Category Archives: Travel Insurance

How To Stay Stylish On A Longstay Adventure

Insider tips on what to pack, and how to wear it, to make sure you don’t look like you’re living out of a backpack on your next longstay adventure.

Image by LUM3N CC0

  • Choose clothes that are resistant to creasing.
  • Go for dark clothes that are more forgiving when it comes to signs of wear and stains.
  • Resist packing clothes with bold patterns, they are harder to mix and match. Keep the patterns to key pieces, or accessories.
  • Roll your clothes when you pack – not only will it minimise creasing but also you’ll be able to get more items in your backpack!
  • Get a day bag that is on-trend. Just one simple stylish accessory that you can take out day or night while you leave your backpack safely at a hostel or hotel, will make a world of difference to your style status!
  • Pack some accessories that are designed to “transform” an outfit – or even better, pick up key pieces during your travels.
  • Keep comfort in mind – you’ll be clocking up a lot of hours on planes, trains, and buses so comfort is key to your happiness.

PROFESSIONAL STYLIST ADVICE FOR THE LADIES: “Packing can be really tough when you plan to be away for some time, because you don’t want to end up looking scruffy and letting your style down, just because you’re living out of a suitcase/backpack.

My top tip would be to pack a good amount of staple dresses because unlike other wardrobe items, dresses can be styled up and down. You can pair a dress with a cropped jumper and tights for when the weather is a little chilly, or opt for bare legs when the sun is out.”Katie Derrick, of bespoke luxury travel agent AfricaTravel.com.

“Choose clothing that’s versatile, imagine what you’re packing to work as your very own capsule wardrobe. Choose dresses that work both as a dress, and as a skirt, by layering and tying a t-shirt or light-weight knit over the top. Choosing pieces that can be styled in different ways is the easiest way to ensure you aren’t sick of your clothes a week into your trip!” Stylist at Elvi.com

Jumpsuit – it’s great for countries where a conservative look is a must for ladies and it can easily be dressed up or down making it a versatile item in your backpack!

Leggings – Wear on their own or under a dress, or even under shorts – versatile, comfortable, and easy to wear.

Dresses – slip dresses that can be worn with a t-shirt underneath or jumper over the top, are ideal – easily taking your look from day to night with ease. Don’t forget the LBD, easy to wear and can be dressed up for any occasion!

Vests and tees – they take up very little room, are great for layering and can be worn with jumpsuits, dresses, leggings, trousers or shorts.

Flat shoes – ones that you are happy to walk all day in that will also cut the mustard if you decide to treat yourself to a fine dining experience.

Sarong – the holy grail of accessories. Did you know there are at least 30 ways you could use a sarong? It can be a dress, a bag, a skirt, a shawl… pick a classy print and you are done!

PROFESSIONAL STYLIST ADVICE FOR THE GENTS: “Venturing away on a long trip requires packing sensibly, but that shouldn’t mean compromising on fashion. Be sure to pack a practical, stylish and foldable jacket, so that you can prepare for all weather forecasts, while also still looking the part. Pack miniature grooming products, too, including mini shaving foam, scented body wash and moisturiser, to keep you smelling good, as well as looking good during your travels.” Steve Pritchard, of men’s fashion retailer Ben Sherman.

Wondering what such a wonderfully useful jacket could be like? Well,

the classic Ben Sherman Four Pocket Jacket is just the ticket. It’s smart-casual, and it exudes style and class; it’s waterproof, and leaves enough room to layer up with warm and stylish jumpers and t-shirts – essential when venturing somewhere new and travelling to countries with varying weather and climates in one trip.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Longstay insurance for backpackers from worldwideinsure.com can cover from 3 to 18 months, and it can be renewed if you are still travelling when your policy is coming to an end. Plus, if you have already left home without travel insurance, we can cover that too.

Please note, policies, terms and conditions may change – all information published in this blog pertaining to travel insurance from worldwideinsure.com is only deemed valid at the time of publication.

 

A Gluten-Free Holiday Guide – Advice For Coeliacs

Image by Mariamichelle CC0

If you have to watch what you eat for health reasons, going on holiday can throw up a whole host of food-related challenges. This month we are focussed on sharing helpful information for those who can’t eat gluten.

