Category Archives: Travel Tips

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 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.

 

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

Clothes

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.

Shoes

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.

Accessories

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

Downtime

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!

Pre-Paid Currency Cards Vs. Credit Cards and Hard Cash

Holiday money! Taking what feels like your life savings abroad is likely to make even the most ardent traveller anxious – so what are your options? We discuss the pros and cons of taking cold hard cash, plastic, prepaid cards and using overseas ATMs to give you a better idea!

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1. Taking all your holiday money in cash

So, you get a good exchange rate at your local bank and cash in on it by getting all your holiday money exchanged in one go.

The pros to this approach include: getting a good deal, and of course enabling you to budget better. Plus you’ll be sure that you have plenty of currency if you suddenly need to tip someone.

Cons: you might lose it all, it might get stolen. You might run out of money. You will probably need to check there is a safe in your room, and that you trust it. Or you can spend your holiday anxiously hoping that nobody finds your entire spending budget stuffed in your shoe at the back of the wardrobe.

2. Using your credit or debit card

Every shop, restaurant and bar in the world has a card machine right? So why do you need to take oodles of cash on holiday?

The pros to using plastic are: it is easy, it is convenient, and you can choose to pay in the local currency (you are far more likely to get a better rate). It’s easier to hide a card in your swimming trunks than a roll of cash.

The cons: card fraud could leave you penniless, cash is always useful, and spending borrowed money makes it difficult to keep to a budget. Plus your bank might charge for each transaction.

3. Using an ATM to get daily cash

A great compromise is to use your plastic to get just the amount of cash you need to last you the day.

Pros: no worrying about carrying (or hiding) large amounts of cash. You still have your card if you want to put your bar bill on your plastic.

Cons: you could get stung by nasty ATM fees, and you are at the mercy of fluctuations in exchange rates. You do also still have a card on you that could be compromised, and leave you with an empty bank account. Or you could go over your budget and get home to a rather sorry bank balance!

4. Taking a pre-paid currency card

Putting your holiday budget on a pre-paid card appears to iron out a lot of the cons of using cash or other forms of plastic.

Pros: no bundles of cash to worry about, no ATM charges to worry about, not affected by changes in exchange rates, easy to use, no chance of going over budget or losing your actual life savings.

Cons: you may have to pay a start-up fee for the card/account, if you lose your card or it is stolen it’s just the same as losing a big bundle of cash. Or is it?….

The Escape Travel Card has a unique cloud account that offers increased security by allowing funds to be transferred from the card back to the account at any time, keeping spends safe if something should happen to the card…

“The majority of prepaid currency cards see funds held on them directly, meaning that if the card is lost or stolen the funds are taken with the card. But Escape’s unique cloud account offers increased security by allowing funds to be transferred from the card back to the account at any time, keeping spends safe if something should happen to the card. A 24/7 helpline for immediate support and can arrange for funds to be sent to a Moneygram outlet near you, meaning you will never be stranded without access to your money. In addition, users can also take advantage of a free SMS service, which can be used to temporarily lock and unlock the card, providing peace of mind if you’re going for a swim and leaving your card in your bag or hotel room, for example.” Rob Darby, Escape Travel Card

Whether you are taking plastic, pre-paid or cash, here are a few tips from Rob that you may find worth remembering:

  • Tourists are better off paying in local currency to avoid paying these steeper exchange rates, as this kind of expense can add up during the course of a trip.
  • Holiday-goers can draw attention to themselves by rifling through unfamiliar bank notes when making a payment. Tourists should always be aware of their surroundings when on holiday, a prepaid currency card means this kind of attention can be avoided altogether.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! If you lose your wallet, passport, or visas you will need travel insurance to ensure that you can get home safe!

How To Find A Reputable Yoga Retreat – Tips For Newbie Yogis and Yoginis

Whether you are yearning to lie in Savasana in tropical surroundings, or sit in Sukhasana on a faraway sandy beach, you probably have one question that is stopping you from investing in that (probably pricy) yoga retreat… “How do I know it is a decent one?” We share some top tips and questions you should ask to put your mind at ease before laying down your deposit…

The only way you’ll know if it’s a decent retreat is to do some investigating. 

