Slow Travel – The New Trend of Exploring the World Mindfully

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but why carry this into a holiday? If you like the idea of taking a step back to slow down and travel at a more mindful pace the Slow Travel Movement is for you!

Slow Travel Train In Mountains

Image by Oleksandr Lutsenko Via Pexels CCO

What is Slow Travel?

It is a mindful approach to travel. Slow travel is a way of travelling that focuses on quality of time over quantity of activities in any given place. It’s about taking the time to fully experience a destination, rather than rushing through a checklist of “must see” and “must-do” attractions. It’s about being mindful, being present in the moment, and truly connecting with the people, culture, and environment around you.

Slow Travel = Sustainable Tourism

At the risk of greenwashing, it is fair to say that slow travel is a more sustainable form of tourism. By staying in one place for a longer period of time, you reduce your carbon footprint, especially if you choose sustainable travel during your stay. Without having to rush from pillar to post, you have more time to get from A to B by walking, cycling, or taking public transport, reducing your impact on the local and global environment.

Slow travel also allows you to support the local economy and gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and customs. This is likely to result in ethical choices that support the local community as well.

Choose Slow Travel For An Authentic Experience

One of the main benefits of slow travel is the opportunity to have rewarding, immersive experiences. By staying in one place for a longer period of time, you have the chance to really get to know the local culture and way of life. You will have time to explore destinations that are off-the-beaten-path, try new foods, and participate in local traditions and activities. This allows for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the destination, rather than just scratching the surface.

Less Stress = More Relaxation

Slow travel is also a great way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. By taking your time and not rushing from one place to another, you can truly unwind and enjoy your surroundings. This can be especially beneficial for those who are used to a fast-paced lifestyle and need a break to rest, relax, recoup and regroup.

Hammock chair on a sunny empty beach

Image by Quang Nguyen Vinh via Pexels CC0

Slow Travel Trip Ideas

When planning a slow travel trip, it’s important to choose your destination wisely. Look for places that offer a variety of activities and experiences, as well as a strong local culture so you can fully immerse yourself in the destination.

  • Stay in One Place for a Longer Period of Time
  • Embrace the Local Culture
  • Use Sustainable Transportation

Italy is a great option thanks to a reputation for a slow pace of life and appreciation for the simple things. Choose to stay in a small village, participate in cooking classes, and explore the countryside on foot or by bike.

Or you can look further afield to Southeast Asia, known for a laid-back lifestyle and rich culture. It is easy to stay in one place for a month or more, and use it as a base to explore the surrounding areas at your leisure.

Get a quick travel insurance quote for your slow travel adventure!

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Cambodia – A budget friendly destination full of rich history & great food 

If you’re looking for a travel destination that has beautiful landscape, nature and rich history without the heavy influx of tourists, then Cambodia is a must-see. Here’s how one traveller explored Cambodia’s lively cities and natural landscapes. 

Royal Palace Cambodia

Royal Palace Cambodia Image © Simran Kabotra

Cambodia – where to stay and why

In Cambodia’s second-largest city, Siem Reap, I stayed at Den Hotel Totonou. I picked this place because I wanted to be close to the main centre such as Pub Street but still be relatively quiet.

In Cambodia’s capital city, Phonm Penh, I stayed at Blue Sky Guest House. This hotel was in a perfect central location at an affordable price. It was near lots of restaurants, museums and night markets.

On one of Cambodia’s islands, Koh Rong Sanloem,  I stayed at Lucky Sun Hostel on Saracen Bay. This was a spot that was in a great location with picturesque blue ocean views and pearly white sand. There are some more sociable hostels on Saracen Bay that were geared towards a younger crowd. But I opted for Lucky Sun as it was away from all the noise if you wanted to sleep but not too far if you did want to join in on the drinking and socialising.

Things to do in Cambodia

In Siem Reap:

Angkor Wat –  the largest religious structure in the world. I did a one-day sunset tour. Depending on your preference, you might want to do a 2 to 4 day tour. One day was enough for me to see the main temples and still appreciate the size and significance of the complex.

