Category Archives: Travel Advice

GoEuro – Travel App of the Month Jan 2017

goeuro logoTravelling Europe by plane, train and “bus-mobile” has never been easier thanks to a fab new app aimed at those looking for the fastest and cheapest way to get from A to B.

What is the GoEuro app?

GoEuro is a travel search and booking app for train, bus and flights across Europe with over 30,000 destinations in 12 countries – not just cities and airports like many other sites, but small towns and villages that are serviced by trains and coaches as well. The app is your best friend for discovering and booking the fastest and/or most affordable journeys via train, coach and plane.

What can the GoEuro app do?

The GoEuro app is useful for those looking to travel from one European city, town or village to another as they can work out the cheapest or smartest route to their intended destination and compare travel time or price.

The app will allow users to:

  • Discover the cheapest ticket price for the fastest travel time
  • View all available methods of transport to their destination- train, coach or plane
  • Book tickets securely via credit/debit card or Paypal

GoEuro App Screenshot 3 GoEuro App Screenshot 2 GoEuro App Screenshot 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is theGoEuro app for? 

Adventurers and the budget-conscious! Although the GoEuro app is for anyone looking to book travel in Europe, we think the app particularly suits the budget traveller who is looking to find the fastest and/or most affordable way to hop between European cities, or travellers wanting to explore further afield than the main tourism hubs.

What do the GoEuro reviews say?

goeuro review shot 2 goeuro review shot 1

Get The GoEuro app on iTunes or GooglePlay

Can Travel Insurance Save You From These Deadly Creatures?

Travel insurance is pretty good at making sure that travellers get home safe and sound after something nasty has happened. Being airlifted off a mountain after a skiing accident for example, or getting someone on the next flight home should they fall ill on holiday. Should someone fall foul of these deadly creatures however, then travel insurance could well save a life… if you have long enough!


Image source: TravelSupermarket;

Don’t leave your holiday health to chance – get travel insurance!

 

Don’t Let Your Amorous Intentions Hit The Rocks! 10 Romantic Holiday Tips You Must Not Miss

Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0

1. Don’t go all-inclusive

There isn’t much that is less romantic on holiday than a table for two in a hotel restaurant.

2. Choose self-catering

Having your own rental is way cosier than being confined to a hotel room, plus there are certain amorous perks to having your own food supplies.

3. Go somewhere cold

That way you have a perfect excuse to snuggle up.

4. Book somewhere with a log burner

It’s easy and a romantic thing to arrange.

5. Get somewhere with a hot tub

This needs no explanation – easy on the bubbles though.

6. Go somewhere quiet

This guarantees you get more attention.

7. Disconnect

The fastest way to boost the romantic factor is to SWITCH YOUR PHONE OFF!

8. Keep it short

Any more than a couple of days away and you are likely to kill the cuddly atmosphere with something trivial.

9. Keep it close-by

A long journey, especially involving an airport is also likely to stop romance dead in its tracks.

10. Ask your hotel or booking agent for “honeymoon” treats

Champers on ice, a box of chocolates, petals on the bed… most hotels, b&bs, and apartments have a little something special for newlyweds, ask if you can have the same upgrade.

Cricket In The Caribbean – A Sunny Spring Break For Sports Fans

Image by rhodes8043 CC0

Image by rhodes8043 CC0

Worried that the grey British weather will leave you feeling as mad as a March hare by the end of the month? Fear not – you still have four weeks to get yourself to the England v West Indies Tour where the sound of wood on willow is extra relaxing thanks to sea, sand and sun!

There are also lots of gorgeous beaches to explore, natural sights to see, and plenty of rum to be drunk too. Here’s our guide to the most relaxing break in the world this spring!

Where and When

The England v West Indies tour 2017 takes place in Antigua on the 3rd and 5th of March at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on the 9th March.

