Category Archives: Travel Advice

10 Steps to Beat the Holiday Blues

holiday blues

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Post-adventure blues can hit like a brick after a trip. If you feel down in the dumps after a holiday, why not give these things a try

1. Re-create your favourite dishes.

There is bound to be a dish that won your heart on holiday. Cooking it up back home will bring back great memories and help that feel-good factor linger for longer.

2. Enjoy a tipple of your favourite drink.

Every part of the world has its own unique beverage. Whether it is a freshly made herb tea or a drop of something stronger. Take time to sit and savour whatever it was you enjoyed while you were away and you are sure to feel the relaxation wash over you!

3. Listen to the music.

Whether it was the music playing in bars and cafes, local performers, or the favoured local station of taxi drivers, you are bound to have heard a few tunes that sum up the vibe of your time away. Playing some choice tracks when you are back will lift your mood in no time.

4. Get together with friends.

Seeing all your friends will make you realise that you are actually pleased to be back, and you’ll get to share all your favourite stories, adventures and experiences. Why not give them a themed treat and cook up your favourite dishes, serve the local drinks, and put on the tunes for added ambience.

5. Create a photobook.

Don’t leave your best pictures to get lost on a laptop or somewhere on social media. Create an album and get it printed. It’ll make for a wonderful coffee table book that you can flick through with friends and family.

6. Journal the best bits of your break.

Make note of what your trip felt like, what stood out, what amazed you, what surprised you, and how you changed during your time there. It can be good to reflect on how the experience of a different culture can change our own perspectives on the way we live our lives back home. You can even add your thoughts, notes, and experiences to your photobook!

7. Meditate.

A great mood enhancer and a wonderful opportunity to recognise what you are grateful for in your life at home, and for your experiences while travelling. Meditation also brings “me time” into our daily routine – a treat that we don’t just have to save for when we are on holiday.

8. Exercise.

This is the number one way to lift your spirits. A short walk, swim, or time in the gym can make all the difference to how you feel. While it might not be an exercise that relates to your recent adventure, it’ll help you banish the blues fast.

9. Explore your local area.

You don’t have to travel far to have an adventure. Try exploring your local area with fresh eyes, make time to see and do the things that attract visitors from out of town. See a local band, eat somewhere that serves traditional fresh food, and take in the sights on a touristy day off.

10. Plan your next overseas adventure.

There’s nothing quite like having a new adventure planned to rekindle the feeling of wanderlust. Make a long list, make a short list, make a bucket list and decide where you’ll be heading next!

beat the post holiday blues

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Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like, insure you while you are already travelling, and provide car hire excess insurance too.

Sri Lanka – The Ultimate Packing Guide

What to take and why to take it, whether you are staying on the coast, in the city, or heading to hill country in Sri Lanka! 

MONEY

  • Bank Card– The best way to get currency is from an ATM as you go, expect to pay a small charge for each withdrawal. Go to the ATM at Colombo airport on your arrival to get cash for your tuk tuk or taxi.
  • Calculator– Advertised prices are rarely what you will pay, taxes are added to the cost of the bill, and usually a service charge too – so you’ll need to brush up on your maths. 

HEALTH

  • Mosquito Spray– The mozzies out here are persistent, and not phased for long by natural repellents such as citronella. If you prefer a sensitive solution that really does work try Trek Sensitive by Pyramid Travel. It is (it really really is) as effective as 50% DEET but gentle enough to use on children and whilst pregnant. It smells good too!
  • Bite Cream– Even fully sprayed up, it is likely the blighters will get you, so take something to sooth the itch.
  • Antihistamines– Just in case the Sri Lankan insect bites make you swell.
  • Sun Cream– Can be quite pricey in Sri Lanka, and you will need it, even if it is cloudy.
  • Hand Sanitiser– In the more rural areas you may not have a choice but to eat like the locals (with your right hand, no cutlery). Cleansing gel will be welcome, even if there is somewhere to wash your hands.
  • Tampons– They are hard to find, and very expensive even if you do.

