Category Archives: Travel Tips

Best Places For Backpacking in 2019

Backpacking travel insurance Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0

Here are the top places to head in 2019 with a pack on your back and just enough money in your wallet for a hostel. Idyllic whether you are backpacking for gap year giggles, travelling on a budget, or you just fancied having a wholesome adventure!

Philippines

Seeking adventure? Tick! Seeking tropical beaches, with crystal clear sea? Tick! A unique honeymoon location? Tick! You’ll need to think of things to add to your bucket list after backpacking in the Philippines.

backpacking Philippines Image by my000693 CC0

Image by my000693 CC0

Made up of over 7,000 islands, you’d expect a taste of paradise, adventure and excitement and that’s exactly what you get. Go scuba diving, swim with great white sharks, indulge yourself under the tranquil waterfalls or relax with a beer by a lagoon. It’s also cheap – a pint of beer is about 75p at the going rate.

Iceland

Spectacular, rugged, breath-taking, glacial – it’s hard to describe Iceland within a limited word count. You’ll be able to honestly hashtag #nofilter when you snap the majesty that are the northern lights in all their prancing, dancing, ethereal beauty.

backpacking Iceland travel insurance Image © 43kcreative.com

Image © 43kcreative.com

Hire a car to tour the glaciers and ice fields, bathe in the geothermal springs for a unique getting back to nature experience and take in the local Reykjavik culture, with its charming Nordic nightlife. Be warned Iceland isn’t cheap, but this small island nation packs in more natural beauty per square mile and you get more than what you pay for.

Nepal

Nepal is a mountain nation. Get your head around that for a moment and think what that can offer. You don’t even have to climb a mountain (only recommended with proper guidance) to have a life changing experience in Nepal. Paraglide through the soaring valleys, take a plane ride across the Himalayas, visit temples, national parks and stunning monuments.

backpacking insurance nepal Image by Squirrel_photos CC0

Image by Squirrel_photos CC0

Nepal is a true adventure. If you do choose to trek around Everest, put at least a week aside and go off season – it gets extremely busy. If you’re after an experience that doesn’t require as much extra oxygen, take a trip to one of the national parks and observe tigers in their natural habitat.

Turkey

If you’re looking for a unique backpacking experience at a low, low cost, you can’t beat The Shoestring Cave House in the Cappadocia region. From just £7.00 a night, you can sleep in a cave, relax at the outside pool and even enjoy a ride in a hot air balloon.

backpacking turkey Image by adibalea CC0

Image by adibalea CC0

With views that are going to set your Instagram alight, balmy Turkish evenings and a once in a lifetime opportunity to sleep below the ground, this is a perfect stop off for any backpacker. Be warned, Turkey is politically unstable at the moment and this may not be the time to go. If you’re determined however, the people are some of the most charming on the planet and a joy to share a shisha pipe with.

Worldwideinsure.com Longstay Travel Insurance has been tailored to meet the needs of those on extended breaks and backpacking adventures! It has greater flexibility than standard travel insurance, and you can add activities as you go.

 

Airport Travel Hacks – Tiny Tips To Save Your Sanity

Airport Travel Hacks Image by skitterphoto CC0

Image by skitterphoto CC0

Air travel is a mixed bag of experiences. Waiting, rushing, mild panic, boredom, elation, feeling travel sick… Here are a few things you can do to even out those highs and lows and be a bit less stressed next time you travel by aeroplane.

Hacks for before you check in

  • Customise your hold bag – bright tape is perfect for making your luggage stand out at baggage collection.
  • Pack all essentials in your hand luggage – just in case your hold bag goes missing, you’ll still have your chargers and toiletries to get you through the first day.
  • Download all your tickets and passes – just in case you have no connectivity make sure you can access them offline!
  • Have a hard copy of all essential travel documents – just in case your phone gives up altogether.
  • Take a photo of where you park – bay 6B is not memorable after a week in the Bahamas.
  • Wear your bulky items – to avoid paying for extra baggage.

 

Hacks for before you go through security

  • Pack your devices and liquids at the top of your hand luggage – it saves time!
  • Empty your pockets before you get to security – it saves time!
  • Finish up the water in your bottle – so you can get a cheap refill the other side.
  • Choose the security queue with business travellers – they tend to be more prepared so go through faster.
  • Never queue behind families, hen parties or stag dos – they tend to faff more and be less prepared so go through slower.
  • Choose the left queue – apparently most people are right-handed so will go right as it is easier. Left hand lanes should therefore be quicker.

 

Hacks to get you through the wait the other side

  • Use headphones for noise cancellation – not for music so you don’t miss important announcements.
  • Connect to the airport Wi-Fi – or risk maxing out your data allowance before you even get to your destination.
  • Brush up on key phrases – Duolingo is an addictive language learning game and will make the time fly while you actually boost your language skills!
  • If you haven’t already got it, get your travel insurance! A call with the lovely team at worldwideinsure.com will make the time fly while you’re waiting for your flight.