What to do (other than watch cricket)

Whether you travel independently or plump for a package, you’ll have a few days between matches to explore everything the Caribbean has to offer. Here are some of our favourites…

Swim with turtles – You can book a private trip or go on a group feed and swim excursion to the nearby turtle sanctuary. The 2 hour eco-adventure starts in Bridgetown, Barbados where you’ll be whisked away in a boat, giving you beautiful views of the south coast on the way to Carlisle Bay. Guests get to feed these magnificent beasts, and brush up on their underwater photography. All snorkelling equipment is provided, and you’ll be given some light refreshments on your return journey. Prices start at about £45.

Explore Harrisons Cave – It might seem a shame to head underground when you have sunny skies above, but Harrisons Cave is a treat not to be missed! A glass lift and tram ride ensure it won’t sap too much energy, and you will get to learn a lot about the local history as well as the geology on the journey. You can book a tour for about £100 that includes visits to the other natural wonders in Barbados such as Hunte’s Gardens, The Flower Forest, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, and Bathsheba.

Drink Rum at St Nicholas Abbey – No trip to the Caribbean is complete without a drop of Rum, and St Nicholas Abbey is just the place to go to sample some. The working distillery dates back to the mid 1600s and is a working example of a 19th century sugar plantation, with the original mills crushing the sugar cane. You can join a historical tour around the house and museum then spend your own time exploring the grounds. Various packages are available starting at about £65.

How to get there – Independent Travel vs Tour Packages

Flights to just Barbados with Virgin are in the region of £700 per person return. The flights between Antigua and Barbados are around £400 with Caribbean Airlines.

To enjoy a week in a luxury beachside hotel you can expect to pay £3,000.

English Cricket Tours have a two-centre package with 6 nights in Antigua, all-inclusive at the beachfront Halcyon Cove followed by 6 nights in Barbados from £2700 per person. This includes flights, accommodation, transfers from the airport to the hotels, and inter island flight. Even though tickets to watch the cricket are extra, this seems like quite a bargain! For more information visit englishcrickettours.co.uk or call 0208 932 4565/0203 667 1613.

Travel Insurance!

Don’t forget your travel insurance – if it is your only trip of the year, we can offer excellent deals on our single trip insurance, or if this is part of your annual globetrotting adventures you’ll need our annual multi trip insurance. We also have family policies where kids go free. Call 01892 833338 for more info, free quotes or to arrange last minute cover.

Envago – Travel App of the Month Jan 2017

envago-logoThere’s a new app in town designed to unite adventure seekers and adventure planners in one great big community of global adventure!

What Is Envago?

Envago is a free app that allows those seeking adventures to search by category of adventure, listed activities or by location to access a range of experiences and providers. It is also a place where adventure planners can list upcoming trips, adventures, and events.

Adventure Categories:

  • Air: parasailing, paragliding, skydiving, bungee jumping, zip lining, hot air balloon, base jumping, parachute.
  • Earth: hiking, camping, trekking, rock climbing, cycling, backpacking, running, ATV, safari, motorcycling, mountain biking, expeditions, hunting.
  • Water: rafting, snorkeling, diving, shark cage diving, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, fishing, sailing, scuba diving.
  • Rock & Ice: skiing, climbing, caving, glacier hiking, snow boarding.
  • Volunteer: volunteer tourism, eco-tourism, environmentally sustainable activities, archeological expedition, disaster relief, refugee camps, health and educational programs.

envago-screenshot-1 envago-screenshot-2

What does the Envago app do?

Adventure seekers can:

– Browse experiences by category, difficulty, location, price and date

– Book and plan adventure breaks with verified planners

– Connect with others booked on the same adventure

– Chat with groups

– Create an adventure bucket-list

– Review adventure planners

Adventure planners can:

– Register as a planner

– List and manage adventures

– Create closed or open groups

– Set the price and number in group

– Chat with team groups

– Receive payments

What do the Envago reviews say?

This app is super-new on the scene and is yet to notch up a bank of user reviews, but we are predicting it will be the next big thing in the adventure industry – it has after all been described as “the Airbnb and Uber of adventure travel”.

envago-review

Envago is free and available in the iTunes store. The Android version is being released soon. You can find out more about the Envago app at www.envagoapp.com

Tours: The Holiday From Hell Or The Best Way To Check Out Somewhere New?