Get location specific advice

Coeliac.org.uk has some excellent country-specific information sheets to help gluten-free holidaymakers ensure their food is safe to eat. This includes information about the cuisine, local coeliac groups and useful phrases you can show to those in charge of your food. For example, when visiting Vietnam:

I suffer from an illness called coeliac disease and have to follow a strict gluten-free diet, or I may become very unwell.
Tôi bị một căn bệnh gọi là bệnh celiac và phải
tuân theo một chế độ ăn không có gluten chặt chẽ, nếu không tôi có thể trở nên rất khó chịu trong người.

Make your dietary needs clear when booking EVERYTHING

Whether it is your flight, a hotel, or a restaurant, state your needs clearly when booking. This not only gives your host more time to ensure your needs can be met, but will also mean you are more likely to get a decent gluten-free meal.

Double check your dietary needs have been understood when you arrive

Remind the person that you booked with that you are the gluten-free individual, or ask to speak to the chef to make sure that your needs have been taken seriously and that you will be served food that won’t make you ill.

Pack essential foods

Things don’t always go to plan, so pack bare essentials you know you can eat. Take your own gluten-free breads and pastas for example, not just snacks. There aren’t many establishments that will deny someone breaking out their own gluten-free bread roll if they aren’t able to cater for their needs.

But do check that you can take them into the country!

Some countries have strict policies on what foods can be brought in. Check with your airline, and also ask your GP to write a cover letter explaining the importance of these foods for your health.

Go to Italy – it is a top gluten-free destination!

Ok, so this is the home of pasta and pizza dishes, so how can it be so good for those who need to avoid gluten? Well, there was a national coeliac screening programme that raised awareness of coeliac disease, and in turn educated a whole country on the importance of gluten-free menus and preparation areas. The Italian Coeliac Society, understanding that gluten based foods are a staple in every Italian household then set about publishing a list of eateries and B&Bs in the country that are certified gluten-free.

Talk to your travel insurance provider

As a coeliac, you must make sure that you tell your travel insurance provider about your condition. As a general rule a customer with a medical condition (or several) can declare their recent medical history and current situation and if the condition is stable and well controlled, not awaiting investigation or treatment, for example surgery, then the condition can be covered.

At Worldwideinsure.com for a condition such as Coeliac, we are able to cover customers with a stable condition, including those with Stomas, provided they haven’t had an unplanned hospital admission in the last 6 months.

For more information please see Travel Insurance Medical Conditions.

Choose self-catering

If you can’t trust what other people might serve you, then you can ease the stress and opt to cook up your own gluten-free cuisine on a self-catering basis. While you’ll have to be patient and shop carefully for ingredients, it is a great way to learn a few new words. Life is made a bit easier if you are holidaying in the EU, as the packaging has to have the same labelling information that we are used to in the UK, where allergens are written in bold.

Opt for a resort

Resorts are more likely to cater for a variety of dietary needs, and are more likely to be familiar with the seriousness of cross-contamination. Another bonus is that they are also more likely to have nutrition sheets where every dish has its ingredients explained in minute detail.

 

*** Please Note ***

Policies, terms and conditions may change – all information published in this blog pertaining to travel insurance from worldwideinsure.com is only deemed valid at the time of publication.

12 Travel Photography Tips You Don’t Want To Miss

Image by Free-Photos CC0

Want to take some Nat-Geo worthy snaps on your next trip? Take a look at these top tips, guaranteed to improve your travel shots!