Made In Cambodia Market – where all products are made in Cambodia by talented Cambodians. There are some high quality souvenirs available such as jewellery, clothes, paintings and more. It’s a small market but if you’d like to help the local people, this is a great way to do that.

Angkor Wat Image

Angkor Wat Image © Simran Kabotra

In Phnom Penh:

Sosoro Museum – a museum of Cambodia’s currency and economy. This was one of the most informative museums I’ve ever visited about a country’s economy, history, politics and religion. There is no need for an audio guide or tour as all the information boards are so detailed and the videos provide further context. There are two floors which you can complete in 2 to 5 hours, depending on how much information you want to absorb. The bottom floor is the most interesting as it tells you about the political turmoil of the 1970s and the Pol Pot regime. At the end of the museum, there is an opportunity to create your own banknote with your own face which can be printed (for a small fee) for you to take home. Entry to the museum will cost about £4.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prision) & Killing Fields. Whilst incredibly emotional and shocking, the museum and killing fields reveal Cambodia’s tragic history and its dedication to remembering the victims. I did a guided tour of the museum and killing fields where you learn about the Pol Pot regime and how it tortured and killed intellectuals and  ‘enemies’ of the regime. Whilst on the tour, you get to meet some survivors and the books they’ve written.

Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda – which is still used as a place of residence for the Cambodian royal family. I recommend doing a tour as it provides context for the beautiful grounds and history. You can find a tour guide in a blue shirt as you enter the palace, it’ll cost around £8 for an hour tour. Inside the Silver Pagoda you can see the emerald buddha and silver plated floors. Entry to the palace and Silver Pagoda will cost around £8.

On Koh Rong Sanloem:

Enjoy the beaches – Saracen Bay, Lazy beach & Sunset beach. There are 3 main beaches on Koh Rong Sanloem and they’re all slightly different from each other.

  • Saracen Bay – lovely white sand and blue ocean water. A relaxing beach with lots of restaurants and hostels. A great bonus is petting the hostel’s dog, Jenny, who loves a good tummy rub!
  • Lazy beach – soft brown sand and crystal clear water. A very quiet beach with only huts for accommodation but no other shops or restaurants.
  • Sunset beach – soft brown sand and clear blue water. A perfect balance between hostels and picturesque views. This is a great spot to see the sunset glowing orange and if you want to be slightly secluded.

Day trip out to snorkel and see bioluminescent plankton. A fun activity on the island is to snorkel, fish and see bioluminescent plankton. If you’ve snorkelled at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, then you’ve already seen the best. On Koh Rong Sanloem, the fishes aren’t as vibrant and there aren’t many of them but there are still lots of coral to see. If you haven’t snorkelled before, this would be a great starting place.

What I loved (and didn’t love) about Cambodia

I loved how delicious and accessible vegetarian food was in Cambodia. Everything had a tofu or vegetable alternative and it was so delicious. My favourite food in Cambodia was the Khmer vegetable curry – a must try!

Of all the things not to love I guess this is pretty minor, but browsing at shops is a slightly suffocating experience. Prepare to be closely followed and told about the things you’re looking at whether you want the information or not! Maybe some people would find it attentive, but I found it pushy and uncomfortable.

Beaded vurtain on beach in Cambidoa sea views

Lucky Sun Hostel Image © Simran Kabotra

Top tips for visiting Cambodia

  • Bring US Dollars.  A lot of businesses and shops take US dollars rather than the Cambodian currency, Riels. You will get some change in Riels so it’s best to take a mix of US Dollars and Riels but have more US Dollars on hand.
  • Use the GRAB app for tuktuks. This is a safe way to get around in Cambodia as your location will be tracked and you won’t be overcharged.
  • Bring mosquito repellent equipment, lotions & sprays.I had very bad reactions to the mosquitos in Cambodia.
  • Get travel insurance. Knowing help is at hand if something goes wrong so far away from home is peace of mind worth every penny!

