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Heroes head north for charity fundraiser

April 14th, 2015

Heroes head north for charity fundraiser 

travel and medical insurance

From time to time we get involved in projects that need very specialist insurance. Recently we were delighted to be able to broker the travel and medical insurance for a fantastic charity fundraising trip to the North Pole into the Lloyd’s market.

The project was HeadNorth. Its aim was to raise in excess of £250,000 for the Lewis Moody Foundation, a charity that brings relief to families affected by serious illness and raises funding for brain tumour research, and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, which supports those injured in service to our country and the families of those who gave their lives.

The challenge was nothing short of extreme, with a team made up of ex marines, ex professional and international rugby players, sailors, and the CEO, chairman and directors of The Yacht Company. The expedition leader was Alan Chambers, MBE FRGS, an experienced Polar Explorer.

The aim of the trek was to walk 100km from Ice Camp Barneo to the Geographic North Pole, the highest point on Earth at Latitude 90° North.

The team set off on the 4th of April and reached the North Pole some 6 and a half days later, having trekked through awful conditions and temperatures of -35 degrees centigrade.

We’d like to offer our heartiest congratulations to the team and wish them well as they recover and return to ‘normal life’.

You can read more about their remarkable journey or donate here.

The World First Wander – The best travel writing on the Internet

April 10th, 2015

The World First Wander – The best travel writing on the Internet

best travel writing

Paris – perfect no-fly destination.

Welcome to another edition of the World First Wander, our weekly take on what’s hot in the world of travel writing and blogging. In this edition we look at tips to make your journeys and holidays easier by getting some sound advice on stress free airport travel, no fly holidays, train tickets and cruising.

So let’s begin with a stress free airport experience, courtesy of Zoë Dawes AKA The Quirky Traveller. Zoë knows her stuff when it comes to travel so everyone is bound to find something useful in her 9 tips for Stress free airport travel.

Not everybody wants to head for the Airport. A lot of people don’t want to fly. And if you are one of them then the next blog post from Feet On The Ground will give you something to think about. Check out 100 no fly holiday ideas for 2015. It’s a fantastic list of no fly ideas.

Going on a no fly cruise is another wonderful way to see the world without flying. We know that many of our customers love both long and short cruises and enjoy flexible cover with our cruise travel insurance. We’ve been providing it for over 40 years. We haven’t been following @jayneytravels for quite such a long time but we do read what she writes. In her latest post,  12 things I didn’t know about cruising in which she writes about her first time cruising experience, she tells it like it is. It’s a good start if you are thinking about it but yet to book.

Once you’ve digested that, take a look at cruising expert Gary Bembridge’s Tips for Travellers blog, where he webcasts regular 60 second cruise tips. These contain lots and lots of useful information about getting more from your cruise. If you have a few minutes to spare and are thinking of booking a cruise, they are well worth a listen. There is a wealth of great stuff there!

Avoiding flying may often mean taking trains. But which ticket are you going to get? When is best to book? How can you make it as cheap as possible? The people at Hand Luggage only can tell you! Their blog post 7 ways to get cheap train tickets will be a boon for land based travellers.

OK, so you know how you’re going to get there. But what about thinking of an alternative way to stay there? Have you ever thought about couch surfing or staying in a beach hut? Maybe not, but there are more options than just staying in a hotel these days. The Travel Hack offers the best of all of them in her latest post, a  guide to choosing your accommodation type when you’re travelling.

That’s it for this week.

Have you got a favourite travel tip you want to share? Let us know if you have. We’d love to compile a blog of our own with tips from World First travellers!

Until next week

The World First Wander – The best travel writing on the Internet

March 27th, 2015

The World First Wander – The best travel writing on the Internet

World First

Walking with toddlers – the rules change!

Welcome to another installment of The World First Wander! This is where we take our weekly look at travel blogs and post from over the last week or so. This week we look at babies, Exeter, Cornwall, City Tours and things to do near you over Easter.

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander: the best travel writing on the Internet

March 20th, 2015

The World First Wander: the best travel writing on the Internet


Welcome, once again, to our weekly look at some of our favourite travel blogs and articles from the last week or so. As always it is compiled by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell .

This week we look at accessible travel, learn about first aid and visit Jane Austen’s Bath (as in the city, of course). Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in your holiday luggage? And how you can help keep our beaches clean.

March 19th, 2015

What’s in your holiday luggage? And how you can help keep our beaches clean.


Don’t let plastic pollution spoil your holiday.

If you travel then you can’t fail to have noticed the amount of plastic pollution ending up on beaches in Europe and the UK.

According to a new marine litter report from The Marine Conservation Society, which surveyed 301 beaches in September 2014, the number of pieces of litter, on average, per Km of UK coastline surveyed is now up to 2457. That’s a rise of 6% from 2013.

You can read the full report here. Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander – The Internet’s best travel blogs

March 13th, 2015

 The World First Wander – The Internet’s best travel blogs  

travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander! It’s our weekly look at some of our favourite travel blogs and articles from the last week. As always it is compiled by our Social Media Man, Tristan Rothwell.

This week we look at city breaks, winter sports, Sri Lanka, Greece and …. and Mr Motivator!

City breaks first then, with our friend The Travel Hack, a lady who loves to jump on a plane on a Friday night for a swift weekend away. Who doesn’t? City breaks are an easy, bite-sized way to see a little of the world. And you can do it without using up all your holiday allowance in one go too!

Anyway, Monica has some invaluable advice for you if you are looking for free things to make your cash go further on your city break. 10 free things to do in every city will give you a whole selection of ideas for things to do if the purse strings are tight. And, while we are on the subject, don’t forget that our City Break Travel Insurance can also save you ££££.

We are off to the Greek capital Athens next with Emily Luxton. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities, dating back almost 3500 years. Emily has written a really great guide to Athens and what to expect when you are there.  I must say that the Loukoumades look delicious. They were apparently  once served to winners of the Greek Olympics. For more stories of the gods, read Emily’s Exploring Athens .

And if that inspires you to explore a little more of Greece then you’ll find a bunch of great blogs about the islands on Life Beyond Borders. If you love Greek Islands you’ll love this. Then take a read of our quick guide to travelling in Greece before you book.

We head now to South Asia, specifically Sri Lanka. This next blog, by Becki Enright, caught my attention because one of my friends is currently travelling round Sri Lanka with his wife and 10 month old daughter. I wonder if they have found their way to Galle yet? It seems as if the town is a real ‘must-see’ stop off, judging by all that’s in Galle Fort, Sri Lanka –  History, Artistry and all that Jazz.

Weird experiences are all part of the fun of travel (in my opinion) but when a travel blogger writes that they have sat next to Mr Motivator on a boat in Santorini (Greece again) then you have to read on!  My Weird Travel Experiences, an entertaining run down of the weird things Scottish Emma has encountered on her travels, is a great read and guaranteed to make you smile.

I mentioned last week about winter sports and disabled users. While chatting on twitter this week I was put in touch with Alex Squire. In his blog he talks about life with Spastic Quadriplegia and he has written a really interesting piece about  winter sports and his experiences of it. Skiing: Its going downhill fast is another good read – and very inspiring. For more about Alex, take a look at the “about me” page on his blog.

That just about wraps it up!

Until next week.

Bag a bargain this summer. Just don’t bag more than you bargained for.

March 12th, 2015

 Bag a bargain this summer. Just don’t bag more than you bargained for.

9 Chasing the waves at Labenne

Favourable exchange rates mean that going abroad in 2015 is going to be cheaper than ever. But the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has recently issued some excellent advice about grabbing bargain breaks this year and is urging everyone to make sure they don’t get more than they bargained for.

How so? Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander – the Internet’s best travel blogs

March 6th, 2015

The World First Wander – the Internet’s best travel blogs

travel blogs

The Internet’s best travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander.

As usual we have found a few interesting travel blogs for you to peruse this week. In fact, we have found a couple of new ones, starting with The Bimblers a blog from Bridget and Rob, a couple who aren’t your average travel blogging couple. Why? Because they do it in a wheelchair.  Their blog is a great inspiration and their outlook is fantastic. After Bridget became ill with severe rheumatoid arthritis Rob had to give up work to become her full time carer. However, that hasn’t stopped them from getting out there and they began The Bimblers as a way of staying positive.  Hats off to them!