Organised tours have a bit of a bad rep, deemed by many to be un-adventurous and a bit like an overpriced school trip with a bunch of people you are unlikely to get on with. If this is what you think, we are here to change your mind by busting some myths associated with this type of holiday.

Myth 1: I’ll only see the touristy stuff

going-on-a-tour-image-by-sasint-cc0

Image by sasint CC0

FALSE! Tours are run by people who know the area – which includes all the cool stuff that you’d probably miss if you were left to your own devices, or at least spend half of your holiday trying to discover.

Myth 2: I’ll be stuck with the group the whole time

going-on-a-tour-image-by-hans-cc0

Image by Hans CC0

FALSE! You are not being babysat 24/7, you can go out and discover the area by yourself and experience the night life without the rest of the group if you so wish. In fact, if you want a bit of spontaneity on your trip just ask your tour guide who can tell you where is safe to go if you fancy a bit of time on your own.

Myth 3: It’s expensive

going-on-a-tour-image-by-klimkin-cc0

Images by Klimkin CC0

TRUE! BUT… Break the cost down and you’ll be surprised what great value for money it really is. Whether the daily cost works out to be £50 or £150, bear in mind that it covers the cost of flights, accommodation, transfers, local guides and even meals. You can check out average tour prices with this handy calculator from Tour Radar.

Myth 4: It’s better to go on holiday with friends

going-on-a-tour-image-by-unsplash-cc0

Image by Unsplash CC0

MAYBE, MAYBE NOT! Organizing a holiday with friends can actually be quite restrictive, as you all want to see and experience different things, and try hard to compromise. It can also lead to some pretty epic bust-ups on the way. The bonus of a tour holiday is that you are essentially experiencing independent travel with the safety and support of a group.

Whether a tour is the best option for you all depends what you want to get out of your holiday. If it’s a trip of a lifetime where you get a chance to try new things, expand your personal horizons, meet new people, forge new friendships, and have something to write home about – a tour is probably the way to go.

Don’t forget your travel insurance!

Even if you are booked with a tour operator, you may benefit from having your own independent travel insurance to ensure you are covered for things like medical assistance and repatriation. If you are unsure, just give one of our travel insurance advisors a call on 01892 833338

The Most Common Snowboarding Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

ossur-image-3-ski-mega-blog

Image courtesy of Ossurwebshop.co.uk

Snowboarding is often seen as skiing’s younger, cooler and more daring counterpart. It began in the 1960s, when engineer Sherman Poppen fastened two skis together to help his daughter learn to ski, and was soon taken up and developed by skateboarding enthusiasts and winter sport fanatics alike.

Today, snowboarding is hugely popular around the world and is a recognised Olympic sport. It is also a high-risk sport – you are after all hurtling down snowy slopes. Safety gear and common sense can go a long way to preventing or minimising injury, but accidents are always going to happen at some stage.

The kind of injuries common in snowboarding are different to the injuries you’d expect when skiing – this is largely due to the differences in equipment. Skiing is notorious for leg injuries, whereas with snowboarding, you are more likely to incur an upper body injury. In fact…

The most frequent snowboarding injuries are to the wrist

Beginner snowboarders fall a lot, and they need to learn not to try and break the fall with their wrist (which is a natural thing to do). Also, beginners often don’t bother with professional instruction and this can mean learning to fall the hard way. Experienced snowboarders know that!

In addition to wrist injuries, falling onto an outstretched hand can transmit the force along the arm and cause a shoulder or elbow injury. Around 60% of snowboarding injuries are to the arm, wrist, hand or thumb.

Wrist injuries can be serious

A complicated wrist fracture can increase the chances of osteoarthritis and long-term disability. It generally takes up to eight weeks for a broken wrist to heal, but it can take much longer. This can be really frustrating, as being unable to fully use your arm and hand while you wait to heal can really curtail your everyday activities. If you don’t allow your injury time to heal, however, you can cause permanent damage.

