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The World First Wander

October 17th, 2014

October 17th

Here we are again. Another wander around the world of travel blogging with our Social Media Man, Tristan Rothwell.

SURF LESSON BUDE-10

Hello!

This week we are keeping it distinctly British flavoured. First up we are heading over to Woolacombe to try some surfing.  It’s a really healthy activity and is good for the soul. Woolacombe is as good a place to do it as anywhere as its beach is fabulous! I found a great article from Stuart and Kirstie, a husband and wife team who share an adventurous spirit, a passion for independent travel and three growing children. They wrote a great blog about surfing in Woolacombe for The Family Adventure Project.

Not everyone likes to be active on their holidays. So if staying still is your thing, what better than a tree house to relax in? It unusual, that’s for sure! Monica Stott AKA @thetravelhack, a full time blogger and founder of a website called ‘The Travel Hack’ wrote a great blog about staying in a cabin up a tree on a hillside in west Wales. It all sounds amazing. Her photos are pretty good too. Check out Staying in a tree house in Wales. What a location!

With half term looming in England and Wales (and the October holiday already underway in Scotland) we have been trying to work out what to do with the kids to keep them from driving us crazy. Mums do Travel, a blog from Gretta Schifano, an award-winning blogger and freelance journalist specialising in family travel, has put together a list of things to do in London during half term . Very useful if you are a parent or grandparent looking for new ways to keep them happy!

Another great place to visit in London is Portobello Market.  It’s a great place to lose a few hours and if your kids are anything like ours they will love looking at the stalls, rummaging around for bargains and trying all kinds of great street food. For inspiration have a look at Beverley Reinemann’s Pack Your Passport blog about Portobello Road market and Kensington Gardens.

Where next? Nortfolk. Did you know it’s the the 5th largest ceremonial county in England? I didn’t either. Well it is home to Sandringham so I suppose it stands to reason. But did you know that you can actually visit? Find opening times and prices HERE.

If that’s not a good enough reason to visit Norfolk then maybe you need to have a look at Why you should visit Norfolk Now! It has been written by Hannah Kacary, who is also known as ‘That Adventurer’ in her blog. You can follow her on twitter by searching for her twitter name, @adventureHan.

Finally, we’re going to depart these shores – but not in the way you might think. We’re going to saddle up and hit the road by bike.  Tim Moss is an adventurer on an epic scale. He’s climbed mountains, ridden a rickshaw over a thousand miles and swam the length of the river Thames. Currently he’s cycling from London to Sydney… crikey!!! Anyway, he’s compiled a list of the kit carried by 37 round the world cyclists.

Food for thought? Maybe. Until next week.

 

Keep calm and carry on! Advice for travelling with kids.

October 10th, 2014

Keep calm and carry on! Advice for travelling with kids.

Advice for travelling with kids

Advice for travelling with kids

Are we nearly there yet? We’ve all heard it a thousand times haven’t we? It’s so old hat now that it’s gone beyond a cliche. But if anything spells out what it’s like to travel with kids it’s those five little words. It says it all: I’m bored, I want to be there now, I’m fed up with travelling. Of course there’s nothing you can do to make the journey go faster or to get you there any quicker, but there are lots of ways of keeping them on your side until you get there.

So, seeing as half term is looming here in England and Wales and the October holiday starts today in many parts of Scotland, we thought it would be useful to offer some travel advice and tips for parents, grand parents, aunties and uncles travelling with young children. Good luck! Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander

October 10th, 2014

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

 

10th October 2014

Once again we take our weekly look at the best that the world of travel blogging and writing has to offer. It is compiled, as always, by our Social Media Man, Tristan Rothwell.

This week it’s all about lists, apart from my first recommendation, which is all about my beloved motherland, Cornwall, but does include lots of great ideas for places to stay, eat, do and experience this autumn. So it still counts.

The reason I wanted to include it is because autumn and winter are sometimes the best seasons to visit Cornwall. The sun might not shine as much as it does in summer but it’s still amazing. Anyway, this great piece from The Daily Telegraph’s Gill Charlton made me homesick so I have to include it.

Cornwall : A guide to Autumn Weekend Breaks

If you’re the type of traveller who prefers to travel a little further than Cornwall then perhaps you should read this post from Amanda, a girl who writes a blog called ‘A Dangerous Business’. She kicks off our lists with 9 Reasons you should never travel the world . See anything familiar in that?