Would I go to Cambodia again?

Absolutely! There is so much to see! I would love to visit the north of Cambodia for its waterfalls and forests. I would also love to go to Koh Rong Sanloem and stay at sunset beach and also visit another island – Koh Rong. I felt very safe in this country and the people were lovely.

Travel Writer Bio

Simran Kabotra is a writer, avid reader & crocheter who loves travel. She is currently travelling across Southeast Asia, searching low and high for new adventures, beautiful landscapes and rich history.   

Big golden dog on beach in Cambodia

Jenny, Hostel Dog Image © Simran Kabotra

Get travel insurance for visiting Cambodia!

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Unveiling the Art of Travel Hacking

Are you tired of spending a fortune on travel expenses? Do you dream of jet-setting around the world without breaking the bank? If so, then it’s time to learn the art of travel hacking.

Travel Insurance Airport Image

Image by JoshuaWoroniecki CC0

What is Travel Hacking?

Travel hacking is taking thriftiness to the next level to get the most out of your travel budget. Think loyalty programs, credit card rewards, deals, promotions, and holiday loopholes. The aim of travel hacking is to save money so you can travel further, for longer, more often – and if you get the upgrades in more style too!

By making the most of these travel hacks you could significantly reduce the cost of travel and accommodation, as well as unlock perks such as free upgrades, lounge access, and exclusive benefits.

Travel Hacks You Need to Know!

1. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs – These programs are offered by airlines, hotels, and other travel companies and allow you to earn points or miles for every purchase or stay. These points can then be redeemed for free or discounted travel, hotel stays, and other rewards.

2. Utilise Credit Card Rewards – Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses, which can be redeemed for free or discounted travel or hotel stays. Additionally, some credit cards offer bonus points for travel-related purchases, making it easier to accumulate points for your next trip.

3. Get a Supermarket Loyalty Card – The points can be used with third party reward partners and are often worth more than the points themselves. Tesco Clubcard for example usually doubles the value of the points and has partners such as:

  • APH Airport parking
  • Le Shuttle
  • Royal Caribbean International Cruises
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • com
  • Cosmos Travel Tours
  • Cunard Cruises
  • Eurocamp
  • Intrepid Travel
  • P&O Cruises & Ferries
  • Stena Line

4. Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates – Flights, ferries, trains and accommodation are often cheaper during off-peak seasons or mid-week. By being open to different travel dates, you can take advantage of lower prices and save money on your trip.

5. Go Incognito when Searching for Flights – Did you know that airlines and travel websites use cookies to track your search history and increase prices accordingly? To avoid this, use incognito mode when searching for flights. This will prevent websites from tracking your search history and potentially save you money on your flight.

6. Think Beyond Staying in a Hotel – Alternative accommodation such as Airbnb, hostels, house-sitting or couch-surfing can help save money on your trip and also provide a more authentic and unique travel experience.

7. Travel Hacking Apps and Blogs – Hopper, Skyscanner, and Kayak are just a few examples of apps that can help you find cheap flights and accommodation. As for travel hacking bloggers take a peek at Nomadic Matt for inspiration!

8. Credit Card Comparison Websites – Rewards on some cards stack up better than others for travel rewards, check out for latest deal information. You can also compare bank account travel perks on there too.

9. Travel Insurance – The Ultimate Travel Hack! – Having the right travel insurance and car hire excess insurance can save you so much money in the long run! Whether it is replacing a lost or stolen passport, covering the cost of a missed or delayed flight or even the cost of medical expenses overseas or repatriation – travel insurance easily pays for itself.

Travel hacking takes time and effort. Getting Travel Insurance Doesn’t!

It’s important to be patient and persistent in your pursuit of travel deals and rewards. You must keep an eye out for promotions and be ready to act quickly when you find a good deal. But getting the right travel insurance takes just one click – head on over to and get your quote today!

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Benefits of Multi-Trip Travel Insurance

There are many unexpected events that can disrupt your trip, and the more you travel the higher the chance that something could go wrong. Let’s explore the benefits of multi-trip travel insurance and why it’s a smart choice for those who travel often.

