Category Archives: Travel Tips

Professional Beauty Tips For Frequent Flyers

A jet-setting agenda can take its toll on your looks – find out how the likes of A-list celebrities overcome the dry skin, tired eyes, blemishes, and bloating associated with frequent flying.

Image by silviarita CC0

Dehydration is the enemy – both inside and out! Make sure you up your water intake, remembering to reduce caffeine and alcohol while you are at it, and use a hydrating moisturiser or mist for your skin.

“Many people underestimate how delicate the skin under our eyes is. Using a specialised cleanser for eyecare is the best way to protect our delicate skin. Tea tree oil is one of the best cleansing and healing ingredients that loves delicate skin! It also has natural antimicrobial properties which makes it a great part of any skincare regime.” Beauty expert at OPTASE® developers of Tea Tree Oil Lid Wipes, a handy travel-size pack suited to frequent flyers.

Travel sans makeup – wearing makeup while you travel will just tire and dehydrate your skin further.

Detox before you go – having a cleansed system will mean that your body is performing as efficiently as possible at ridding itself of toxins and more resistant to the stress of travel.

“The recycled air on aeroplanes can cause dry eyes, which on a long-haul flight can really ruin the excitement of going away and leave us with red, sore and puffy faces!One solution is to use preservative-free eye drops, rather than ones that include preservatives because these have actually been shown to increase irritation if used repeatedly.” Beauty expert at Hycosan Fresh. Most preservative-free eye drops are single dose mini pipettes – not so convenient for travelling but Hycosan Fresh is totally preservative free, remain sterile for 6 months, and come in a 7.5ml bottle totally suited to travel.

Exfoliate before you go – freshly exfoliated skin is essential if you are travelling without makeup, plus your hydrating beauty products will work better.

Exercise before you go – a good workout boosts circulation and helps deliver nutrients to your skin, a key way to get that “glowing” look and does of course boost your immune system.

Vapour Balm is great for use during air travel to help feign off airborne bacterial and illness. Beware of petroleum based products that can inhibit your skin’s ability to breathe and rebalance, and are known to clog pores. Instead opt for a product free of palm oil, petrochemicals and other nasties such as P’URE Papayacare Vapour Balm, a blend of Australian essential oils and herbs with zero menthol, petroleum or mineral oil.

Travel well rested – flying is tiring, so make sure you have at least one day down-time before you go. Stress is known to raise cortisol levels which in turns creates bloating, especially around the mid-rift, and is associated with lack of sleep.

Pack an oxygenating face mask – for use at your destination, this type of masks bubbles upon application cleaning all the gunk from your pores that is inevitable after a few hours travel.

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 Elvie.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.

 

Life as a Digital Nomad in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Insider Tips

Image by Dong719 CC0

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s fourth-biggest city, is arguably South-east Asia’s most desirable digital nomad location. Just as tourists find that the city covers most (if not all) bases, nomads have been similarly delighted: Cheap rents, great food, fantastic nightlife, rich culture, plenty of sunshine and, naturally, fast Wi-Fi – are among the top draws.

Wi-Fi and work locations

First up, if you need fast, reliable internet, Chiang Mai has you covered. Plus, if you prefer not to work in the same place as you live, there are lots of co-working spaces and Internet cafés where you can put in those long hours. Indeed, you’ll feel as if they’ve been expecting you!

Accommodation in Chiang Mai 

Chiang Mai has hostels, guest houses and hotels in abundance, ranging from £5-a-night dorm beds, to £10-a-night basic rooms, to £100-a-night top-end hotels. You can rent a room for as little as £80 a month, or your own small out-of-town house or condominium for £150-£200. If you want luxuries like swimming pool and gym access, you’ll of course pay more. You could also rent a large, modern house for £600-£800 a month and find a few fellow nomads to share the rent.

Social life

While many people come to Chiang Mai to enjoy Thai culture and the laid-back ‘sabai sabai’ way of life, you’ll doubtless meet plenty of other entrepreneurial Westerners while living here (many Brits among them). Locals, tourists and ex-pats mingle ardently of an evening, with a wide choice of bars and nightclubs to enjoy.