BAGS

  • Suitcase with wheels– It is hot and humid, so lugging a holdall will soon get tiring.
  • Dry Bag– Whether your clothes get wet from the sea, your sweat, or the rain, you’ll want to keep them away from your clean dry stuff!
  • Daysack– Make it a lightweight one that won’t make your back sweat, ideal for beach trips or trekking.
  • Waterproof phone case – Lagoon tours, kayaking, white water rafting, and wildlife boat trips are all popular here. Having a waterproof case for one of your most valuable possessions is a good idea.

ACCESSORIES

  • Trainers for hiking– Leeches are abundant in the jungle, which is more or less everywhere, so you’ll have a nicer trek if your feet are fully covered.
  • Raincoat– It doesn’t need to be monsoon season for it to chuck it down in Sri Lanka. A raincoat is a must if you are hiking.
  • Umbrella– Double useful because it’s great for keeping dry during a downpour, and then ideal for keeping the sun off once the rain has passed!
  • Sarongs– Lots of them. These are great as beach towels, beach cover ups and sarongs are useful for a whole heap of things besides – plus they dry quicker than a regular towel – which, given the humidity here, can take a very long time. Plus, they don’t take up much space in a suitcase.

WELLBEING

  • Ear Plugs– The critters are NOISY! Whether it is monkeys, dogs, geckos or cicada, something is bound to be making a racket when you want to sleep.
  • Eye Mask– Basic accommodation in Sri Lanka is likely to let the light flood in along with the much-needed fresh air. Get a better night’s kip with an eye mask.
  • Water Bottle– While it is wise to only drink bottled water in Sri Lanka, many places have water coolers so you can fill up your own canteen. Plastic pollution is a big issue here, so doing anything to reduce your impact is welcomed.
  • Neck Pillow– It makes the plane journey so much more enjoyable, and it will make lengthy transfers and trips across the country bearable. One thing about travel in Sri Lanka is that you can double the time you expect to get from A to B and add another hour or two on top! It is common for a 2-hour journey to turn into a 5-hour one; a neck pillow will offer some welcome comfort (and rest) en-route.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Pack your policy documents, and save a digital version. Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to suit your travel plans and many activities are covered as standard.

Dark Sky App Review – Travel App of the Month October 2019

dark sky app reviewIf you’re the kind of person who wants to pinpoint the best weather wherever you go, get a load of Dark Sky!

What is the Dark Sky App?

Dark Sky is a hyper-local weather genie with minute-by-minute meteorological updates! It’s also potentially the most accurate weather app going.

What does the Dark Sky App do?

 It gives minute-by-minute weather updates in your EXACT area, and hour-by-hour forecasts for the rest of the day and over the week. The technology used for this magical weather prediction is also used to power super-smooth radar animations so users can see how the weather fronts are moving.

The app also has the following features:

  • Push notifications for severe warnings.
  • A widget so you can see forecasts at-a-glance from your homescreen.
  • Time machine function to explore past weather and upcoming predictions.

dark sky app screenshot

dark sky app review

Why is the Dark Sky App good for travelling?

We think this technology makes it the ideal app abroad, especially if you are planning any extreme adventures. Knowing that a torrential downpour is going to strike halfway through a canyon hike could potentially allow you to make a life-saving decision about when to head off. Likewise, if you simply want to find a secluded, sunny cove to relax for the afternoon, knowing which side of the headland to pick could make a big difference to your day.

What do the Dark Sky App reviews say?

 You don’t have to just save it for holidays. This app is just as useful at home – deciding when to go for that bike ride, for example – as it is when you’re away. Also, well worth the £3.99 asking price.

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How To Travel With Friends and Not Fall Out – 10 Top Tips

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Simple tips to ensure you and your mates make beautiful memories instead of becoming enemies on a group break abroad.

  1. Agree on the type of holiday you’re having – Active? Retreat? Nocturnal?
  2. Decide on a destination together.
  3. Choose a “package level”: Are you going shoestring, or do you want to splurge on eating out every night?
  4. Schedule free time so you have a chance for independent adventures, or just some time to recoup.
  5. Each write a list of things to see and do and schedule an itinerary based on something from each person’s list.
  6. Nominate a group organiser for each individual adventure so the burden isn’t always on the “most organised” person in the group.