Florence Mothers Day City Break Image

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What is Multi-trip Travel Insurance?

Multi-trip travel insurance, is a type of policy that covers multiple trips within a specific time-frame, usually a year. Unlike single trip policies, which only cover one trip, multi-trip policies provide coverage no matter how often you travel. This means you don’t have to purchase a new policy for each new trip, ultimately saving you money.

Is it the same as Annual Travel Insurance?

If the policy runs for 12 months then yes! Annual travel insurance is a  multi-trip travel insurance policy that provides cover for a year.

Is Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance cheap?

If you travel frequently, purchasing a single trip policy for each trip can quickly add up and become expensive. With a multi-trip policy, you pay a one-time premium for the entire year, which is great if you like to holiday abroad often or if you need to take multiple trips overseas for work.

Annual worldwide travel insurance: Flexibility for frequent travellers

Just like all the travel insurance options available from, with a multi-trip insurance policy you can choose the level of coverage that best suits your needs and budget. You can also customise your policy to meet your unique needs by adding additional coverage for adventure sports, pre-existing medical conditions, and car hire excess insurance.

Getting a multi-trip travel insurance quote is quick and easy!

Travelling is an exciting and enriching experience, but it also comes with its fair share of risks, from flight cancellations to lost luggage, and in extreme cases repatriation. Head on over to and get a quote today.

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Exploring the Enchanting Canary Islands

Winter sunshine doesn’t come much more budget-friendly than a trip to the Canary Islands. Discover why this Spanish archipelago off the coast of north-western Africa was my top choice for a winter break, and why the place is so popular for Brits who want to go abroad.

Volcano lunar terrain blue sky lanzarote

Image by Kerry McCarthy

Why Visit the Canary Islands?

With year-round warm weather, diverse terrain, and a multi-lingual population, it’s easy to see why tourists from the world over visit the Canaries. For me, I wanted sun, sea, sand and stunning landscapes. As well as a little “me” time – which is why I chose to go solo!

I also wanted something that was easy on the bank account. I wanted to escape the grey skies of the UK and top up my vitamin D without sacrificing a holiday later in the year.

The Canary Islands are comprised of 7 islands in total, the most popular being Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura. More about each to come, starting with…

Lanzarote (by lunchtime)

An early morning flight from Stanstead got me to Lanzarote by lunchtime, and with just a 30 minute transfer from the Arrecife Airport to the resort of Costa Teguise, I was soaking up the sunshine well before the sun was setting.

Where I stayed: Hotel Paradise (apartments) Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

Super-basic apartments, but clean and good value. The complex was located a 10 minute walk from Playa Bastian, a very pleasant beach, and a 20 minute walk from Playa Las Cucharas where most of the shops, markets, bars and restaurants are, as well as a beach that is excellent for windsurfing and hydrofoiling.

Lanzarote Paradise Hotel swimming pool view

Image by Kerry McCarthy

What I did: Hiked the volcanic landscape, walked along the coast and did a run along the outskirts of the resort. I also visited a few shops and ate out. With a south-facing balcony I also soaked up the sun with a good book and a couple of cheeky cocktails from the pool bar.

The weather: 25°c and windy! The Canaries are known for blustery weather which is why they are such a draw for windsurfers and the like. This weather is also great for hiking, biking, running and working out outdoors – plenty of which was going on around the resort. Out of the wind the sun felt blazing hot, and if the clouds came over (which they did on occasion) the wind soon blew them out of the way.

What it was really like: I was only there for a long weekend so didn’t adventure outside Costa Teguise. The resort itself was calm, safe, and everyone was friendly. It was difficult to find anything that felt authentic in terms of culture or cuisine, but that’s what you get for staying in a resort built for tourists! The lack of “places of interest” to explore in the near vicinity did actually make it the perfect destination to just recoup, read, walk and top up the vitamin D.

