sophisticated features to give you all the meteorological data you could ever want to know for anywhere in the world. Users should note that currently the minute-by-minute forecast is limited to the [contiguous] United States, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, but it is being continuously rolled out at a growing list of global locations.

  • AccuWeather MinuteCast® – minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts hyper-localized to an exact street address or GPS location.
  • AccUcast™ – View the real-time crowdsourced map with weather conditions submitted by users all over the world in a global animation display.
  • Descriptive weather animations illustrating the weather forecast for right now, each of the next 72 hours, and each of the next 15 days.
  • Pushed severe weather alerts.
  • Customisable current weather conditions detail – so you only see what is useful to you.
  • Forecasts update every 15 minutes… in 33 languages and dialects!

Why is AccuWeather good as a travel app?

A 15 day forecast is all that you need to make sure that your suitcase contains all of the right clothes for your adventure! This great forecast range also means you can also pick and choose activities that suit the weather well ahead of time.

What do the AccuWeather App reviews say?

The app is available for iOS, Androind and Windows devices. Users from each rate the app highly

Get it on itunes

Get it on play.google

Get it on microsoft

Top 5 Private Jet Holiday Hotspots In Europe

Luxury travel has never been in such high demand, especially private flights to European hotspots that can be reached in just a couple of hours from the UK. After all, who would want to spend more time waiting to board a flight than the flight actually takes? If splashing your cash on a super-luxury getaway is your idea of fun – these are the most popular places to head this summer!

PrivateFly Citation XLS courtesy of Cessna’

1. Mykonos – Flight time approx. 4 hours

There has been an increase in interest of more than 50% in private flights to Mykonos – but even if you have the money, it doesn’t mean that you can just get in a jet and land there. This destination has become so popular that the island’s airport is forced to turn away private jets at peak times, and holidaymakers are having to make the last leg of their journey by helicopter from Athens!

Mykonos CC0 Courtesy of PrivateFly

2. Ibiza – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

This summer-centric destination has been a party hot-spot since the sixties, and its popularity appears to grow year on year. It has gone from being host to secret beach parties, discotheques, nightclubs, and after-parties, to hosting big names in pop music every summer. Maybe that accounts for the 38% rise in interest in private flights since last year?

3. Palma de Mallorca – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

Palma is a cosmopolitan city blessed with beautiful beaches. Who wouldn’t want to be whisked away to spend a few sun-drenched days here? Spectacular shopping, amazing restaurants, vibrant bars, and of course lazy days by the sea. No wonder it has had nearly 30% more interest from the luxury travel sector this year!

4. Santorini – Flight time approx. 3 hours 50 mins

Interest in private flights to this volcanic Greek island paradise has risen by 28%, but it is proving as tricky to get to by private flight as Mykonos during peak times. The advice? Book your private flight well in advance. Now until September is the best time to go for nightlife, swimming and sunbathing – if sightseeing without the heat is your priority, book a trip during October or November.

5. Naples – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

The rise in popularity of flights to Naples (up 27% on last year) could be down to its authentic feel. It is less fashionable than Milan, less touristy than Rome, but it is where real Italians choose to live. As well as serving up what is arguably the best pizza in Italy, Naples is also perfectly positioned to reach some stunning island destinations such as Capri and Ischia – maybe this is what’s drawing the private jet-setting crew!

Is a private flight possible on your holiday budget?

PrivateFly Citation XLS courtesy of Cessna

As a guide, current charter prices for an 8-seater Citation XLS, from London Luton to Mykonos (one-way) with PrivateFly is £22,600.

 

TrackR App – Travel App of the Month July 2017

Do you like the idea of being able to easily locate misplaced or stolen items on holiday? This handy app means that you’ll never have to worry about losing your bag, wallet, laptop, keys, bike or even your pet next time you go abroad!

What is the TrackR app?

The TrackR app is used in collaboration with Bluetooth and TrackR devices such as Bravo and Pixel, to help locate missing items. These devices are like little memory butlers for all of your stuff. While you’re busy living life, your TrackR gadgets are busy remembering where all of your valuables are so you don’t have to.

How does TrackR work?

The devices use Bluetooth-low energy that connects to the app and operates on a replaceable battery that lasts for up to a year. If the item you are looking for is out of Bluetooth range, TrackR will use the power of its Crowd Locate network and growing community of TrackR users (there are around 4.5 million) to find it. For example, if you have lost your luggage, as soon as a TrackR user is within range of it, that user’s phone would anonymously ping the TrackR server to update you with new GPS coordinates of when and where it was last. ​Every month, the app receives on average 360,000,000 individual item updates.

Who is the TrackR app for?