Healthcare

Thailand offers excellent private healthcare and decent public hospitals. Reputable private organisations such as the Bangkok Hospital operate locations across the country, including Chiang Mai. Much cheaper than say, Singapore, but with similarly high standards, it’s no wonder people from across South-East Asia come to Thailand to have their healthcare needs met. Many medicines which require prescriptions in the UK can be bought over the counter.

Getting around Chiang Mai 

While tuk-tuks and songthaews (modified pick-up trucks with covered seating) are great when you first arrive, you may soon want the freedom of your own wheels. You can rent a scooter for £40-£60 a month. Just make sure you have an up-to-date International Driving Licence and never be tempted to leave your helmet at home (as many locals do). Also be aware that Thais like to merge with traffic without even a glance at their mirrors, and love nothing more than to get out of their cars without checking for approaching traffic!

Food

From low-cost, tasty street food to excellent Western dishes – your tummy will always be happy in Chiang Mai. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for, but meat lovers won’t be disappointed either. You could cut your food bills by cooking for yourself, but eating like a local – i.e. in the street – will keep you comfortably on-budget.

Culture and things to do in Chiang Mai 

You’ll probably explore the main temples in your first few weeks, but there’s plenty more to see. Enjoy a swim in the ‘Grand Canyon’ – a flooded former limestone quarry – just out of town, or, further afield you might explore the hippy-hangout of Pai, with its numerous hot springs, or take a motorcycle trip up to Mai Hong Son. And if you ever feel the need for a weekend in the Big Smoke, you can jet down to Bangkok in 75 minutes – before deciding that life in laid-back Chiang Mai will do you just fine, thank you very much!

Visas for Chiang Mai 

As a UK citizen, you can apply for a two month tourist visa (£25) in the UK, and extend it for another month (about £45) in Thailand. You could then apply for another tourist visa in a neighbouring country. Most nomads can repeat this process several times before Immigration officials start asking questions.

 

DON’T FORGET YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE! With worldwideinsure.com you can get longstay travel insurance to suit your digital nomad lifestyle, including insurance while you are already travelling.  Get a quick online quote or speak to one of our advisors.

Top Tips For Adventure Holiday Landscape Photography

Don’t come back from your next trip with a bunch of smartphone pics and the excuse “you had to be there really”. Instead, bag some envy-inducing shots worthy of National Geographic with these simple tips.

Alaska Image by 12019 CC0

 Take a decent camera.

Go old school Single Lens Reflex, or take it up a notch with a DSLR. Whatever you do, don’t use a smartphone, use a camera where you can adjust light settings and aperture to get the aesthetic you are looking for.

Use a tripod.

The best way to get the perfect frame for your shot, and the only way to wait for the right moment without ruining the image with camera shake. A tripod is also essential for taking long exposures.

Pack a cable release.

The hands off approach will ensure you don’t jog the camera when releasing the shutter, or cause any movement during long exposure photography.

Take a variety of lenses

Take a wide-angle, super-wide angle and a telephoto lens at the very least. This image of Seljalandsfoss, one of the most-photographed waterfalls in south Iceland, was taken with a 10mm fish-eye lens by Geraldine Westrupp of Wild Photography Holidays.

© GERALDINE WESTRUPP

Photographer tip: Try an unusual perspective

“Taking this picture from the path to the back of Seljalandsfoss gives an unusual perspective, and the use of a 10mm fish-eye lens gives remarkable results. The setting sun lights up the wall behind this stunning cascade only a few times in the year. October, when this shot was taken, is a good time to try.” 

Photographer tip: Get up early

“Getting up early ensures that you have time to get to your chosen location and set up your equipment before the action starts. On Iceland’s Diamond Beach (pictured below) the sun rises over the sea and it lights up the water and sparkling ice that graces the black sand.  The actual appearance of the sun in this case is not important; the effect that it has on the ice is where the drama is. It’s a good idea to pinpoint the perfect time to shoot by using a smartphone app such as Sun Seeker to determine sunrise and sunset times for your exact location.” 

© GERALDINE WESTRUPP

Pack your filters.

A UV filter will really make the image crisp and the colours pop, and a polarising filter will give extra colour saturation as well as reducing glare off highly reflective surfaces. An ND filter is awesome for daytime long exposures, resulting in an ephemeral aesthetic when photographing waves or fast moving clouds in the sky.

