Category Archives: Travel Advice

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…

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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!

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

How To Find A Reputable Yoga Retreat – Tips For Newbie Yogis and Yoginis

Whether you are yearning to lie in Savasana in tropical surroundings, or sit in Sukhasana on a faraway sandy beach, you probably have one question that is stopping you from investing in that (probably pricy) yoga retreat… “How do I know it is a decent one?” We share some top tips and questions you should ask to put your mind at ease before laying down your deposit…

The only way you’ll know if it’s a decent retreat is to do some investigating. 

  • Have they ever run a retreat before?
  • Are they organising it all themselves or do they have a host?
  • How long have the people running it been running retreats?
  • How long has the teacher been teaching?

There should be reviews for you to read from previous retreats run by the host and teacher. Although there has to be a first time for every yoga teacher or retreat organiser, it is unlikely you’ll find that dream retreat if both yoga teacher and retreat host are new to the scene.

You should always find out a thing or two about the yoga teacher – unfortunately the rise in yoga’s popularity has not been governed very well, and it’s not unusual to hear of people starting their yoga teacher training with less than 6 months yoga experience themselves, and once qualified taking themselves and students off on a cheap yoga holiday.

So, how do you know if the teachers are properly qualified?

  • The teacher should have at least 2 years self practice before going onto a yoga teacher training, checking out their Facebook and Instagram history is one way to see if they have been following the yoga path for a while.
  • Find out who they studied with, and whether it was a properly recognised 200 hour Teacher Training course, governed by The British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Alliance, or equivalent.

Yoga Teacher Faye Riches says “Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience – you are about to part with a lot of money hoping for a trip of a lifetime, not one that is a disappointment!  You may want to know whether their Teacher Training was contact hours with a teacher, or a course online, and whether they are continuing their education. A teacher who has all the relevant experience and qualifications needed to be able to take a group of students away will not mind sharing their history, and who they have done training with. Faye has over 10 years experience as a teacher and pairs up with retreat specialist Reclaim Your Self who has over 12 years experience, a combination that has kudos – this year they have been listed in The Times top 20, and Guardian top 25 retreats in the world.

Make your first retreat a local one with your current teacher

To get a better idea of what to expect from a retreat, and therefore what to ask about someone advertising an overseas yoga retreat, go on a local one run by, or at the very least recommended by your current yoga teacher. If you already know the teacher, you already know that you enjoy their style of teaching, the price is a lot more palatable, and the duration is generally shorter – removing any anxiety you may be holding about whether a week-long yoga holiday is the right option for you.

 

We have comprehensive cover at competitive rates for one-off trips, and annual policies so you can enjoy your retreat without worrying about your travel insurance!

The Great Big Guide To Going On Holiday With The Kids

Wondering where to go, how to get there, what you might need to take and what on earth you can do to keep the little tykes occupied on the journey? Don’t fear – we have all the answers you need to prep yourself for travelling by plane, train, ferry, or car in this great big guide – complete with tips from experts along the way!

  1. How To Get A Good Deal and Save Money (especially when travelling in school holidays!)
  2. Family friendly accommodation – what to look for
  3. The Logistics of Travelling With Buggies, Cots, Bottles, Teddies, Taggies…
  4. Travelling by air with small children
  5. Travelling by ferry with children
  6. Travelling by train with children
  7. What to pack – essentials
  8. Awesome and ingenious items that will make your life easier

Image by Counselling CC0

1. How To Get A Good Deal and Save Money (especially when travelling in school holidays!)

If you have kids below school age, the world is your oyster all year round, which means you can travel when it is both quieter and cheaper, but the minute your kids are at school, you are restricted to some seriously slim windows of opportunity. We got expert advice from three parenting experts to find out how to get a good deal going on holiday…

Holiday hacks for finding the best family travel deals from Sue Atkins, Internationally recognized parenting expert, broadcaster, speaker and author of the Amazon best-selling books Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children and Raising Happy Children for Dummies.

  • Book early to bag the best deals
  • Fly from your local airport
  • Bookmark great deals pages
  • Get a free child place
  • Pre-book kids’ clubs and excursions
  • Take advantage of low deposits
  • Shop around
  • Consider an indirect flight
  • Use price comparison websites – with care & be wary of buying on price alone, check insurance, extras etc
  • Avoid unnecessary frills. Charges for seat selection and priority boarding can vastly inflate the headline price of a flight.
  • Travel overnight
  • Take your own food.
  • Check IT fares. IT stands for “inclusive tour”, the arrangement by which long-haul flights are sold as a package in combination with hotel accommodation or a hire car. Depending when and where you book, it can be cheaper to book this whole package, including the hotel, than buying the flight alone.

Advice to help families book a holiday on a budget from Tanith Carey, Journalist and author of eight books including her most recent, Mum Hacks – timesaving tips to calm the chaos of family life.

“Remember that prices don’t only go high because of the UK summer holidays. The demand also spikes because other children in Europe are also off school. But many countries go back earlier than we do. For example, French kids go back at the end of August, while we Brits can get up to an extra week. So, opt for the latest possible summer dates to save cash. The cost starts to drop the very last week in August and the first week in September. My family has also saved money by going abroad in the two-week October half-term instead, which tends to be cheaper.

