Category Archives: Travel Tips

Backpacking Life Lessons – 20 Things You Discover On Your First Trip

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  1. You don’t need a change of clothes for everyday.
  2. Layering is the best way to dress for all weathers.
  3. Cotton clothes retain water, which is rubbish for backpacking in the winter. During the summer however that is an obvious perk.
  4. Wool socks and base layers are the way to go in winter.
  5. Merino wool is worth the money because it’s not itchy.
  6. Extra socks are a necessity not a luxury.
  7. Every little thing you can cut from your backpack bag really does make it weigh less.
  8. Pack less, smile more.
  9. Pack a portable charger WITH converters.
  10. Take a kindle not hardcopies of books.
  11. Download “offline” maps while you have wifi.
  12. Listening to music on an mp3 player is better than wasting phone battery.
  13. Microfibre towels take ages to dry, a wash cloth is just as good as a towel.
  14. Ziplock bags in various sizes will save your day, every day.
  15. Going with the flow and hoping to find a bed for the night doesn’t work out if you turn up mid-festival/holiday/celebration… check how busy your destination might be before you head there.
  16. Good socks are just as important as good shoes and boots.
  17. Sock liners are a luxury you make room for if you don’t want stinky feet or blisters.
  18. Looking for stuff in an unorganised pack is a waste of time – pack your bag so the stuff you use the most is on the top or in external pockets.
  19. Earplugs are a must if you want a good night’s sleep.
  20. Hostel beds can be rank even at the best of times – pack a travel sheet.


Don’t forget your travel insurance! Living out of a bag and being constantly on the move ups the risk of losing belongings, or having them stolen. We have special long stay insurance perfect for backpacking adventures. Cover from 3 to 18 months covering casual work plus many sports.

The Most Romantic Valentines Getaways For A Proposal

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What could be more romantic than popping the question on Valentines Day? Doing it on a romantic Valentines break! Here are the top three romantic getaways that will ensure your loved one says YES!

Spa Break

Undivided attention, pampering, and a luxurious setting – an undeniably romantic combination. Whether it is a couples massage, soaking in a hot tub under the stars, or the intimacy of a candle lit detox dinner that ignites your passion, a spa break is guaranteed to ensure the love of your life feels like a million dollars when you say “Marry Me”.

City Escape

Paris, Venice, Rome, and Reykjavik are some of the most sought after destinations when it comes to a proposal. If you are heading to the latter, Gullfoss Waterfall is the most popular place to pop the question. If Venice is your destination of choice then head for romantic hotspots like Doge’s Palace, The Grand Canal, St Mark’s Basilica, and Rialto Bridge.

Exotic Beach Holiday

Maldives or Seychelles? What a choice! These Indian Ocean destinations are what romance is made of, but they offer very different experiences. The Maldives is an archipelago of tiny islands with just one resort on each – perfect if you want to propose in the seclusion of a romantic bubble. Seychelles on the other hand offers more space, bigger sweeping beaches, and things to see and do, so if activities are key to your romance as a couple, head here.

How To Cut The Cost Of A Holiday

Thrifty travel without slumming it is totally possible. Check out this list of hints and tips – add them all up and you’ll probably have enough cash left over for another holiday!

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Find cheap flights first using tools like Skyscanner and Flights Direct.

Book flights early – last minute flights can be more expensive.

Book a flight through a partner airline. This is known as the codeshare trick where airlines sell each other’s flights, often at a reduced price.

Use Trivago or Trip Advisor to see who is offering the cheapest price on your chosen hotel room – then call the hotel to see if they’ll beat it.

Book a last minute package holiday – these get discounted to make sure they are sold.

If there is a group of you consider booking a luxury apartment or villa, when the costs are divided it can beat the price of a hotel of a similar standard.

Don’t get a travel insurance package with your holiday provider, airline or bank – this is usually more costly (and not tailored to your specific travel requirements) than getting insurance through an independent provider.