© Fortythree Photography

 

© Fortythree Photography

 

Filling The Void: 10 Ways To Kill Time Before Checking In

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Ever been stuck in that post-check-out, pre-check-in void while travelling, or even just arrived earlier than scheduled and can’t book in for four hours? It sucks, especially when you just want to enjoy a holiday vibe! Here are a few ways to pass that time without feeling like you are waiting.

First, ask to stash your luggage so you are free to explore – you could even take this opportunity to find out if there is a different room already free and avoid waiting around altogether!

  1. Ask to use the hotel facilities – whether it is a lounge, lobby, or leisure area they’ll probably let you in before you check in.
  2. Head to a local spa – it will be relaxing, refreshing and will wash away the dreaded travel grime.
  3. Seek out a nearby gym – a burst of exercise will hopefully leave you feeling energised, plus you can get cleaned up with a well-deserved shower after.
  4. Go for a leisurely brunch – enjoying a bellyful of food while watching the local life pass by will soon get you in the holiday vibe.
  5. Take the opportunity to exchange currency – or do any other tedious tasks that need doing just to get them out of the way.
  6. Go to a local museum or gallery – not only will you fit in something that might not be on your itinerary, but you’ll also learn heaps about the local culture during your visit.
  7. Go for a walk – by exploring the local area you’ll find out what you’d like to see and experience more of during your stay. It is also a great way to scope out hidden gems that you’d otherwise miss with a set itinerary.
  8. Journal – whether you head to a nearby open space, a café or bar, finding somewhere to journal is a great idea for whiling away time.
  9. Revise your itinerary – this is the best time to take a look at your ideas because you can pick up local literature for lesser known attractions and excursions, and you can also ask the locals, and other holiday makers what they would (and would not) recommend.
  10. Ask for early check-in – if you know you are going to be early, ask in advance about an early check-in. In most cases hotels and hosts are able to accommodate given enough notice, but may charge for the service.

 

Arriving way before your check-in time is a pain, but not as bad as missing your flight or connection and missing out on holiday time! Make sure your travel insurance covers you for missed departures!

The Secrets to Making The Most of a Short Break Abroad

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The truth about short breaks is that they are exhausting – right? Just when you need a few days respite, with a splash of adventure you end up travelled out, rushed and wishing you’d spent a long weekend at home with a book instead. Unless you do it right of course – here’s how!

1. Follow the cardinal rule – the number of hours you travel should not be greater than the number of days of your trip.

Going for 4 days? Limit your flight time to four hours! You could even argue that the time spent in travelling to and from the airport should count too. Breaking this rule will mean that you will spend most of your trip getting from A to B rather than enjoying your destination, and you might just add a bit of jetlag into the mix if you travel really far!

2. Pick a destination or experience that is very different from “real life” at home.

The more novel your travel experience, the more you’ll feel like you have had a proper holiday and a decent break.

3. Stay at one hotel or apartment rather than travelling through your destination.

The post-check-out, pre-check-in void between 11 and 2 is best avoided, especially on a short break. Time is of the essence, so don’t spend it waiting around!

4. Upgrade yourself!

If you yearn to live a luxury lifestyle, a short break may well be the perfect opportunity to do it. A five-star hotel for 3 days is going to be more financially accessible than for a long holiday. OK, you might spend the same as you would on a 7-day budget break, but instead you have a long weekend of absolute bliss to enjoy!

5. Create the perfect “holiday experience sandwich” when you plan your itinerary.

Make the first day a day to relax, unwind and do things that aren’t mentally, emotionally, financially or physically taxing. Use the middle section of your trip to see, do, and experience everything on your to-do list so that you really feel like you’ve made the most of your trip. Finally, save the last day for unwinding – maybe head to a local spa, or have a long luxurious feast at a local restaurant.

Follow these tips and not only will you have a full and rewarding holiday experience, but you’ll also come back feeling like you have managed to relax and unwind – a rarity with a short break abroad!

Lagom – The Swedish Goldilocks Principle for Globetrotters

Lagom – a Swedish word that has no direct translation. It more or less means not too much, not too little, just the right amount. It can be applied to every aspect of life – whether that be the amount of cream you have in your coffee, the way you dress, how you decorate your home, or how you travel! Here are some top travel tips that we think hit the lagom vibe.