    Travel Advice for Groups Image

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  7. Make sure daily plans fit with each other’s personal routine – early-risers and up-all-nighters may not want to do the same things at the same time!
  8. Give people permission to say “no”, and be willing to accept they may want to change plans or do something different.
  9. Embrace the power of the unreasonable request – maybe you have a bucket-list must-do and it requires your buddies to miss a night’s sleep so you can see it! (Don’t forget number 8!).
  10. Remember your manners. Being in close confines – even with those you like the most – can be exhausting, especially if you are on a longstay adventure. Remember your pleases, don’t forget to say thank you, and keep it in mind that a hug can go a long way.

Did you know we do longstay travel insurance? Excellent for backpacking adventures, gap year experiences – and you can even get covered if you are already travelling!

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Cape Verde – The UK’s Ultimate Winter Getaway?

Travel insurance for Cape Verde Boa Vista Beach

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Fed up of the cold winter days already? Why not book a sun-drenched winter break in Cape Verde? It’s got all the sun, sea, sand and relaxation you could wish for and is the perfect antidote to the hectic pre- and post-Christmas mayhem!

Why Cape Verde?

There are direct flights from the UK to four of the islands in Cape Verde. Travel time is less than 6 hours, and the “wintertime” will be wonderfully warm, without being too hot. Expect average temperatures of 28°C in the day in November and December (about 22°C at night), dropping to daytime temperatures of around 25°C in January/February.

Also, it is really safe – probably the safest place in Africa. There are no large or dangerous animals, and no snakes or poisonous spiders. Rarely, there are reports of scorpions having been spotted.

cape verde travel insurance

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Where to stay in Cape Verde 

The island of Sal is the most popular, followed by Boa Vista. There are in fact 10 islands that make up the Cape Verde archipelago, but only three of them are home to the glorious white sands that attract travellers. The others are famous for their black volcanic beaches – much like Tenerife.

  • Sal – is only 30km by 11 km, is relatively flat, and is described as a beach-lovers’ paradise thanks to white powder sands and turquoise seas.
  • Boa Vista – home to the most remote, expansive and dazzling beaches in the archipelago; quieter than Sal and ideal for the ultimate relaxing break.
  • Santiago – the largest of the islands, rich in culture, diverse in landscapes and perfect for soaking up some creole culture.
Cape Verde Fishing Image

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What To Do in Cape Verde 

Many people come to Cape Verde to do, well, not much at all. Take a leisurely walk into the local town, stroll on the beach, hop in the pool, and soak up the sun. If you do feel inclined to try out some activities, here are the top things to do during your trip.

Kitesurfing 
These islands can get windy! The dependably gusty Atlantic brings with it the chance to enjoy some watersports, particularly windsurfing and kite surfing.

Snorkelling
There are some great opportunities to get up close to the marine life in the shallow waters off Cape Verde – do be warned that seas here can be rough, with strong undercurrents – keep a keen eye out for flags that indicate if it is safe to swim.

Island Hopping
Head to Fogo for dramatic volcanic landscapes with a dash of Portuguese culture and fantastic trekking. Maio is another must: almost untouched by tourists, this island is a mix of mature forests, beaches, and again wonderful walking opportunities.

Fogo Cape Verde Travel Insurance Image

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Turtle Walk
The Hatchery on Sal offers turtle releasing experiences, where visitors can watch nesting turtles and even see hatchlings being released to the sea.

Shark Experiences
Head to Shark Bay on Sal to see the relatively gentle lemon sharks. Tiger sharks and bull sharks are found in deeper waters; special excursions are available.

Whale Watching
Catamaran cruises are just one way to head out into the ocean where you could be rewarded with the wonderful sight of a humpback whale.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Worldwideinsure.com can tailor your policy to include as many or as little activities and adventures as you’d like. Many activities are covered as standard.

