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Got holiday cover? But have you got the RIGHT holiday cover?

May 27th, 2015

Got holiday cover? But have you got the RIGHT holiday cover?

FCO Insurance Checklist May 2015

It’s at this time of the year that we get wind of new campaigns from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This year they are highlighting the need for travellers and holidaymakers to get the right insurance cover.

Why?

According to research, 30% of travellers aged between 16 and 24 were uninsured in 2013-14, and 41% of overall British travellers didn’t think it was necessary to purchase travel insurance for their trip abroad. That’s surprising! We all know that travelling uninsured can lead to costly bills and all kinds of heartache and financial problems.

However, this year the FCO campaign is focusing on the problem of people going abroad without the right cover – something that can also lead to similar problems. How so? Well, if you don’t declare pre-existing medical conditions, aren’t aware that drugs or alcohol can invalidate your policy and don’t get cover for activities like diving or climbing then you could end up coming unstuck. If you don’t have the right cover your travel insurance company is perfectly within its rights to refuse to pay out.

That could prove costly. If you had an accident diving, for example, and needed to be airlifted to a decompression chamber, then needed specialist care followed by an airlift home it can run into many thousands of pounds, hundreds of thousands even. That might sound extreme but it does happen. What’s more likely is that you twist an ankle and need an ambulance to take you to a clinic to get an x ray and a plaster cast while on holiday in Spain. That could cost you a few thousand. And if you did it under the influence your insurance company might refuse to pay up.

So how can you make sure you have the right cover?

  • Read the small print to make sure your cover is right for you.
  • Check that the activities you intend to do are covered by your policy.
  • Declare all your pre existing medical conditions.
  • Take a look at the FCO’s list of things to check.

It might be worth taking a look at the It All Adds Up video here. It makes a very good point.

The next thing to do is to give us a call on 0845 90 80 161 or get a quote online. If you have medical conditions we can help. We cover 1000s of them and can arrange cover for more serious or chronic conditions. We also insure over 150 sports and activities automatically as part of your policy. All you have to do is tell us what you plan to do and we’ll take care of the rest.

 

The World First Wander – Half Term Holidays

May 22nd, 2015

The World First Wander – Half Term Holidays

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we look at a few ideas for things to do during half term to keep the kids (and mum and dad) occupied.

Hisley Bridge On Dartmoor

Dartmoor. No end of half term surprises.

In case you hadn’t noticed, next week is half term. Are you ready for those cries of “I’m bored!”?  Not on our watch! We’ve got plenty of great ideas for an exciting half term…

Starting off close to home, on Dartmoor. How could anyone be bored when this is on the doorstep? With so many different and varied Tors to climb, scramble and explore, you could explore it for a week and see something different every day. There is a list of Dartmoor’s Tors here. If you need some visual inspiration then check out this post by Gotta Keep Moving. It has some stunning photos of the moors and Tors. Dartmoor in Pictures is truly stunning

Woolacombe Beach In The Morning

Woolacombe: one of the world’s finest beaches.

Over to the other coast now. Woolacombe to be precise.  Our MD and I spent a week surfing there many years ago – unfortunately the waves didn’t show. However, Woolacomb is the perfect place for a surfing holiday, especially if you want to learn. It’s also consistently rated among the world’s best beaches. DO while the kids are enjoying the waves – they will – you’ll be able to enjoy the beach itself. And very nice it is too. So if a seaside holiday is your idea of a great half term break then take a look at Camping with Style and their review of their recent break in Woolacombe.

Heading north from Devon now, to South Yorkshire with Baldhiker, the online home of Paul Steele and friends.  One of their bloggers, Janine Moore, has written a post all about The Strines. It really does look stunning, and a great place to head for during half term.

Another avid rambler and walker is Rambling Man. I have been following his blog for a while. His latest blog is The Pennine Way Stage 4: Hebden Bridge to Ponden and looks like the perfect half term activity. If you can get your kids to put their boots on they will surely love it!  As I was writing this Rambling Man posted Stage 5 Ponden to Earby. You can read that here.