  1. Get up early. Sunrise is an awesome time, take the time to capture it in your location. An early start also gives you a better chance for capturing well-known landmarks without the masses.
  2. Stay out late. Long exposures of city lights, or of the stars at night sweeping by. Staying up late might also reveal a more decadent side to your destination!
  3. Use a tripod. It’ll give you time to set up your shot, and wait for the ideal light, or opportunity to take a remarkable shot.
  4. Shoot from the hip. A unique perspective, and a fun way to get some candid shots.
  5. Plan an itinerary. Don’t kick yourself for missing a photo opportunity, make a comprehensive list of locations you’d like to shoot.
  6. Let yourself get lost. Some of the best photos come from adventure. See where your journey takes you, there could be untold surprises in store.
  7. Recap the rules of composition. The rule of thirds in particular, it is a fast-track way to get a well-balanced shot.
  8. Try out some unusual framing. Break the composition rules and you may well get a dream shot that no-one else discovered.
  9. Learn to use your manual settings. Adjusting the shutter speed and light levels yourself can lead to a signature style that no one else can steal.
  10. Let yourself free with auto. Even the most basic of cameras nowadays are capable of awesome imagery – let your equipment do the hard work.
  11. Backup your image library. The last thing you want is to lose your pictures – keep them backed up!
  12. Make sure your equipment is covered with travel insurance. You also won’t want to lose your camera. Make sure that any equipment you take on your travels is covered on your insurance policy.

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…

Image by rawpixel CC0

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.

 

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 To Look For In Wintersports Insurance

Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0

Winter sports holidays are costly enough without having to fork out for overseas medical bills, and lets be honest – of all the holidays you take it’s going to be the one to snowy slopes that bring the most risks.

To help you understand what travel insurance you need and why (along with what to watch out for), here is a simple explanation of Wintersports Insurance.

What is wintersports insurance?

It is travel insurance tailored to the needs of people taking part in certain winter sports while they are on holiday. It takes into account the potentially bankrupting costs of treating a serious injury in near inaccessible places. Wintersports Insurance has additional extras such as cover for ski equipment, lost, stolen or unused ski passes, and offers compensation for piste closures.

What winter sports can it cover?

Loads! Skiing and snowboarding on-piste, off-piste, cross-country, and on dry slopes. Snowmobiling, heliskiing, sledging, tobogganing, ice skating, and glacier walking.

What level of cover is reasonable?

You’d want a minimum of £2.5 million for medical expenses – it might seem like a large amount, but it is to cover mountainside rescue and repatriation back to your home country if needed. You also need personal liability to be covered. £2 million is the recommended amount in case you cause someone else to injure themselves and they decide to sue you.

Check that you are covered for the following:
• Mountainside rescue
• Repatriation
• Injury to others
• Cancellation of holiday or flight
• Lost or stolen baggage
• Lost, damaged or stolen sports equipment
• Lost, stolen or unused ski passes
• Piste closure

How much does wintersports insurance cost?

Policies start from as little as £13.20 for 3 days for trips in Europe.

Do you still need an EHIC if you have travel insurance?

Yes. A European Health Insurance Card entitles you to state-provided healthcare, which in some areas and for some treatments may be free. The limitations of an EHIC are that it does not guarantee FREE medical treatment, and it won’t get you off a mountain and back home if you are badly injured.

What to watch out for

• Age restrictions – some insurers won’t provide cover for people over the age of 65. We cover skiers and snowboarders up to the age of 74.

• Pre existing medical restrictions – you must declare pre-existing problems, it is even worth mentioning historical issues. Telling your insurer won’t affect your ability to get cover, as certain medical conditions can be excluded, but they could affect any claim that you make if you don’t declare them.

• Limitations of “free” travel insurance policies – packaged bank accounts are one way to get ‘free’ travel insurance, but do be aware that they may not cover winter sports activities and therefore the medical help you may need in the event of an accident. Check your policy in advance and if it is not adequate consider getting a one-off wintersports policy rather than paying for an extension.

• The small print – read your policy carefully as there are terms and conditions that apply to any kind of insurance cover. Some of the reasons claims are not successful or insurance is withdrawn is because the policy holder was found to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, or was not following local safety rules.

To get a competitively priced quote for your next winter sports holiday call us on 01892 833338.

Planning A Ski Holiday – A Guide For Beginners

If you want to know how to do something well, you need to find out from those in the know! We asked some leading experts on the ski scene about what to pack, how to get fit, where to head, what to do to avoid injury, and a bit about etiquette so you can hit the slopes with confidence this ski season!

