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The World First Wander: travel blogs we love this week

May 31st, 2016

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

It’s been another great week in travel and travel writing. As always it’s been tricky deciding what to keep in. However, in the interest of democracy, we have worked doubly hard to find something for everyone. So whether you are young or not-so-young, a seasoned traveller or a first time backpacker, read on!

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We start off this week with regular visitors to the World First Wander, our friends over at Hand Luggage only. They write interesting travel articles that are always accompanied by brilliant photography. That’s why we love their blog. Some people don’t need a reason to travel, but others do, so if you fall into the camp of the latter, this first post may help you along. It was written by Yaya, the Hand Luggage Only’s resident dance ninja, Cambridge graduate and cookie monster. She’s also a fine travel writer: 10 Reasons why you should travel more this year.

Also well worth checking out from Hand Luggage Only is: 14 Important tips to stay safe when travelling!

Thinking of travelling more than once this year? Then check out our Annual travel insurance policy . It will save you ££££ if you are a regular traveller.

Backpacking in a Wheelchair

This next post, from James Ballardie from Look at all the Poor People is, without doubt, our favourite travel blog post this week.  It’s a tale of adventure, naturally, but also includes tales of the kindness that people show other humans, and shows us that you should never judge a book by its cover. It’s a great read. Things I learnt whilst backpacking around the world in a wheelchair.

Using travel to overcome personal limitations

Most of us have a personal limitation of some sort, whether it’s a fear of flying or a phobia of creepy crawlies. Shyness is one thing that, apparently, a lot of travellers suffer with, We see them tweeting and creating amazing Facebook status updates and they seem to ooze confidence, but sometimes the reality is slightly different to what It may seem. That’s where our next post comes in. It’s from Travel on the Brain and is all about combatting shyness through travel. Have a read of 10 ways to overcome shyness through travel.

Destinations

Let’s take a look at some travel bloggers talking about destination choices now. First up we head to a firm favourite amongst us British travellers, Spain

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Our first destination guide this week comes from Adventure in You. It was written by Tom and Anna, a couple who are currently based in the UK but are planning on going to Ecuador next, according to their blog. They have written A guide to planning your dream trip to Spain.  As they say “Spain is probably one of our favourite places on Earth”. They are not alone. According to a recent article in the Daily Express, Spain has recently had a huge spike in visitors from the UK, so if you are among the many planning to travel to Spain this summer it’s well worth a read.

A bit closer to home – Northern Ireland

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While Spain may be perfect for some, others may prefer something a little closer to home and slightly more rugged. It doesn’t get much more rugged than Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast which the team here at World First thought looked stunning. This blog was written by another of our favourite bloggers and regular visitor to these pages, Heather on her Travels. Have a read of The Star of the Coast – The Giant’s Causeway.

New York New York

Ever popular and always amazing, New York is a magnet for tourists from all over the world, but if you are planning a first time visit to the big apple then it can be a bewildering place! But with a bit of help from The Travelettes and their Top 10 Travel Tips for New York City blog post you will soon be virtually a local, ish.

Rwanda

Now you are probably thinking Rwanda??? It’s not the first place you think of for a trip but when our next travel blogger writes we always take notice. As The Quirky Traveller says “Rwanda is quite simply one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited”, and if you follow the blog you will know that’s saying something as she has been to a lot of countries. Take a look! 5 Compelling Reasons to Visit Remarkable Rwanda.

For the adventurous souls

We love adventure, and every year we insure lots of people doing all sorts of adventurous activities including bouldering, canyoning , glacier walking and jousting….yes, really, jousting. The list of activities we can insure is a long one, so when it comes to adventure travel we can help,

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If you are looking for adventure but are unsure about where to go, our next post could be just the ticket. It’s from Total Travel Guide and should give you a few ideas for adventure travel destinations and what they have to offer, from skiing in Canada to climbing in Arizona. Inspiration aplenty here in 10 destinations for adventure sports lovers.