Map of Costa Teguise Lanzarote

Image by Kerry McCarthy

Thinking of visiting the Canaries? Get Your Travel Insurance before you go!

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Top Places to Visit in the Canary Islands


Tenerife is the largest and most popular island in the Canary Islands. It’s known for its stunning beaches, lively nightlife, and iconic Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain. You can also visit the charming towns of La Laguna and La Orotava, both designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria is the third largest island in the Canary Islands and is known for its diverse landscapes. You can explore the bustling capital city of Las Palmas, relax on the golden sand beaches of Maspalomas, or hike through the rugged mountains of the interior.


Lanzarote is a unique island with a lunar-like landscape, thanks to its volcanic origins. You can visit the Timanfaya National Park to see the dramatic volcanic landscapes up close, or relax on the beautiful beaches of Playa Blanca and Puerto del Carmen. Don’t miss the Jameos del Agua, a stunning underground cave system turned into a cultural centre.


Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canary Islands and is known for its beautiful beaches and water sports. You can try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing in the crystal-clear waters of Sotavento Beach, or relax on the white sand beaches of Corralejo.

Black Beach and blue sea Lanzarote

Image by Kerry McCarthy

Tips for Traveling to the Canary Islands

Best Time to Visit: for warm weather and beach days, visit between June and September. If you prefer cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, visit between October and May.

Getting Around: renting a car will give you the freedom to explore the islands at your own pace. You can also take ferries between the islands, which is a great way to see more of the archipelago.

Local Cuisine: influenced by Spanish and African roots. Don’t miss the local specialties, such as papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes), mojo sauce, and gofio (a type of flour made from roasted grains).

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventure-filled trip, the Canary Islands have something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this beautiful part of the world!

Remember To Get Your Travel Insurance!

Get the cover you need in the event of flight cancellations, lost luggage, medical care and all with 24/7 multilingual helpline at


Travel Writer Bio

Feet on a a sandy beach with sea views lanzarote

Image by Kerry McCarthy

Kerry McCarthy is a Writer, Editor, Artist & Breathwork Instructor who loves to travel. You can find out more about her adventures over on instagram at @kerrymccarthystars

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2024 Bucket List – Adventure In The Most Unspoiled Locations

Welcome to your 2024 Adventure bucket list! This year we run through an itinerary that will take you to some of the most unspoilt locations in the world!

1st Place – in the top spot is ICELAND!

Iceland Waterfall Image with sunset

Photo credit: Unsplash

Coming in with an unspoilt score of 13.15 is the country famed for natural glacial beauty, hot spring lagoons, and the natural wonder known as the Northern Lights. True dark skies, rugged wilderness, (and the fact that 60% of the population lives in just one town) have secured first place for this northernmost beauty.

For 2nd place – we go all the way to the other side of the world – Australia!

Australia beach Image

Photo credit: Unsplash

With huge expanses of deserts, beaches, and turquoise seas to explore, it is no wonder that Oz comes in with an unspoilt score of 10.90!  Whether you are delving deep into “the bush” or going on a road trip along the coast, this is a destination of a lifetime where you could go for days without being bothered by another person!

3rd place goes to Ireland!

Ireland cliffs image

Photo credit: Unsplash

The emerald isle is home to stormy seas, unblemished coastlines dominated by cliffs, and of course acre after acre of bucolic countryside. The close proximity to the UK and unspoilt score of 8.6 makes Ireland the ideal destination for a truly relaxing mini break.

In 4th we have Cyprus!

Cyprus beach image

Photo credit: Unsplash

The beautiful island in the Med is known for salt lakes, golden beaches, and a tranquil vibe that will make you feel even closer to nature. Head north to access the most unspoilt areas that have bagged this location a score of 5!

For 5th place we have Costa Rica!

Costa rica Jungle Image

Photo credit: Unsplash

It’s not just the pristine waterfalls and luscious lagoons that give this destination a top spot when it comes to unspoilt scores! Costa Rica has a wealth of wonderful flora and fauna to explore and discover. This is an exotic location where you have the opportunity to feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.