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Learning to Ski

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

Paul Deadman, ski expert at Neilson Holidays, shares ten things you need to know before skiing abroad for the first time.

  1. The fitter you are the more fun you’ll have. There’s no need to go into any extreme fitness training before a ski holiday, but doing a small amount of exercise in preparation will make a big difference to your fun factor.
  2. You need the right shoes. As well as packing ski boots you’ll need shoes for off the slopes too. Resorts are still snowy and can be icy, so take practical shoes – a sturdy pair of trainers or walking boots work well. Bars and restaurants won’t turn you away if you’re not in fancy heels or polished brogues – slope style is much more relaxed, think more along the lines of ‘practi-cool’.
  3. You still need sunscreen. Even if you don’t think it’s sunny, the sun reflects off the bright white snow and increases the chances of sun damage to your skin. Take lip balm with UVA and UVB protection as well as sun cream for your face and apply regularly over the course of the day.
  4. Helmets are a must. Hire or buy your own, but either way don’t hit the slopes without one.
  5. Accept that you will fall over. A lot. The people who get to grips with skiing the fastest are those who aren’t afraid of falling over. Don’t be discouraged by falling down, it would be really weird if you learnt to ski without falling over at least eight times a day!
  6. Après ski is the post-ski social scene. The ski lifts usually close between 4 and 5pm. This is when everyone comes off the mountain, back to the town and enjoys some après ski. Bars and restaurants will have live bands or DJs, some more lively than others, and you’ll find somewhere to relax to suit you whether you want a chocolat chaud, a vin rouge or a round of Chartreuse.
  7. Ski boots feel a bit odd at first. In my experience, at best ski boots are mildly uncomfortable and at worst can prevent you from enjoying skiing completely. Putting ski boots on will feel strange the first time, and for your first trip it’s worth getting someone with experience to help you with your boot clips to make sure they’re tight enough each morning. The correct boot should feel tight, but not unbearable, you should be able to wiggle your toes…just. Tip: make sure you wear thick socks when you pick them up – you don’t want to get a pair fitted in thin socks to realise that they’re too tight when you put on your ski socks.
  8. Pistes are colour coded. For most European resorts the ski runs (pistes) are marked to show what ability they’re suitable for. Nursery or green slopes will be where you’ll start your ski education, and you could progress to slightly steeper blue runs by the end of the week. Red slopes suit intermediate skiers and black runs are for advanced skiers. ‘Off piste’ refers to any territory that isn’t on marked out ski runs and isn’t something you’d need to worry about as a beginner. North America and Canada mark their pistes slightly differently so make sure you know what the colours are for the resort you’re travelling to.
  9. Lessons start early! Lessons typically start first thing in the mornings (approx. 9.30am) each day and finish at lunch.
  10. You might get hooked. Skiing is one of the best feelings in the world! It might feel like hard work, but the mountain views, endorphins, delicious food and après ski will make you want to return year after year. It’s that feeling you get when you nail that tricky run you’ve been struggling with all week that really gets you hooked though!

How To Get Fit For The Ski Season

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

Luke Thornton, Fitness Advisor to Discount Supplements takes us through the best moves to boost physical fitness for maximum on-piste performance.

Balance is one of the most important aspects of fitness for snow sports. Twists, turns and high speeds mean you need to have a strong core and an incredible sense of balance. These exercises focus on full body movements and stabilising exercises to really tax your midsection, and lock in that core strength.

Squats – a fantastic movement for working your entire body. This move not only uses your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads, but also your core for stabilising your body whilst in motion. Keep your abs tight, place your feet shoulder width apart with your head up and descend down into a sitting position, then using your legs, drive upwards until standing. Repeat for 8-12 reps. These can be done with just body weight, or you can add a barbell to increase resistance.

Press Ups – the king of all upper body moves. The press up works your triceps, biceps, chest and shoulders. Add an advanced variation with an exercise ball to increase your core stability and improve balance. Lie face down and place your hands on the floor either side of your shoulders. One by one put your feet onto an exercise ball and assume the push up position.

