Category Archives: Travel Advice

Ten Stress-Busting Travel Tips for Your Next Holiday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Komoot App Review – Travel App of The Month April 2019

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

What is the Komoot App?

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

What does the Komoot App do?

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

Who is the Komoot App for?

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

What do the Komoot App reviews say?

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

Get it in iTunes

Get it in GooglePlay

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

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

JANUARY

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

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

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FEBRUARY

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

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

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MARCH

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

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

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APRIL

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

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

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MAY

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

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

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JUNE

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

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

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JULY

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

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

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AUGUST

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

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

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SEPTEMBER

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

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

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OCTOBER

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

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

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NOVEMBER

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

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

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DECEMBER

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

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

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

An Adventurers Guide to Sleeper Trains

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

Know Your Sleeping Options!

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

  • Recliner seat
  • Couchette
  • Sleeper compartments

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

Food and Drink

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

What to Pack for Travelling on a Night Train

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

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

Safety

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

Night Train Attendants

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

 

Roadtrippers App Review – Travel App of the Month March 2019

Want to explore off the beaten path, but with some guidance? You won’t miss any of those “must-see” gems with the Roadtripper App, designed to take you on amazing detours to discover fascinating places en-route!

What is the Roadtrippers App?

It’s an app designed for adventure! Road trippers in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can use the app to plan a road trip, and then intuitively navigate that route based on fascinating detours to amazing places on the way.

What does the Roadtrippers App do?

It’ll probably unleash your inner explorer! You can filter and layer multiple categories according to your ideals, to create a trip totally unique to your tastes. Scenic spots near bars that serve craft ale? Hotels near vintage vehicle museums? Glamping near glaciers? Hot wings pit-stops only?  You can also save itineraries, share it with friends and allow others to add suggestions to the trip.

 

Who is the Roadtrippers App for?

Anyone who wants to experience spontaneous adventure (without the uncertainty) and for those who want to make the most of a road trip of a lifetime without missing something they probably didn’t even know existed.

What do the Roadtrippers App Reviews Say?

“I love the method of finding hidden treasures along my route. Makes the journey fun! Glad to have this app along for the drive!”sums it up pretty well. The feedback is marginally better from iOS users than android, but all in all, a fun way to take a detour, and a delightful way to plan a road trip. With any luck they’ll roll it out for use in more countries!

Get it on Google Play

Get it on iTunes

 

Canary Islands Guide: Which Is Best For Kids?

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Each of the three main Canary islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote – offer a thrilling selection of activities for children. The only tricky part is choosing which island – and which activities.

All three islands benefit from year-round warm temperatures and all are located in the Spanish time-zone – so no jet-lag to worry about! Read our guide on the various child-friendly draws of these astonishing islands…

Tenerife

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Most Canary-bound flights arrive at Tenerife, the archipelago’s biggest and most developed island. But while the south is indeed a resort-land of hotels, restaurants and theme parks, there are still large protected swathes, covering no less than six vegetation zones including UNESCO-listed Teide National Park, where you’ll find Spain’s loftiest mountain. The amazing outdoors, combined with reliable sunshine, means there’s lots to do.

Aside from trekking Teide National Park, you can go whale and dolphin watching, try caving in Cueva del Viento, and visit the strange stone pyramids at Pirámides de Güímar Ethnographic Park. There are also some top-notch theme parks, such as Park Siam, a Thai-themed water park, and Aqualand – you can guess what happens here! Both of which provide hours of amusement to smaller visitors. And of course, if ‘doing’ gets a bit much, you can try ‘being’ for a while – on one of the island’s lovely golden beaches.

Top tip: While it’s sunny year-round, the island does have annual rains, which affect parts of the island at different times.

Fuerteventura

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Stunning sandy beaches are the main draw of Fuerteventura, where older kids – and adults, of course – can try their hand at various water sports, including paddle boarding and windsurfing. Hopping in a pedalo is great fun for younger children. Inland, you can go off-road in a 4×4 and explore the rugged hills of the island’s interior, stopping for a dip in one of the beautiful natural lagoons.

Back by the sea, consider taking a boat trip to Los Lobos, a lush green island where hundreds of smiling seals have made the pretty beaches their home. Other animal-based draws include horseback riding – and even camel riding. Fuerteventura is also home to Acua Water Park, offering huge water slides along with crazy golf and go-karting.

Top Tip: You can rent a car on Fuerteventura, but the island has a good, low-cost public bus system, which reaches most parts of the island.

Lanzarote

Image by neufal54

Lanzarote’s largely volcanic landscape stands in contrast to its greener neighbours. The dramatic, rippled-lack lava fields are a sight to behold – but there’s plenty of traditional fun-time draws here too. For kids and grown-ups the fantastic beaches are a winner, with windier stretches for water sports, such as Costa Teguise, and calmer spots perfect for younger children, like Puerto del Carmen.

For attractions, the Rancho Texas animal park is a fun day out, while the Pirate Museum captures the imagination with its depictions of the Canaries’ pirate-ravaged past. And then there’s the water parks – Aquapark Costa Teguise and Aqualava Waterpark in Playa Blanca, the latter of which is best for smaller children and toddlers. For older kids and teens, there’s paint ball and plenty of teen-focussed parties in the resorts.