How To Avoid A Wrist Injury

Wrist injuries can be avoided by proper safety gear. Wrist guards for snowboarders are widely available and also affordable.

Head injuries are common too

Injuries to the head and face are also more common among snowboarders than among skiers. In fact, the risk for head injury among snowboarders is nearly twice that for skiers. Head injuries can be caused by a fall or by a collision. Beginners especially can fall backwards and hit the back of their head, or occiput. Snowboarders can fall forwards or backwards more easily than skiers in their fixed bindings.

Head injuries are thankfully rarely serious

But when they are serious, they can be tragic. Death or permanent brain injury can result from a fall or a collision, and that is why helmets cannot be recommended highly enough. It’s difficult to estimate the recovery time for a head injury. Cuts, bruises and broken noses will usually heal quite quickly, but concussion can have lasting consequences, and other serious head injuries even more so.

How To Avoid A Head Injury

Wear a helmet. While they won’t make you invincible, they can protect against a more serious injury.

Spinal Injuries

Like head injuries, spinal injuries are more common among snowboarders than among skiers, but still thankfully very rare. The two most common causes are a jump that goes disastrously wrong, with the jumper landing in an awkward position, or a really violent backward fall where the force of the fall is transmitted to the spine. It’s hard to estimate the recovery time from a spinal injury, as they vary in severity so wildly, but the damage can be permanent and disabling

How To Avoid a Spinal Injury

Jumps are the second most common cause of snowboarding injuries, after falls. The best way to avoid a spinal injury is not to attempt a jump or trick that is way beyond your skill level.

Knee Injuries Account For 16% of Snowboarding Injuries

Knee injuries are much less common among snowboarders than among skiers. Harder boots give a higher chance of knee injury, although they offer more protection to the ankles. Surprisingly, nasty knee injuries to snowboarders take place on ski lifts as well as on ski slopes. Getting onto a lift involves having one foot fastened into the board and pushing with the other, so the possibility of a sprain is quite high. Twisting causes a big number of knee injuries among boarders.

Collisions are more likely to cause knee fractures, and twisting injuries to cause ligament damage or strains to the knee

Damage to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most common form of ligament injury, with 40% of all ACL injuries attributed to extreme sports. This is the same ligament which many professional footballers injure and depending on the severity can involve surgery and around nine months on the side-lines, not to mention a weaker knee and an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the future (not good).

Both ligament injuries and fractures are serious and have a long recovery time involving physical therapy and medication. Sometimes even an operation is needed, depending on the severity of the damage.

How To Avoid A Knee Injury

A well-designed knee brace is designed to offer protection, typically manufactured from materials such as carbon fibre (strong and lightweight), as well as offering stability so that you can handle the twists, turns and jumps on the slopes. Modern knee braces for extreme sports are lightweight and non-corrosive. If you can water ski wearing one, you can certainly snowboard! Protection is always better than cure and this is why many of the professionals can now be seen sporting them.

Common Ankle Injuries

Ankles are also an area to watch out for. Snowboarders are quite vulnerable to ankle sprains and fractures. In fact, a lateral fracture of the talus is referred to as “snowboarder’s ankle”, as it is rarely sustained in any other way. Soft boots are easier to walk in and make you feel more flexible, but they do leave you more open to this kind of injury.

Sprains are more common, than fractures, but it’s important to get even minor sprains treated

Sometimes a fracture can be misdiagnosed as a sprain, leading to unpleasant consequences down the line. Snowboarder’s ankle doesn’t always show up on an X-ray, so if the pain from a sprain lasts longer than six or seven days, you need to visit your doctor again and get it checked over. A simple sprain should be almost healed after about a week and should certainly be able to bear weight, even if it’s still sore or tender.

How To Avoid Ankle Injuries

Opt for harder boots, but be aware that it might make an injury to the knee more likely, and restricts your flexibility for tricks.

Bumps and Bruises

Common places for bruises caused by snowboarding are abdominal bruising, facial bruising and, sad to say, bruised buttocks are also painfully common. Your buttocks are your body’s shock absorbers, especially when falling over backward on a snowboard, but they will bruise and those bruises can be painful. Fortunately, the pain should only last a few days and the colour will fade as well.