Long Distance Cycling – not only is this fantastic for your overall cardiovascular health, it also increases endurance and strength in your legs, which is essential for snow sports. If you don’t have a road bike or access to one, use a stationary bike at your gym. Start short at 2km, then move to 5, 10 and 20. Mix it up and try to beat your time on each distance.

Lunges – another brilliant move for leg development, core strength and balance. Try adding walking lunges at the end of every workout to increase endurance in the quads and glutes, and to mix up your cardio. Try 10 stationary lunges for each leg, then 20, then move onto walking lunges. You can also mix it up further by walking with dumbbells.

Packing For A Ski Holiday

Image by tookapic CC0

Image by tookapic CC0

While toothbrush, passport and boarding passes may be obvious items to pack, there are a few essentials that might not be obvious to a first-time skier. Claire Flynn at Powder Beds shares some insider tips.

Skis, boots and helmet: For novices or people relatively new to skiing, it’s worthwhile renting skis, boots and a helmet, rather than buying them AND paying for ski carriage on a flight. Skiset work in resorts across Europe offering different ski hire packages depending on what you want. It’s also worth booking in advance to make sure you get the best deal and what you want.

Taking your own ski equipment? Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) have created a nifty Baggage Allowance Finder. The tool helps you find the baggage allowances for major airlines across the UK, perfect for finding out how much it will cost to get your skis across the skies!

Clothes for the slopes: Bring thermals, fleeces, warm jacket, salopettes, thick socks, goggles and don’t forget proper waterproof gloves. Also, neck scarves (Buffs) are useful for keeping your face warm on the slopes.

Sun protection: Make sure to bring suncream (or buy it in the resort), and apply it even when it’s cloudy. It’s also a good idea to bring a decent pair of sunglasses, so you can change out of your goggles if you stop for lunch on the slopes.

Clothes for off-piste activities: Bring warm clothes and decent shoes with good grip for walking about the resort in the evening.

Other items that might make your time in the snow warmer, easier or more fun are:

Sundown Lock

Sundown Ski Lock, Blacks

• Day rucksack
• Water bottle
• Ski Lock
• Thermos
• Hand warmers
• Foot warmers
• Muscle rub/soak
• Ankle, knee and wrist supports

Check out skiclub.co.uk for a foolproof packing list, and if you are looking to grab some ski clothes and accessories – without paying a design label premium – Blacks have a superb range.

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE

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© Courtesy of Össur

WINTERSPORT INSURANCE IS AN ESSENTIAL PIECE OF YOUR KIT WHEN YOU HEAD OUT ON SKIS! Even if you are holidaying in the EU, you should make sure that your travel insurance covers you for the activities you plan to do. Wintersports insurance from worldwideinsure.com provides cover for equipment, ski packs, cancelled flights, medical assistance and repatriation for all destinations including even if you want to go off-piste, heli-skiing, and parapenting!

Best Ski Resort for Beginners – Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

• Only truly car-free resort in France.
• Offers access to the fantastic Portes du Soleil ski area.
• Perfect for beginners thanks to the several easy green runs through the village, plus a great selection of ski schools, including Le Village des Enfants (located in the heart of the resort with two distinct areas for skiing abilities). Avoriaz Alpine Ski School is another excellent ski school – small team of British and local instructors offering high quality tuition, for all ages.
• Also great range of runs for intermediates and over 30 black runs for advanced, including the World Cup Downhill which drops from Les Hauts Forts.
• One of the world’s leading freestyle centres with three snowparks and a superpipe.
• Good areas for beginner and intermediate boarders, as well as plenty of powder for freeriding.
• One of the highest resorts in the Alps so snow cover isn’t often a problem, except for some of the runs below resort height.
• Accommodations are generally all ski-in/ski-out offering easy access to the slopes for first-timers.
• Also great non-ski activities available to keep everyone busy – Aquariaz claims to be Europe’s highest waterpark, complete with a main pool, lazy river, half-pipe, mini flume, Jacuzzis and tropical vegetation. There’s also dog sledding, snowshoeing and ice skating.
• Where to stay – Residence L’Amara offers luxurious ski-in/ski-out apartments at the entrance of the resort, with a private car park, indoor swimming pool, fitness room and Deep Nature Spa.