Holiday reading and planning: where to find the very best wild swims in Spain.

May 26th, 2016

Holiday reading and planning: where to find the very best wild swims in Spain.

Holiday reading and planning: where to find the very best wild swims in Spain.

Many millions of us will head to Spain again this year for a holiday of fun in the sun. It’s a well-worn path. And there’s a good reason for that. Spain is hot, fun and offers a great deal besides the Costas. It is a country of great contrasts, of mountains and rivers, lakes and streams. And, if you know where to look, lots of wild and beautiful places.

So if you like the sound of finding a little of the other side of Spain, then we have some essential summer reading for you in this, the first of a series of blogs about books to take with you on your hols. The book we are talking about is WILD SWIMMING SPAIN. It is a wonderful book full of colour, great writing and inspirational photographs. It’s a great one to flick through before you go to get in the holiday mood. It will also prove invaluable once you get there. And if you let it guide you it could well take you to some truly remarkable, off the beaten track places.

If it doesn’t get your heart racing with the possibilities of seeing some new locations and doing some great outdoor swimming, nothing will.

The wild swimming thing…

The wild swimming thing… a photo of people wild swimming in spain

Wild swimming (which used to be called just swimming but now refers to any kind of swimming outside of swimming pools) has become a bit of a thing in recent years. Thanks to authors like Daniel Start, the publisher and author of Wild Swimming, people are diving in to rock pools, lakes, rivers and streams to get wet and have some serious fun. As an activity swimming is about as good for you as it gets because it’s great aerobic exercise and it’s non-impact, which means it won’t kill your knees like running can. And of course it’s fun.  What better way to spend a sunny day on your holidays than to walk to a swimming spot, take a picnic and laze in the sun? It’s like an elysian vision of what it means to be free. Just imagine doing that by a gently flowing river in Spain!

Spain, of course, is full of great places to swim and the Wild Swimming Spain book will guide you right to the very best of them. There are more than 150 wild swimming spots dotted around the whole of the country, so wherever you go you’ll find somewhere to take a dip. There are even a whole bunch of spots around Marbella and Malaga where you can swim off those hot days down on the coast. All you have to do is jump in the hire car, follow the directions and you’re away… your own slice of wild swimming heaven. And, of course, unlike the activities’ chiller, more northerly cousin – dipping toes in the UK’s wild spots that Daniel Start wrote about in his first book, Wild Swimming – swimming in the lakes and rivers of Spain in the summer is hot hot hot!!!

Staying safe on your open water swims

Of course, here at World First we’re always concerned for your wellbeing. So it is important to remember some important rules when it comes to wild swimming. The first is to only ever swim within your ability and – if you aren’t sure about somewhere – always err on the side of caution, especially with kids. And do not, under any circumstances, swim when you are under the influence of drink or drugs, obviously!

The Wind Swimming book has lots of important safety advice and a set of rules to follow. They also offer lots of really useful advice at www.wildswimming.co.uk/health-safety to help you stay well and enjoy your swims as much as possible.

Going wild? Don’t forget to tell us!!

Our policies cover hundreds of outdoor and activities, including wild (or open water) swimming. Just don’t forget to tell us before you go so we can make sure we’ve got it on cover. Wild swimming is covered by our Activity Pack 2 and is not included in standard policies. Better to be safe than sorry if the lure of swimming in a mountain lake is too much for you!!!

BUY THE BOOK NOW

GET A QUOTE NOW

 

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs and blogging

May 24th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs and blogging

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

It’s been another great week in travel and travel writing and, as always, it’s been hard to decide which travel blogs to include. This week we have worked hard to find something for everybody. So whether you are young or not-so-young, a seasoned traveller or a first time backpacker, read on!

travel blogs and blogging

We start off this week looking at a great blog post from Vicky Flip Flop on how she has afforded to travel over the years. Travel costs so it’s good to get some ideas on how to raise funds for that epic journey. Vicky is someone who has worked hard over the years so she deserves the title of ‘our go to person’ this week. Read How I’ve afforded travel.