  • Have they ever run a retreat before?
  • Are they organising it all themselves or do they have a host?
  • How long have the people running it been running retreats?
  • How long has the teacher been teaching?

There should be reviews for you to read from previous retreats run by the host and teacher. Although there has to be a first time for every yoga teacher or retreat organiser, it is unlikely you’ll find that dream retreat if both yoga teacher and retreat host are new to the scene.

You should always find out a thing or two about the yoga teacher – unfortunately the rise in yoga’s popularity has not been governed very well, and it’s not unusual to hear of people starting their yoga teacher training with less than 6 months yoga experience themselves, and once qualified taking themselves and students off on a cheap yoga holiday.

So, how do you know if the teachers are properly qualified?

  • The teacher should have at least 2 years self practice before going onto a yoga teacher training, checking out their Facebook and Instagram history is one way to see if they have been following the yoga path for a while.
  • Find out who they studied with, and whether it was a properly recognised 200 hour Teacher Training course, governed by The British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Alliance, or equivalent.

Yoga Teacher Faye Riches says “Don’t be afraid to ask about their experience – you are about to part with a lot of money hoping for a trip of a lifetime, not one that is a disappointment!  You may want to know whether their Teacher Training was contact hours with a teacher, or a course online, and whether they are continuing their education. A teacher who has all the relevant experience and qualifications needed to be able to take a group of students away will not mind sharing their history, and who they have done training with. Faye has over 10 years experience as a teacher and pairs up with retreat specialist Reclaim Your Self who has over 12 years experience, a combination that has kudos – this year they have been listed in The Times top 20, and Guardian top 25 retreats in the world.

Make your first retreat a local one with your current teacher

To get a better idea of what to expect from a retreat, and therefore what to ask about someone advertising an overseas yoga retreat, go on a local one run by, or at the very least recommended by your current yoga teacher. If you already know the teacher, you already know that you enjoy their style of teaching, the price is a lot more palatable, and the duration is generally shorter – removing any anxiety you may be holding about whether a week-long yoga holiday is the right option for you.

 

We have comprehensive cover at competitive rates for one-off trips, and annual policies so you can enjoy your retreat without worrying about your travel insurance!

The Great Big Guide To Going On Holiday With The Kids

Wondering where to go, how to get there, what you might need to take and what on earth you can do to keep the little tykes occupied on the journey? Don’t fear – we have all the answers you need to prep yourself for travelling by plane, train, ferry, or car in this great big guide – complete with tips from experts along the way!

  1. How To Get A Good Deal and Save Money (especially when travelling in school holidays!)
  2. Family friendly accommodation – what to look for
  3. The Logistics of Travelling With Buggies, Cots, Bottles, Teddies, Taggies…
  4. Travelling by air with small children
  5. Travelling by ferry with children
  6. Travelling by train with children
  7. What to pack – essentials
  8. Awesome and ingenious items that will make your life easier

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1. How To Get A Good Deal and Save Money (especially when travelling in school holidays!)

If you have kids below school age, the world is your oyster all year round, which means you can travel when it is both quieter and cheaper, but the minute your kids are at school, you are restricted to some seriously slim windows of opportunity. We got expert advice from three parenting experts to find out how to get a good deal going on holiday…

Holiday hacks for finding the best family travel deals from Sue Atkins, Internationally recognized parenting expert, broadcaster, speaker and author of the Amazon best-selling books Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children and Raising Happy Children for Dummies.