Where will your adventures take you this year? Check out the other great unspoilt locations that you could add to your itinerary!

 Rank Country #Unspoilt Score
1 Iceland 13.15
2 Australia 10.90
3 Ireland 8.60
4 Cyprus 5.42
5 Costa Rica 4.19
6 Tanzania 4.16
7 New Zealand 3.58
8 Peru 3.54
9 Greece 3.19
10 Georgia 3.08
11 Nepal 2.98
12 South Africa 2.96
13 Croatia 2.86
14 Albania 2.77
15 Kenya 2.62
16 Romania 2.48
17 Tunisia 2.38
18 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.26
19 Norway 2.23
20 Portugal 1.95

Data courtesy of

Get yourself worldwide travel insurance before you book your next adventure.

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How To Stay Safe on a Ski Holiday – top tips to avoid injury (and an insurance claim)

We’ve collated 8 top tips to make sure that you get the most out of your ski holiday by avoiding injury and an insurance claim!

Ski Insurance Image

Image by Daniel Frank CC0

1. Get fit before you go!

The fitter you are the more fun you will have on your ski holiday. Even if it is just a gentle exercise routine, your cardio capabilities will improve and your muscles will be stronger. The result is that you’ll be more resistant to injury compared to someone who didn’t get fit first.

Best exercises to get ski fit:

    • Press-ups for boosting core strength and stability
    • Squats for firming your glutes, as well as working your hamstrings, calves, and quads
    • Cycling for a cardiovascular boost and getting some strength in those legs
    • Lunges for core balance, core strength and legs that’ll last on holiday

2. Get lessons before you get on the snow

You’ll be taught more than just how to ski, you’ll also be taught how to fall. Often it’s knowing how to hit the ground that prevents injury on the slopes over trying to avoid it altogether.

3. Wear the right gear

You’ll need the right clothes for the activity and the best accessories to save your skin (and bones) should you take a tumble!

Essential ski gear:

    • Breathable high-tech ski gear – think technical fabrics that will wick sweat whilst still keeping you warm.
    • Helmet – did you know that compacted snow could be just as hard as a rock if you hit your head on it? Also, there might be rocks out there too, and watch out for trees!
    • Wrist guards – Don’t risk a broken wrist! We naturally put our arms out to break a fall, but on the slopes this is more likely to break a wrist – any protection is better than none.

4. Prepare for high altitude

If you are going to be above 2000 metres allow a couple of days to acclimatise. Beyond that stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and eat light meals packed with carbs and protein.

5. Check your equipment

Signs of unsafe skis and snowboards are rounded edges, split or cracked bases, rust or excess play on bindings. Any of these could lead to an accident while you are out – don’t be afraid to ask for better equipment!

6. Stick to the right run for you

Don’t let the allure of an off-piste adventure get you in a dangerous situation. Stick to runs you know you can do and only move on when you know you are truly ready.

7. Skip the jumps unless under supervision

It may just save you from a spinal injury! After falling, jumps are the second most common cause of a snowboarding injury, so don’t try tricks or jumps beyond your skill level unless under the watchful eye of an instructor!

8. Get special travel insurance for skiing and snowboarding!

Minor injuries on the slopes are common and major injuries can be financially and emotionally devastating. offer winter sports & ski travel insurance with 24 hour emergency assistance and a multilingual helpline to ensure you can access urgent medical treatment from a GP or in hospital. The Assistance Service is on hand to liaise with overseas medical staff and your own doctor so you don’t have to. Plus the wintersports travel insurance policy covers treatment overseas and repatriation costs to return home after a medical emergency.

Get an instant wintersports travel insurance quote

Whether you’re skiing for just a few hours or for most of your trip, our wintersports travel insurance provides cover for ski equipment and reimbursement of Ski Pass costs if you cannot ski and compensation for Piste Closure. Just give us a call on 01892833338 or get a quote online.

