With the brand new Harry Potter film hitting the screens, we thought we’d share this awesome infographic about weird and wonderful creatures that really do exist. If you’d like to check them out yourself on an adventure, we have also compiled a list of truly magical activities to look out for at each destination, to be revealed in our next blog!
You may associate Nevada with tales of extra terrestrial activities, but did you know that it has some pretty spooky heritage? Nevada’s vast landscape is dotted with countless ghost towns – some are indecipherable ruins infested with tumbleweeds, but others are surprisingly intact. Both are portals into a Nevada of old…
Rhyolite – America’s most famous ghost town…
Rhyolite is a secluded town set on the eastern edge of Death Valley, and has a reputation for being one of the best ghost towns in the US. It was once a thriving mining town, but now the abandoned streets and buildings send shivers down the spines of those who visit. The general store, train station and bank still stand, and so does the jail, undoubtedly the most popular attraction for spooky thrill seekers who can look into the cells and imagine the tortured lives of former prisoners.
The Haunted Mizpah Hotel
Between Las Vegas and Reno is a spooky hotel that is said to have some ghostly inhabitants. Here are some of the hair-raising rumours that would make great torch lit Halloween tales!
It is said that guests can hear laughter by one of the hotel’s bath tubs, possibly the ghostly echoes of a politician who died there. Rumour has it that he met his demise before an important election, but his death was hidden by his aides who decided to keep his body in a bathtub on blocks of ice instead.
The Mizpah is also home to “The Lady in Red”- the spirit of a prostitute who was murdered on the fifth floor of the hotel, viciously stabbed outside her lavish suite. Some stories say that she was killed by a jealous ex-boyfriend, whereas others say she was caught cheating by her husband at the hotel after he had missed a train – he then proceeded to kill her in a fit of jealous rage. She has also made appearances in the original elevator the hotel features, which at its installation was the fastest elevator in the state!
The ghosts of Mizpah are said to reside across the eerie building – there have been several sightings of ghosts of children playing throughout the hallway on the third floor, and it is said that the ghosts of miners can be seen walking through the walls of the creepy basement too.
Creepy Clowns of Highway 95
Like all good spooky places to visit in Nevada, Tonopah was once a thriving mining town, which now has an extra eerie appeal to visitors. Along the highway of this desert town lies the Clown Motel, a roadside rest place stuffed to the brim with clowns and clown collectables. The hotel itself may not be haunted – it’s just the creepy clowns that are guaranteed to give guests night terrors – but the Cemetery next door probably is. It has been closed for over a hundred years and is packed with graves of former miners many of which died from the mysterious “Tonopah Plague” in 1902.
Avoid the fright of your life on holiday! Get travel insurance!
While we don’t insure against ghouls and ghosts, we can provide cover for a range of holiday mishaps – Get in touch or visit our website to find out more about single trip, multi trip and long stay travel insurance.
There is something special and somewhat surreal about the atmosphere at an airport, but some are definitely more of a pleasure than others. We reveal three of the best airports in the world – the kind you would wish you were in if you were stranded!
Changi Airport, Singapore
This place is more like a leisure complex than an airport, combined with an art gallery and possibly the Eden Project in the UK. In fact, it is a destination in itself! Here are a few of the things that make it the perfect place to while away some hours…
- You can go on a nature trail in the butterfly garden
- Try out 12m long airport slide
- View international works of art, sculpture and installation
- Have spa treatments
- Go shopping for designer goods
- Explore the interactive enchanted garden
- Visit the airport zoo
- Stay in a luxury hotel without checking out
- Swim in the rooftop pool
- Go to the movies
Incheon International Airport, Seoul
This airport has won awards for the last 11 years for it’s outstanding facilities, and for keeping passengers happy too. It’s super-spacious and offers travellers a lot of ways to pass the time…
- Get your skates on at the ice rink
- Go get rich in the casino
- Improve your handicap at the golf course
- Relax in the spa, bath or sauna
- Catch some zzzzs in one of the sleeping rooms
- Explore one of the many beautiful airport gardens
- Brush up on your local knowledge at the museum
Munich Airport, Germany
This airport has been likened to a city centre thanks to its huge array of eateries, watering holes and shops. It is also one of the busiest airports in Europe, here’s what visitors get to experience…
- Indulge in retail therapy in one of the 150+ shops
- Eat and drink in any of the 50+ bars
- Enjoy the atmosphere of a real German rooftop beer garden
- Explore the in-house art gallery
- Swim in a stainless steel pool
- Visit the Audi showroom
Although these airports would seem like a great place to spend some holiday time, if your flight is delayed or cancelled it could cause havoc with more than just your holiday plans, it could affect your finances too. Travel insurance from WorldwideInsure.com provides the cover you need in the event that travel plans don’t go to plan – to find out more, get in touch with us on 01892 833338 or get a fast and free online quote.