  • Book early to bag the best deals
  • Fly from your local airport
  • Bookmark great deals pages
  • Get a free child place
  • Pre-book kids’ clubs and excursions
  • Take advantage of low deposits
  • Shop around
  • Consider an indirect flight
  • Use price comparison websites – with care & be wary of buying on price alone, check insurance, extras etc
  • Avoid unnecessary frills. Charges for seat selection and priority boarding can vastly inflate the headline price of a flight.
  • Travel overnight
  • Take your own food.
  • Check IT fares. IT stands for “inclusive tour”, the arrangement by which long-haul flights are sold as a package in combination with hotel accommodation or a hire car. Depending when and where you book, it can be cheaper to book this whole package, including the hotel, than buying the flight alone.

Advice to help families book a holiday on a budget from Tanith Carey, Journalist and author of eight books including her most recent, Mum Hacks – timesaving tips to calm the chaos of family life.

“Remember that prices don’t only go high because of the UK summer holidays. The demand also spikes because other children in Europe are also off school. But many countries go back earlier than we do. For example, French kids go back at the end of August, while we Brits can get up to an extra week. So, opt for the latest possible summer dates to save cash. The cost starts to drop the very last week in August and the first week in September. My family has also saved money by going abroad in the two-week October half-term instead, which tends to be cheaper.

“Fly in the middle of the week when travel costs are cheaper. Try and minimise the number of bags you check in. Also, believe it or not, but there are shops abroad that sell exactly the same nappies and formula that are sold here. So save money on baggage and hold your nerve, taking only the basics in your luggage, and stocking up when you get there.

How to have a great family holiday without breaking the bank from Elizabeth O’Shea, Author, parenting coach and founder of Parent 4 Success.

“Camping may not be your first choice, but children love it. There are some great sites in the UK and in France, with plenty of children’s activities, ideal for families holidaying on a budget. That way more of your money can be spent on activities, than flights or accommodation. Children remember more about the little things on holiday, having chips on the beach, playing Frisbee, going out to sea in a kayak, or exploring the rock pools than eating at expensive restaurants. Carve out some time to do all the little things you may not have time to do at home. Playing board games, lying on the grass and looking at the clouds, or teaching your child the favourite games you played as a child.”

It’s not just tour operators that offer Kids Go Free deals, you can save money by purchasing family friendly travel insurance where kids go free on family travel insurance policies too.

2. Family friendly accommodation – what to look for

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Lots of helpful facilities, and no big groups of partying hens and stags next door! Family friendly accommodation may not always be labelled as such, but look out for things like stair gates, highchairs, bottle sterilisers, travel cots, and playpens in the accommodation listings. If the accommodation isn’t specifically labelled kid-friendly, it may be worth confirming with the provider that there won’t be any disturbances from guests with late-night revelling on the agenda when you go to book. Of course if you see crèche facilities, play areas, and kids meals, you can almost guarantee that the only noisy neighbours you will have are other people’s kids!

3. The Logistics of Travelling With Buggies, Cots, Bottles, Teddies, Taggies…

The smaller they are, the more “stuff” you seem to need. Travelling with small kids might seem like a logistical nightmare – but hopefully these ideas will help!

  1. Send bulky items like travel cots, car seats, and prams separately to your destination.
  2. Consider buying cheaper alternatives at your destination.
  3. Or buy lightweight compact versions just for your holiday.
  4. Ask your tour operator or accommodation provider if they have equipment that you can use or hire.
  5. Use sterilising tablets instead of a sterilizing unit for bottles.
  6. Only take the nappies and baby milk you need until you get there, and buy more from a local shop when you arrive.
  7. Consider using a sling or carrier instead of taking a buggy.
  8. Take a pram that doubles as a safe place to sleep at night.

4. Travelling by air with small children

Image by MarcelloRabozzi CC0

Feeling traumatised at the thought of travelling by air with a babe in arms or toddler in tow? We turned to Easy Jet to find out what parents should know before boarding one of their planes.