I often ask Twitter (find me with @WFTristan ) for recommendations of new blogs and this recoomendation came from that route. I am so glad I found them! They offer us a refreshing perspective on the world while also taking a pragmatic look at accessible travel. So please enjoy this first post from them, a guide to Walking Liverpool’s Waterfront.

I was also lucky to find another great article this week from Disability Sanctuary a website devoted to the disabled, their carers and the people offering services to the disabled. They offer lots of sound advice as well as a meeting point for people with disabilities. I found this really interesting post about winter sports and disabilities. It’s a guide to winter sports for wheelchair users.

Check out Don’t let your disability stop you skiing during winter. It’s a good read.

As insurers specialising in medical travel insurance we often speak to people with disabilities looking for travel policies, so I hope that Disability Sanctuary’s list of Disabled Travel Resources may be helpful to some of you.

Our next blog reintroduces us to a blogger who first appeared here in October of last year. It’s  Scottish Emma, a well travelled twenty something with a degree in English literature. In view of that it’s fitting that we should look to Emma to tell us about her  Top Novels to Read on Holiday. I love to read and always have a book on the go. But if you are one of those who only reads by the pool on holiday, take note of this post and start planning your next holiday reading list.

If you are among those who don’t like to fly then you will certainly need a good book if you intend to go far on your travels. It may take longer but it’s no less rewarding – not to say glamorous – to travel on terra firma, as our next blogger, Johanna Payton proves. Her blog Feet on the ground is perfect for those who want to see the world but hate to fly. You are not alone!

We have featured a lot of posts from our next travel writer over the past few months. The Travel Hack is one of my favourite travel blogs. I see many parallels between our lives as both Monica and my fiancé are heavily pregnant. So I was particularly interested to read this latest post about Monica’s plans for 5 baby friendly holidays for baby’s first trip. It all sounds glorious….

That just about wraps up this week’s World First Wander. As always let us know if you write a travel blog as we may be able to feature it here.


Yes we can. No we can’t. What the British consul can do for you

March 5th, 2015

Yes we can. No we can’t. What the British consul can do for you

Consular Enquiries Paris Checklist

The British Consulate operates out of 227 countries across the world. As our representatives abroad they provide a string of vital services to protect us – British nationals – abroad. But there is a limit to what they can do.

While our man in Havana might be able to get you out of a sticky situation, if you lose your passport, help you if you are the victim of a crime or contact friends and family if you are detained abroad, there is only so far they can go. So it might be a surprise to some to find out that the British consulate is neither babysitter nor personal assistant. Neither are they there to act as your personal travel consultant while you are away either.

Of course not!

But that is exactly what some people appear to think. Last week the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a press release announcing the start of a new campaign to educate the travelling British public on what they will and won’t do for British nationals. They made the point by presenting a list of the things that consular staff have been asked to do. This included a man who called the Embassy in Mexico City to request that staff go to the airport to check whether he had left his mobile phone on a plane. Then there was the woman in woman in Italy who called up the Embassy to ask how she could synchronise her TV antenna to receive English channels.

All very funny, no? But calls like this – and they happen more often than you might think – take already pressed staff away from the work they should be doing, which is helping Brits in genuine distress. And that doesn’t include giving information on how to treat a cat’s infected paw, finding out if someone’s Albanian fiancé was already married, asking for the name of a chef to make haggis for a Burns Night event. It does happen.

In the press release the FCO said “The FCO’s priority is to protect the welfare of British nationals abroad, and consular staff will always do their best to assist people when they find themselves in difficulty. However, it is important for travellers to understand what services we provide before getting in touch. There are also some simple pre-travel steps that you can take to reduce the risk of getting into difficulty and needing our help, such as taking out comprehensive travel insurance, researching the destination and any health risks and ensuring access to emergency funds.”

The message is clear. Make sure you have funds, travel cover and that you find out about the place you are going. Don’t want to be disappointed when you can’t tune in to Coronation Street, do we?