TrackR is an incredibly useful app for all travellers. One example is lost luggage – with TrackR, you no longer need to wait for hours for the airline to recover lost luggage to find out if it is there. And, since the TrackR bravo or pixel can be attached to practically anything, it is a great way of keeping track of all your valuables, such as laptops, wallets, bags or camera while on holiday.

What do the TrackR app reviews say?

It is a bit of a mixed bunch, and overall seems like Apple users are happier than Android users with this product, and TrackR are getting plenty of great customer feedback.

Customer stories:

 “Dropped my keys in the parking lot and they were covered with 5 inches of snow before I realized where they were. TrackR found them. Thanks for the beep beep beep.”
–           Michael Roux

“My wife just messaged me to say she used the TrackR bravo I got for her to find her phone that was on silent. #mademyday”
–           Joshua Teixeira

 

Find out more about the app at thetrackr.com

Gap Year Travel Insurance – What You Need To Know

Going on a gap year adventure after sitting your final exams is the epitome of freedom – but you must make sure you get your travel insurance in order before you go. This is what you need to know…

Image by rawpixel CC0

Travel Insurance is the most important purchase you will make.

Paying for medical help overseas can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds – money that you (or your parents) will have to find if you don’t have travel insurance – or if you have inadequate travel insurance. Remember, you may be refused medical treatment if you can’t prove how you will cover those costs!

Don’t rely on EHIC cards.

The European Health insurance Card has limited use. The validity of the card varies from country to country, and only entitles the holder to access the same level of care as a resident of that country. Unlike the UK, most EU countries require insurance to cover the excess costs of medical treatment – which you will be liable to pay too even if you have an EHIC. Travel insurance is designed to help recover those costs.

Losing your passport is more expensive (and time consuming) than you might think.

Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) cost £100, they can take several days to obtain, and you will need to find the money to get to and from your nearest British consulate or embassy. On top of this you may need to arrange for a police report and get passport photos done. Don’t forget that you may also have to pay to replace any visas too AND you will need to get your passport replaced – which can cost in the region of £200 from overseas! As if that wasn’t enough to ruin a perfectly good adventure expenses can spiral if you need to rearrange holiday plans. This is why the gov.uk website recommends that travellers take out comprehensive travel insurance. Travel insurance is there to help recoup the costs involved in replacing lost or stolen belongings, including passports

Look for a policy that allows you to extend cover while you are already travelling.

You are about to go on the biggest adventure of your life, and who knows where it might take you! The last thing you’d want is to have to come home because your travel insurance says you have to. Many travel insurance policies require that you get back home within a year, or return to the UK to extend it. We offer longstay backpacker insurance that can be extended even while you are still travelling so you can go where your wanderlust takes you!

These are the sorts of things that travel insurance can help with:

  • Cancelled flights.
  • Lost or stolen luggage.
  • Medical help.
  • Emergency medical care and repatriation.
  • Lost or stolen passport.
  • Lost or stolen bank cards and holiday money.
  • If your operator goes bankrupt.
  • If you need to cancel your trip due to illness.
  • If your trip is disrupted due to natural disasters or terrorism.

Travel Insurance can also cover you if you are the one to cause damage or injury!

If you are involved in an incident that causes injury to another person, or damage to property you run the risk of being sued. Comprehensive travel insurance can minimise the cost to you, including the cost of legal proceedings.

To arrange Gap Year Travel Insurance, for yourself or your child, get in touch with us on 01892 833338.

 

How To Avoid Food Poisoning On Holiday

According to the Centre for Disease Control, traveller’s diarrhoea affects between 30 and 70% of travellers – here’s what you need to do to stay well next time you go away!

image by Daniel70 CC0

What is food poisoning?

It is any food-borne illness caused by eating food or drink contaminated by bacteria, viruses and parasites, or their toxins. Contamination can happen at any point during food processing, production, or preparation.

How do foods get contaminated?

  • Not chilling certain products below 5 degrees.
  • Leaving cooked food sitting warm.
  • Not properly reheating cooked food.
  • Poor personal hygiene – dirty hands touching food.
  • Poor food hygiene – cross contamination of bacteria.
  • Washing food with contaminated water.

Which foods and drinks are high-risk?

  • Cheese and ice-cream as they can be made from unpasteurised milk.
  • Seafood can pose a problem even if well cooked.
  • Salads are difficult to clean so often remain contaminated by soil or flies.
  • Fruit and vegetable skins can also be contaminated by soil and flies – make sure they are peeled.
  • Raw meat, poultry, or eggs.
  • “Ready-to-eat” foods, such as cooked sliced meats, pâté, soft cheeses and pre-packed sandwiches.
  • Buffets – food at room temperature that may be repeatedly heated up is high risk – this includes sauces.
  • Any food that may have been washed in contaminated water.
  • Ice cubes – these can be made from contaminated water.