Exeter Devon England Uk

Exeter Quay: worth a wander, if not a climb.

It’s back to Exeter now, World First’s home city. There’s plenty here to keep the little ones amused if you find yourselves in the Westcountry on a non-beach day in the next week or so. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is always a massive hit with kids. Another huge favourite is Clip n Climb on Exeter Quay. You can book an hour of safe climbing with instruction. It’s perfectly safe and great exercise and you can enjoy one of their amazing cakes while you wait. Good enough reason to go? I think so.

Until next time.

The World First Wander. Cruise Travel

May 15th, 2015

Welcome to another installment of the world First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are taking a look at cruise travel. It seems to be a hot topic right now!

Cruise Travel

Cruise travel: who wouldn’t want this? Just make sure you are properly insured!

Cruising has been enjoying somewhat of a golden age recently, with new ships, new destinations and new adventures being announced at every turn. Cruising is a great way to travel and see the world. You can go as far as you like, with every type of voyage available – from a no fly round Britain cruise to a scientific tour of discovery to the Antacrctic.

Before we start our journey it’s important to mention Cruise Travel Insurance. Cruise lines will insist that their passengers have appropriate travel insurance  for their medical conditions, including cover for medical expenses and repatriation. Getting ill at sea without proper travel insurance cover can be a very expensive business. So make sure you are covered. Your cruise line will no doubt offer cover through some kind of a partnership with an affiliate – but remember that you are not obliged to take it and that our Cruise policies may well work out a lot cheaper. Plus, if you have a difficult to insure condition they may not want to insure you without hiking up the premium.

Pull up the anchor, let’s set sail

First up let’s have a look at that perennial problem, what to pack and what not to pack for a cruise? One rule we employ is to pack, then take it all out an, remove half and pack again. But for cruising? Our first port of call has to be Cruise Critic, a site that’s packed  full of top tips for experienced and new cruisers alike. Their blog 5 things to pack for your first cruise is a great place to start. It’s also well worth reading the comments underneath the article to get some more top tips from experienced cruisers.

Cruise Travel

Packing for your cruise. Smart or casual? Or both?

I have followed Emma’s Travel Tales for quite some time. It’s a great travel blog packed full of tips and tales. This one, What not to pack for a cruise holiday, contains more useful advice, including a very important point about reading the dress code. This is something every cruiser should do. Not only will it ensure you don’t take piles of clothes you simply won’t need but it will also save you the embarrassment of turning up for dinner at the Captain’s Table in shorts and a tee shirt. There is a good article about dress codes over at Cruise Critic if you are unsure.

Cruise Miss is a dedicated cruise blog that’s always a good read. Danielle’s latest cruise adventure is aboard the Saga Sapphire Baltic Cruise which looks lovely. Have a read of Danielle’s first blog post about the boat and the journey so far. Also check out the New to cruising section of the blog. You’ll find some valuable information there.

Rhine River Village

Spoiled for choice. The Rhine or the Danube?

With so many destinations to choose from, making your final decision can be tricky, but with some help and advice from experienced cruise bloggers the decision making process may become a little easier. Another well respected cruise blogger, Cruise Maven, recently wrote a great blog post titled Choosing a Rhine,Main or Danube River Cruise. If you have ever considered exploring Europe’s great rivers this is the best place to start.

Gary Bembridge is a travel blogger I have followed for a long time. His Tips for Travellers is a brilliant blog and well worthy of your time. It is packed with info for cruisers both new and old. Gary’s most recent post is all about the dreaded Norovirus and his experience of it. Sadly mini epidemics do happen on cruise ships from time to time so it’s worth knowing about and what you can do to help stop it. Have a read of  Gary’s Norovirus : My Experience.

Norovirus is definitely one good reason to make sure you have good Cruise travel Insurance.