Finding that elusive travel – work – life balance

The World First Wander: the best of this week's travel blogs and blogging

Do you struggle to get that work life balance right? Many of us find it’s an ongoing battle that will continue as long as we continue to travel. So it’s refreshing to hear from someone who feels like they got it sorted. Success ! I found my travel-work-life balance (for now).

Now we have money and balance let’s head to…….

The World First Wander

In fact let’s stay in the UK for a while. Our first stop is London our capital. Compared to a weekend trip to Venice or Spain London might not seem that exotic, but for us in the South West it’s a popular weekend destination because it’s got everything: shopping, museums, galleries, tourist spots, markets and a heady mix of cultures. But if the prospect makes you feel daunted, read How to plan the perfect weekend in London from The Travel Hack.

Winchester

As the London Kiwi, Emma the writer of our next blog post says, Winchester is just an hour away from London and is well worthy of a visit whatever the weather. However when Emma went it was raining…. So it’s all about visiting Winchester in the rain. Even so it’s a great place to go. 10 Reasons you should visit Winchester in the rain.

Heading North

We visit Edinburgh next on our whistle stop tour of the UK!  The aptly named travels with kilt gives us the lowdown on Scotland’s capital on a budget in this next post Edinburgh on a budget – finding value in the capital.

Everybody needs an escape plan

the best of this week's travel blogs

If you live in London (or anywhere for that matter) the chances are you are planning an escape at some point during the summer months. What better place to escape to than Rio de Janeiro, especially whilst the Olympics are on. That’s exactly what The Little Backpacker is planning on doing this summer in this next post, Escaping London.

It’s all in the planning

When it comes to planning a holiday the devil is in the detail – as they say – so it’s always good to see how other travellers go about planning their trips. One travel blogger planning a trip to uncharted territory (for her) is My Travel Monkey, who is soon to be heading off to Burgundy in France. For tips on what to do and what to pack check out Planning our family road trip to Burgundy France.

Planning for a trip to Disney

Planning for a trip to Disney

Disney is a perennial favourite among young families. Shushana, one of the World First team, was lucky enough to go as a child and said “Disney was my ultimate fairy-tale dream; it was everything that encapsulated being a child for me. I felt like I was part of a World that was made just for me, especially for me and nothing else will and can ever give me the feeling of absolute glitter that Disney does!”

You definitely need to plan though, and as Mini Travellers say, “wing it at your peril”, so if you are thinking of a trip to Disney this is the perfect post:  Disney with kids.

2nd one from the Travel Hack this week

While on the subject of family travel, it could be a good time to talk about tips on how to travel with a baby. For some it will be essential reading, especially for a few of us new parents here at World First. So we hand it back to the Travel Hack again to hear how she’s been getting on with young George. All her newly found knowledge is here in The best travel hacks for travelling with a baby.

Staying in a villa this summer?

Staying in a villa this summer?

What’s not to love about a Villa holiday? Pool, a sun lounger all your own, and the freedom to come and go as you please. But it doesn’t always go to plan. After getting scammed the writer of our next blog post has a list of essentials to stick to in order to avoid the same thing happening again. Take a look at My family villa holiday essentials from Mummy travels and make note!

For when the sun puts it hat on

For when the sun puts it hat on

Long gone are the days of smearing yourself in baby oil and heading out into the sun until you are baked. We have written about practicing “Safe Sun” here on the blog a few times before and it’s really important. So, for those who are slip slop happy and aren’t always taking the time to do it properly, here’s Jenography with 10 Places you’re forgetting to put sunscreen.

That’s it for this week. Until next time!

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

May 17th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

How to plan your first trip to Europe

We start off this week with a look at the planning stage and how best to turn those seeds of a travel plan into reality. Jess from Love and London has a great video to help you get the most out of a trip to Europe for us to kick things off this week. Make sure you read the comments too as there are some really great tips there too.