Image by skeeze CC0

Take an extended break

In Sweden it is common for people to take three to four weeks off in the summer to enjoy the weather. While this isn’t an option for everyone, the key is to make sure that you take more days than you think you need to enjoy your holiday. So, if it is a weekend city break you are going on, add an extra day either side to prepare, and to come home and relax after travelling. Going on a longer holiday? Same principle – take more days than you think you need, you’ll be glad of it when your itinerary is approaching capacity.

Plan a sensible itinerary

Cramming in sightseeing and activities to a pre-booked holiday is not adhering to lagom. You don’t want to do so little you feel like you are wasting time, but you also don’t want to be rushed off your feet trying to fit everything in – you want balance. Before you book your holiday decide what it is you want to do, how much time you ideally need to enjoy each activity to its fullest, and also how long it will take to get from A to B to C… Then add some time for doing NOTHING – only with space in your schedule can you embrace something spontaneous, or take some time to rest between adventures! Once you know that, create your itinerary and book your holiday. If it feels like there is too much for the holiday time you can take, remember you can always come back another time!

Get close to nature

Lagom is about keeping things simple, something a spell in the great outdoors can provide in abundance, but remember we aren’t aiming for extremes! Enjoy outdoor activities that are within your skill-range, environments that aren’t going to cause discomfort, and above all, remember to dress for the weather. There is a saying “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”

Eat fresh, eat local

You can also use the concept of lagom to enjoy the local cuisine – in moderation of course. So, bingeing on steak and red wine in Argentina is not lagom, but indulging in a fine cut with a reserve occasionally during your stay is. Choose items off the menu that do not have a negative impact on the wellbeing of local wildlife or ecosystems – something to be mindful of in places where the popularity of seafood is leading to an overfishing problem. Finally, only eat what you need, no need to go large, order big, or have three courses when two will do.

Choose ethical travel

Low impact and ethical travel is on the rise. This encompasses a wide range of tourist activities that take the excessive side of tourism into account, things like damage to flora and fauna, overcrowding, and negative impacts on the economy and the life of locals. Wherever you travel make sure that you are adding to the local economy during your stay, that you leave as little trace as possible while you are there, and that you are mindful of the impact of your presence in everything you do.

Top Tips For First Time Travelling Abroad With Toddlers

©43kcreative.com

Tantrums, a short attention span, and the tendency to spontaneously require something completely unexpected (or unattainable) can scupper the best-laid travel plans. Here are some top tips from parents who travel to ensure your toddler is on best form on holiday.

Tell them what is going to happen –From an early start and travelling in their PJs, to what it feels like to board a plane, boat or train, tell your toddler what to expect on the journey. Who they may encounter, the crazy spaces they might experience, and what the travel staff expects of them should all be revealed.

Let them pack their bag (with some assistance) – Maybe you don’t think FooFooFluffBunny is an essential travel item, but your child might, and it could be the one thing that they demand if they get a little travel stress. Let them pick their own toys to take, and compromise with some parental recommendations. Taking them shopping for their own travel essentials will make sure it’s not a fight to get a flannel and toothbrush in, but it will also get them excited about the adventure ahead.

Pack the right snacks –Hunger is the enemy, but don’t let sweet treats be the way to distract. You’ll never get a toddler to sit still after a box of raisins let alone a pack of sweets. Keep the snacks simple, nutritious and on-hand.

©43kcreative.com

Pack the right entertainment –A tablet is a compact and versatile answer to keeping a child occupied on a long journey. While colouring pens and paper and travel games might seem like the superior choice parentally, rummaging for dropped bits under seats is no fun. Just remember to load plenty of games, drawing apps and books on to the tablet before you set off.

Break everything up into bite-size chunks– The journey AND the holiday! Some parents recommend 15-minute activity slots on a long journey, and while on holiday break the days up so that there is something for everyone. A sightseeing tour for the grown ups in the morning for example, followed by an afternoon of adventure play or a pool. Throw in the promise of a holiday ice cream for being patient, and you should have a happy family all round.