  • Booster seats, car seats, buggies, push chairs and travel cots don’t form part of your luggage allowance – you can bring up to two of these items per infant or child.
  • Kids travelling on laps don’t have cabin space, so all essentials must be included in your hand luggage.
  • If you’re travelling with an infant under 2 years of age you can bring an additional small baby changing bag on board the aircraft.
  • Children under 2 with their own seat can sit on a forward facing car seat for comfort, booster seats cannot be used during takeoff or landing.
  • You can take baby food and milk on-board in your cabin baggage, but you may be asked by security to taste it.
  • If you are not taking powdered milk, you will have to purchase liquid milk after security before boarding the plane – this is not restricted to the 100ml rule.
  • If you’re travelling with children under 5, you can board your flight early and you can choose your seats in advance to ensure you sit together.
  • Kids snack packs come with games to keep kids entertained, and toys are available to buy during the flight.
  • Breastfeeding mothers can feed babies on board at any time.
  • Babies under 2 weeks old are not permitted to fly with easyJet.

“Each year over two million families travel with easyJet and we understand that sometimes keeping kids entertained at 30,000 feet can seem daunting which is why we want to make travelling with children as easy as possible.

“We have a dedicated section on our website which details lots of useful information and videos for parents prior to travel and a number of family-friendly initiatives in place including allowing families to bring essential items of luggage free of charge such as travel seats or buggies.” Ali Gayward, UK Country Manager.

5. Travelling by ferry with children

Image Courtesy of Brittany Ferries ©

Travelling by ferry is an exciting alternative to taking to the skies. We caught up with Brittany Ferries to find out about the child-friendly features of ferry travel.

There are no baggage restrictions on a ferry, and you will of course have your car, and car seats with you when you get to your destination. Other perks of ferry travel include the fact that it should be well-equipped, enough to meet even the most demanding of family needs! Shops will be stocked with toys and games, restaurants and food halls will have kid-friendly food at parent-friendly prices, and there may well be dedicated kids entertainment on board as well as games rooms and cinemas suitable for older children. Here are the most child-friendly routes offered by Brittany Ferries:

Portsmouth/St Malo

  • This direct service from Portsmouth to Brittany offers civilised, family-friendly arrival and departure times—you leave Portsmouth at 20.15, giving time for a stroll on deck and a bite to eat before bed, and arrive the next morning at 08.45 – giving plenty of time to get the kids showered, dressed and fed.
  • During the summer school holidays, on the northbound daytime sailings from France to the UK, our cruise-ferry Bretagne hosts its very own summer pantomime, free of charge for all the family to enjoy. For younger passengers there are dedicated play rooms, plus during the summer holidays there’s dedicated children’s entertainment including face painting and magic shows.
  • Comfortable cabins – Available on both daytime and overnight sailings, these are ideal for enjoying a good rest en route.
  • Children’s menu – In the main à la carte restaurant, children under the age of 12 can choose from the same menu as their parents and enjoy whichever dish they wish for just £5.50.

Journey time: 8¾ hours (daytime); 11 hours (overnight). Frequency: Year round Cruise-ferry service, 1 sailing a day in each direction. Return price: Car+family of four from: £335 (Nov/low-season); £459(April/mid-season); £579 (August/high season) – price includes en suite cabin on outward overnight crossing.

Portsmouth/Santander

  • Entertainment for both children and adults.
  • Swimming pool.
  • Children’s menu.
  • Whale and dolphin watching  – sailings to Spain pass through the Bay of Biscay, one of Europe’s very best waters for spotting cetaceans, ranging in size from the harbour porpoise (roughly the size of a dog) to the Blue Whale – the largest living animal. An amazing experience for adults and children.
  • Children’s menu – In the main à la carte restaurant, children under the age of 12 can choose from the same menu as their parents and enjoy whichever dish they wish for just £5.50.

Journey time: 24 hours. Frequency:  3 weekly sailings in each direction. Return price: Car+family of four from: £708(Nov/low-season); £918(April/mid-season); £1184 August/high season) including an en suite cabin both ways.