What about backpacking?

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

If you are thinking of heading off on your first backpacking holiday then this next post may well be just the ticket. It’s from Australian blogger Little Grey Box. We really liked the advice about high tech gadgets not being essential. It’s easy to think that your travelling experience will be all the poorer for not having the latest trendy gadget but the truth of it is that it won’t. In fact, it could well be the opposite. Anyway, here they are: Must know tips for first time backpackers.

Group travel – because travelling with friends is fun

Sharing the sights and wonders with a group of friends can be really rewarding. And it can make a lot of sense economically too. So here’s a post from Travelettes ( we have featured them quite a bit recently) about Why group travel is the new way to travel. And, of course, the same rules apply, whatever your age and experience. Group travel can be both enriching and exciting!

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

Travel: it may just change your life

Travel can be a life changing activity for many. You might not get to Machu Pichu or get a Maori tattoo on your sixtieth birthday but even so, any trip has the power to change the way you see the world.

So if you feel like a change and want to be inspired by one man’s sadness to world riches story, take a look at Travel can change your life From The Planet D.

Stay Positive

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

Talking of being positive, this next blog, from English Mum is all about the positivity. We liked it for the guidance it gives – and let’s face it we could always use some from time to time. So check out the Positive Life Plan  and be positive!!!

As Frank Sinatra said……Regrets, I’ve had a few!

We all have regrets of some sort. But when it comes to travel we can always learn from others who make the mistakes before us. That’s one of the best things about the blogging community. They share everything! Go Backpacking has done just this in the latest post, my biggest travel regrets. The philosophy is simple: better to regret doing something badly than not doing it at all.

If travel can change you so will blogging about it

Thinking about starting a travel blog? Do it! We love finding new blogs every week, and we particularly like them when they come from our customers or people who our customers can relate to. After all, experiences are there for sharing, right? And what better way to share them than by writing a blog about it. And, believe it or not, keeping a blog at the back of your mind when you are travelling can really help to enhance the experience. As proven in this next blog, Travel blogging can help you experience destinations differently from As We travel.

Make sure its epic

As the opening line in our next blog post states “Every trip you take in your lifetime should feel like a grand adventure.” Absolutely. Who could find fault with that? There’s no point in travelling if it’s going to be uneventful (unless that’s exactly what you are looking for, of course). And the way to do it? Make it epic!!!

Perhaps time to take advice from another of our favourite bloggers The enjoyable rut and A guide to making every trip an adventure.

Post travel blues

Once the journey is over it can be tough to come back down to earth. The jolt, sadly, is inevitable for many of us. But Emma, from Emma’s travel tales, has some ideas for helping… but you might have to remember to do them before you rush out of the house in the first place. Her last bit of advice involves doing it all again, and that’s something we are fully in favour of. So book up again and give yourself something new to get excited about… and then go and do the washing up….

How to ease the pain of returning from a trip.

That’s it for our favourite blog posts this week. Hopefully there’s something there to inspire you to get out there yourself. Let us know which is your favourite by leaving us a comment below…

Until next week.

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

May 6th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

Well, its finally looking like summer may be on its way. About time too, we say. It’s spurred on lots of travellers recently as we’ve seen unprecedented numbers booking all sorts of exciting travel adventures and, of course, packing their trusty travel insurance.

Get out in the wild

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

It’s always difficult to know where to start with the Wander, and this week was no different. However we thought it’d be time to take a look at camping to kick of our week’s adventures. Or, more specifically, wild camping. This is the wilder side of tenting adventures that has its good and bad sides. The good points are that you head off into the unknown for a real adventure, the down sides are that you can’t do it just anywhere

Have a read of our first post this week from space in your case and get out there Wild Camping – a survival guide for families.

Then take a look at the reality of the rules with Camping Wild: the choices we make.