Also make sure you check out Gary’s Podcasts. They are a hive of information from destinations to general cruising tips to advice on particular cruise line operators.

If you are on Twitter a great place to ask questions is by using the hash tag  #cruisechat. There are plenty of people on hand to help. Twitter chat is a great resource if you are looking to get up to date information and answers quickly.

That just about rounds up this week’s World First Wander. We hope you have enjoyed sailing with us this week!

Tristan

The sun has got its hat on. But have you?

May 13th, 2015

The sun has got its hat on. But have you?

The World First Guide to Sun Protection

The World First Guide to Sun Protection

And, perhaps more importantly, do you know your UVA from your SPF? And would you know what type of sun cream to buy anyway?

Don‘t worry. We’ll explain it to you.

Firstly, we wrote a blog this week in which we highlighted the dangers of skin cancer and some things you can do to prevent it. One of those things is to wear decent sun protection. But it’s not as simple as that. Sun creams come in all shapes and sizes and ratings and it can be confusing knowing which one to pick up as you tear through duty free on your way to the plane…

The World First Guide to Sun Protection:

What does SPF mean?

The SPF is the sun protection factor of a sun cream. It is a number rating that is supposed to be the amount of time you can remain in the sun before burning without sun cream. So if your SPF is 15 then it means you’ll be able to stay in the sun for 15 times longer without burning.

What are the flaws of the SPF rating?

For a start the SPF rating is only good enough if you know how long you’re going to take to burn! While it understands that different people burn at different rates it doesn’t help you if you are new to the sun, especially if it’s your first time in a hot country.

The SPF rating is based on UVB rays, the part of the spectrum that causes burning. So it doesn’t take into account the harmful effects of UVA, the part of the spectrum that causes ageing and skin cancer. There is currently no rating for UVA protection in sun protection products.

Can I get UVA protection?

Some products claim to be ‘broad spectrum’ sun screens in that they contain ingredients that can deflect or absorb UVB and UVA rays from the skin. These may give you more protection against UVA but, since there is no equivalent scale for UVA as SPF is for UVB, it may be best to use block rather than screen (see next paragraph).

Sun screen or sun block?

There is a very simple difference between these two products. Basically a sun screen is a chemical barrier that absorbs UVB (and sometimes UVA) to stop its harmful effects on the skin. SO it’s a chemical barrier. Sun block, however, is a physical barrier that reflects or diverts UVB and UVA away from the skin. Sun blocks often appear translucent or of a more creamy consistency that spray on or oily sun screens. This is because they offer a physical barrier against the sun.

Many modern sun protection products include an element of each to give the best protection but it’s worth checking ingredients of any sun screen you choose. Some chemicals in sun screen can be harmful.

How to get the best protection from your sun cream

Also, it’s worth remembering that it’s all about the application when it comes to sun creams. IF you put it on too sparingly or unevenly the protection will be patchy. Conversely, if you slap more on it won’t make it stronger. Two layers of SPF 15 won’t make SPF 30.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to reapply your sun protection regularly to avoid the risk of burning, especially if you go in the water or tend to sweat.

And, of course, don’t forget that your sun protection needs time to be absorbed by your skin BEFORE you go out in the sun. 15 minutes is usually recommended.

Use an SPF that is higher than you need. Always under estimate its powers.

Why should you stick to one brand of sun protection?

Once you have chosen your sun protection and are sure that it is giving you enough UVB and UVA protection, stick to it. Changing your sun protection could result in getting less protection that with a previous product, even though the SPF is the same.

What else can you do to avoid burning besides wearing sun creams or blocks?

  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers.
  • Don’t go out in the sun during the hottest part of the day – between 10 and 4.
  • Sit in the shade. It won’t kill you!
  • Remember that white skin is healthy skin!

 

 

Do you practice safe sun? Here’s why you should.

May 11th, 2015

Do you practice safe sun? Here’s why you should.

sun awareness week

Did you know that last week was sun awareness week?