The only way to avoid bumps and bruises from snowboarding is not to go snowboarding

There are few rules and regulations regarding what you can wear on the slopes (helmets are only compulsory in a few countries) increasingly, however, people are realising that safety gear is an important part of any winter sport, and snowboarding is no different. Hopefully, a raised awareness of the consequences of injuries will lead to more safety gear being worn, and fewer snowboarders being injured.

Wintersports Travel Insurance Offers Extra Protection On The Slopes

If you are badly injured while snowboarding, you may need helicopter assistance with getting off the mountainside, and may even need to get back to your home country for treatment which is why you should make sure that your travel insurance covers you for the activities you plan to do – even if you are holidaying in the EU. Wintersports insurance from worldwideinsure.com provides cover for equipment, cancelled flights, medical assistance and repatriation for all destinations including even if you want to go off-piste.

What’s The Cost Of Your 2017 Bucket-List?

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a great year of adventures ahead – hopefully ticking off at least one bucket-list activity! We’ve all got one, full of daring adventures and unseen destinations – but do you have any idea how much it might actually cost to fulfill – or know what percentage of your wage you’d need to start saving?

Thankfully the geeks with all the gadgets at totallymoney.com have built a clever bucket-list calculator tool to work it out for us. Divided into adventure, sightseeing, aspirational, adrenaline and wildlife – you can personalize your own list and start saving.

Average cost of the top 10 bucket-list activities for UK traveller

  • See the Northern Lights: £572
  • Go on safari: £5,600
  • Walk the Great Wall of China: £1,139
  • Visit the Grand Canyon: £1,181
  • Go on a cruise: £1,338
  • See the Egyptian Pyramids: £1,112
  • Go whale watching: £2,000
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in New York: £1,103
  • Gamble in Las Vegas: £1,109
  • Take an American road trip: £3,365

Check out the full top 20 list, which is unsurprisingly dominated by travel-related activities, below. In fact, Buying Your Dream Home is the only one not related to travel, coming in at number 11.


View Interactive Version (via TotallyMoney.com).

Ski Tracks App Review – Travel App of the Month December 2016

ski tracks app logoIf you are the competitive sort, then you might like to raise your game next time you hit the slopes with a real-time performance app.

What is the Ski Tracks app?

Ski Tracks has been specifically designed for thrill seekers on skis! It is hailed as the ultimate skiers companion, promising to gather, track, save and analyse data collected both on-piste and off.

What can the Ski Tracks app do?

This nifty app can measure speed, distance and altitude to build up your own ski statistics. Not only can you use this info to see how your skills are progressing, you can also use it to compare your best times against other app users. Other features include:

• Photo storage of memorable moments
• Mapping tools – including 3D map support
• Health Connection

Wondering how it can do all this in some of the more remote mountainous places on the planet? It uses GPS signal, so no need for signal, just be sure to turn data roaming off. Just be aware that although the app uses “battery efficient technology” GPS is known for sapping battery life pretty fast, so turn it off when you’ve finished having fun!

ski tracks app screenshots

Who is the Ski Tracks app for?

It is used by complete beginners and seasoned professionals alike. It is compatible with iPhone, Android, Apple Watch, Pebble and Magellan Echo – so if you own one of these, it is for you! Ski Tracks also works on iPad, but how many people take one of those on a black run? Finally, you need to have 79p spare to buy the app, another cost in an already budget-stretched ski break!

What do the Ski Tracks app reviews say?

Some Apple users who have upgraded to ios10 seem a little disgruntled, but the reviews on Google Play are almost completely five star.

ski tracks app iTunes review

ski tracks app Google Play reviews

 

 

The Most Magical and Wonderfully Weird Places On The Planet

As a follow up to The World’s Most Amazing Creatures and Where to Find Them, we’ve sourced some awesome bucket-list activities for each destination. Now you can plan a trip magical enough for master Potter himself!