For the posh campers

At the other end of the spectrum we have “Glamping” which, as the name implies, is glamorous camping. Quite a few of the team here lean this way, partly due to the lack of any kind of luxury in the wild. So, if you are the same way, you’ll love this next post from The Travelletes with their top ten glamping destinations.

How to survive getting there

travel blogs

Some of the locations above are going to involve going long haul. Some love it, some hate it. What about you? With a bit of help from the Travelista we think anybody may be able to learn to love flying long haul. So read and enjoy How to survive a long haul flight.

One for the Solo Female travellers

The World First Wander

Globe Trotter Guru has been a regular visitor to the World  First Wander since we first discovered her blog. This is because it’s always full of top tips for all types of travellers. This week it’s aimed at the solo female traveller, specifically one planning to one of the world’s travel hotspots – Iceland. It seems everybody is talking about it at the moment and for good reason. It’s an amazing place and it seems Iceland really is perfect for female solo travellers.

Heading North?

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Scotland is always popular. It’s far enough away to feel like we are abroad without actually having to go abroad. While it might be 9 hours by road for us in the south, it’s only 90 minutes by air from Exeter to Glasgow. So let’s head North and see what Scotland has to offer. The Travelling Savage begins with Planning a trip to Scotland part 0 closely followed by Part One  which gives us the lowdown on when is best to actually go.

More Northern Adventure

Next up is Hand Luggage Only, another popular visitor to the World First Wander. The blog is brilliant – always packed with the best photography and information that we want to read. Check out their latest blog post, 10 things you need to know about visiting St Andrews in Scotland.

Food glorious food? A bit too glorious in Rob’s case!

Diet! Just the very word will strike fear into the heart of some people! Somebody is always on a diet in our offices and it’s not helped by people bringing in cakes to celebrate birthdays ( it’s a sack able offence if they don’t). People can’t keep their hands off it. It’s a similar problem lots of travellers find. There is just too much on offer!

Rob from another of our favourite blogs,The Bimblers, is going on a diet – find out why by having a read of Why I am starting a diet on Monday.  Good luck Rob.

That’s it for this week’s World First Wander.

Until next week.

Carbon monoxide: how to avoid the silent killer on your holidays

May 4th, 2016

Carbon monoxide: how to avoid the silent killer on your holidays

holidays

How safe is your holiday apartment’s fire? Be safe. Carry a CO alarm.

Some things can never be taken lightly. And one of them is carbon monoxide (CO). This toxic, odourless gas is responsible for killing about 40 people annually in the UK. Each year we hear horror stories of people being killed by it and the court cases that follow. In one case in 2015 a giant tour operator was found to have breached their duty of care after two young children were found dead in their holiday apartment in Corfu.

This is serious. No matter how reliable your tour operator, how well regarded the hotel or how sure you might be that you will be safe on your holiday, you can never be 100% sure that the appliances – gas fires, boilers and wood burners – are totally safe. So while many of us wouldn’t ask to see service certificates or check the dates of services on boilers when we arrive at a holiday destination, there’s no way of knowing if an appliance is dangerous.

How can you guarantee you will be safe?

Take a CO alarm. It’s as simple as that. While The Foreign and Commonwealth Office doesn’t recommend that British nationals travelling abroad should take carbon monoxide alarms with them when they travel (although they do signpost the ‘Be Alarmed’ campaign), it seems to be the only way of being sure that there is no risk. Carbon monoxide alarms are relatively cheap (around £15) and will emit a shrill alarm if there is carbon monoxide present in the air.

What CO alarm to go for

CO alarms can be bought at all good DIY stored and from some supermarkets as well as from energy suppliers. There are lots available online too. Look for alarms marked with the ‘EN50291′ standard. This may be written as BSEN 50291 or EN50291 and with the ‘CE’ mark, both of which should be found on the packaging and product.