Best Ski Resort If You Are Travelling With Intermediates – Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

• One of the biggest resorts in the Alps, with a choice of four different base villages, located in the huge and varied Paradiski area.
• More than 125km of fast long and blue and red runs on the Les Arcs side of Paradiski alone – superb for intermediate skiers.
• Can also use the Vanoise express to cross over to the La Plagne side to experience more terrain. Although, as there is so much terrain in Les Arcs, it is only worth doing this for a day, so opt for the Paradiski Discovery Pass rather than the full Paradiski pass.
• Also has a strong reputation for advanced terrain with more than 40km of black runs, divided into 19 runs.
• Beginners are also well-catered for with gentle slopes right by the four base villages. Plus, the relatively recent Mille 8 development in Arc 1800 includes a dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for snowboarders – the Apocalypse Snowpark is fitted with tricks and treats for all ability levels, with great progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced features. Well-maintained and one of the better parks in the Alps.
• Non-ski activities also available – mostly from Arc 1800 – snowshoeing, dog sledding, bowling, shopping and there’s a small cinema.
• Where to stay – La Source des Arcs offers stylish and spacious ski-in/ski-out apartments in the highest altitude village of Arc 2000. However, if you’d like to be closer to the action in Arc 1800, try Residence Edenarc.

Best Ski Resort If You Have Advanced Skiers In Your Party – Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

© andyparant.com / OT Val d’Isere

• Ski area traditionally known as Espace Killy, although more commonly known as Val d’Isere-Tignes these days – regarded as one of the most exciting ski areas in the world.
• One of the world’s great resorts for advanced skiers with 25 black runs to test your abilities on – including the world famous La Face run (descends nearly 2 miles from its peak) – only those brave enough should attempt it.
• The area is most famous for its off-piste (10,000 hectares), with forested areas like Daniades, accessed from the Solaise Express among the more popular.
• Also a great ski area for intermediates, with over 100 blue and red runs in the Espace Killy.
• With the redevelopment of the Solaise area due to open for this winter, Val d’Isere is also set to become a great resort for novices, with a new dedicated beginners’ area.
• Also great for boarders with a highly regarded snowpark spread over 35 hectares. Other terrain parks to try out across the Espace Killy into Tignes too.
• Also, one of the most snowsure resorts in Europe thanks to its high altitude.
• Always stays at the forefront of winter sports but has remained a picturesque main resort village, meaning it continues to attract guests from all over the world.
• With a sports centre, glacier walking, husky racing and 70 shops available, there are plenty of non-ski activities to keep you entertained also.
• Where to stay: for self-catering, opt for Chalets du Jardin Alpin, but if it’s a luxurious hotel you’re after, the five star Hotel Christiania in the centre is a very popular choice.

Après-Ski – Social Life On The Slopes

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

If going out for drinks after a long day on the slopes appeals to you, make sure to pick a resort with a good après scene. Val Thorens is great, with several bars on and off the slopes, as well as Malaysia, the highest nightclub in Europe. Val d’Isere is also a good option, being the home of the original La Folie Douce. Alpe d’Huez, Les Deux Alpes, Meribel and Verbier are also renowned for their après scenes.

The off-slope vibe may be laid back, but make sure you show your fellow après party people some respect. Here are some top tips:

Pack your gear away before heading to the bar. No one wants to have to manoeuvre their way around a bunch of skis and snow boots!

Welcome strangers into your fold – in other words, don’t hog a huge table to just a few of you. Likewise, don’t be shy if someone offers you a seat at their table – the après scene is a great way to get to know people.

• Come as you are, which means there is no need to get showered and dressed up as soon as the lift stops spinning. Unless of course you are heading to a hot tub – in which case always, ALWAYS rinse before going in.

And one more thing: If you respect your fellow guests, endeavour to not puke on them. High altitudes will have a major affect on your tolerance to alcohol. Pace yourself and have a glass of water in between drinks – skiing is heaps more fun without a hangover anyway!