“Fly in the middle of the week when travel costs are cheaper. Try and minimise the number of bags you check in. Also, believe it or not, but there are shops abroad that sell exactly the same nappies and formula that are sold here. So save money on baggage and hold your nerve, taking only the basics in your luggage, and stocking up when you get there.

How to have a great family holiday without breaking the bank from Elizabeth O’Shea, Author, parenting coach and founder of Parent 4 Success.

“Camping may not be your first choice, but children love it. There are some great sites in the UK and in France, with plenty of children’s activities, ideal for families holidaying on a budget. That way more of your money can be spent on activities, than flights or accommodation. Children remember more about the little things on holiday, having chips on the beach, playing Frisbee, going out to sea in a kayak, or exploring the rock pools than eating at expensive restaurants. Carve out some time to do all the little things you may not have time to do at home. Playing board games, lying on the grass and looking at the clouds, or teaching your child the favourite games you played as a child.”

It’s not just tour operators that offer Kids Go Free deals, you can save money by purchasing family friendly travel insurance where kids go free on family travel insurance policies too.

2. Family friendly accommodation – what to look for

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Lots of helpful facilities, and no big groups of partying hens and stags next door! Family friendly accommodation may not always be labelled as such, but look out for things like stair gates, highchairs, bottle sterilisers, travel cots, and playpens in the accommodation listings. If the accommodation isn’t specifically labelled kid-friendly, it may be worth confirming with the provider that there won’t be any disturbances from guests with late-night revelling on the agenda when you go to book. Of course if you see crèche facilities, play areas, and kids meals, you can almost guarantee that the only noisy neighbours you will have are other people’s kids!

3. The Logistics of Travelling With Buggies, Cots, Bottles, Teddies, Taggies…

The smaller they are, the more “stuff” you seem to need. Travelling with small kids might seem like a logistical nightmare – but hopefully these ideas will help!

  1. Send bulky items like travel cots, car seats, and prams separately to your destination.
  2. Consider buying cheaper alternatives at your destination.
  3. Or buy lightweight compact versions just for your holiday.
  4. Ask your tour operator or accommodation provider if they have equipment that you can use or hire.
  5. Use sterilising tablets instead of a sterilizing unit for bottles.
  6. Only take the nappies and baby milk you need until you get there, and buy more from a local shop when you arrive.
  7. Consider using a sling or carrier instead of taking a buggy.
  8. Take a pram that doubles as a safe place to sleep at night.

4. Travelling by air with small children

Image by MarcelloRabozzi CC0

Feeling traumatised at the thought of travelling by air with a babe in arms or toddler in tow? We turned to Easy Jet to find out what parents should know before boarding one of their planes.

  • Booster seats, car seats, buggies, push chairs and travel cots don’t form part of your luggage allowance – you can bring up to two of these items per infant or child.
  • Kids travelling on laps don’t have cabin space, so all essentials must be included in your hand luggage.
  • If you’re travelling with an infant under 2 years of age you can bring an additional small baby changing bag on board the aircraft.
  • Children under 2 with their own seat can sit on a forward facing car seat for comfort, booster seats cannot be used during takeoff or landing.
  • You can take baby food and milk on-board in your cabin baggage, but you may be asked by security to taste it.
  • If you are not taking powdered milk, you will have to purchase liquid milk after security before boarding the plane – this is not restricted to the 100ml rule.
  • If you’re travelling with children under 5, you can board your flight early and you can choose your seats in advance to ensure you sit together.
  • Kids snack packs come with games to keep kids entertained, and toys are available to buy during the flight.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can feed babies on board at any time.
  • Babies under 2 weeks old are not permitted to fly with easyJet.

“Each year over two million families travel with easyJet and we understand that sometimes keeping kids entertained at 30,000 feet can seem daunting which is why we want to make travelling with children as easy as possible.

“We have a dedicated section on our website which details lots of useful information and videos for parents prior to travel and a number of family-friendly initiatives in place including allowing families to bring essential items of luggage free of charge such as travel seats or buggies.” Ali Gayward, UK Country Manager.

5. Travelling by ferry with children

Image Courtesy of Brittany Ferries ©

Travelling by ferry is an exciting alternative to taking to the skies. We caught up with Brittany Ferries to find out about the child-friendly features of ferry travel.

There are no baggage restrictions on a ferry, and you will of course have your car, and car seats with you when you get to your destination. Other perks of ferry travel include the fact that it should be well-equipped, enough to meet even the most demanding of family needs! Shops will be stocked with toys and games, restaurants and food halls will have kid-friendly food at parent-friendly prices, and there may well be dedicated kids entertainment on board as well as games rooms and cinemas suitable for older children. Here are the most child-friendly routes offered by Brittany Ferries:

Portsmouth/St Malo

  • This direct service from Portsmouth to Brittany offers civilised, family-friendly arrival and departure times—you leave Portsmouth at 20.15, giving time for a stroll on deck and a bite to eat before bed, and arrive the next morning at 08.45 – giving plenty of time to get the kids showered, dressed and fed.
  • During the summer school holidays, on the northbound daytime sailings from France to the UK, our cruise-ferry Bretagne hosts its very own summer pantomime, free of charge for all the family to enjoy. For younger passengers there are dedicated play rooms, plus during the summer holidays there’s dedicated children’s entertainment including face painting and magic shows.
  • Comfortable cabins – Available on both daytime and overnight sailings, these are ideal for enjoying a good rest en route.
  • Children’s menu – In the main à la carte restaurant, children under the age of 12 can choose from the same menu as their parents and enjoy whichever dish they wish for just £5.50.