Top tip: It’s easy to spend your entire break in one of the very well developed resort areas – see Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca, but do explore the island’s many other draws, not least its mesmerising volcanic vistas!

 

Best for kids…

Of course, all three islands offer a wealth of activities for smaller travellers. But if you’re planning a longer trip you might consider hopping on a ferry – or even taking a flight – to one of the other islands. But, chances are, one island will be more than enough for a fun-packed family holiday!

 

Kids Go FREE on Family Travel Insurance at worldwideinsure.com! Give us a call 01892 833338 or get a quote online!

Insider Secrets: Cruise Liners – Travel Tips from the Experts

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Want to get more bang for your buck on a cruise? Here are our favourite tips for saving money, making the most of hospitality services, and planning where and when to spend your holiday cash on board. We’ve even thrown in some insider insight extras about what it’s really like on a cruise ship!

 

  1. You don’t have to stick to one starter, one main, and one desert in the main dining hall – passengers are free to order whatever dishes they wish from each of the menus, and as much as they want! Nice if you prefer a few starters and a desert over a main meal, or just can’t make your mind up between dishes!

 

  1. Meals in the main dining area are usually planned in advance – ask if you can see the upcoming menu so you know which night you’d rather book a table at one of the other on-board restaurants.

 

  1. Don’t like what’s on the menu? Ask if a different dish is available – ordering off-menu is even possible in the main dining hall.

 

  1. Thrifty travellers will be pleased to know that some cruise liners don’t mind passengers bringing a couple of bottles of wine or champagne on board (although you will have to pay corkage if you plan to have it in an on-board restaurant). There is also a reasonable allowance for non-alcoholic drinks – which can end up saving a few precious pounds.

 

  1. If sea-sickness strikes, room service is usually on hand to help out, no need to try and get to the on-board pharmacy, just give them a call and they’ll come to your room with required remedies. If your cabin is on a higher deck however, you might find you feel less queasy if you head to the middle of a lower deck, where there is less movement.

 

  1. Room service is free on most cruise ships! Bear in mind that this unexpected luxury upgrade may result in a surcharge on food prices at certain times of night, and the person bringing the food will probably be expecting a tip.

 

  1. Talking of tips, the hospitality crew are generally low-paid, and earn their living by delivering a great service rewarded by tips. As such, make sure you pack plenty of “change” suitable for tipping staff.

 

  1. Missed out on free tickets for the big show? Head on down anyway, lots of people who reserve these tickets decide not to go – if there are any seats spare at show time, staff will happily let you in.

 

  1. Pack your own power board – cabins are well known for being sparse when it comes to power outlets, so bring your own power board to make sure you stay charged for the trip.

 

  1. Pick your passes and packages carefully. Whether it is a spa pass, drinks package, or restaurant package – work out what is really included for the price and whether it’s cost effective for what you will actually use. Drinks packages, for example, might mean you have to drink 10 drinks a day, every day of your cruise, even on port days to get value for money.

 

  1. Bear in mind that there are plenty of opportunities on-board for freebies – free pastries with coffee, free soft-serve ice-cream points, complimentary drinks at on-board events, and deals on buying a whole bottle of wine (which will be labelled and saved for you for later). If cheap alcohol is what you are after, get your fill in port before you head back to the ship.

 

  1. Cruise ship insurance is essential – not only will it help you out if you get sick on-board, but should you happen to miss departure (a real risk if you embark on your own port excursions), it could stop your holiday turning into a total disaster! Be warned that buying insurance from the cruise line generally costs more for lower cover – you are better buying from a third-party provider.

 

  1. Somewhere on the ship there is a morgue! Statistics dictate that out of the thousands of passengers who travel on cruise ships 365 days a year, someone will shift their mortal coil during a trip.

 

  1. If you like your privacy… the general rule of thumb is that the lower the deck and the further back on the ship you go, the fewer people will be around.

Trail Wallet Travel Budget App Review – Travel App of the Month Feb 2019

Does worrying about your budget get in the way of enjoying your travel adventures? Fear not, there is an app that will help you stay on track without feeling like you’re sacrificing freedom and fun!

What is the Trail Wallet Travel Budget App?

It’s an expenses travel app that has been designed specifically for the travelling type in mind. It’s easy to use, quick, and beautifully designed. All you have to do is add your budget by trip or by month, set a daily budget and every time you pay for something – add the figure to the app and it’ll take it away from your spending pot. No more wondering if your available balance is up to date or collecting receipts to file!

What does the Trail Wallet Travel Budget App do?