 

Hacks for on the plane

  • Board last – if you are the last on, you may well get that elusive upgrade.
  • Sit over the wing – you are less likely to feel turbulence. Morning flights are less likely to be turbulent too.
  • Don’t sit by the bulkhead – that’s the safest place to secure babies in bassinets, so more likely to be where the screaming is.
  • Ask for seconds if you are hungry – not all passengers take their meal so why not have what’s leftover if you are still hungry.

Adventure Travel – Holidays with Good Karma

travel insurance for adventure holidays

Kilimanjaro © Discover Adventure

If you love the idea of adventure you have probably considered signing up for a fundraising adventure – a great way to realise travel dreams and raise money for a good cause at the same time. We spoke to Discover Adventure to find out what makes this type of break a great alternative to a regular holiday, and what to say to sponsor sceptics who think they are just paying for someone else’s holiday!

Why choose a fundraising adventure over just going on holiday? 

On a fundraising adventure, your trip has purpose. Each step you take, you are making a difference to people’s lives and each challenge that you face within your adventure is overcome with the motivation of supporting a meaningful charity and the sum of money that your supportershave donated.

And when it comes to the actual adventure – exploring a new location as part of a sponsored challenge allows you to disregard the expectations you would usually have on holiday. You are more likely to embrace the local culture and communities you meet and expose yourself to the natural elements – refreshingly liberating compared to the usual holiday comforts.

You will also push yourself out of your comfort zone, make friends for life as the emotional rollercoaster of your adventure draws you closer, and you will experience totally new things, things you probably never expected you would.

Ultimately, the benefits of an adventure last for much longer than a relaxed holiday would!

Which are the most popular adventure holidays?

Our Kilimanjaro challenge has been a really popular adventure this year, especially due to the recent #ReturnToKili celebrity team that trekked Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief. However, our iconic once-in-a-lifetime adventures are constant favourites: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Trek, Great Wall of China Trek and the London to Paris Cycle to name a few. Although we have found in recent years our shorter adventures are seeing an increase in popularity as people can squeeze them into busy schedules. Our Saharan Mini Adventure is 5 days long and gives you the real desert experience whilst lapping up Moroccan culture, and our Northern Lights Winter Trek in Iceland is another growing fascination for many of our participants.

travel insurance for adventure holidays

Stelvio © Discover Adventure

Which are the most challenging adventure holidays?

Our adventures are measured on a scale of Yellow, Orange and Red, with Red graded trips considering factors such as altitude, tough terrain and long days on the ground. Our King of the Mountains Cycle Series includes some of our toughest rides, such as the Stelvio & Classic Italian Climbs Cycle. This takes on some legendary climbs including Passo di Gavia, Passo di Mortirolo and Passo dello Stelvio. Whilst on the trekking side of our adventures, trekking Kilimanjaro, Africa’s biggest mountain, and our Everest Base Camp Trek are challenging treks to take on.

Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! Many activities are covered by worldwideinsure.com policies as standard, adventure sports travel insurance can easily be added to your policy, we provide flexible cover for casual or competitive participation AND we offer travel health cover for snowboarders and skiers with our Winter Sports Travel Insurance.

Any tips how to choose the right challenge?

The bigger the challenge, the bigger the sense of achievement – but what one person considers a walk in the park, is another’s mighty mountain. Start a little out of your comfort zone and choose something that excites you. Whether it’s a rush of adrenaline, or a stir of emotion, if it gets you thinking, could I really achieve that? That’s your challenge.

travl insurance for adventure breaks

Great Wall of China © Discover Adventure

What about those who think fundraising adventures are just “sponsoring someone’s holiday”?

A lot of charities may never have seen this fundraising had it not been for the individuals deciding to do these challenges. Bear in mind that people are always willing to sponsor others to do things beyond their comfort zone. Training is essential, preparation is key and the determination to overcome whatever it is that challenges you most from the experience is more than enough to warrant being sponsored.

When you are fundraising you want to showcase the challenges you are facing in order to drum up donations, and you want to be able to pull out some of the most challenging elements of the experience. Whether it’s the fact you are trekking three countries in three days or the many lows you’ll endure alongside the mighty highs along the way. These are the things that make it totally different from a holiday!

Adventure travel challenges are designed to test you, so don’t be fooled by the mesmerising views you’ll catch en route, and remember – it is an incredible achievement to raise any money for a cause close to your heart.

 

Ten Stress-Busting Travel Tips for Your Next Holiday

Image by VANESSA_BMS CC0

1. Keep calm and plan early. Booking a few months in advance will give you time to research the best deals without panicking that they won’t be there in half an hour.