Injuries At Altitude

Courtesy of Össur

© Courtesy of Össur

Nothing can bring a fun holiday to an abrupt halt like hurting yourself, and on a ski holiday the head, wrists, knees, ankles and spine are all at risk. We asked injury experts Össur for some top tips on how to avoid injuries on the slope and what to do if things don’t go to plan.

How to avoid injuries on the slope

Whilst on the whole injuries are unavoidable and sometimes just happen, there are things you can do to minimise the risk as the last thing you want is to injure yourself on day one and spend the rest of your holiday looking at the slopes rather than being on them.

1. Wear the right gear
Wearing the right gear is a good start. Without a doubt you need to wear some good winter clothing as it’s cold up in the mountains but there are a few other things which could help you.

• Helmet: Would you ever ride your bike without a helmet? No? It’s the same for winter sports. We’re not just talking rocks that you could land on, as compacted snow could be just as hazardous if you whack your head on it, so stay safe.
• Knee Bracing: Prophylactic knee bracing is becoming more popular with many professionals now sporting these carbon fibre (lightweight and strong) exoskeletons to protect the knee from injury following a fall but also to offer stability to help manage pre-existing injuries.
• Wrist Guards: Everyone falls down on the slopes, some more often than others. When we fall we put our arms out to break our fall but that can lead to broken wrists, arms, or dislocated shoulders. Wrist guards offer a degree of protection when you fall.
• Boots: A standard piece of kit but make sure you pick something suitable. Have a chat with the professionals and see what is best for you given your expertise and what you want to achieve, as more freedom of movement may be good for tricks but potentially bad for your ankles.

2. Know your limits
If you’re just starting out then it’s understandable you want to follow in the footsteps of famous skiers, but it is important that you take it easy and practice, even Jonny Moseley had to start somewhere. It’s ok to push yourself as that is the only way to get better, but you know yourself what is pushing yourself and what could be considered a little foolish.

3. Take lessons
Taking lessons is a great way to start and even the experienced skiers still take lessons to brush up on their skills, especially if you’ve had a few months off (like when there is no snow). Lessons ensure you have the right technique and most importantly, know how to fall (as in minimising the risk of injury) so book them in, listen and learn.

4. Stick to the path
When you finally arrive at your resort you’ll be as giddy as a kid at Christmas and want to do everything. Just remember that there are routes designated for each level of ability so stick to them and practice before moving up and deciding to do something adventurous. Being on the slopes is extreme enough when you’re starting out without going off-piste in search of something different and potentially dangerous.

5. Be aware of your surroundings
It’s important to remember where you are on the slopes and that you don’t only have to watch what you’re doing but also what everyone else is doing as well. It only takes one person to either do something daft or lose control and they could wipe you out as well as leave you battered and bruised, or worse.

What to do when you’ve been injured

Following an injury there are a number of steps to consider both in the immediate aftermath and throughout your overall rehabilitation journey.

1. Stop what you’re doing
If you’re injured then stop what you’re doing as carrying on could make it worse. Sprains, for example, are graded 1 to 3 depending on their severity, with a 1 being a few days of hobbling and 3 being a few months using crutches. If you sprain your ankle when running then failing to stop could turn a grade 1 to a grade 2, as you’re increasing the chances of your ankle rolling as a result of the instability.

2. Remember RICE
It’s the standard protocol following an injury and stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

Rest is simply giving the body time to repair itself and heal naturally.
Ice can be used to help manage inflammation as well as offering a degree of pain relief.
Compression is typically achieved through bracing but helps to manage inflammation when on the move, again having pain relieving qualities,
Elevation is the act of raising the affected area of the body above the level of the heart to reduce blood flow and in turn reduce inflammation.

You will know if an injury warrants urgent medical attention, in which case, you should seek this right away to minimise the risk of the injury worsening.

3. Obtain a professional diagnosis
If RICE doesn’t work after a few days then you should seek a professional diagnosis as it may require additional treatment following a more detailed examination.
You may be sent for an X-ray, an MRI or simply referred to a physiotherapist depending on how severe they believe the injury to be.