They also offer a wide range of family-friendly ferry-inclusive holiday accommodation from Cottages and villas to hotels, and golf breaks. The range features a wide variety of holidays that have been chosen with families in mind including resort hotels, in addition to our ever-popular range of chalet campsites and apartment breaks. It also includes a special selection of French gîtes and Spanish casas, which are particularly suited to families. To book: Call 0330 159 7000 or visit brittanyferries.com

6. Travelling by train with children

Image Courtesy of Eurostar ©

If you are choosing to travel abroad by train, Eurostar will be where you start. Here’s what to expect travelling to Europe with your children:

  • Quick 30-minute check-in.
  • Free travel for children under four provided they can sit on an adult’s lap.
  • Special fares for kids aged four to eleven years old are available in Standard class.
  • A generous luggage allowance of two bags per person and hand luggage without weight restrictions.
  • As well as luggage allowance you can bring one pushchair and one car seat per child.
  • All Eurostar trains have baby changing facilities, which you can choose to sit nearby, simply log in and choose your seats once you’ve booked.
  • The onboard bar buffet has food, drinks and snacks, including a special meal deal for kids.
  • They don’t sell baby food but you can warm it up.

7. Essential items to pack (depending on the age of your child!)

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  • First aid kit
  • Co sensor
  • Baby Sunscreen SPF 50
  • Baby Insect repellent
  • Insect net for buggy/cot
  • Sterilising tablets
  • Calpol/Nurofen sachets
  • Baby Wipes
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Comforters and pacifiers
  • Bottles and cups
  • 48 hours worth of nappies
  • Digital thermometer

 Top tip: Pack all comforters such as dummies, blankies, taggies, and bedtime teddies in your hand luggage – you don’t want to risk losing them en route!

 8. Awesome and ingenious items that will make your life easier

Tablet/smart phone – apps go a very long way in keeping kids occupied! Take the old phone that is undoubtedly sitting in a drawer at home.

Aquadoodle – a mess-free way for kids to get creative during a journey or in a plush apartment/hotel.

Aqauadoodle Image courtesy of Tomy ©

Trunki – keeps all their stuff together, plus they can ride on it.

Little Life Daysack with reins – excellent way to take a few toys for a toddler and keep hold of them at the same time!

Dinosaur Day Sack Image courtesy of LittleLife ©

Backpack Scooter – same idea, but for older kids – occupied, and hopefully not complaining about walking!

Maxi Flyte Image courtesy of Flyte ©

Pocket high chair – no need to worry about facilities at your accommodation, or wherever you go out to eat.

Pocket High Chair Image courtesy of JoJo Maman Bébé ©

Koo-Di sun and sleep pop-up cot – nifty sleeping arrangement that won’t use up your luggage allowance (1kg, fits in a small bag) and comes with an integrated blackout/sun blind.

Bubble Cot Image courtesy of Koo-Di ©

Baby wearing – a sling is lightweight and small compared to a buggy – you can try before you buy or hire for a month at a time from your local sling library.

Disposable bibs – take less space in a suitcase, and no need to wash them while you are away.

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Bon voyage with your babes in arms, tottering toddlers, hopefully patient pre-schoolers, and soon-to-be travel-savvy tweenies! Don’t forget that KIDS GO FREE on our family travel insurance policies! Call 01892 833338 or get a quote online.

A Gastronomic Guide To Travelling The World

Being on holiday is the number one excuse to eat as much as you like as often as you like – but what about heading somewhere based on the sort of foods you like to eat? We share some insights into what food is consumed where to guide your next gastronomic getaway!

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Meat

If meat is a must on your holiday head to the United States of America, where the average meat consumption is 120kg of meat per person per year. This may be the only place in the world you can order a 72oz steak, famously known as the Big Texan.

Seafood

In Japan, seafood isn’t just something to eat – it’s a part of the culture, and its presentation is an art form. It is also a place where chefs can fulfil their 007 wishes and get themselves a “license to kill” to be able to serve up Fugu, a dish made from pufferfish, which contains lethally poisonous parts!