However, many of you won’t let little things like strange food spoil your travel. Especially when there is no limit to how far you can go and how much you can see. Once you get the travel bug you can’t stop. So what about going the whole hog and heading for Everest Base Camp? Yes? First you’ll need to read Lindsay Buckley’s post that appeared on Michael Hodson’s blog ‘Go – See – Write’.  5 Essential tips for surviving the Everest base camp. I would love to do this. I wonder if wifi is available up there? Maybe I could persuade the boss to let me work from Everest.

If you are going to Base Camp then you’ll definitely want to take your camera. I wouldn’t go anywhere without mine, so I thought a few tips from National Geographic photography expert Susan Seubert would be welcome. After all, when you get home your snaps and memories are all important. If you are a keen snapper then this will be essential reading from Ytravel:  5 Travel Photography tips from a National Geographic Photographer.

How often do you travel? If it’s more then once a year then you should have  read of this next blog from The Frugal Travel Guy blogger Christine Krzyszton. She’s written about the Twenty Five Signs You’re Travelling Too Much. How many of them are you guilty of?

Don’t forget to let me know if you have seen or indeed written a great travel article – just leave a comment and let us know.

Until next week.

Tristan

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

October 8th, 2014

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

An Aire de Camping Car at Contis in Western France

If you could define what makes a perfect holiday, what would it be? Where would you go? How would you travel? What would you do when you get there? According to the results of our recent travel survey  46% of you like to take holidays in Europe and 40% of you like to travel independently.

So if you like having the freedom to explore Europe, taking your time getting from one place to another, staying in spectacular locations, meeting passionate locals and trying the very best food and produce – all the elements of enriching independent travel – then we have news for you.

You may have been doing it all wrong.

Why? Probably because you may not have heard of France Passion, a scheme that lets you stay for free on over 1800 sites around rural France. As guests of farmers, producers and wine growers the scheme gives you an invitation to stay on their property, try their very best produce, eat their home cooked food and feel welcomed like part of the family.

Sounds good? It is.

France Passion allows you to immerse yourself in the real France. You’ll meet people who genuinely want to meet you and who want to tell you about their lives, the history of their area and the things they grow. You’ll get to try their produce and find out more about France and its food than you ever could by visiting a tourist restaurant in a busy resort.

Stay for free? What’s the catch?

France Passion is a scheme solely for people who drive self contained motorhomes and camper vans. To join costs just £24.99, which buys you the list of destinations, details about each one and the facilities they offer. Each ‘host’ offers their land – for free – to pitch up overnight on the understanding that you’ll take an interest in what they do and will – at the very least – say hello and be friendly. Sometimes this may mean sampling their wine, eating at their bistro or buying a few bits of their home grown produce. There’s really no hardship in that, is there? It’s a small price to pay for a free overnight. Don’t worry about your French either – over 450 of the hosts speak English!

Motorhoming isn’t what you think it is

You might think that motor homing and camping isn’t for you. But things have changed in recent years. Motorhomes have now become more user friendly than ever and include showers, toilets and wash basins with options for satellite TV, cookers, microwaves, central heating and every single mod con you can think of.  And with a good amount of storage and fixed beds that don’t have to be made every night you really could be in a home from home every night of your trip.

It’s no wonder there are around 250,000 motorhomes registered in the UK. It’s a great way to be an independent traveller!

Motorhomes aren’t cheap, it’s true, but once you have made the investment you’ll be able to take off at a moment’s notice. All you need is an Annual Multi Trip travel insurance policy and France – and the rest of Europe – is your oyster.

Why France is fantastic for campers and motorhomes

France is a favourite country to visit for us Brits, and we are not alone in enjoying Gallic hospitality. France is also the world’s most visited country, with over 83 million visitors landing on French soil in 2013.

Happily, France is a very camping-friendly country too. Almost every town has a municipal camp site where it is possible to stay cheaply with basic facilities. There are also countless other private sites ranging from huge 5 star corporate sites with pools, spas and all kinds of facilities to ‘a la ferme’ campsites with nothing more than a tap and a loo.

As well as the France Passion scheme there is also a network of Aires de Camping Car where motorhomes and camper vans can pitch up overnight. They offer a place to fill up with water, empty tanks and service all the essentials. They cost anything from nothing to around €15 per night and are offered by the local community because they see the benefit of having motorhomes coming to their area. Invariably motorhomers – like any other visitor – will spend money in local shops and restaurants – so benefitting the town as a whole.

Once you’re here you might as well stay!

While we have no figures of the number of Brits heading off to over-winter in their motorhomes, we do know that many thousands of migrant Brits end up in places like southern Spain, Italy or Greece on extended trips to escape the British winter. And why not? Once you’re over the channel and ambling through France you might as well follow the sun south. If you have no responsibilities back home it’s an idyllic option for adventurous travellers.