How to use your CO alarm abroad

There are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to placing CO alarms. They need to be placed in rooms where there are appliances such as boilers or fires. They should be placed at head height so they test the air you are breathing. They should not be placed too near fires or appliances and definitely not in cupboards or near steam or on the ceiling as with smoke detectors.

If the alarm sounds, what should you do?

Firstly, make sure you know the difference between a low battery warning and an alarm. The sounds will be different.

If you are on holiday and your CO alarm sounds, open windows and get out of the property immediately. If you feel unwell (nausea, dizziness, vomiting or headache) seek immediate medical attention. Alert the landlord or hotel representative. Demand to be moved and request that an engineer or maintenance person is called immediately. Do not be fobbed off with excuses – opening windows is not good enough defence.

How do you know if you are suffering from CO poisoning?

CO is odourless and tasteless. So the first thing you may notice is feeling unwell. There are six symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness

If you suspect CO may be entering the place you are staying because you are experiencing some of these symptoms, get into the fresh air first, then  seek medical attention.

Camping? CO kills on the campsite too

People become ill each year on camping trips when using BBQs (disposable or otherwise) because they use them without enough ventilation. This happens when they take a BBQ into a tent or cook over a gas stove or hob in the enclosed space of a tent or camper van. Disposable BBQs are especially dangerous as they emit CO long after their usefulness as cooking instruments wanes. If in doubt, never take a BBQ into a tent, never cook unless there is adequate ventilation and never use cooking appliance or BBQs as heat sources on cold nights.

TAKE AN ALARM.

 

5 reasons to visit Panama

April 27th, 2016

5 reasons to visit Panama

Caribbean Panama. Clear sea. Cool houses. What's not to love about this colourful country?

Caribbean Panama. Clear sea. Cool houses. What’s not to love about this colourful country?

The Panama Papers have revealed all kinds of murky financial corruption among the global elite. But don’t let that sully your opinion of this captivating little country. Here are five fabulous reasons to visit.

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

April 26th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best of this week’s travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

It’s been another busy week in the travel blogosphere. So let’s get straight to it. This week we kick off with some great tips for travelling with little ones in tow. Or perhaps that should be: travelling with little ones in transit. Because our first article is about jetting off during the first trimester of pregnancy.

travel blogs

Those first twelve weeks of pregnancy can be a tough time for expectant mums-to-be. Not least because of the dreaded morning sickness. So what’s it like to travel during the early stages of pregnancy? Is there anything you can do to make the experience easier? And how should you prepare for bumbling about with your bump? For the lowdown we toddle over to Twenty Something Travel: What it’s like to travel in your first trimester.

Once baby has arrived – what’s it like to travel?

The idea of travelling with a baby might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And A Bavarian Sojourn has the proof, having gallivanted around Venice with their new gelato-loving family member. With its beautiful network of waterways and bridges, Venice isn’t exactly pushchair-friendly. Just one of many challenges to overcome when exploring Venice with a baby.

travel blogs and blogging

Children and jetlag

Jetlag. It’s the scourge of long-haul travel, capable of doing a number on even the hardiest traveller. But when you add young children to the mix? Well, that can be a recipe for disaster, so you’d better have the patience of a saint. The bad news is that children can be particularly susceptible to the effects of jetlag. And when Mini Travellers set off for Florida, they soon realised that their strategy of tackling jetlag with a G&T and two glasses of wine couldn’t really be extended to their five year old and two four year olds. So how do you help young’uns deal with the side-effects of hopping across timezones? Find out here: How my kids coped with an 8 hour flight and jetlag.

The perfect shot…

travel - The perfect shot

Travel and photography go together like cheese and wine. And in the digital age, the opportunity to capture and publish your travel photographs is easier than ever before. You can take amazing photographs with your smartphone and share them with your friends almost instantly. But no matter how far technology can take you, it’s still worth brushing up on the timeless basic principles of photography. As with so many things in life, you have to know the rules before you can break them. So how do you take the perfect travel snaps? Let The World And Then Some be your mentor: A guide to taking great travel photos.