You don’t need to be wielding the latest DSLR to be able to take amazing photos, you just need to know how to spot a shot and capture what you see on whatever photography device you have. Here are our top tips…
1. Have your camera ready.
Not such an issue if you are using your smartphone, but if you like the old-school touch of a film camera, or indeed carry a more modern digital camera about, make sure it isn’t at the bottom of your bag, without a film, missing a battery or attached to the wrong lens.
2. Look for colour.
Neon lights, colourful market stalls, flowers in full bloom, the bright hues of fabrics, or simply a big blue sky. A strong splash of colour can add a dramatic feel to an otherwise ordinary snap.
3. Look for contrast.
You don’t need to be working in Black and White to make the most of light and dark. Seek shadows and silhouettes for a dramatic effect even with the most saturated film or filter. Especially good at sunset!
4. Find the story.
Whether you are at an event or festival or you are wandering the streets, seek a narrative every time you look through the viewfinder. Traditional festivals are a great place to find a story, but so are portrait opportunities with every person you meet!
5. Turn off auto.
Take time to experiment with your equipment, playing around with long exposures of city lights or the night sky, super-fast shutter speeds for action shots, and changing depth of field to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject.
6. Don’t forget to document.
Chances are you’ll forget how great that al fresco fish dinner tasted on the Aegean coast unless you capture on camera. Your travel photos aren’t just for sharing with friends and family, they are for keeping memories too.
7. Go for Golden Hour.
The light just after sunrise and just before sunset is softer and slightly redder than the rest of the day, the perfect light for beautiful photography! Make sure you don’t miss this “golden” photo opportunity, use the Golden Hour Calculator to check out times at your destination.
8. Find your frame.
Get down low, get up high, look up, look down, zoom in, crop, add space, centre your subject… there are a kerzillion ways to frame a shot, and the best way to find out what works is to experiment! Don’t be afraid to break the rules – use your viewfinder until you hit the aesthetic sweet-spot.
9. Don’t forget the details.
Macro photography is an art in itself, with super-close-ups requiring specialist equipment to get National Geographic quality shots. Most phone cameras and mid-range digital cameras have quite a good digital zoom function that can capture excellent textures and fine details – as long as you have an eye to find them!
Use social media to share your best shots with other travellers and to inspire other adventurers. If you are on a longstay adventure, you could create an online journal using the 365Project, a place where you can share your photos with the community and document your adventures, all for free!
Do bargain beers or cheap ice-creams draw you to a coastal location? Maybe you prefer to pick your beach holiday based on the price of a luxury lunch? If it’s the cost of the little things that count when you book a holiday, you’ll love Travel Bird’s Beach Price Index! Here’s what we found out…
La Plage de Maui, Tahiti is the MOST EXPENSIVE beach to visit in the index. You’ll be forking out an average of £41.50 per person for the day. Access is free, but lunch for one is over £17, a beer will set you back over a fiver and if you forget your sunscreen, you’ll be looking to pay nearly £15 to keep the ‘burn at bay.
Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam the CHEAPEST beach to visit out of the 250 strong list, a comparatively cheap average of £9.34 per person per day. Here a bottle of water only costs 35p, lunch is around £5, and an ice-cream for you, or the kids just 62p.
Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece is the beach with the most AFFORDABLE BEER, a very palatable £1.02. In fact, Greece takes all top 6 positions for beaches with the cheapest beers, with Paleokastritsa in Corfu, Greece placing a price tag of £1.13 for a bottle.
How they did it: TravelBird took 900 of the world’s most popular seaside locations and whittled them down to 250 of the best beaches from 66 countries worldwide. To calculate the cost of a day at each, they took an average cost for sun cream, a bottle of water, a beer, ice-cream and lunch. Clever stuff! You can check out the full list here: Beach Price Index.
Cheapest: £1.38, Cua Dai Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
Dearest: £18.69, Anse Georgette, Praslin, Seychelles
Cheapest: £0.15, Palolem Beach, Goa, India
Dearest: £1.81, Enterprise Beach (Miami Beach) Barbados
Cheapest: £1.02, Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece
Dearest: £5.26 Mareto Plage Publique, Moorea, French Polynesia
Cheapest: £0.36, Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Dearest: £2.67, Mareto Plage Publique, Moorea, French Polynesia
Cheapest: £4.89, El Laguito, Cartagena, Colombia
Dearest: £19.89, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Cheapest paid entry: £1.19, Dhanushkodi Beach, Pamban Island, India
Dearest: £331.72, Astola Beach, Balochistan, Pakistan
Looking for a way to put the excitement back into your out of office adventures? You won’t go far wrong with these extreme sports and activities on your bucketlist – as long as you have a head for heights and frights!