Journey time: 8¾ hours (daytime); 11 hours (overnight). Frequency: Year round Cruise-ferry service, 1 sailing a day in each direction. Return price: Car+family of four from: £335 (Nov/low-season); £459(April/mid-season); £579 (August/high season) – price includes en suite cabin on outward overnight crossing.

Portsmouth/Santander

  • Entertainment for both children and adults.
  • Swimming pool.
  • Children’s menu.
  • Whale and dolphin watching  – sailings to Spain pass through the Bay of Biscay, one of Europe’s very best waters for spotting cetaceans, ranging in size from the harbour porpoise (roughly the size of a dog) to the Blue Whale – the largest living animal. An amazing experience for adults and children.
  • Children’s menu – In the main à la carte restaurant, children under the age of 12 can choose from the same menu as their parents and enjoy whichever dish they wish for just £5.50.

Journey time: 24 hours. Frequency:  3 weekly sailings in each direction. Return price: Car+family of four from: £708(Nov/low-season); £918(April/mid-season); £1184 August/high season) including an en suite cabin both ways.

They also offer a wide range of family-friendly ferry-inclusive holiday accommodation from Cottages and villas to hotels, and golf breaks. The range features a wide variety of holidays that have been chosen with families in mind including resort hotels, in addition to our ever-popular range of chalet campsites and apartment breaks. It also includes a special selection of French gîtes and Spanish casas, which are particularly suited to families. To book: Call 0330 159 7000 or visit brittanyferries.com

6. Travelling by train with children

Image Courtesy of Eurostar ©

If you are choosing to travel abroad by train, Eurostar will be where you start. Here’s what to expect travelling to Europe with your children:

  • Quick 30-minute check-in.
  • Free travel for children under four provided they can sit on an adult’s lap.
  • Special fares for kids aged four to eleven years old are available in Standard class.
  • A generous luggage allowance of two bags per person and hand luggage without weight restrictions.
  • As well as luggage allowance you can bring one pushchair and one car seat per child.
  • All Eurostar trains have baby changing facilities, which you can choose to sit nearby, simply log in and choose your seats once you’ve booked.
  • The onboard bar buffet has food, drinks and snacks, including a special meal deal for kids.
  • They don’t sell baby food but you can warm it up.

7. Essential items to pack (depending on the age of your child!)

Image by congerdesign CC0

  • First aid kit
  • Co sensor
  • Baby Sunscreen SPF 50
  • Baby Insect repellent
  • Insect net for buggy/cot
  • Sterilising tablets
  • Calpol/Nurofen sachets
  • Baby Wipes
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Comforters and pacifiers
  • Bottles and cups
  • 48 hours worth of nappies
  • Digital thermometer

 Top tip: Pack all comforters such as dummies, blankies, taggies, and bedtime teddies in your hand luggage – you don’t want to risk losing them en route!

 8. Awesome and ingenious items that will make your life easier

Tablet/smart phone – apps go a very long way in keeping kids occupied! Take the old phone that is undoubtedly sitting in a drawer at home.

Aquadoodle – a mess-free way for kids to get creative during a journey or in a plush apartment/hotel.

Aqauadoodle Image courtesy of Tomy ©

Trunki – keeps all their stuff together, plus they can ride on it.

Little Life Daysack with reins – excellent way to take a few toys for a toddler and keep hold of them at the same time!

Dinosaur Day Sack Image courtesy of LittleLife ©

Backpack Scooter – same idea, but for older kids – occupied, and hopefully not complaining about walking!

Maxi Flyte Image courtesy of Flyte ©

Pocket high chair – no need to worry about facilities at your accommodation, or wherever you go out to eat.

Pocket High Chair Image courtesy of JoJo Maman Bébé ©

Koo-Di sun and sleep pop-up cot – nifty sleeping arrangement that won’t use up your luggage allowance (1kg, fits in a small bag) and comes with an integrated blackout/sun blind.

Bubble Cot Image courtesy of Koo-Di ©

Baby wearing – a sling is lightweight and small compared to a buggy – you can try before you buy or hire for a month at a time from your local sling library.

Disposable bibs – take less space in a suitcase, and no need to wash them while you are away.

Image by sasint CC0

Bon voyage with your babes in arms, tottering toddlers, hopefully patient pre-schoolers, and soon-to-be travel-savvy tweenies! Don’t forget that KIDS GO FREE on our family travel insurance policies! Call 01892 833338 or get a quote online.