Looking for some bonus points for extra homework? Life As A Nomad have some fine photography tips of their own: 5 simple tips to take better pictures with any camera. Especially important is the advice about not over-editing your snaps. If you are spending 30 minutes tampering with every photograph, you should probably work on your technique. And besides, think of all the great photo opportunities you’re missing while you’re tweaking.

Living the dream…on Instagram

Living the dream travel blogs

So you’ve got the perfect travel snap? It could move planets with its corporeal beauty. But where are you going to share it? Well, the travel photographer’s platform of choice is Instagram: fast, free and oodles of fun. But Instagram is more than a great place to publish your paps. It’s fabulous for finding new inspiration for your travel photography. Just take a look at our next post from the New York Times, which takes a peek at the Instagram account of Evan Geiselman – one man who is living the dream by combining travel, photography and surfing: On Instagram, a Surfer’s Safari.

Travel tips and holiday hacks

Travel tips and holiday hacks

One of the best things about writing the World First Wander each week is that we get to soak up some of the finest travel tips the travel blogosphere has to offer. Week in, week out we learn something we definitely didn’t know before we started. This week is no different as we take in My top 20 travel tips ever from The Travel Hack. We loved number fourteen. What’s your favourite?

Of course, travelling in confidence means being prepared for the unexpected. But that doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. Just ask Awesome Wave, who have scribed a list of Simple travel hacks to always be prepared for the worst. Tip number four – always buy travel insurance – gets a special shout out. We are biased, of course. But a good policy that you can trust can be a godsend. You simply never know when you may need a safety net to fall back on.

Speaking of needing a little support, that’s us when it comes to packing. Next time we jet off we will definitely be coming back to The Little Backpacker’s Tips for travelling with hand luggage only. The pearl of wisdom about using an airport shopping bag to carry extra bits and pieces is pure genius. We will be pinching that one for our next hand-luggage-only sojourn.

From short-haul to long-haul. Thailand, to be precise. Given her map-reading skills, we wouldn’t recommend following in the footsteps of Kim, our customer service whiz, who is currently sunning herself on the stunning beaches of Thailand. But if you’d like to experience this mesmerising country for yourself, you could do far-worse than filing this next post under must-read. It’s a comprehensive list of everything you will need during your Thai adventure: Backpackers Guide: What to pack for Thailand.

Travel and self development

Travel and self development

Travel is about more than taking a break and recharging the batteries. In our opinion it’s one of the greatest learning tools there is. And there’s no doubt that travel can teach you an awful lot about yourself: your resourcefulness, your strength, your determination, your confidence, your independence. Travel seems to have a keen ability to dish up a life lesson or two. And we straight up love reading articles about how travel has changed people’s outlook on life. What better travel souvenir could there possibly be?

With that in mind, here’s a fantastic article from USA Today. On the off chance you needed extra inspiration to broaden your travel horizons, you certainly won’t do after reading this. It features tall tales from top travel bloggers such as Matt Long, Paul and Karen Farrugia and Janice Waugh, all of whom have appeared here in the Weekly Wander recently. From swimming nose-to-snout with sea lions to taming the Annapurna trek, these are all life-changing stories: Bloggers share their magical moments.

What happens when it all goes wrong?

The unpredictable nature of travel is part of what makes it so fun and exciting. But sometimes fate takes a turn for the worse. That’s why it pays to have a little knowledge on how to handle whatever woes that travel can throw at you. And learning from experienced travellers who have emerged unscathed from their dalliance with adversity is a great way to teach yourself how to cope when it feels like everything is going wrong. For that you can turn to Fevered Mutterings – and their wonderful piece Cancelled! How to fix broken travel plans without losing your mind.