Vegetables

India is hailed as the best place to go if you are vegetarian, but if you are looking for dishes prepared from a variety of freshly grown veg, then the stats say to go to the Netherlands, ranked Number 1 in the world for healthy eating.

Vegan

If you denounce all forms of animal product in your dinners, head to Taiwan. Their vegetarian cuisine is vegan by default because the Taiwanese are known for not eating much dairy, and eggs are usually an optional extra.

Cheese

Going by consumption, France would be your best bet as (unsurprisingly) the French consume more cheese than any other population in the world. This accolade is followed (surprisingly) by Iceland then Finland. If you’re a connoisseur – then you wouldn’t want to give Spain a miss, in particular La Mancha. Here you can indulge in the country’s most famous cheese Manchego, produced exclusively from the milk of Manchega sheep in the La Mancha region.

Eggs

Forget about how you might like your eggs in the morning, how do you like them for dinner? If the answer is cooked sunny-side-up in a skillet of tomato sauce, spiced up with chile pepper, turmeric, and cumin… head to Tunisia for the classic North African egg dish Shakshuka. How about hardboiled, whole, in an onion and tomato sauce, spiced with red chilli, coriander, and turmeric? This is an authentic Punjabi Egg Masala, which can be found in India.

A note about food safety abroad

The risk of food poisoning varies between destinations, but generally speaking, as long as food is piping hot and thoroughly cooked, it should be safe to eat. Particular foods to be aware of include:

  • Cheese and ice-cream as they can be made from unpasteurised milk.
  • Seafood can pose a problem even if well cooked.
  • Salads are difficult to clean so often remain contaminated by soil or flies.
  • Fruit and vegetable skins can also be contaminated by soil and flies – make sure they are peeled.

Don’t let food poisoning ruin your holiday… make sure your travel insurance will get you and your family the medical help you need fast.

Can Travel Insurance Save You From These Deadly Creatures?

Travel insurance is pretty good at making sure that travellers get home safe and sound after something nasty has happened. Being airlifted off a mountain after a skiing accident for example, or getting someone on the next flight home should they fall ill on holiday. Should someone fall foul of these deadly creatures however, then travel insurance could well save a life… if you have long enough!


Image source: TravelSupermarket;

Don’t leave your holiday health to chance – get travel insurance!

 

Don’t Let Your Amorous Intentions Hit The Rocks! 10 Romantic Holiday Tips You Must Not Miss

Image by Pexels CC0

Image by Pexels CC0

1. Don’t go all-inclusive

There isn’t much that is less romantic on holiday than a table for two in a hotel restaurant.

2. Choose self-catering

Having your own rental is way cosier than being confined to a hotel room, plus there are certain amorous perks to having your own food supplies.

3. Go somewhere cold

That way you have a perfect excuse to snuggle up.

4. Book somewhere with a log burner

It’s easy and a romantic thing to arrange.

5. Get somewhere with a hot tub

This needs no explanation – easy on the bubbles though.

6. Go somewhere quiet

This guarantees you get more attention.

7. Disconnect

The fastest way to boost the romantic factor is to SWITCH YOUR PHONE OFF!

8. Keep it short

Any more than a couple of days away and you are likely to kill the cuddly atmosphere with something trivial.

9. Keep it close-by

A long journey, especially involving an airport is also likely to stop romance dead in its tracks.

10. Ask your hotel or booking agent for “honeymoon” treats

Champers on ice, a box of chocolates, petals on the bed… most hotels, b&bs, and apartments have a little something special for newlyweds, ask if you can have the same upgrade.

The Most Common Snowboarding Injuries (And How To Avoid Them)

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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.

The World’s Most Amazing Creatures and Where to Find Them

With the brand new Harry Potter film hitting the screens, we thought we’d share this awesome infographic about weird and wonderful creatures that really do exist. If you’d like to check them out yourself on an adventure, we have also compiled a list of truly magical activities to look out for at each destination, to be revealed in our next blog!


View Interactive Version (via Pokies).