Category Archives: Travel Advice

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).

MINDBODY – Travel App of the Month May 2017

If you are worried that your holiday might get in the way of your health and fitness goals, fear not – there is an app that can hook you up with classes and contacts at your holiday destination!

 

 

 

What is the MINDBODY app?

It is a free app that lets you discover, book and pay for all kinds of fitness and wellness classes and appointments, from yoga and gyms, to salons and spas. You can find your nearest class, read reviews from other users, book your appointment and pay for it, all from your mobile.

What does the MINDBODY app do?

On the MINDBODY app you can keep up with your fitness, health and beauty regimes, because you can explore your local area to find fitness classes or wellness and beauty salons that are nearby.

The app has three broad categories:

  • Fitness, including a wide range of activities such as indoor cycling, yoga, barre, Pilates, Crossfit, personal training and many more.
  • Wellness, including massage, meditation, acupuncture, nutrition and physical therapy.
  • Beauty, including salons, skin treatments, nail bars, spas, waxing, threading and saunas.

You can discover new activities, find deals near you, keep track of your schedule, remember your favourite places, and read and submit reviews to help other travellers find the right classes for them.

It also connects with FitBit, so you can track whether you’re meeting your fitness goals, and view your personal activity data.

Why is the MINDBODY app good as a travel app?

Wherever you are, you can discover a class, spa or salon that’s right for you. Perfect whether you need a massage after a long flight, or want to keep in shape with a personal trainer!

MINDBODY app reviews

Those already using the app say that MINDBODY makes finding a new class, salon or spa super easy, and that booking as a newbie is a simple process. This kind of feedback makes us think it is ideal for those who are travelling who want a quick, easy, and uncomplicated way to enhance their health goals on holiday!

MINDBODY is available on iPhone and Android. Find out more at mindbodyonline.com

Pre-Paid Currency Cards Vs. Credit Cards and Hard Cash

Holiday money! Taking what feels like your life savings abroad is likely to make even the most ardent traveller anxious – so what are your options? We discuss the pros and cons of taking cold hard cash, plastic, prepaid cards and using overseas ATMs to give you a better idea!

Image by martaposemuckel CC0

1. Taking all your holiday money in cash

So, you get a good exchange rate at your local bank and cash in on it by getting all your holiday money exchanged in one go.

The pros to this approach include: getting a good deal, and of course enabling you to budget better. Plus you’ll be sure that you have plenty of currency if you suddenly need to tip someone.

Cons: you might lose it all, it might get stolen. You might run out of money. You will probably need to check there is a safe in your room, and that you trust it. Or you can spend your holiday anxiously hoping that nobody finds your entire spending budget stuffed in your shoe at the back of the wardrobe.

2. Using your credit or debit card

Every shop, restaurant and bar in the world has a card machine right? So why do you need to take oodles of cash on holiday?

The pros to using plastic are: it is easy, it is convenient, and you can choose to pay in the local currency (you are far more likely to get a better rate). It’s easier to hide a card in your swimming trunks than a roll of cash.

The cons: card fraud could leave you penniless, cash is always useful, and spending borrowed money makes it difficult to keep to a budget. Plus your bank might charge for each transaction.

3. Using an ATM to get daily cash

A great compromise is to use your plastic to get just the amount of cash you need to last you the day.

Pros: no worrying about carrying (or hiding) large amounts of cash. You still have your card if you want to put your bar bill on your plastic.

Cons: you could get stung by nasty ATM fees, and you are at the mercy of fluctuations in exchange rates. You do also still have a card on you that could be compromised, and leave you with an empty bank account. Or you could go over your budget and get home to a rather sorry bank balance!

4. Taking a pre-paid currency card

Putting your holiday budget on a pre-paid card appears to iron out a lot of the cons of using cash or other forms of plastic.

Pros: no bundles of cash to worry about, no ATM charges to worry about, not affected by changes in exchange rates, easy to use, no chance of going over budget or losing your actual life savings.

Cons: you may have to pay a start-up fee for the card/account, if you lose your card or it is stolen it’s just the same as losing a big bundle of cash. Or is it?….

The Escape Travel Card has a unique cloud account that offers increased security by allowing funds to be transferred from the card back to the account at any time, keeping spends safe if something should happen to the card…

“The majority of prepaid currency cards see funds held on them directly, meaning that if the card is lost or stolen the funds are taken with the card. But Escape’s unique cloud account offers increased security by allowing funds to be transferred from the card back to the account at any time, keeping spends safe if something should happen to the card. A 24/7 helpline for immediate support and can arrange for funds to be sent to a Moneygram outlet near you, meaning you will never be stranded without access to your money. In addition, users can also take advantage of a free SMS service, which can be used to temporarily lock and unlock the card, providing peace of mind if you’re going for a swim and leaving your card in your bag or hotel room, for example.” Rob Darby, Escape Travel Card

Whether you are taking plastic, pre-paid or cash, here are a few tips from Rob that you may find worth remembering:

  • Tourists are better off paying in local currency to avoid paying these steeper exchange rates, as this kind of expense can add up during the course of a trip.
  • Holiday-goers can draw attention to themselves by rifling through unfamiliar bank notes when making a payment. Tourists should always be aware of their surroundings when on holiday, a prepaid currency card means this kind of attention can be avoided altogether.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! If you lose your wallet, passport, or visas you will need travel insurance to ensure that you can get home safe!