Of course, sometimes you simply have to embrace adversity. You know what they say. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And if there’s any truth in that then the writer of our final article this week may just be the world’s strongest blogger. Behold a gripping tale of travel disaster. Just don’t have nightmares: Storytime: Travel terrors & holiday horrors.

Until next week!

A quick introduction to via ferrata (and why you may love it)

April 21st, 2016

A quick introduction to via ferrata (and why you may love it)

via ferrata

Next time you’re stuck for a dinner party fact, bring out the one about Earth being smoother than a billiard ball. (It’s true.) Yet despite its ‘flat’ surface, our planet is home to some seriously spectacular alpine scenery.

Wish you could get up there and take in the views for yourself? Well, you don’t need to grow wings. You don’t need a helicopter. And you certainly don’t need to become a pro rock climber. You just need to follow the thousands of outdoors lovers who are trying their hand at via ferrata.

Here’s a super-quick lowdown.

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

April 18th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

Eek. This week it’s been more difficult than ever to whittle down our favourite new articles from the travel blogosphere. But since the sun has had his hat on (for most of us) this week, we’re going to start with that quintessential summer pastime: the festival.

travel blogs and blogging

Of course, festival season isn’t all about seeing Adele headline Glastonbury. (And I’m not sure about you, but Adele seems a strange choice of headliner to me.) In fact, festivals don’t even have to be about the music and reckless hedonism. Just ask Vicky Flip Flop, who has quaffed down a smoothie and compiled a list of The healthiest festivals in the UK.

The perils of getting older

Here at World First we enable thousands of older travel-lovers to live their travel dreams with our seniors travel insurance packages. So this next post is pretty apt: a delightfully tongue-in-cheek look at getting older.  Award-winning writer Carol Wyer is a firm advocate of growing old disgracefully. That and making unusual noises on buses. Sure. Who are we to argue? What no one tells you about getting older until it’s too late.

More senior travel…

Staying with the baby boomers, next up is a post from The Planet D. Guest bloggers Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith believe that you are never too old to inject a bit of extra adventure into your life. And, from eating crickets in Myanmar to a nighttime trek through the Amazon lit only by an iPhone torch, they practice what they preach: Baby boomers hit the road – Senior travel is not like it used to be.

If you like what Jane and Duncan have to say, take a look at their blog To Travel Too.

East Jesus!

Nope, we had never heard of it either. But it exists. In California. And it sounds as amazing as it does crazy. One Google reviewer describes it as a permanent Burning Man type of exhibition, with all sorts of weird and wacky art and sculptures. Here in the World First office we thought it looked like a set from Mad Max. Either way, it seems like an utterly spellbinding place to visit. Travel Past 50 are inclined to agree: A short trip to East Jesus, California.

It’s not all plain sailing when you travel

There’s a lot to love about travelling. Adventure, exploring new places, food and meeting amazing people along the way. But there are consequences. Big, big consequences. One traveller who knows all too well is Girl vs Globe, who has written this strongly worded missive: 15 ways travel ruins your life.

What’s your contingency plan?

Do you have a backup plan when you travel? Sometimes even the best laid travel plans go a bit wonky. Other times they are completely blown out of the water. Of course, the unpredictable nature of travel is part of what makes it so appealing. But it’s important to have a contingency plan for the unexpected. If you are unprepared in an unfamiliar place, home can suddenly feel like a very, very long way away. Not convinced? Consult Travel On The Brain: Do you really need an ironclad backup plan?

A castle close to home

Each week we try to include a post featuring somewhere a little closer to home. This week our final post comes from two of our favourite bloggers: Rob and Bridget of The Bimblers, who know a thing or two about accessible travel. Now, you could be forgiven for thinking that a wheelchair and a Grade 1 Listed castle may not be the closest companions. But the National Trust had other ideas and have attempted to make Castle Drogo (the last castle built in England) as accessible as possible: Saving Castle Drogo.

Righto! That’s it for another Weekly Wander. Until next week, happy travels and stay safe.

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