It was covered in our news feed here, with some rather alarming results from a poll from the British Association of Dermatologists. In it they revealed – from a poll of 1,018 adults – that most Brits fail to check for signs of skin cancer, that three out of four of us wouldn’t know what to look for when it comes to skin cancer and that 72% had suffered from sunburn in the last 12 months.

So we thought that we should perhaps shed some light on that darkness with a little of our own information about skin cancer, how to avoid it, what to look out for and why it’s a growing problem. To do this we enlisted the help of World First Customer, Marcus, who told us a little about having skin cancer, what it means, how to avoid it and how it has affected his life in the sun.

This is what he told us.

“I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma – skin cancer – when I was in my early twenties. This is the most dangerous form of skin cancer as it can spread if left untreated. That’s when it becomes really dangerous. I was lucky as my cancer was removed completely with a couple of operations under local anaesthetic. I’m now 48 and have had no further malignant melanomas, although I have had a few moles removed to be on the safe side.”

That’s good news. But what does it mean to you? Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know:

What types of skin cancer are there?

This is what Public Health England says about the types of skin cancer:

Malignant melanoma: This is the most serious type but is less frequent. It requires early treatment because if the disease progresses too far it can lead to death.

Non-melanoma: This type of cancer can be formed from either squamous or basal cell carcinomas and is the most common type of skin cancer. It is rarely fatal and can be easily treated as long as it is diagnosed early on.

How many people are affected by skin cancer each year?

According to Cancer Research 13,348 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in 2011. This accounts for 4% of all cancer cases in the UK. Yet only 2,148 people died from it in 2012, which is just 1% of cancer deaths. What this means is that malignant melanoma is treatable- if it’s caught early enough – with 90% of all patients surviving 10 or more years.

What causes skin cancer?

Marcus’ skin cancer was almost certainly caused by sunburn. In fact, most skin cancers are caused by over exposure to ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or from artificial sources.

“I attribute my skin cancer to getting sunburned when I was young. We went of lots of holidays to Spain, Portugal and France when I was a kid and I always got terribly burnt because I didn’t put cream on or cover up properly. But that was the seventies and my family were ignorant of the dangers. Cancer, unfortunately, is the legacy of that careless attitude towards the sun.”

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

The appearance of moles or dark patches on the skin – and changes to them – can often be early signs of skin cancer skin.  To help you remember what to look for, there is a simple, universal acronym: ABCDE. This stands for:

Asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape

Border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches

Colour – this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen

Diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor

Expert – if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS

Marcus told us “My mole was pale in colour, more like a blemish. But slowly over time I noticed a darker spot had appeared within it. It wasn’t until I saw a photograph of me from a few years before that I realised how much it had changed and how much the dark spot had increased in size. That was the prompt to get checked out.”

Can skin cancer be prevented?

The simple answer is, more than likely, yes. And the simple method is to cover up, avoid going out without protection in hot sun and make sure that you have adequate sun protection, even if it’s cloudy. UV can penetrate cloud cover so it’s important to remember that it is possible to burn even when the sun isn’t shining.

Marcus said “It’s actually pretty easy to avoid getting burned. After my treatment I changed my attitude towards the sun and just did my best to cover up, stay out of the midday sun in hot countries, wear a hat and generally be sensible about going out unprotected. It isn’t that hard. A tan is actually a sign of sun damaged skin so I’m happy to be paler than most. It’s a sign of health!”

Will skin cancer affect your ability to get travel insurance?

Better ask Marcus that one. He said “I was accepted by World First for annual travel insurance with no quibbles after answering a few questions about my follow ups and the dates of the cancer. There was no additional premium for the condition.”

Obviously every case is different but it’s good news that having skin cancer may not affect your ability to get covered for your travels.  However we do think it is a good idea to reassess your attitude towards the sun. We would certainly advocate practicing safe sun at all times – even in the UK.