2. Consider going by boat or train rather than going by plane. Air travel is notoriously stressful and tends to destroy all the loveliness of a holiday on the way home.

3. If you are going by air, stand behind business travellers going through security. They will have packed light, know the drill, and want to be the other side of security swiftly.

4. Do not stand behind families going through security. Lots of stuff, lots of directing children to do the right thing – you could find yourself getting impatient.

5. Sort your home out so it’s nice to come back to. The stress of getting back to reality after an idyllic break will be less if you come back to somewhere clean, tidy, and with food in the cupboards.

6. Use a packing app. You can create multiple lists for all types of trip and some even have templates based on climate, weather, activities and reasons for travelling.

7. Always leave for your destination with PLENTY of time, especially if you are flying. Airport hotels are a wonderful resource for busting “Ahhhhh, I hope I don’t miss my flight!” stress.

8. Embrace a chance to relax. Sitting around and waiting while travelling is inevitable. Rather than getting impatient, get stuck into a book, sketch your surroundings or take some time to journal.

9. Get travel insurance. Should something go wrong – such as losing your luggage, getting your passport stolen, or finding that your airline has gone bust – trying to sort it out without the help of travel insurance is extremely stressful and potentially very expensive.

10. Eat well and stay hydrated! Getting hangry is a real thing, and when you are flitting between time zones or travelling at crazy hours your routine can take a battering. Eating fresh food and drinking plenty is essential.

An Adventurers Guide to Sleeper Trains

Image by mmillswan CC0

While jet-setting your way around the world sounds pretty glamorous, in reality it is exhausting, and let’s be honest – boring! Riding sleeper trains however is a much more relaxing way to get from A to B, and a far more adventurous experience. Here are our top tips and essential info for adventurers taking the scenic route.

Know Your Sleeping Options!

First and foremost, you need to know what you are booking. The choices are usually:

  • Recliner seat
  • Couchette
  • Sleeper compartments

Recliner seats are just that, a comfy spacious seat that reclines, but doesn’t go fully flat. Great for those on a super-tight budget, not great if you would like a proper night’s sleep! Couchettes are basically a bed in a bunkroom for 4 or 6 people. These spaces aren’t big on privacy – or space – so you’ll be kipping with your day-clothes on. Couchettes usually come with a blanket and pillow instead of proper bedding.  Top tip – Pack a small bag for your essentials as there’s no room to swing a suitcase to get stuff out. Finally – we have sleeper compartments – a veritable palace of comfort complete with bedding, washbasin and the rare luxury of privacy if you get a private compartment.

Food and Drink

  • Some night train tickets include breakfast.
  • Always take your own mug and tea bags/hot chocolate sachets etc. as hot water is freely available from the dining car.
  • If you are on a tight budget, pack lots of snacks, and even pot noodles to avoid having to pay to eat in the dining car. However, if you aren’t on a budget – make the most of the experience!

What to Pack for Travelling on a Night Train

  • Eye mask and ear plugs for a better night’s sleep.
  • Toilet roll and hand sanitizer just in case.
  • A silk sleeping bag liner or sheet for peace of mind even if the bedding looks clean.
  • Flip flops – because you never want to use the shared bathroom in bare feet.
  • Backup charger for your phone. Night trains are notoriously thin on power points, so you may not be able to charge your phone.
  • Pack of cards or travel game to pass the time with your fellow passengers if you are in a shared compartment.

Night trains are really popular, not only because the price of a bed beats paying for a hotel, but because travellers can maximise their destination time. Sleeping while you travel gives you extra days to enjoy the places you really want to see!

Safety

  • Always lock the door to your compartment.
  • Always keep your valuables hidden.
  • Always take your passport and money with you when you leave the compartment.
  • If your fellow compartment passengers make you feel threatened or unsafe tell your attendant and ask if you can be moved.

Night Train Attendants

  • Bribes and tips are part of the service! Tip at the beginning and you are likely to get preferential treatment. If you want to move or upgrade and your attendant isn’t being helpful, a 20 Euro “tip” can help enormously.
  • If your route crosses borders, the attendant will offer to keep hold of your passport so you don’t get woken by border control in the night. You don’t have to do this, but it is a free service well worth the good night’s sleep you’ll get for using it.
  • The attendant will wake you with plenty of time to get ready before you reach your destination. Don’t bother with an alarm just in case your train is running late and you have a chance to get some extra sleep!

 

Insider Secrets: Cruise Liners – Travel Tips from the Experts

Image by skeeze CC0

Want to get more bang for your buck on a cruise? Here are our favourite tips for saving money, making the most of hospitality services, and planning where and when to spend your holiday cash on board. We’ve even thrown in some insider insight extras about what it’s really like on a cruise ship!