Book car hire early – the daily rate increases dramatically if booking the day before, and even more if you book when you arrive.

Get car hire excess insurance from an independent insurer, not the car hire firm. Not only should it be cheaper, it will likely offer more protection too.

Get a travel credit card for the best exchange rates. Bear in mind that you must pay off the balance if full at the end of the month or the interest negates the bargain exchange rates.

We offer Single trip cover for 1 to 94 days; Annual multi-trip cover for 31, 45 or 62 days per trip; Longstay cover for 4 to 18 months. Options available to tailor your policy to your requirements, plus you can extend it to cover winter sports and golf, or upgrade to cover more adventurous activities! Call us on 01892 833338 or get a quote online.


5 Tips To Make Business Travel A Bit Less Boring

Jet-setting, high flying professionals – living the life right? As you’ll well know, it’s not all silver linings when you have to travel the skies for work. Here are a few tips that will alleviate the boredom and maybe make that next business trip a bit more like a holiday!

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1. Book an apartment

No matter how luxurious, hotels have a hint of loneliness about them if you are enjoying them solo. Booking an apartment instead will inject some homeliness into your travel schedule, and help you avoid sleeping in the “same old” space over and over again.

2. Take public transport

Ditch the taxi (and the hire car) in favour for travelling by bus or train. This is an amazing opportunity to go on a sightseeing adventure and soak up the culture of the country you are in. While you might not have a tour guide, it is a great way to discover the streets and suburbs of your temporary home.

3. Book in some “me time”

Rather than yearning for home time, indulge in something that you can enjoy without having to book in some time off. Maybe you like to sit in a spa, watch live sport, go to a gig, take in an opera – whatever it is, make your trip a chance to enjoy any free time you have without having to ask for permission.

4. Meet new people

The likes of City Socializer make it easy to meet new people when you find yourself in unfamiliar territory. Not only is it a great way for people travelling on business to network without the hard work, it can fast-track you to the real heart of a city and all it has to offer without needing to spend a whole week exploring.

5. Make it a Bleisure trip

Yes, a trip that is a mix of business and pleasure. Although it may require some element of luck, planning a business trip around a social engagement, or looking up an old friend when you find yourself in their neighbourhood for work has been proven to reduce the stress of business travel. The other option is to tag on a few days holiday to your trip and take your family with you too.

Don’t forget your Business Travel Insurance! We offer annual multi-trip cover for frequent travel with a choice of 31, 45 or 62 days per trip. Call us on 01892 833338 or get a quote online.

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

7 Ways To Get A FREE Hotel Room Upgrade

Fancy a bigger, better room than you can afford on your next trip? Why not try some of these awesome tips to be in with a chance of getting a free room upgrade!

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1. Choose a rebooking agent for automatic upgrades

There are booking sites that will automatically upgrade you if a better room becomes available for the same price you booked your original room. Basically they re-book you, and cancel the previous booking.

2. Be a loyal customer

Loyalty goes a long way, and chain hotels use schemes to ensure their customers keep coming back. Some have schemes where you can upgrade 4 times a year, others ensure that they do their best to assist if an enquiry is made when booking etc. So, if you are happy to choose a Marriott hotel every time you go on a trip, get on the loyalty scheme and it won’t be long until you get that elusive free upgrade!

3. Ask at the desk – nicely and quietly

Asking for an upgrade and getting one as you check in requires some decorum. Firstly, make sure you are well presented and polite. Ask without expectation, and always make sure to ask when no other guests are likely to overhear – your request is more likely to be acquiesced if it isn’t followed by a stampede of customers wanting the same treatment!

4. Ask the concierge not the desk agent

It’s the job of the concierge to ensure that guests have a personalised and perfect stay, as such they are more likely than a desk agent to be able to pull a few strings and get you into a better room at no extra cost if one is available.