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what3words App Review – Travel App of the Month September 2019

what3words app travel app reviewIf you like to travel off the beaten track, it can be easy to a) get lost and b) difficult to meet up with people. In fact, in an unfamiliar destination you probably don’t have to go far off the beaten track to get lost or lose friends! Thankfully there is a novel way to pinpoint your EXACT location and share it, anywhere in the world!

What is the what3words App?

This app is essentially a map of the world, dividing the planet into a series of 3mx3m squares (that’s 57 trillion squares!) and each with a unique three-word address! For example: the entrance to the Taj Mahal is at straddled.sprayer.sponsors; the best place to take a photo at Gulfoss waterfall in Iceland is decode.delirious.abdomens; and the Queen’s residence is fence.gross.bats.

What does thewhat3words App do?

The app gives what the developers describe as a “simple and accurate way to talk about location”. Not only are the unique addresses easier to remember than any other location identifying technique, but they are also more accurate, more reliable, and can also be used in 35+ languages. The addresses can also be easily shared, saved, and navigated to.

what3words app travel app review

what3words app travel app review

What makes the what3words App a great travel app?

Many places in the world don’t have an address, or have an inaccurate address, and even in modern cities the traditional address system can just get it wrong. What3words makes it easier to meet up with friends, discover and tell others about amazing places, and explore the world without getting lost.” This makes it as easy to hook up with friends, tour guides etc in a specific yet remote patch of the Sahara Desert (Erg Chebbi Dunes anyone? Meet you at regroup.warranting.costume!) as it is at the Louvre (seasons.sharper.scan), and you can even find your tent in a field at the Burning Man festival using this app. Lonely Planet is also using the system to pinpoint points of interest in remote locations such as Mongolia.

The icing on the cake for us though is that it can be used offline, and its technology has been saving lives. If you’re lost abroad – on a hike, in an unfamiliar town, up a mountain, anywhere at all – you can tell friends, family, your guides, emergency services your what3words location.

What do the what3words App reviews say?

People are loving it, not just for travel either. This is one app you could download for your next adventure and not want to delete once you are back.

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Autumn Adventures in Essaouira, Morocco: Travel Guide

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The port city of Essaouira is the perfect place to enjoy some warm autumn sunshine, while absorbing the sights, sounds and smells of one of Morocco’s more low-key – yet undeniably beguiling – cities. Since EasyJet stops direct flights from Luton outside summer months, reaching Essaouira requires a little more planning in autumn, but combining flights with EasyJet, Ryanair, Transavia and/or Royal Air Maroc will do the trick.

From Marrakech

Essaouira is also the ideal chill-out location if you’ve already been exploring Morocco’s more high-tempo tourist targets: when the hubbub and hard-sells of Marrakesh get too much, it’s time to hop on a bus to Essaouira. Located just two-and-a-half hours away, this laid-back seaside town is Marrakesh Lite: You get the buzzing medina and cafe lifestyle – but without the hassle.

Things to do

Known as “Africa’s Windy City”, Essaouria is buffeted by stiff seawinds – which take the edge off the warmer days. These dependable gusts have made the city’s beaches a mecca for wind and kite surfers – although they’re not ideal for swimming. If you enjoy a dip, you’re best off booking a riad (hotel) with a pool.

Other popular activities include sailing tours (10:30 to 14:30) from the port, but these are weather dependent. Spice shopping is another big draw, with saffron topping the shopping lists of many tourists (although it’s still tough to track down!). And if the aroma of all those spices get you in a culinary mood, why not book a cooking lesson at ’Atelier Madada, where Chef Mouna will show you how to create mouth-watering tagines and patisserie delights.

But if you’d rather someone else cooked…

Essaouria offers many exciting dining options, ranging from French-Moroocan fusion to vegetarian. The famous tagine is available everywhere, based around meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. If you love your seafood, head to the Port Grills where you’ll find a tantalising selection of catches: shrimp, langoustine, sardines and giant crab are on offer for as little as 120 dirhams (£10).