What should I eat and drink?

  • Fruit and vegetables that can be peeled.
  • Bottled water.
  • Freshly cooked hot food.

What other precautions can I take?

  • Wash your hands – you are capable of contaminating your own food!
  • Boil water for three minutes.
  • Brush your teeth with bottled water.
  • Always check the water of juice you are being served is from a sealed container – ask to open it yourself.
  • Wipe down cans and bottles before you drink from them.
  • Skip the ice in your drink.
  • Keep your mouth closed in the shower.

What are the symptoms of food poisoning?

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and fever. These can manifest within hours of eating contaminated food, but you may not get all of them.

When should I seek medical help for food poisoning?

The NHS website says that most people recover from food poisoning within a couple of days as long as they drink plenty of (uncontaminated) water – even if you can only sip it. The main risk from food poisoning is dehydration – which can lead to severe illness, and could even be fatal. Seek help if:

  • Symptoms are severe.
  • If you’re unable to keep down any fluids.
  • Your symptoms don’t start to improve after a few days.
  • You have symptoms of severe dehydration.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You’re over 60.
  • A baby or young child has suspected food poisoning.
  • You have a long-term underlying condition.
  • You have a weak immune system.

Can my travel insurance help if I have severe food poisoning?

Getting medical help abroad can be costly, especially if you need to stay in hospital for a few days. A comprehensive travel insurance policy can help recover the cost of medical expenses overseas, and may even enable you to recover lost holiday investment if your trip is cut short. For more advice call our travel insurance advisors on 01892 833338

Hostelworld – Travel App of the Month June 2017

Staying in hostels can be the best way to travel the world, especially if you are travelling solo, but what happens when you want to go with the flow and book on the go? Hostelworld could be the answer – an intuitive app that can have you bunking up with new buddies in no time (or making sure you avoid unwanted attention from new acquaintances as all costs!)

What is the Hostelworld app?

It is a FREE app that allows you to search, compare, and book a place to stay at over 33,000 hostels, hotels and B&B’s located in more than 180 countries.

What can the Hostelworld app do?

LOTS! It boasts a last minute book-on-the-go capability, so you can book to suit your travel plans as they unfold, it has flexible booking options – including finding the best hostels for meeting new people and partying, transparent pricing, stores your itinerary, and suggests things to see and do in your chosen location.

  • No booking fees or hidden costs
  • Book on the go functionality
  • Search by city and date, or use your location to find hostels nearby.
  • View results on an interactive map, or scroll through pictures.
  • Filter by price and property type.
  • Sort by customer rating, name or price.
  • Access your itinerary on the go
  • View booking details, get reminders and navigate your way to your hostel
  • ‘My Trips’ provides information about what to see and do at your destination.

Who is the Hostelworld app for?

The book-on-the-go capability makes it perfect for free-spirited travellers, interrailers, backpackers, and anyone who wants a whimsical, spontaneous adventure. Other than that, it is perfect for anyone who wants to find somewhere to stay that meets all their criteria.

What do the Hostelworld app reviews say?

It’s had around 8 million customer reviews, the majority of which appear to be 5-star and it has been voted as the most trusted hotel booking app – so pretty good we’d say!

 

hostelworld.com

get it on google play

get it on itunes

5 Trips To Do With Your Kids Before They Are 10

They’re only young once – so make sure you give your kids a taste of adventure, and fabulous memories by completing this awesome list of trips before they are 10 years old.

Disneyland Florida

by rgrivas10 CC0

The US Disney resort is almost guaranteed to have great weather, and it has plenty to keep guests of all ages occupied on a holiday lasting 2 or 3 weeks – the perfect recipe for a family trip of a lifetime! Disneyland Florida isn’t just about rides, so it is suitable for children of all ages. Parents who have been say that children as little as 3 years old remember the trip, and that by the age of 10, they should be big enough to enjoy all the rides.

Lapland

by adege CC0

This has to be the festive trip of any child’s dreams – heading to Lapland to see Santa! Snow, sleigh rides, reindeer, and a private audience with Father Christmas himself… probably the best Christmas present any child under the age of 10 can imagine! There is also a chance that you’ll get to see the Northern Lights, one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world.

Tip: Make sure your insurance covers you for winter sports so you and your kids can enjoy skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling on your holiday!

South African Safari

by cocoparisienne CC0

Safari holidays are a great option for kids of 8 years and over as they are better able to appreciate the culture, and understand what a privileged experience it is to be so close to endangered species. If malaria is a concern, and you don’t want your children to have to take anti-malaria tablets, you should consider Tswalu, a malaria-free private game reserve protecting wild-dogs, cheetah, black-maned lions, and desert black rhino in its 110,000 hectares of spectacular grasslands and mountains.