 

  1. You don’t have to stick to one starter, one main, and one desert in the main dining hall – passengers are free to order whatever dishes they wish from each of the menus, and as much as they want! Nice if you prefer a few starters and a desert over a main meal, or just can’t make your mind up between dishes!

 

  1. Meals in the main dining area are usually planned in advance – ask if you can see the upcoming menu so you know which night you’d rather book a table at one of the other on-board restaurants.

 

  1. Don’t like what’s on the menu? Ask if a different dish is available – ordering off-menu is even possible in the main dining hall.

 

  1. Thrifty travellers will be pleased to know that some cruise liners don’t mind passengers bringing a couple of bottles of wine or champagne on board (although you will have to pay corkage if you plan to have it in an on-board restaurant). There is also a reasonable allowance for non-alcoholic drinks – which can end up saving a few precious pounds.

 

  1. If sea-sickness strikes, room service is usually on hand to help out, no need to try and get to the on-board pharmacy, just give them a call and they’ll come to your room with required remedies. If your cabin is on a higher deck however, you might find you feel less queasy if you head to the middle of a lower deck, where there is less movement.

 

  1. Room service is free on most cruise ships! Bear in mind that this unexpected luxury upgrade may result in a surcharge on food prices at certain times of night, and the person bringing the food will probably be expecting a tip.

 

  1. Talking of tips, the hospitality crew are generally low-paid, and earn their living by delivering a great service rewarded by tips. As such, make sure you pack plenty of “change” suitable for tipping staff.

 

  1. Missed out on free tickets for the big show? Head on down anyway, lots of people who reserve these tickets decide not to go – if there are any seats spare at show time, staff will happily let you in.

 

  1. Pack your own power board – cabins are well known for being sparse when it comes to power outlets, so bring your own power board to make sure you stay charged for the trip.

 

  1. Pick your passes and packages carefully. Whether it is a spa pass, drinks package, or restaurant package – work out what is really included for the price and whether it’s cost effective for what you will actually use. Drinks packages, for example, might mean you have to drink 10 drinks a day, every day of your cruise, even on port days to get value for money.

 

  1. Bear in mind that there are plenty of opportunities on-board for freebies – free pastries with coffee, free soft-serve ice-cream points, complimentary drinks at on-board events, and deals on buying a whole bottle of wine (which will be labelled and saved for you for later). If cheap alcohol is what you are after, get your fill in port before you head back to the ship.

 

  1. Cruise ship insurance is essential – not only will it help you out if you get sick on-board, but should you happen to miss departure (a real risk if you embark on your own port excursions), it could stop your holiday turning into a total disaster! Be warned that buying insurance from the cruise line generally costs more for lower cover – you are better buying from a third-party provider.

 

  1. Somewhere on the ship there is a morgue! Statistics dictate that out of the thousands of passengers who travel on cruise ships 365 days a year, someone will shift their mortal coil during a trip.

 

  1. If you like your privacy… the general rule of thumb is that the lower the deck and the further back on the ship you go, the fewer people will be around.

Air Travel – Insider Secrets You Want To Know

Image by StockSnap CC0

Some airlines have pyjamas for long haul flights! If you are travelling first or business class and fancy feeling fresh when you step off the plane, ask if there are any PJs available to slip into while you snooze.

Ask for seconds if you are still hungry. The fact is that some people don’t want their on-board meal, maybe they are prioritising sleep, or maybe flying wipes out their appetite. Whatever the reason, there are likely spare meals to be had if you want them.

Take your own pillows and headphones. There are rumours that the in-flight freebies on some flights may have been enjoyed by a previous passenger. One way to tell you are first to use the blanket, pillow or headphones is if it comes in a sealed packed. Advice is to take your own personal items just in case it doesn’t!

The Cabin Crew’s actual job is to keep passengers safe. Next time you are harrumphing because service is a little slow (or your peanuts aren’t served on a plate), remember that the crew aren’t primarily there for your hospitality, they are there to ensure your safety should you need it. Don’t believe us? Surely there would be a budget airline where you took your own food and drink to save on hospitality staff.

Screaming babies are more likely to be seated by a partition, aka, bulkhead. This is because it is the only place to safely secure a bassinet. If you want to maximise your chances of a good rest, pick a seat well away!

Some flights have childcare aboard! Premium airlines often have a dedicated person to entertain a restless child, and most airlines will have entertainment packs – just ask as you board. Even crew on the most budget of flights may be able to help calm a screaming baby, after all no one wants the stress of that, least of all the crew while they are trying to do their job.

Be nice, or be bottom of the pile. Yes folks, the cabin crew’s life isn’t as glamorous as some may think, so everything you can do to be pleasant and accommodating gets noticed because it makes their job so much easier. Those who are prone to demanding behaviour will not be the ones who get the last cold cola on the flight!

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 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.

 

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.