5. Book over the phone

Online booking is convenient, but lacks the personal touch needed when it comes to getting a free upgrade. If you book by phone, you can strike up a conversation, make a connection, and enquire what perks might be available to you. Wink wink.

6. Let them know it is a special occasion

If it’s your birthday or anniversary, let them know as you book in – if there is an upgrade available they may well let you have it. Do not lie to get an upgrade though, that is bad manners and you’ll have to live a lie during your stay and will feel terribly ashamed if you are found out.

7. Only stay for one night

If you are only staying for one night, especially during a less busy time of the week, your chance of a free upgrade goes up. This is because bumping you up to an available room for just one night won’t impact on a potential booking made for that room the next day.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.

Ingenious Cash-Hiding Hacks For Holidaymakers

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Having your travel money stolen can ruin your holiday. Here are some amazing ways you can keep your cash safe on holiday…

1. Stash your cash in a lipstick, or chapstick if you prefer.

We’re talking the wind-up kind of cosmetic case. Simply scoop out the contents and clean it up with a cotton bud, then roll up your paper cash and pop it in the tube. To get your money out, just wind it up!

2. Keep your cash in your shoes beneath sheepskin shoe liners.

The bulkiness of the sheepskin will make it more confortable on your feet, and less noticeable if you take your shoes off in a public place. No good for a hot holiday where you’ll be in flip-flops though!

3. Pop the contents of your purse into a padded bra.

No one is going to pick pocket your bra without you noticing it. The reason for choosing a padded bra is so that it’s less obvious to see it’s hiding some cash. If you are handy with a needle and thread, you could always sew a small pouch on the inside for extra security.

4. Hide your holiday money in a hair roller.

Not for everyone, but some travellers think that popping a curler in is a viable way to get the glam look back after a long haul flight. While you are at it, you can keep a bit of cash rolled up in there too.

There are heaps of money belts, and underwear and accessories with hidden pockets – however, opportunistic thieves are well versed with such advances in technology, and ready to pick hidden pockets too. Make sure that you have travel insurance before you leave, as this will help cover the costs of having money stolen abroad. Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.

9 Ways To Get A Free Airline Upgrade

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If you aspire to live like an A-lister (or just want to enjoy a long-haul flight rather than dread it) here are a few tips that might get you an upgrade next time you travel.

  1. Be A Loyal Customer – Frequent flyers and those who are members of an airline loyalty scheme are likely to be offered an upgrade if one becomes available.
  2. Choose A Busy Flight – These flights are more likely to have oversold economy class tickets, which means those extra passengers have to be put somewhere – usually business class.
  3. Don’t Buy Discount Tickets – In the interests of fairness, some airlines only offer upgrades to passengers who have paid more for their ticket.

What’s so good about an upgrade?

  • Bigger, fully reclining seats
  • Better quality food and drink
  • No extra charge for food and drink
  • More flight attendants with more experience = better customer service
  • Privacy, and exclusive perks such as a separate airport lounge
  1. Be An (Almost) Important Person – Most flights have an upgrade list for important flyers – VIPs, Journalists and the like, but if you are not one, you could still get on it if you know someone who works at that airline. Ask them if they can put your name forward, if management agrees it, you could be offered an upgrade if one comes up!
  2. Ask in Advance – Most free upgrades are approved at least 24 hours before the flight, leaving requests made at check in or while boarding mostly futile.
  3. Give A Last Minute Request A Go – Despite the above information, some (well, very few) last-minute hopefuls do get lucky so there is no harm in asking! Just make sure you…
  • Ask politely
  • Have a valid reason
  • Are smartly dressed

First Class Vs Business Class

First class has the biggest seats, and these are usually in a well-equipped pod and offer complete privacy. Pods are complete with workstations, TV, entertainment, and privacy dividers. First Class flight attendants are also the best, a bit like having your own butler, plus the quality of the food served will be even higher than the meals served in Business Class. First Class comes with a premium price tag – expect to pay AT LEAST twice the price of business class.