A World First Single Trip travel insurance policy will cover you for up to six months if you are up to 89 years of age. It can also cover you for medical conditions and over 150 sports and activities.

Fancy a motorhome adventure?

See our travel insurance guide for European long stays.

Here is a useful guide to motorhomes from the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Buy the book! Vicarious Books are the UK publisher for France Passion and also publish a guide to the Aires de Camping Car in France, Spain and Portugal.

Get a quote for a World First travel insurance policy now.

The World First Wander

October 4th, 2014

The World First Wander

The World First Wander - Tristan Rothwell

Tristan Rothwell

A weekly look around the internet at what’s hot in the world of travel and travel blogging with our social media man, Tristan Rothwell.

Friday 3rd October.

It’s been another busy week here. Can you believe its October already? The clocks will soon go back, then it’ll be dark each side of the working day. Next thing we know it’ll be Christmas!

But never fear. I have searched far and wide to bring you some of the best travel posts of the last week or so.

One of my favourite UK based travel writers is Ana Silva O’Reilly, who is also known as Mrs Around the World. Her blog has a distinctly British flavour, which is perhaps why I like it.  Ana is planning some new trips for this autumn which you can check out by taking a look at her  Top 5 destinations for Autumn 2014.  I am glad to hear she will be heading to Cornwall this year!

Another firm favourite here at World First Towers is Zoë Dawes, The Quirky Traveller. If you are a foodie and like travel then you’ll love this blog.  Traditional South Tyrol food and wine with a gastronomic twist has some fabulous photos and it’s made me hungry just writing about it.

What next? Well, I really enjoyed reading the latest from Emma Gray because it wasn’t just a bog standard post about where Emma had been. Unusually for travel bloggers Emma talked about what she had been reading too. I read a lot but it did remind that I have a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac that I have yet to open. Best get on with it.

Emma’s Travel Tales – My September Travel Blogging round up

As well as reading I love to listen to music. As I type I am listening to some western swing from the 30’s but I love it all jazz, blues, heavy metal and hip hop (especially of the old school variety). So it was inevitable that I should love reading the blog by Grumpy Traveller  (AKA David Whitley) about New York Musical Hotspots. A hip hop tour with Grandmaster Caz? A jazz tour of Harlem? I’d be in heaven.

Have you ever been to the Eden Project? If you have yet to make the journey down to Cornwall to see it, I urge you to. It is an amazing place. If you need convincing then take a peek at the final blog for this week. It’s Travelocafe’s latest, a post about Eden Project and the largest indoor rainforest in the world. I lovethe photograph at the end. Food for thought?

I hope it gives you a little inspiration for your autumn travels.

Until next week!

Tristan.

Travel with a medical condition. Share the love!

September 29th, 2014

Travel with a medical condition. Share the love!

Travel with a medical condition

Travel with a medical condition

As medical travel insurance specialists we speak to a lot of people everyday who love to travel but have medical conditions. While their conditions might mean that certain aspects of life are difficult, it isn’t always that which makes travel tough. It’s the cost. Why? Because they can’t find an insurer who is prepared to cover them or will only cover them for an impossibly high premium. Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander

September 26th, 2014

The World First Wander September 26th 2014.

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

Tristan Rothwell, our social media man, is someone who loves to travel. And when he’s not travelling himself he’s absorbing himself in the world of travel by seeking out the internet’s best blogs and travel sites. So let him transport you with another look at the best on the web. This week we are staying closer to home than usual with our wanderings…

It’s been a busy week here. I have been keeping up with some  truly inspirational and helpful travel bloggers and writers.

First up this week is a brilliant tip from Johnny Jet that I thought would be helpful to those of our customers who travel with medication – after all, we do specialise in medical travel insurance! Anyway, it’s this. And it’s quite inspired! Johnny Jets travel tip of the day – photograph your prescriptions.

On our own blog this week we wrote about sending kids off with a smile on their gap year. Sooner or later going on a big adventure is going to include some backpacking, which I love to do. So when I found Kash Bhattacharya’s recent post Backpacking in style across England  I knew we should include it. Kash includes plenty of really amazing looking spots to give you inspiration. My only grumble is that he didn’t visit as far south as Devon. Maybe next time?

Our friends over at A Luxury Travel Blog wrote a blog this week, giving us 5 reasons why the North of England is awesome. Who am I to argue? It’s beautiful up there, and if you have never been, take it from me that it will be worth it.