 

 

The World First Wander. Places to see, things to do.

May 8th, 2015

The World First Wander. Places to see, things to do.

Holiday and Travel Destinations

Snowdon. Walk or train? You decide.

Welcome to another World First Wander, your weekly destination for the latest hot topics in travel and holidays. Each week Tristan Rothwell scours the internet to find out what the leading travel bloggers are talking about. This week it’s all about what to see and what to do on your travels…

We start off this week’s journey close to home in Leeds. Now it might not be first place you think of for a weekend break, but have a read of this post from @pckyourpassport and you might change your mind. Check out the Weekend guide: 10 awesome things to do in Leeds. Looks pretty cool wouldn’t you say?

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander – thoughts on destinations

May 1st, 2015

The World First Wander – thoughts on destinations

Mauritius - world first wander

Chamarel in Mauritius: top natural destination

Welcome to another installment of the world first wander , our weekly look at the hottest travel writing and blogging from around the globe. As always its compiled by Tristan Rothwell  as he takes us on a whistle stop tour of the internet’s best travel writing.

This week it’s all about the destination.

What makes us choose one destination over another? Everyone has different needs and wants, of course, so what’s perfect for one person may be hell for another. Some people like solitude, peace and quiet, deserted beaches and warms seas and while others like culture, vibrant cities, museums and nightlife. Then again, there are some for whom nightlife is everything and the resort with the best clubs and DJs comes first. How about you?

isles of scilly

This is getting Scilly. Would you? Oh yes!

How much does the weather influence your decision?  If you like it mild, but not too hot then it may well pay to take a look at our first blog, which is about The Scilly Isles.  They are situated 28 miles south west of Cornwall  – you can see the islands on a clear day from Lands End – and has the mildest climate of any area in the UK. The Beaches are truly stunning.  And they are only enhanced by the work of Oriel Hicks, an artist living on the islands who takes workshops about making beach art. What a great idea! For people with a low boredom threshold it’s a perfect way to spend the day, as The Family Adventure Project show in their lovely post Scilly Art from Nature with Oriel Hicks.

A little further afield now, to Spain, a massively popular destination among World First customers and travellers and holidaymakers in general. IF you are thinking about going Balaeric or Iberian this summer then you might want to have a quick scan through some of the basics in our quick guide to travelling in Spain.

quick guide to travelling in Spain

Paella. Delicious, but it’s only a regional speciality.

Next, if you think you know Spain, take a look at 49 things you didn’t know about Spain from Inside the Travel Lab. Which one will inspire you to book your next flight? 42 did it for me.

Moving even further afield we are now off to Xi’an, China,  with The Travel Hack. This latest post is a guest post from a presenter called Sophie. She lived in Xi’an  for just over a year and knows her stuff. As it shows in this post, An Insider’s Guide to Xi’an. 

Mauritius now. What does the name conjure up for you? Beautiful beaches? Blues skies? Of course, but there is more to this Island.  It’s a haven for stunning wildlife and was once home to the now extinct Dodo.  Despite the famous loss, there is still some amazing wildlife to see. Our next blog, from luxury travel company Original Travel, lay it all out for us in their latest guest post, Four must-see Mauritius nature spots.

Table Mountain Cape Town

Table Mountain. Cape Town’s towering icon. A must-see.

If you aren’t the nature type then how about a trip to Africa’s most exciting city, Cape Town? It’s just a 6.5 hour flight away from Mauritius but might as well be further. Cape Town is one of our favourite cities because it is colourful, vibrant and is always buzzing. Also, it’s got a little of everything – beaches, city life and the magnificent Table Mountain.

Need any more persuading? Try this, from The Cosy Traveller . 10 reasons why we all need to visit South Africa may well give you the push you’ve been waiting for.

Well that’s it for this week’s wander. We’ve covered a lot of ground!