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Last-Minute Getaways To Avoid Christmas

These destinations are the perfect last-minute getaway, well away from the hubbub of the festive season, and (probably) not a twinkle of tinsel in sight!

December in Sal, Cape Verde

Cape Verde Fishing Image

Image by Schland CC0

The weather is warm at this time of the year in Sal – a gorgeous sandy escape, and just one of the many islands that make up the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde. While your all-inclusive hotel may have popped a token Christmas tree up in the lobby and have a sprinkling of tinsel here and there – you can head to the beach, the local markets, and all the best attractions without much “Christmas” getting in the way.

Top things to see and do:

An island tour stopping for a spot of paddling with lemon sharks, and a photo op at Buracona, the Blue Eye Cave, where the midday sun turns the water a bright and beautiful blue. It certainly beats looking at baubles!

Christmas in Tenerife, Spain

Image by Hans CC0

It is warm enough to brave it in a swimsuit at the end of December in Tenerife, but the water might be pretty cold! The black volcanic sand of the beaches will however help keep you warm as they soak up the rays, especially on the more sheltered beaches on the northern coast. Most places are open for business on Christmas day, so it can feel just like any other day – as long as you are away from the tourist hotspots such as Puerto De La Cruz and Los Cristianos. Having said that if you suddenly get a pang for a mince pie or dancing to a Christmas playlist – these are the places to go!

Top things to see and do:

An excursion to the top of Mount Teide is a must! Grab yourself a ticket for a coach tour that comes with a guide so you can learn all about the flows and formations of this spectacular volcanic peak whilst you traverse the lunar landscape. For an extra treat, once you get to the stop at the top get a ticket for the cable car to take you all the way to (almost) the top. Here you are above the clouds in a world of wonder where thoughts of Christmas are million miles away.

Winter in Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech Souk lane with rugs Image

Image by emma-bosley-ritchie CC0 via pexels

This is the place to be if you fancy a bit of retail therapy over the festive season but without the hustle and bustle of tinsel-strewn shopping centres and endless Amazon boxes on the driveway! Don’t however expect it to be the epitome of pace and calm. Marrakech, and Morocco in general, is an extremely popular destination at this time of year. It takes a little over 3 hours to fly there and the temperature is a very pleasant 20ºC – but there won’t be a Christmas carol to be heard or a festively decorated tree in sight!

Top things to see and do:

Head to the Souk! A maze of narrow streets filled with a world of wonders such as handcrafted goods, spices, clothes, glasswear and ceramics. Make sure you go with your bartering head on as it expected that you will haggle. Top tips for getting a good price: don’t look too keen, start at about a quarter of the price, and try not to settle for an amount that is more than a third of what is displayed!

Xmas in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul mosque in snow Image

Image by vedatzorluer via Pixabay CCo

For a quieter vibe – head to Istanbul. It’s business as usual with shops, galleries, and museums all open but it is definitely a quieter time to to enjoy these Turkish delights! “Why?” you may ask! Well, it is a little chilly at this time of year. It is recommended to pack a jumper or two, and although it is unlikely to fall into single figures at this time of year a coat is recommended in case it rains, and be warned that it has been known to snow on occasion during December.

Things to see and do:

Head to The Blue Mosque, an Ottoman-era place of worship that is known for its beautiful architecture which includes a blue tiled dome, and six minarets! The Blue Mosque is free to enter, welcomes non-worshipping visitors, and is open all year round. Do check times before visiting though as it is an active place of worship. This means that it is closed to non-worshippers in the times leading up to, during, and just after call to prayer.

You will need worldwide travel insurance to travel to Turkey!

Travel Insurance to Turkey is not covered by EU policies – so make sure you upgrade your travel insurance to a worldwide policy before you travel!

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Beginners Guide To Skiing Holidays

Hit the slopes with confidence this season! In this jam-packed article we share insider info from ski and fitness experts about how to get fit ahead of your ski holiday, what to do to avoid injury on the slopes – and what to do if you do get injured on holiday – plus what to pack, where to go, and as bit about après scene etiquette!