Not wanting to miss out our beloved Southwest  of England I spotted a nice article in the Telegraph Travel Site about  Wild Camping on Dartmoor. There is some great advice in there, including how to go to the loo in the wild!

Whether you are in the wilds of Dartmoor or have travelled to the beach for the day, it’s important to remember to tidy up after yourself. That’s why #2minutebeachclean is one of my favourite websites. It’s a brilliantly simple concept that is having amazing results. We did our bit on holiday in Mousehole with our 7 and 4 year old and they loved it. We left the beach feeling great! If everyone did the same, just imagine the difference it would make!!!

Out of the country and into London now. It’s one of those place you either love of hate, but never any doubt that you’ll always have something to do. A couple of weeks ago I included an article about East Street Market and this week we are Bermondsey bound to Maltby Street Market  with A Lady in London. It looks like it’s well worth checking out – that seafood stall looks delicious.

Well that’s it for this week. But don’t forget to let us know if you have seen or written a great travel post. We’re always on the lookout for great blogs to include.

Before I go I just want to wish my brother (and boss) the very best of luck in this weekend’s Dawlish Triathlon – I know he and Kate have trained hard for it.

Until next week

Tristan

Flying south for winter. A travel insurance guide.

September 24th, 2014

Flying south for winter. A travel insurance guide.

A travel insurance guide

Flying south for winter

It’s that time of year when you might be starting to think about the annual migration south to escape the worst of the British winter. If you are one of the lucky ones who can, why wouldn’t you? Average high temperatures on the Costa del Sol in January, for example, are right up there at around 16 degrees with an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day. You might have to forgo your winter fuel allowance if you are over retirement age but would it really be so bad?

Before you go, don’t forget about your travel cover. It’s just as important for long stays as it is for the annual summer holiday!

Our guide to travel insurance for European long stays

1                      Do you need travel insurance?

While anyone can go anywhere without cover, we wouldn’t recommend it. A travel insurance policy will protect you against all kinds of disasters if you are spending a long time abroad, even if you have an EHIC card.

This EHIC card will give you access to basic medical healthcare in many parts of Europe (see our brief guide below) but it won’t cover repatriation or anything other than routine. In some places it won’t cover the cost of an ambulance! So if you need medication, long term care or out-patient care, you may have to pay for it. Your policy will also give you access to 24 hour emergency assistance and protect you if you lose your luggage, mislay your passport, have an accident, or have any of your possessions stolen. With some policies we’ll also cover your gadgets, valuables and even unauthorised calls on your mobile if it gets stolen. A travel policy is peace of mind if things go wrong. And they can.

For more information on using the EHIC card in Spain, CLICK HERE.

2                      Your access to healthcare in Europe

In Spain (and the Canary Islands), British citizens are entitled you to the same level of complimentary medical care as the Spanish locals receive. So you won’t have to pay the medical bills yourself in the unlikely event that you need urgent treatment while you’re away.

However, your EHIC won’t cover everything. It will not cover ongoing medical care, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation. So if you need any kind of ongoing treatment, be prepared to pay for it. And be prepared for big bills if you don’t have travel insurance. According to figures from the Association of British Insurers fixing a broken arm in Spain can cost as much as £11,000!!!

In Portugal it is much the same. The healthcare system consists of three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (NHS), special social health insurance schemes (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. As a foreign visitor from an EU country with an EHIC card you are entitled to the same level of care that any Portuguese citizen is entitled to that is free under the NHS system. However, your EHIC may only cover basic health issues such as sickness and accidents and can only be used at state run surgeries and hospitals. As with Spain the EHIC won’t cover ongoing medical care, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation.

In France, things are slightly different. Your EHIC will cover around 30% – 40% of the cost of treatment as an in-patient in an approved hospital (state hospital or recognised private clinic).  You will also be billed for the balance as well as a fixed daily hospital charge of around €16. Funding for other medical care – such as a trip to the Doctors or the purchase of prescription medicines – works on a pay first, claim later basis. Prescribed medicines are between 35% and 65% subsidised by your EHIC, while the cost of ambulances and out-patient procedures is not covered in any part.

For other countries, see our Quick Guides on our website HERE.

3                      What policy should you go for?

We have a range of policies for people who want to stay away for the winter. For those up to the age of 89, our Single Trip policy will cover you for up to six months abroad. For those over the age of 89 and up to the age of 100 the maximum duration is 31 days for a single trip policy.

But who’s to say a little trip back at Christmas wouldn’t be nice?