First class travel to New York right now could cost between £3,584 and £5,400 with BA. You could bag a business class seat for around £1,800.

While some airlines keep business class and first class separate, other airlines have merged these two classes into one cabin that has different seats and service quality. Whether they are separate or merged, they are never in the same area as economy class.

  1. Trade In Air Miles – It will take quite a few, but a big bunch of air miles might just help you bag an elusive free upgrade.
  2. Travel Solo – Those travelling alone are definitely at an advantage when it comes to free upgrades, especially if just one or two premium seats become available.
  3. Have A Valid Reason – Things that will go in your favour: being very tall, being heavily pregnant, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, going on a honeymoon. Also, if you have a faulty seat or entertainment system but there are no more spaces in Economy Class you could ask for that elusive upgrade.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! If your flight is cancelled it could help cover the costs of getting to your destination (and home again!) Give our sales team a call on UK(+44) 01892 833338, or get an online quote.

20 Tips To Break The Boredom On A Long Haul Flight

At this time of year, holidaymakers are resigned to taking a long haul flight in search of sun. We share some top tips on how to survive the monotony of a long haul flight.

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  1. Listen to an audio book.
  2. Read a magazine.
  3. Watch a movie (or two or three, or four).
  4. Chat to your fellow passengers.
  5. Talk with the cabin crew.
  6. Listen to a new album.
  7. Read a newspaper
  8. Go to sleep.
  9. Listen to a podcast.
  10. Draw a picture.
  11. Start a new book.
  12. Do a crossword.
  13. Play some Sudoku.
  14. Eat your food slowly.
  15. Treat yourself to regular snacks.
  16. Start a new game on your smartphone or hand held console.
  17. Practice speaking the local lingo.
  18. Play a solo card game.
  19. Get up and stretch your legs in between every activity.
  20. Take up knitting – do check luggage restrictions before hand.

Bonus Mega Tip: Divide your flight into chunks of time, and have an activity for each slot. It’s easier to find 15 activities to fill 15 segments of travel time than decide what to do for 20 hours!


Gap Year Travel Insurance – What You Need To Know

Going on a gap year adventure after sitting your final exams is the epitome of freedom – but you must make sure you get your travel insurance in order before you go. This is what you need to know…

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Travel Insurance is the most important purchase you will make.

Paying for medical help overseas can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds – money that you (or your parents) will have to find if you don’t have travel insurance – or if you have inadequate travel insurance. Remember, you may be refused medical treatment if you can’t prove how you will cover those costs!

Don’t rely on EHIC cards.

The European Health insurance Card has limited use. The validity of the card varies from country to country, and only entitles the holder to access the same level of care as a resident of that country. Unlike the UK, most EU countries require insurance to cover the excess costs of medical treatment – which you will be liable to pay too even if you have an EHIC. Travel insurance is designed to help recover those costs.

Losing your passport is more expensive (and time consuming) than you might think.

Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) cost £100, they can take several days to obtain, and you will need to find the money to get to and from your nearest British consulate or embassy. On top of this you may need to arrange for a police report and get passport photos done. Don’t forget that you may also have to pay to replace any visas too AND you will need to get your passport replaced – which can cost in the region of £200 from overseas! As if that wasn’t enough to ruin a perfectly good adventure expenses can spiral if you need to rearrange holiday plans. This is why the website recommends that travellers take out comprehensive travel insurance. Travel insurance is there to help recoup the costs involved in replacing lost or stolen belongings, including passports

Look for a policy that allows you to extend cover while you are already travelling.

You are about to go on the biggest adventure of your life, and who knows where it might take you! The last thing you’d want is to have to come home because your travel insurance says you have to. Many travel insurance policies require that you get back home within a year, or return to the UK to extend it. We offer longstay backpacker insurance that can be extended even while you are still travelling so you can go where your wanderlust takes you!