Yellowstone Park

by TXVisual CC0

What child wouldn’t be impressed by geysers, stinky mud pots, and multi-coloured hot springs? Yellowstone National Park is home to Old Faithful, a geyser that shoots steam up to 184ft high on average every 90 minutes – the most regular eruption in the park! It’s also a great place to spot wildlife – bison, elk, bears, wolves and Bighorn Sheep are all residents in this protected space.

Maldives

by tpsdave CC0

Sun, sea, and sand – a parent’s paradise for sure, but what about the kids? Well, the Maldives is currently promoting a family-friendly approach to holidays with inspiring and imaginative kids activities available at kids clubs. This means that parents can enjoy the tranquility of meditation, yoga, massage and spas while the kids investigate the incredible wildlife and landscapes that surround them, play music, get creative, or indulge in their own yoga and spa sessions! Most child-friendly resorts cater for the 0 – 8 age group.

Did you know? Kids go free on our family insurance policies! Whether it is for a one-off trip of a lifetime, or an annual policy – make sure you get FREE KIDS TRAVEL INSURANCE next time you go on holiday!

How To Prepare and Pack For A Summer Detox Retreat

A detox retreat is a holiday for the mind, body and soul. While you are quite likely to be travelling light, you may need to put a little more thought into the few things you do take. Plus, to make the most of the power of a detox, you should get started before you reach your destination!

by VikrorijaGolubic CC0

Preparing for a detox retreat

You should expect no gluten, no dairy, no artificial sugars, no caffeine and no alcohol on a detox retreat. However, suddenly cutting these from your diet, especially if you consume them in high amounts, can have quite an impact on the body – this is why many hosts encourage guests to give their body a rest from these a little in advance of the retreat. The discomfort from caffeine withdrawal for example can take a day or two to pass – so it’s better to get that bit over with before going on your holiday! If you think you need support to get started though, don’t worry – the hosts should be fully prepared and be able to make you make that transition easily, and help you feel comfortable again quickly.

Packing for a detox retreat

Clothes

You’ll probably be spending a lot of your time wrapped in a robe, outside of that make sure your focus is on comfort and practicality!

  • Sarong – it is a skirt, scarf, and wrap plus it can double as a towel, bag, curtain, and even an emergency bandage!
  • Swimwear for beach and pool.
  • Activewear for yoga, pilates or gym classes.
  • Casual clothing – think loose, comfortable and made from natural fabrics.
  • Warm cardigan or wrap – perfect for early morning or late night meditation outside.

Shoes

The barefoot way is the only way on a summer detox retreat, it helps you feel grounded and connected to mother earth. When footwear is necessary, it’ll be for practical reasons, not as a fashion statement!

  • Flip-flops – for poolside, beach, and spa.
  • Sandals – for excursions and walks.
  • Gym shoes – just in case you hit the gym or go for an outdoor run.

Accessories

Rather than packing accessories for dressing up an outfit, you should be packing things that are going to help keep you comfortable. Here are some ideas.

  • Hairbands
  • Hair clips and slides
  • Pashmina
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Water bottle
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Beach or pool towel

Cosmetics and Toiletries

This is the perfect opportunity to let your skin breathe and experience beautifully bare skin. If you do feel the need for make-up, choose organic natural products that are good for your skin and the planet.

  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Tea tree cream for bites and stings
  • Olbas oil in case you get congested
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body scrub
  • Body oil or butter
  • Crystal deodorant
  • Face serum
  • Tinted moisturiser
  • Mascara
  • Lip balm

Downtime

When you are not occupied with yoga, Pilates, swimming, facials, massages and the like, you’ll be in the mood for more relaxing! Here are some things you might like to pack…

  • Notebook – journaling is a great way to document your experience and note what changes you have experienced physically and spiritually.
  • Book – choose something inspirational or based on personal growth.
  • Music – listening to your favourite tunes can help you harness the power of a detox holiday, and anchor healthier choices for when you get back home.
  • Crystals – if you have certain crystals that you feel give you energy, or help you keep calm, take a couple with you and use them while you meditate.
  • Goddess cards – like journaling, goddess cards can help you understand your journey and embrace the positive changes that are taking place.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! The stress of lost luggage or cancelled flights can play havoc with a peaceful detox retreat in the sun – make sure that you have the right travel insurance in place, so that if something does go wrong, you won’t have to worry about it ruining your holiday!

The Most Affordable Shopping Cities For UK Travellers

Enjoy a bit of retail therapy on holiday? This infographic shows the best places to go – where cheap travel could leave plenty of cash free for a spending-spree!

And don’t forget… if you savour the joys of being a shopaholic on foreign shores, make sure your Travel Insurance has you covered for lost or stolen luggage!




See infographic here
(via Marbles).