Essaouira Building Travel Image

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Things to see

The Ramparts – Explore the pink-red hues of the ramparts, a defensive wall built by the Portuguese, complete with old cast iron cannons. Game of Thrones fans may already be familiar with the walls – they provided the backdrop for scenes in the third season. Take a look at the arts and crafts for sale in the archways underneath.

Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah Museum – Explore the history of Essaouira through ancient pottery, jewelry, tools and weapons, showcased in a beautiful former riad from the 19th Century.

Music

Essaouria’s relaxed atmosphere is made all the more so by the plaintive sounds of traditional Gnaoua music. Heavy iron castanets known as qraqeb and three-string lutes are the chief instruments. You can hear this music played in cafes and on the street.

Costs

Essaouira is cheaper than much bigger cities like Marrakesh and Rabat, not least because you’re less likely to face inflated prices at the hands of taxi drivers, street vendors and barbers – since the locals are more genial than in urbanised parts. In general, Morocco remains a low cost holiday destination, despite the pound’s ongoing wobbles – and a hugely rewarding one.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Kids are covered for free on some of our policies!

A Quick Guide To Staying Safe Abroad

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Take a quick look at this little list to maximise enjoyment on your next break abroad!

1. Don’t Get Robbed

  • Invest in a slash-proof backpack.
  • Keep valuables locked up in a hotel safe.
  • Or better yet – leave valuables at home unless they are essential for your travel plans.
  • Research travel scams for your destination.
  • Carry a second “fake” wallet or purse.
  • Beware of what you wear, it could be a sign of wealth even if you don’t think it is that valuable or just scream “tourist”, making you way more vulnerable to scammers and opportunistic thieves.
  • Keep your bag attached to you at all times, either with a carabiner or with a strap wrapped around you.

2. Don’t Get Lost

  • Make sure all maps are available offline.
  • Take a hardcopy map in case you lose your ‘phone or it runs out of power.
  • Tell someone your itinerary and keep friends and family updated with travel plans.
  • Pay attention to where you are going!
  • If you are travelling on a package holiday have the helpline number handy.
  • If you aren’t on a package, make sure you have a phrase book to help you ask for directions and/or help.

3. Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance – it can cover you for:

  • Medical costs in case of illness or injury.
  • Repatriation.
  • Cancelled or missed flights.
  • Lost or stolen passport.
  • Lost or damaged belongings.

At worldwideinsure.com we can tailor a policy to suit your needs and situation – whether that is travelling with expensive equipment, or an existing medical condition, or making sure you are covered for specific activities and excursions.

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4. Don’t Get Injured or ill

  • Pack a first aid kit.
  • Use a filtered water bottle.
  • Check any bottled drinks you are given have not been previously opened.
  • Only eat peelable fruit.
  • Avoid salads, opt for fully cooked food.

5. Be Prepared

  • Write down emergency contact numbers.
  • Have digital copies available somewhere of all essential info such as passport info and travel insurance emergency number.
  • Hide emergency cash in a chap stick/hairbrush/underwear.
  • Learn basic self defence.

Skyscanner App Review – Travel App of the Month August 2019

skyscanner travel app review logoCheap flights, alerts on upcoming deals, no booking fees… it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not – welcome to a flight, hotel, and car hire app that is used by more than 70 millionpeople worldwide!

 

What is the Skyscanner App?

It’s a portal that promises to make finding and booking your holiday, or various parts of your holiday, really easy. It covers flights, hotels, and car hire, and is known for presenting some of the best deals going. It’s also a wonderful tool for tracking prices, with a handy alert if what you are looking for comes up at a bargainous price!

What does the Skyscanner App do?

  • Connects you with best deals on flights, hotels, hostels, apartments, resorts, and car hire
  • Lets you book your whole trip in the one app
  • Suggests activities for your destination
  • Provides travel inspiration with an “explore” feature
  • Shows price comparisons between hotel, flight, and car hire providers
  • Has a custom search function
  • Has a loyalty option in profile for collecting miles

All with no booking fees, sweeeeet!

skyscanner travel app review

skyscanner travel app review

Who is the Skyscanner App for?