These are the sorts of things that travel insurance can help with:

  • Cancelled flights.
  • Lost or stolen luggage.
  • Medical help.
  • Emergency medical care and repatriation.
  • Lost or stolen passport.
  • Lost or stolen bank cards and holiday money.
  • If your operator goes bankrupt.
  • If you need to cancel your trip due to illness.
  • If your trip is disrupted due to natural disasters or terrorism.

Travel Insurance can also cover you if you are the one to cause damage or injury!

If you are involved in an incident that causes injury to another person, or damage to property you run the risk of being sued. Comprehensive travel insurance can minimise the cost to you, including the cost of legal proceedings.

To arrange Gap Year Travel Insurance, for yourself or your child, get in touch with us on 01892 833338.


How To Prepare and Pack For A Summer Detox Retreat

A detox retreat is a holiday for the mind, body and soul. While you are quite likely to be travelling light, you may need to put a little more thought into the few things you do take. Plus, to make the most of the power of a detox, you should get started before you reach your destination!

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Preparing for a detox retreat

You should expect no gluten, no dairy, no artificial sugars, no caffeine and no alcohol on a detox retreat. However, suddenly cutting these from your diet, especially if you consume them in high amounts, can have quite an impact on the body – this is why many hosts encourage guests to give their body a rest from these a little in advance of the retreat. The discomfort from caffeine withdrawal for example can take a day or two to pass – so it’s better to get that bit over with before going on your holiday! If you think you need support to get started though, don’t worry – the hosts should be fully prepared and be able to make you make that transition easily, and help you feel comfortable again quickly.

Packing for a detox retreat


You’ll probably be spending a lot of your time wrapped in a robe, outside of that make sure your focus is on comfort and practicality!

  • Sarong – it is a skirt, scarf, and wrap plus it can double as a towel, bag, curtain, and even an emergency bandage!
  • Swimwear for beach and pool.
  • Activewear for yoga, pilates or gym classes.
  • Casual clothing – think loose, comfortable and made from natural fabrics.
  • Warm cardigan or wrap – perfect for early morning or late night meditation outside.


The barefoot way is the only way on a summer detox retreat, it helps you feel grounded and connected to mother earth. When footwear is necessary, it’ll be for practical reasons, not as a fashion statement!

  • Flip-flops – for poolside, beach, and spa.
  • Sandals – for excursions and walks.
  • Gym shoes – just in case you hit the gym or go for an outdoor run.


Rather than packing accessories for dressing up an outfit, you should be packing things that are going to help keep you comfortable. Here are some ideas.

  • Hairbands
  • Hair clips and slides
  • Pashmina
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Water bottle
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Beach or pool towel

Cosmetics and Toiletries

This is the perfect opportunity to let your skin breathe and experience beautifully bare skin. If you do feel the need for make-up, choose organic natural products that are good for your skin and the planet.

  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Tea tree cream for bites and stings
  • Olbas oil in case you get congested
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Body scrub
  • Body oil or butter
  • Crystal deodorant
  • Face serum
  • Tinted moisturiser
  • Mascara
  • Lip balm


When you are not occupied with yoga, Pilates, swimming, facials, massages and the like, you’ll be in the mood for more relaxing! Here are some things you might like to pack…

  • Notebook – journaling is a great way to document your experience and note what changes you have experienced physically and spiritually.
  • Book – choose something inspirational or based on personal growth.
  • Music – listening to your favourite tunes can help you harness the power of a detox holiday, and anchor healthier choices for when you get back home.
  • Crystals – if you have certain crystals that you feel give you energy, or help you keep calm, take a couple with you and use them while you meditate.
  • Goddess cards – like journaling, goddess cards can help you understand your journey and embrace the positive changes that are taking place.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! The stress of lost luggage or cancelled flights can play havoc with a peaceful detox retreat in the sun – make sure that you have the right travel insurance in place, so that if something does go wrong, you won’t have to worry about it ruining your holiday!