What the FCO CAN do for you:

  • Issue you with an emergency travel document
  • Provide information about transferring money
  • Provide help if you have suffered rape or serious sexual or physical assault, are a victim of crime, are ill or in hospital
  • Give you a list of local lawyers, interpreters, doctors or funeral directors
  • Contact you if you are detained abroad
  • Contact friends and family back home for you if you wish
  • Provide help in cases of forced marriage
  • Assist people affected by parental child abduction

What the FCO CANNOT do for you:

  •  Help you enter a country if you do not have a valid passport or necessary visas
  • Give you legal advice or translate documents
  • Investigate crimes or get you out of prison
  • Get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people, but we will raise concerns if treatment falls below internationally recognised standards
  • Pay any bills or give you money
  • Make travel arrangements for you
  • Help your cat or tune your telly

Getting the lowdown on the countries you visit

We have compiled a number of ‘Essential Guides’ to start you off discovering new places. They include information about healthcare, currency, electricity, security and crime so you’ll know before you go. While they won’t take the place of a comprehensive guide, they will help you to make the first steps towards understanding the country you are about to visit.

There are lots more on the World First website but here are links to a few of the most popular:

Your quick guide to travelling in Spain

Your quick guide to travelling in Florida

Your quick guide to travelling in Australia

Your quick guide to travelling in Barbados

Your quick guide to travelling in France

The World First Wander – the Internet’s best travel blogs

February 27th, 2015

The World First Wander – the Internet’s best travel blogs

the Internet’s best travel blogs

Lessons learned from travel? There are many!

Welcome to another edition of our weekly collection of the best travel blogs, writing and articles from around the world.

As travel insurers we understand that travel isn’t always plain sailing. Sometimes things don’t go to plan. It’s one reason why it’s vital to make sure your travel insurance policy is in place before you leave.  But then again, as long as you are able to get out of a situation intact and can laugh about it later, mishaps and disasters can provide interesting reading, which is exactly what Adventure Han  has done in her latest post. Take a look at When travel goes wrong. Have you been through similar? I am sure we all have!

If things go wrong then it’s comforting to know that you have people with you who are on your side. But what if you are a solo traveller? Many of us would prefer to travel within the safety of our family or with friends but some people love to travel alone – or have no choice.  The Travel Tester is someone who has travelled solo so is well qualified to write her latest post 5 things they don’t tell you about solo travel. If you have anything to add, please let us know!

Whether you travel solo or with family or friends there is no doubt that there are things to be learned from travel. And it doesn’t matter if you travel by cruise ship, on foot, by motorhome or bicycle! Our next post, from Frances Thompson, looks at lessons learned ‘on the road’. There are 33 of them because Frances recently turned 33. They are really interesting – and some, like number 21 – are just plain hilarious. How do you find that out? Only one way I suppose. Anyway, read 33 Lessons learned about life, travel, writing, snowboarding, dancing and love and enjoy a smile.

I enjoy following Ed Rex because of the way he writes. His articles are interesting and full of life. In this latest post he goes on dates with 6 of his favourite travel bloggers. Actually that’s not true. He asks his favourite travel bloggers where they would take him on a date, if they were to. So it’s a blog by a blogger about what bloggers do on virtual dates with bloggers. And I’m blogging about it! Anyway, it’s a bit like blind date but well worth a read all the same…. I dated 6 travel bloggers. If only he had asked me…

Our last post this week is from A Bird in the hand who is looking forward to her 30th birthday. In this post she takes a look back (remember she’s only 30!) at some of the things she has wanted to achieve in her life. It’s titled The bucket list and why you should ignore it and it’s about how ignoring the ‘bucket list’ can be a liberating thing. I love bucket lists and have ticked off a few on mine, but maybe I should take a leaf out of her book and just chuck it away.

Do you have a ‘bucket list’?  What’s on it?

Until next week









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World First is a trading name of Rothwell & Towler (2013) Ltd and is an appointed representative of Crispin Speers & Partners Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, FCA register number 311507. Travel insurance premiums and availability of cover may vary depending on individual circumstances. If you are a consumer insured (i.e. a person buying insurance wholly or mainly for personal purposes unrelated to your employment), you have a duty to take reasonable care to answer questions fully and accurately, and that any information you volunteer is not misleading. This duty exists before the cover is placed, when renewed, or altered at any time throughout the duration of the policy. If you do not do so, your Insurer may be able to void your policy from inception. Rothwell & Towler (2013) Ltd, Registered in England No. 08294942. Registered Office: St Clare House, 30-33 Minories, London EC3N 1PE.

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