Icebergs by MemoryCatcher CC0

Icebergs by MemoryCatcher CC0

Visiting the Canadian Arctic – The icebergs in the Canadian Arctic are formed from snowflakes that fell from the sky 15,000 years ago! Tours are available so you can see these titanic beasts up close and marvel at their sculptural beauty created by the formidable forces of nature.

Visiting Japan – Japan is home to the weird, wonderful and unusual. While the bright lights and novel attractions may command your attention, don’t miss out on Japan’s natural beauty spots such as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, a stunning forest of the tallest bamboo imaginable!

Visiting Madagascar – Make sure you take a trip from Morondava to Belo Tsiribihina. Along this dirt road stand ancient and huge Baobab trees. Each tree is over 800 years old, and has a circumference in excess of 150 ft.

Visiting Argentina – The sight of 300 waterfalls at Iguazu falls is truly stunning. The river flows through Brazil, but takes it’s final path along the Argentinian border. Expect a lot of noise, and on a sunny day a lot of rainbows too.

Iguassu Falls, image courtesy of battered-suitcase.com

Iguassu Falls, image courtesy of battered-suitcase.com

Visiting the Gobi Desert – The landscape here is eerily alien, and best appreciated on a tour. Travel by camel and stay in a ger for a truly nomadic experience. If that sounds too much like hard work, Jeep tours across the dunes are available too. The eagle eyed traveller might even stumble across some dinosaur eggs if visiting the North west!

Visiting the Bay of Bengal – If you are looking for a truly surreal experience, you could attempt visiting North Sentinel Island, don’t expect to make landfall though. It is said to be one of the most isolated places on Earth, inhabited by people who want nothing to do with the outside world. There have been reports of the hunter-gatherer islanders warding visitors off with a barrage of arrows.

Visiting Central China – Choices choices! What crazy things aren’t there to see in Central China? The Tianmen Skywalk is certainly a unique thrill – walking on a glass path 4,700 ft up a mountain will definitely make you feel like you have wizardry skills – but we think the hanging Temple of Hengshan has more magical appeal. This 5th-century temple is improbably built into the side of a cliff, in fact, it looks like it was “magicked on”.

Visiting the South Pacific Ocean – Easter Island sits in the South Pacific Ocean and is home to the famous eerie oversized heads known as moai. Rano Raraku is the site where these giant statues were carved, and you’ll find hundreds still here in various states of completion.

Moai at Rano Raraku. Image courtesy of Sunvil Latin America

Moai at Rano Raraku. Image courtesy of Sunvil Latin America

Visiting South East Asia – The Plain of Jars sounds like something straight out of a JK Rowling novel, but it is actually one of the most mysterious attractions in South East Asia. Head to Xieng Khouang and you’ll be met with a bewildering sight… thousands of huge stone jars rising out of the landscape.

Visiting Indonesia – Kelimutu volcano has three crater lakes that are truly spectacular to see. One is blue, one is green and the other is red! The combination of colours and jaw-droppingly beautiful vistas makes this one of the top destination spots for magical experiences.

Visiting Central America – The Monteverde Cloud Forest is home to some stunning and rather strange flora and fauna, but that isn’t the only reason you should head here. It is the only place in the world where you can straddle the Continental Divide, with one foot in the Caribbean and the other in the Pacific!

Visiting the Mediterranean Sea – Get your diving gear on and head to the seabed to find a world of magical wonders! In Abu Qir Bay, divers discovered the sunken Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion. The huge statues, hieroglyph covered tablets and endless artefacts took on an otherworldly charm illuminated by the divers lights.

Visiting Australia – If the conditions are right, lakes in Australia literally glow at night! Bioluminescent bacteria last visited Gippsland Lakes on a grand scale in 2009. Now you have to visit the centre of the lake in the summer months to appreciate a feint blue hue as you splash about in the water.

Visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo – Nyiragongo Volcano contains the world’s largest liquid lava lake. Now we think this is more Lord of the Rings than Harry Potter, but it is a breathtakingly magical sight none the less.