Ten Things You Need To Know Before Learning to Ski

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

© Merci L’Agence / OT Les Arcs

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

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

How To Get Fit For The Ski Season

© / OT Val d’Isere

© / OT Val d’Isere

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

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

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

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

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

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

Packing For A Ski Holiday

Image by tookapic CC0

Image by tookapic CC0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



© Courtesy of Össur


It’s essential to get travel insurance that covers you for the activities you plan to do. Wintersports insurance from provides cover for equipment, ski packs, cancelled flights, medical assistance and repatriation for all destinations including even if you want to go off-piste, heli-skiing, and parapenting!

To find out more about why specialist wintersport travel insurance is essential  check out our article: What insurance do you need for a ski holiday?

Description oi Benefits of wintersports travel insurance

Best Ski Resort for Beginners – Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

© Stephane Lerendu / OT Avoriaz

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

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

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

© Merci Creative / OT Les Arcs

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

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

© / OT Val d’Isere

© / OT Val d’Isere

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

Après-Ski – Social Life On The Slopes

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

© Fruitiere / OT Val Thorens

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Avoid Ski Injuries At Altitude

Courtesy of Össur

© Courtesy of Össur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What To Do If You Get Injured While Skiing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You may also enjoy these articles!

The most common ski injuries and how to avoid them

Prepping for a safe ski holiday – how to get fit and ready for action!

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

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

© P Tournaire / OT Val Thorens

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


This article was first published December 2016. Content and images may have been updated, all credits correct at time of original publication.

Posted in Destination Guide, Ski Insurance, Travel Advice, Travel Insurance | Comments Off on Beginners Guide To Skiing Holidays

Wintersports Destination Ideas for 2023

Whether you want to take to skis or a snowboard, or maybe go cross-country on a snow mobile or even by sled – we’ve picked some delectable destinations for the coming season! 

Whistler Canada Ski Image

Image by ArtTower CC0

Skiing and snowboarding

Where: Whistler, Canada

When: November through to April (this is when the slopes are at their most quiet!)

Why you should go: It is a legendary place to take to the snow! The resort is home to over 200 trails in over 8000 acres, and it is regarded as a backcountry paradise for skiers and snowboarders alike. It was also good enough for the Olympics! If that wasn’t enough – and we know it isn’t, the apres scene is equally legendary.


Where: Himachal Pradesh, India

When: January through to March

Why you should go: The views are incredible! Not only do you get to soak up the views from up in the sky, but you will start your run on a drop 5000 metres up in the mountains with the Himalayan peaks towering above you! Then you’ll get to experience perfect powder all the way down, through towering forest. To top it off, the vibrant culture of the Kullu Valley will seal it as an experience of a lifetime.

Harris Mountains Heli Skiing

Image Courtesy of

Cross-country skiing

Where: Peer Gynt Trail, Norway

When: February and March

Why you should go: Norway is the birthplace of cross-country skiing, and the Peer Gynt trail is truly iconic. The trail itself is approx 80km long, reaching from Espedalen Valley to Skeikampen mountain resort. Guides will take you though terrain that includes frozen lakes, remote valleys and peaceful woodlands, stopping on the way to stay in lodges so you can explore other trails along the way.


Where: Langjökull Iceland

When: March to June (Icelandic spring, when the weather is more pleasant)

Why you should go: Translating as The Long Glacier you know what to expect here! It may not be the largest glacier in Iceland, but it is thicker and is less likely to be affected by local volcanic eruptions! Expect pristine snow, sweeping vistas, and ice valleys across near on 1000 square km of seemly infinite powder.

Snowmobile Image

Image by Mike Muller via Pixabay CC0

Get travel insurance for wintersports activities and adventures before you go!

Call us on 01892 833338 to arrange competitively priced comprehensive wintersports & ski insurance or get a quote online.

Posted in Destination Guide, Sports and Activities Abroad, Travel Advice | Comments Off on Wintersports Destination Ideas for 2023