Its multifaceted functions means that it ticks the box for just about everyone who is looking for a deal, but it is those who like to travel often that will probably get the most benefit – especially the tracking feature for securing the best prices on flights, and insights on the cheapest times to travel.

What do the Skyscanner App Reviews say?

The fact that 70 million people are using this app says it all. Sure, there are a few glitches here and there, and some features that people would like to see added, but the app certainly seems to do what it says and is well maintained!

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The Safest Holiday Destinations in the World 2019

New Zealand Beach - Safe Holiday Destinations

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Can’t decide where to go on your next holiday? Why not take a look at the Global Peace Index? It is used to rank the safety of 163 countries worldwide, a great tool for picking your next family-friendly holiday spot! Here are the top 10.

Iceland

For the 11thyear in a row, Iceland has been declared the safest place in the world to be. For family fun, we recommend heading to this glorious country in the summer. You’ll be able to enjoy a healthy dose of fun-filled outdoor adventures around the clock as the sun barely sets this time of year.

New Zealand

While the long haul flight might not be child friendly, New Zealand has plenty to offer for families with young children. Top tip: head to Ngarunui Beach where the kids can learn to surf on some of the most gentle waves going in full view of the life guards.

Australia

With deadly critters roaming on land and sea, you might be surprised to find Oz in the top 10 safest places in the world, but here it is. Why not head to Kangaroo Island with the kids to enjoy getting up close to a diverse range of wildlife on this secluded island, over a third of which is a nature reserve.

Australia Safest Holiday Destinations

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Portugal

Head to central and western Algarve for all the best kid-friendly family fun. From Lagos in the west through to Vilamoura in the east, you’ll find plentiful zoos and waterparks that will keep the kids entertained the whole holiday. Its popularity with families does however mean that it is a pretty chokka place to holiday during the summer break!

Denmark

If you are heading to Denmark with the kids, there is no way you can’t stop for a bit in Billund, the birthplace of Lego and home of the original Legoland theme park and resort. Billund also has an impressive activity park, Lalandia, and Givskud Zoo, making the place a perfect paradise for kids of all ages.

Canada

For a winter break the kids will remember forever, book a stay at Whistler. This place has a ski-scene like no other, and the vibe will definitely impress older kids in the group, especially if you are there during one of the many ski and snowboard festivals or competitions. Plus, if the older kids are entertained, you might find time for a bit of après–ski fun or relaxation without them!

Canada Safest Holiday Destinations

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Czech Republic

Another great winter destination for families, especially near Christmas. The Christmas Markets in Prague are some of the best in the whole of Europe, lit up by thousands of lights, and selling everything that makes the festive season magical, from gingerbread treats to glorious gifts.

Singapore

This is the most family-friendly destination in Asia. It is sparkling clean, the public transport is great, and it seems that everywhere is buggy friendly. The place is packed with eye-catching attractions, lots of activity parks, and of course a Universal Studios Theme Park, but our must-do is Singapore Night Safari, open from 7.15 pm to midnight daily.

Japan

Give the kids a high-tech holiday in Tokyo, it’s packed with futuristic fun. If your kids enjoyed Spirited Away or Howls Moving Castle, go to Studio Ghibli, it has a museum guarded by a 5 metre robot! A trip to Honda Plaza and the kids can meet ASIMO, the most advanced humanoid robot in the world. Or take a trip on the bullet train, which connects Tokyo to most major cities at speeds up to 200mph!

Ireland

With a culture steeped in fairy tales and folklore, Ireland is the perfect place to wow the little ‘uns on holiday. Top Tip for parents is to become National Trust members. While most places, such as the fantastic Giants Causeway are accessible to the general public, you have to pay to access the visitor centres. This is where you can find out the folklore and facts behind such amazing natural wonders in an array of interactive displays.

KIDS GO FREE! Did you know that on some of our family travel insurance policies, the kids are covered for free? Call us to find out more!