After a professional diagnosis you may need physio, a brace and even surgery. Overseas this can be a lot more complicated. Make sure you contact your travel insurance provider and discuss what procedures and treatments are covered.

Well, that’s the essentials covered, but nothing compares to the real thing – stay warm, stay safe and have fun wherever you end up!

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

For more information about getting the right wintersports travel insurance for this ski season, get in touch with one of the team on 01892 833338

Travel Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make!

beach-image-by-unsplash-cc0

Beach image by Unsplash CC0

You can ruin a beautiful holiday fast by making some seriously rookie mistakes. Find out what NOT to do next time you go away.

Overpacking – It makes your bag heavy and difficult to carry around, it may put you over your weight allowance, costing you money. Worse than that, if your bag is full to the brim, how are you going to bring back any lovely new things from your travels?

Overspending – If you think sticking to a budget sucks, then you should adjust your perspective. Make fulfilling your itinerary a creative achievement with what you have and consider which money-saving tactics you are prepared to make for each activity. Are you prepared to forego a hotel for a few nights in a hostel so you can do that big adventure?

Not having any local currency – Turning up in a new town without a bit of cash can be super-embarrassing if your driver or porter is expecting a tip. Plus, using a local ATM might carry some hefty card charges. Make sure you get your currency at a good price before you set off, either at the airport or dedicated currency exchange centre.

Having too much local currency – Not only can it be difficult taking a large amount of cash through customs, you don’t want to have “all your eggs in one basket”. Take enough money for the first couple of days – not for the duration of your stay! Pre-paid currency cards such as fairfx.com are a secure way to ensure you have all the money you need, but still make sure you have some loose cash when you travel.

Not getting travel insurance – Too many travellers seem to think that they just don’t need it, especially if they have an EHIC. The cost of medical treatment or repatriation to your home country is far higher than you might think, and you will HAVE to cover the costs yourself if you don’t have insurance. The financial implications of lost luggage and missed or cancelled flights is a minor inconvenience by comparison.

Forgetting to check visa requirements – You don’t want to fall at the last hurdle. Not many situations are much more frustrating than getting to your destination and being refused entry, so make sure you check the entry requirements for your visa. This can include having a certain number of months left on your passport, having a flight out of the country booked, an address that you will be staying at, ensuring that you have had the correct immunisations, or even that you haven’t just travelled from a certain country!

Being culturally insensitive – It isn’t just impolite, it could land you in jail! Here are some examples of how you could innocently cause offense abroad:

  • Sipping your vodka in Russia
  • Not eating enough in Greece
  • Crossing your chopsticks in Asia
  • Showing the soles of your feet in Africa
  • Giving a “thumbs up” in the Middle East
  • Wearing yellow in Malaysia

Not making copies of important documents – Either scan your documents, or take a picture. You don’t need to carry around hardcopies of your insurance, passport and travel information, but do make sure it can be accessed easily online if you need, or leave with a friend/family member back home in case of emergency.

Not checking ALL your booking details, and passport! – Turning up at the wrong airport, finding out that your passport has expired, and even getting your dates of travel wrong are all entirely possible if you are not paying enough attention. So check all your booking information thoroughly, and check again. You should also pay attention to changes in time zones if you are taking more than one flight – is it actually possible to get from A to B in the time you have?

Trying to fit too much in – Overstretching yourself with a loaded itinerary can actually be a miserable experience, so factor in some rest days in between your adventures, and for the last couple of days of your holiday. This way if you have the energy to do more, you can add a little something in rather than feeling bad (and possibly losing money) by bailing out because you are exhausted.

Nevada – A Spooky Place To Celebrate Halloween!

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 Porter Store by Tom Babich CC2.0

Rhyolite Porter Store by Tom Babich CC2.0

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

Mizpah Hotel

Mizpah Hotel. Image © Travel Nevada

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.

The Lady in Red Suite Courtesy of Travel Nevada © Travel Nevada

Brave guests can stay in The Lady in Red Suite for as little as £122 a night. Image © Travel Nevada

Creepy Clowns of Highway 95

clown-motel

Image © Travel Nevada

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.