1: White Water Rafting
2: Via Ferrata
5: Bungee Jumping
6: Ice Hiking
Ice Hiking “Wolverine”, Helmcken Falls Spray Cave in British Columbia, Canada. Will Gadd and Brit Tim Emmett discover a new universe of ice climbing where a 500 foot waterfall sprays the underside of a gargantuan cave with fantastical ice formations.
8: Zero Gravity Flight
9: Bull Riding
10: Shark Diving
GET SPORTS TRAVEL INSURANCE! We cover loads of activities including Shark Diving, Via Ferrata, Dude Ranching, Canyoning, Sandboarding, White Water Rafting, and Bungee Jumping in the UK and overseas. Call 01892 833338 if you’d like to know more, or get an online quote.
If your New Year’s resolutions included a vow to detox, do more yoga and rid ones life of excess in general, you might be keen to know how to pack as if you need nothing when going on holiday. After all, turning up to a detox mini-break or yoga retreat with half your belongings in tow is not the way to get off to a “mindful” start!
So – what is Zen, and how can it be applied to packing?
Zen is a state of mindfulness, often expressed in meditation. The point of meditation and being mindful is so that we can live in the “here and now” rather than focus on the past, which can result in depression, or on the future, which in turn can cause anxiety. That second fact may ring bells with frequent travellers – packing everything for every eventuality can be very stressful indeed, especially when you end up paying to check in an extra suitcase because you’ve packed far too much!
So, the aim here is to offer some mindful packing tips…
- Go backpack not suitcase, preferably something that you can take as hand luggage – that way you can’t pack more than you really need, and you’ll be one of the ones that packed lighter rather than one of the ones that wished they did.
- For every item you plan to take ask yourself if you will use it enough to justify taking it -Not just use it, but use it lots, maybe it is something you can pick up over there, then leave behind again, like a snorkel set.
- Don’t pack stuff that “might come in handy” – you should pack as if everything is going to go to plan, and if it doesn’t, have enough spare cash to buy it if you really need it. Taking a big winter coat to the south of France in summer is an example of what sort of “might come in handy thing” not to take.
- Don’t bother with 90% of your toiletries – “WHAT?” I hear you say, “no soap, shampoo, toothpaste or deodorant?” Yep, that’s right – believe it or not, they sell that kind of thing EVERYWHERE. If you are staying in a hotel, you probably get it for free.
- Your mantra is: Fold and Roll – This packing technique is a saviour for when you just can’t seem to decide between five tops and just want to take them all. Note: this does not work with shoes.
- Remember you can wash stuff on holiday – So just take a select few items, that can be mixed and matched, and ask your hotel or pop to the local shop for detergent when you get there. They say that three of each is enough: wear one, wash one, dry one… repeat.
- Wear your most bulky items for travelling – That way you don’t have to try and squeeze them into the back pack.
- Pack a sarong – We found out – so blogged about – the fact that there are at least 30 Ways to Use A Sarong On Holiday. Read it.
As you may know the international date line is as crooked as the contents of a badly packed suitcase, and Samoa, once known as the last place to see the sun set, is now the first place on the planet you can see the sun rise. This makes it’s neighbour American Samoa the last. So where to go in between? Well, with 40 different local times around the world, which actually take 26 hours for the New Year to arrive in, an intrepid (and very quick) traveller could do the following itinerary…
Midnight strikes in Apia, Samoa! You then have 15 mins to get to…
Chatham Islands, 45 mins to get to…
Aukland, New Zealand, 1 hour to get to…
Anadyr Russia, another hour to get to…
Sydney, Australia, with half an hour to get to…
Adelaide, Australia, another half hour to get to…
Brisbane, Australia, and because Oz is sooo big, another half hour to get to Alice Springs!
You’ve so far seen in 7 New Years in 4.5 hours! As you hit the 5 hour mark you need to be in…
Tokyo, Japan, but 15 minutes later…
Back in Australia in a place called Eucla. 15 mins later again you arrive in…
Pyongyang, North Korea, with a whole hour before you need to be in…
Hong Kong, and another hour to get to…
Bangkok. Half an hour again and you’ll be in Myanmar, with another half hour to get to…
Bangladesh, fifteen mins to reach Kathmandu in Nepal, and another 15 to get to Mumbai in India.
It’s been 8 and a half hours of cheering in 16 New Years, so you are well and truly over the limit unless you’re on the shandies. And on we go…
You have half an hour to get from Mumbai to Lahore, Pakistan, and again from there to Afghanistan, and again to Azerbaijan, then Iran then Moscow.