Until next week

 

Tristan

How a weak Euro can help you save this summer

April 30th, 2015

 How a weak Euro can help you save this summer

weak Euro

Have you been looking at the Euro / Sterling exchange rate recently? If you haven’t then we’ll be happy to tell you that the pound is at its strongest against the Euro since the crash of 2008. From an all time low of around 1.04 Euros to the pound in January 2009, the pound is now worth around 1.4 Euros, the most it’s been worth in over 6 years.

What does that mean to you?

A favourable exchange rate means that you’ll get more Euros for your pound when you exchange them prior to travel and pay by cash or when you use a credit or debit card abroad. At the time of writing the rate you can expect when paying for items in Euros with your Visa card is around 1.34 Euros to the pound. That means if you buy something costing €100 you’ll pay around £72 for it (excluding fees). In 2009 the same item would have cost you around £99 or so. If you get a good exchange rate for your cash at the bank it may be even cheaper.

How to make your holiday cheaper

A favourable exchange rate is only useful if you are paying for items in the local currency. That means anything you book and pay for in sterling before you go will not be any cheaper. It’s bad news if you are going all inclusive as your meals and drinks in your hotel will already be paid for. But if you are going independently and buying food, accommodation, excursions and suchlike as you go – for example if your are touring, camping or staying in self catering – then you will be able to make the most of it.

The cost of holiday essentials

Whatever the exchange rate, it’s always good to know what you can expect to pay for typical holiday items once you get there. Each year the Post Office conducts a survey of typical holiday items in countries across the world. It’s a bit like the shopping cart that supermarkets use here in the UK except that it counts the cost of items like sun cream, bottled water and cigarettes. Our favourite holiday destination, Spain, is still among the cheapest places in Europe – something that’s great news for millions of us hoping for some cheap sun and sangria this summer.

The fantastic website pintprice.com has prices of a pint all over the world. It also details cities and areas of each country so you can make informed decisions about what it’s going to cost where. In Donsotia San Sebastian, for example you might expect to pay up to €5, whereas in Benidorm you may get it for as little as €1.04. It won’t tell you the price of accommodation, meals out or other holiday sundries but it can give you a good indication of local pricing, especially when it comes to tourist areas.

Save on independent travel cover too           

Some holiday essentials you’ll have to buy in the UK in sterling before you go – even if you travel independently. One of them is your holiday travel insurance. However, you’ll still be able to enjoy savings with our policies. We offer cover for the entire family, for extended families and for people with medical problems at a price that’s fair and can cover most conditions. That’s because we are specialist and do nothing but travel cover. Even if you’ve been quoted a price for your travel cover with your all inclusive you may still be able to save with us – especially if a member of your family has to make medical declarations.

Get a quote now.

 

The World First Wander: a city breaks special

April 24th, 2015

The World First Wander: a city breaks special

The World First Wander: a city breaks special

The ultimate city break? Paris, as always and forever.

Each week our social media man Tristan Rothwell scours the internet looking to bring you the cream of the crop from the world of travel blogs and writing. Welcome to this week’s installment! We have focussed on city breaks this week, with blogs on taking time out both here and abroad.

Got a week or a weekend to spare? What could be better than taking off to explore somewhere new on a city break? Whether a quick overnight or a long weekend, we have been offering travellers City Breaks travel insurance for over 40 years – so I thought we should see what the world of the blogger has in the way of tips, hints and ideas. What city should you head for? What do you do when you get there? What’s it to be?

New York? London? Paris? Munich?

Let’s look at Paris first. Read the rest of this entry »

Faldo to play his last. But will you play his best?

April 23rd, 2015

 Faldo to play his last. But will you play his best?

golf travel insurance

Nick Faldo announced recently that the Open Championship of 2015 at St Andrews will be the last time he will play in the event. Still, he’s not had a bad run. Faldo has won the Claret Jug three times. That includes a 1990 win at St Andrews. Add to that 3 Masters wins and it all adds up to one great career. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pynes Hill Exeter EX2 5WS

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