However, if you plan on going for a few weeks at a time (up to 31 or 62 days) on a few occasions over the winter, then an Annual Multi Trip policy will be right for you. You can go away as often as you like to multiple destinations – so the world is your oyster!

Then again, if you plan to take off on a trip to multiple countries, our Long Stay policy may be right for you. Anyone from 18 to 65 can head off with us for up to 18 months.

4                      Declaring your medical conditions

Here at World First we cover 1000s of medical conditions. So don’t be afraid of the costs you might incur by declaring all your conditions for a long stay abroad. As specialist insurers we have seen it all and offer very competitive quotes for all kinds of conditions. In many cases we make travel possible for people living with medical conditions.

5                      Taking medication for your trip

With our travel insurance policies your medication will be insured if you misplace it. But you will need to produce a copy of your prescription if you lose it, so it’s always wise to take a copy with you. If you are staying for long periods though you may have to ask your GP for a repeat prescription. However, don’t forget that GPs are only allowed to prescribe for up to 3 months ahead. This could mean sourcing medication when you are abroad, which also means you should always remember to take that copy of your prescription with you. It will also make it easier to get through customs if you are stopped and have to explain yourself.

Also, it’s worth remembering that if you don’t pay for your prescriptions in the UK it doesn’t mean you automatically get them free abroad or can get them at all.

For more information read our ‘Sunbird’s Survival Guide’ or call us on 0845 90 80 161.

 

Don’t be a grieving gap year parent (or grandparent)!

September 22nd, 2014
Don’t be a grieving gap year parent (or grandparent)!

Gap Year Travel

How to wave them off with a smile: advice for parents and grandparents sending kids off on a gap year.

Legions of parents and grandparents will wave their kids and grandkids goodbye this year as they set off on their gap years to find themselves, have a little fun after the stress of exams or university and see the world in all its wondrous glory.

It’s understandable that, as parents, you should be worried about them.

But rather than wibble and wail that your little babies are leaving home, get involved and help them to make it the trip of their lives. The more you support and encourage them, the better travelling will be for them and the more confident you’ll be when you wave them off that they will come home safe and well.

Good luck! Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander

September 19th, 2014

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

September 20th 2014

Our weekly wander around the internet and the world of travel and travel blogging with Tristan Rothwell.

It’s been a busy week here at World First HQ, with lots of people booking holidays. Presumably to banish those “end of the summer” blues.

Mind you, if you have been booking a holiday I really hope your journey doesn’t start out like this one!  Things can go dreadfully wrong when you are travelling, which is why I decided to kick this week’s World First Wander off with a tale of near disaster… well, a tale of incompetence anyway.

My most embarrassing travel day ever  from The One Mile at a Time Travel Blog.

You wouldn’t let it happen to you, would you?

What if you do get stuck at an airport alone? It does happen. What you need is a friend! But if you are a bit shy about these things, let Christine Kaaloa aka Grrrltraveler furnish you with her tips on How to make friends when you travel alone.

So why travel? To learn and grow as a person? Absolutely. That’s why I love this next post from Shivya Nath. It’s all about how she manages to combine work, life and how she travels. Fascinating stuff. One year of travelling without a home

When it comes to observations on flying and travel this is one of the best I have ever read. It was written by Peter Jon Lindberg and I guarantee that if you have been on a plane more than once you will have met some of the people described in The plane truth : you don’t really know someone till you have flown together.

Moving onto something almost everybody loves… a drop of vino. I found “Exploring the tempting South Africa wine region” on Travel Addicts . It certainly looks like a tempting tipple to me – and I am sure  a lot of our readers would love it too!

A bit closer to home now for some of the best spots to eat in London as hunted down by @travelocafe.  I like the idea of eating my way around a city. If you do too,  check out their post Eating our way around London in the search for the best food in the city.

If there is one thing I love more than eating it’s music. I am always at my happiest when sat playing my guitar hence, including Hilarye Fuller’s  recent blog post on a trip to Nashville. I am really jealous of this one I must say! Have a read of Backstage tour of The Grand Ole Opry if you love music too!

I am going to finish off with something from this blog. But it’s not a post about our Travel Insurance! This one is about why my brother (and boss) and his wife Kate are doing the Dawlish Triathlon on the 28th of this month.  They are raising money for The Children’s Trust so please take 2 minutes to have a look. If you can’t sponsor them, please hit the share button and help to spread the word.

Click here to see the post.

Thanks!

Tristan

P.S. I hope you have enjoyed this week’s World First Wander. Let me know which posts you liked most and let us know if there’s anything you’d like to see here too! Until next week.

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