Next up you have hourly slots for each of the following:
Ponta Delgada, Portugal
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Buenos Ares, Argentina
That is 17 hours of travelling so far and 24 Auld Lang Synes! Half an hour later you should arrive at Mary’s Harbour in Canada, with half an hour to get to Halifax in Canada, and another 30 mins to get to Caracas in Venezuela. We are nearly on the home run! One hour later…
New York USA, another hour Chicago USA, another hour to get to Denver, USA, one more hour to reach Los Angeles then another full hour to get to Alaska!
It’s been 23 hours, 25 celebrations and there are still 3 hours and 4 destinations left:
Half an hour to get to…Taiohae, French Polynesia, another half an hour to get to Honolulu, USA, and an hour to reach Pago Pago, American Samoa!
If you are determined to do the official list, not just follow the sun, you can spend your last hour of travel heading to Baker Island, where the sun actually rises at the same time as it does on Chatham Islands, the second stop on your itinerary!
We share the top 10 ways a holiday can go awry – and how WorldwideInsure.com can help.
- You are at the airport, your passport is on your kitchen table.
- You are not at the airport, you are stuck on the M25; your plane is leaving the airport.
- You arrive at your destination, your luggage arrives at a different destination, in a different timezone; possibly a different universe.
- You booked into a new five star resort, when you turn up you see clearly that you were looking at a concept drawing, once you’ve got past the cement mixers!
- You routinely apply your sunscreen only to find out that it is factor 2, AFTER you get third degree sunburn.
- You return to your hotel after a few too many Sambuccas, you wake up to find your passport gone, with vague memories of tossing it into the sea shouting “I never wanna leave this place, it’s beautiful!”
- You return to your hotel after a few too many Sambuccas, you wake up to find that you are in hospital after falling off your balcony.
- You stick to glasses of water, but didn’t check it was bottled water, you head to hospital with a very upset stomach.
- You hire a car on holiday and have a prang. Then you find out that your car hire excess is excessive and that you might have to sell your house to cover the bill.
- You wake up to find you have posted inappropriate pictures of yourself at a foam party on LinkedIn.
How WorldwideInsure.com can help
Missed flight – If you have missed a departure because a coach has broken down, we can help – however, if you’ve gone and left your passport on the table at home, you’ll be experiencing an expensive learning curve!
Lost or stolen luggage, passport or wallet – These are holiday fails are covered as standard with all our travel insurance policies. They must be lost or stolen though – disposing of them yourself in a moment of madness is not covered!
Mis-sold a holiday – if you’re disappointed with the facilities or feel they do not meet the description in the brochure, you will need to pursue any requests for compensation direct with the Tour Operator. If you are injured on holiday due to building works at the hotel, you may be able to use the Legal Expenses cover to pursue a claim.
Medical help – Treatment for accidents and injury is covered, as is repatriation to your home country – as long as you were not under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances when you got hurt.
Car hire excess insurance – We offer a cost effective policy that will make sure you aren’t stung by car hire companies in the UK or abroad. To find out more from Norbert.
Posting inappropriate pictures to your social networking sites – This one we can’t help with, sorry!
WorldwideInsure.com have you covered for almost any pickle you might get yourself into while on holiday. You just need to get yourself the insurance! For more information about travel insurance tailored to suit your lifestyle call 01892 833338.
Worldwideinsure.com’s Søren V Nissen and his team, the Bidborough Dragons, had plenty to celebrate after a double Dragon Boat victory. The team also raised much-needed funds for local charity Demelza Children’s Hospice and Bidborough Primary School in the process, bringing the total donated over the last 6 years to over £30,000!
The dragon boat races in Kent have provided turbulent turf over the past 6 years as Bidborough Dragons have consistently competed in the finals, taking on Bewl, in the hope of winning gold. The best Bidborough have placed in the past is 3rd, but this year they finally did it – taking Gold at Bewl Water Dragon Boat Festival, officially Europe’s largest such competition, against nearly 60 other crews. This victory was followed by a second Gold medal at Tonbridge less than 24 hours later against 20 crews!
Søren says that planning, experience, power and tactics got them the victory they were looking for, against some of the fittest athletes in the sport who are fitness instructors and water sports professionals.
Victory tasted even sweeter as Bidborough Dragons were two men down and had to call in past crew members – this meant that 12 of the team that won were from the original lineup 6 years ago, when the battle against Bewl began.
As gratifying as their victory is, Bidborough Dragons are even more proud to have raised over £30k for Demelza Hospice and Bidborough Primary School over the past 6 years. You can show your support, and your congratulations, by donating on the Bidborough Dragons Just Giving page.