Loads! The most helpful is probably the detailed summary screen which gives you all you need to know about your budget, including what is eating up your precious cash!  Among the many key features, these were the ones that stood out to us the most:

  • Detailed Summary screen
  • Data can be shown in any of your local currencies
  • Interactive bar chart shows your last five days spending
  • Daily budget label enables you to view an adjusted budget, to see exactly how much you have left to spend each day
  • Option to spread expenses out over multiple days
  • Multiple tags which can be filtered on the History screen
  • Add amounts in either your home currency, or choose from over 218 local currencies
  • Interactive pie charts for a visual view of how much you’ve spent by category
  • Daily breakdown of how you’re doing against a daily, monthly or trip budget
  • Export your data in CSV format and send it via messages, email, or Airdrop
  • Daily automatic iCloud backups of all your data (iCloud account required)

Who is the Trail Wallet Travel Budget App for?

The thrifty traveller, business traveller and, more than anything, we think this app is awesome for backpackers and those on long stay travel adventures. Fun fact, the app was created by Simon Fairbairn and Erin McNeaney of Never Ending Voyage, a couple who’ve been travelling full time since March 2010 because they wanted something that stopped financial stress putting a dampener on their good times!

What do the Trail Wallet Travel Budget App Reviews say?

First and foremost it’s well worth paying for! The first 25 entries are free, after that you need to go ahead with an in-app purchase to unlock unlimited amounts. It is also so good that you’ll probably want to use it for everyday living when you aren’t travelling. Apart from that, exactly what it says on the tin – quick, easy to use, and totally fit for purpose.

Get it on iTunes

 

 

Air Travel – Insider Secrets You Want To Know

Image by StockSnap CC0

Some airlines have pyjamas for long haul flights! If you are travelling first or business class and fancy feeling fresh when you step off the plane, ask if there are any PJs available to slip into while you snooze.

Ask for seconds if you are still hungry. The fact is that some people don’t want their on-board meal, maybe they are prioritising sleep, or maybe flying wipes out their appetite. Whatever the reason, there are likely spare meals to be had if you want them.

Take your own pillows and headphones. There are rumours that the in-flight freebies on some flights may have been enjoyed by a previous passenger. One way to tell you are first to use the blanket, pillow or headphones is if it comes in a sealed packed. Advice is to take your own personal items just in case it doesn’t!

The Cabin Crew’s actual job is to keep passengers safe. Next time you are harrumphing because service is a little slow (or your peanuts aren’t served on a plate), remember that the crew aren’t primarily there for your hospitality, they are there to ensure your safety should you need it. Don’t believe us? Surely there would be a budget airline where you took your own food and drink to save on hospitality staff.

Screaming babies are more likely to be seated by a partition, aka, bulkhead. This is because it is the only place to safely secure a bassinet. If you want to maximise your chances of a good rest, pick a seat well away!

Some flights have childcare aboard! Premium airlines often have a dedicated person to entertain a restless child, and most airlines will have entertainment packs – just ask as you board. Even crew on the most budget of flights may be able to help calm a screaming baby, after all no one wants the stress of that, least of all the crew while they are trying to do their job.

Be nice, or be bottom of the pile. Yes folks, the cabin crew’s life isn’t as glamorous as some may think, so everything you can do to be pleasant and accommodating gets noticed because it makes their job so much easier. Those who are prone to demanding behaviour will not be the ones who get the last cold cola on the flight!

Ice Hotels – The Coolest Place To Ignite The Fires of Passion!

What better way to revel in romance than cosying up in an Ice Hotel! These ephemeral and magical places with an otherworldly feel are the perfect place for love

©ICEHOTEL. icehotel.com: ICEHOTEL 28, 2017-2018 Art Suite Daily Travellers. Design Alem Teklu & Anne Karin Krogevoll. Photo Asaf Kliger. 

ICEHOTEL, Sweden

This hotel has just opened its doors to its 29th incarnation! It is a hotel and art exhibition rolled into one, made of ice from the river Torne, created each year based on a new design. It’s billed as a place to discover silence, the northern lights, cloudberries, kettle coffee and we think it’s just the place for romance! Visit icehotel.com for more info.

©ICEHOTEL. Art Suite 2016. Love Capsule by Luc Voisin & Mathieu Brison. Photo Asaf Kliger icehotel.com 

The Ice Church next to the ICEHOTEL opens every year on 25thDecember. When it is formally handed over to the Swedish Church for weddings, renewal of vows and even baptisms!

 

©©ICEHOTEL. icehotel.com: Ice Church 2015 In the Glade Photo byline Design Tjåsa Lucia Gusfors, David Andrén, Johan Andrén & Erik Törner Photo. Paulina Holmgren. 

Hôtel de Glace, Canada

© Hôtel de Glace

This hotel is just 20 minutes north of Quebec City in Canada. It’s huge snow vaults and breath-taking ice sculptures are unique masterpieces created afresh every year by some of the best ice sculptors in the world. The hotel is open to visitors, guests, and for weddings. Head to Hotel de Glace for more info!

© Hôtel de Glace

Hotel of Ice, Romania 

Set in the Fagaras Mountains, Romania, this hotel is built every year in less than a month from snow and ice blocks that are extracted from Balea Lac, the largest glacial lake in the area. The hotel’s vision is to be somewhere couples can escape for a mix of romance and adventure – there is even an ice church for weddings. More over at Hotel of Ice.

©Hotel of Ice

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