Play dress-up for sightseeing– Longer excursions for less toddler-exciting attractions will require a little creativity. Take along their favourite dress-up set, or get something that ties in with the theme of where you plan to visit. Dressing up will make the whole experience more immersive for them, and hopefully keep them occupied so you can enjoy it too.

Devise a treasure hunt –And make it last for the whole holiday! A simple list of things to spot will be a great distraction when toddlers are getting a little testing. Keep it simple with flowers, cats, dogs, cars, trams, tuk-tuks – whatever is common in your destination – then throw in a few curve balls like a heart shaped cloud, banana shaped hat… you get the idea. Make sure there is a reward for hitting certain targets – more holiday ice cream for example, and encourage a bit of teamwork if travelling with more than one child.

The Worst Holiday Destinations In The World To Visit in June

Ever planned a badly-timed break? Spent your Round The World Trip visiting every destination in the wrong season? If you are thinking of a last-minute getaway this month, you’ll do well to avoid the following locations!

Dubai, UAE

Image by Charly-G CC0

In June in Dubai it is really really hot, and really really humid, which makes really really hot feel like a bath in a volcano. Basically the seasonal high of 40°C combined with 58% humidity makes it feel like a searing 59°C! That is hotter than the hottest place on earth! If you must go, stick to indoor activities – thankfully quite easy due to the many luxury shopping malls and the world’s largest aquarium.

The Everglades, Florida

Image by revilo82 CC0

June marks the start of several seasons in the Everglades – The Wet Season, The Hurricane Season and the Mosquito Season, not the most sought after combination on anyone’s travel itinerary! Plus the thunderstorms at this time of year can last for hours, so you’ll find yourself hiding for cover most of the time. FYI, the best months to visit are December to April.

Havana, Cuba

Image by 12019 CC0

Hot, wet and very very windy. June in Havana marks the start of the Hurricane Season, and the stats say it will rain on average for half the month. We all know that wind and rain are the number one enemies of enjoying a Cuban cigar, so save your trip for another time, ideally between December and May.

Death Valley National Park, California

Image by JungR CC0

This destination holds the impressive Highest Recorded Temperature In The World title, and guess when it was recorded? Yup, June – a whopping 56.7°C! The previous record of 58°Crecorded atEl Azizia, Libya, and held for around 90 years, was deemed to be inaccurate by as much as 7°C because the measurement was taken over tarmac, not a true representation of the desert terrain.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! A well-chosen policy can help you out when Mother Nature decides to scupper your travel plans. Bad weather can mean cancelled flights, long delays, and in extreme cases the need for replaced belongings and even repatriation! Speak to our travel insurance advisors to make sure you’ve got the cover you reallyneed for your next break!

 

Scorchio! 10 Tanning Tips Sun Seekers Tend To Ignore

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With the holiday season well underway and temperatures soaring in the UK, we thought this list of tips that sun-worshipers tend to ignore would be rather timely.

  1. Wear sunscreen to suit your skin type – never choose anything less than SPF 15.
  2. Make sure your sunscreen provides UVA protection as well as UVB protection.
  3. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before exposure to the sun.
  4. Reapply sunscreen regularly, and always after swimming.
  5. Wear clothes that protect from the sun.

Crazy Fact: A regular t-shirt actually offers less protection than an SPF 15 sunscreen. Choose clothes that are tightly woven, or have been given a dedicated SPF rating – especially for children!

  1. Stay out of the direct sun between 11am and 3pm when it’s at its strongest, or at least limit your time exposed during these times.
  2. Wear sunglasses to prevent cataracts caused by sun damage – make sure they have a protection rating.
  3. Buy a new sunscreen at the start of each season, its shelf life is reduced when exposed to hot temperatures.
  4. Apply sunscreen even on a cloudy day or when sitting in the shade. The rays are still strong and can damage your skin.
  5. Check the SPF of your cosmetics, if it is less than 15, or has no SPF at all, use with sunscreen.

Top Tip: Get on the fake tan, but don’t be fooled into thinking your skin is protected because it is darker! How long you can stay in the sun isn’t actually determined by how dark your skin is; it is down to your skin type. So, a person who is classed as Type I (very fair) who has darker skin is just as vulnerable to the effects of UV damage as they are without a tan.