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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.

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

September 16th, 2014

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

Air France Pilots strike

Air France pilots on strike.

 

It seems that no month goes by without news of another strike among cabin crew, ground crew or air traffic control affecting flights across Europe. This week it’s the turn of the pilots. Last week Air France announced a plan to move much of its operations in Europe to its cheaper subsidiary, Transavia, in order to save $1.3 billion. The news has sent the Air France pilots out, out, out on a week-long strike until the 22nd of September.

Why? Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander

September 12th, 2014

A weekly virtual wander through the best of the internet in the world of travel and travel blogging.

Compiled, as usual, by Tristan Rothwell.

The World First Wander

Dive into The World First Wander

Firstly it’s great to be back writing “The Wander”. It has been a while since the last edition but it’s back and, hopefully, better than ever.

Let’s get right on with it then. We shall begin with a cracker from @Telegraph . We wrote about things you can and can’t bring into the country in our blog post What NOT to bring back from your holidays but a young man from China, Cong Cong Tai, wins hands down by trying to smuggle his pet turtle through airport security in his pants! We hope, for his sake, that it wasn’t a snapper.

Moving a little closer to home now. I am lucky enough to live on Dartmoor and enjoy some lovely views but nothing like some of those on The Global Grasshopper website, where they have compiled the  A-Z List of the best views in Britain as voted for by their readers. I managed to tick off 9. How about you? Which, of all of them, would be your favourite?

Before I lived on Dartmoor I lived in London, and would often roam the streets with my camera. So it was inevitable that Brendan Van Son’s A guide to Travel Photography in London should catch my eye.  There are some really handy tips in there if you are not familiar with London, however, as an ex- Londoner I have some other little gems up my sleeve. For me, the more crowded it is, the better it is. So if you are taking a trip to our greatest city and want to see some fantastic colour, here are my tips for great shooting locations:

Soho – hustle and bustle and maybe a little sleaze.

The Square Mile – lots of amazing architecture.

Leak street Tunnel – for Graffiti .

London’s many markets are also a great source of photographic inspiration.

Our friend and contributor to the World First Blog Rebecca Hall wrote a nice piece on East Street Market  in South London where there has been a Market since the 16th Century.

Another brilliant Travel Writer and also a contributor to the World First Blog is Zoë Dawes, aka The Quirky Traveller. This is a post for any students out there planning to spend what’s left of their student loans on travel this year. “The Best Student Holiday Destinations in Europe”

Talking of students, let’s talk about…….beer! Well, more specifically, a trip to Pilsen The Beer Capital of the world with Girl Vs Globe, which started at 10 am with a breakfast tour around the Pilsner Urquell brewery.

I have followed ‘Vicky Flip Flop Travels’ for a while now. Vicky writes some great stuff and I really enjoyed this one. It certainly made me check that my icloud backup on my iphone was switched on!

Three weeks of Travel – what could possibly go wrong? Well if Vicky is anything like me….quite a lot.

That pretty much rounds up this week’s World First Wander but the final word (as it often did in real life) go to the late, great, rude and very funny Joan Rivers. While browsing  I found a great Travel interview with Joan Rivers with The Daily Mail back in 2012. It makes for an interesting read. She was very much one of a kind.

Heading off soon? Don’t forget your travel insurance. Get a quote now.

Ebola in Africa: latest travel advice

September 6th, 2014

Ebola in Africa: latest travel advice

Ebola in Africa: latest travel advice

Ebola Virus

Following the arrival in the UK of the first British victim of Ebola and our recent blog post about its spread and whether or not travellers to Africa should be worried about it, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have now issued travel advisories for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Where before they did not issue any kind of advice they now advise against all but essential travel to those countries, with the exception of those who are directly involved in the direct response to the outbreak.

This is partly due to the impact on medical services and the narrowing options for commercial options for flights following British Airways and Air France announcements that they have suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively. Other airlines have also followed suit.

You can read all about the risks of contracting Ebola in our blog HERE. However, the new advice does change things for people who are planning to travel in terms of their travel insurance. Read the rest of this entry »

Martin Rothwell: donning the lycra for a great cause

September 4th, 2014

LYCRA MARTIN

Managing Director of World First, Martin Rothwell (above) has been putting on the lycra and putting in the miles recently. The reason? Martin and his wife Kate are taking part in the Dawlish Triathlon on the 28th September. The event, which can only be described as ‘gruelling’, requires a 750m sea swim and a 21.5km cycle followed by a 5km run. Phew!

Martin and Kate aren’t doing this just because they wanted to buy new one piece matching lycra outfits (intelligence tells us this is true), although we are sure it’s a tempting reason. They are, in fact,  doing this because they wanted to do something to raise money for The Children’s Trust Neuro Rehab Centre, which is currently looking after their nephew Henry.

Last year Henry, who is only 3 years old, contracted two types of E-coli and a disease called HUS, which attacks the kidneys, stomach and brain and spent the best part of 6 weeks in a coma. After nearly nine months of being in Bristol Children’s Hospital Henry was moved to the rehab centre and has started a programme to prepare him and his family to return home later this year.

The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury. Each year they need to raise at least £7 million to run vital services for children with brain injury, and help reach out to more children and families across the UK.

We would like to wish Henry all the luck in the world and Martin and Kate all the luck they need to get through the triathlon.

 

Martin and Kate’s JustGiving page is here:

https://www.justgiving.com/MartinandKateRothwell1

 

 

 

Want to chat? We’re right here.

August 21st, 2014

Want to chat? We’re right here.

Want to chat? We’re right here

Want to chat? We’re right here

Getting a quote for your travel insurance is, on the whole, a pretty easy and simple thing to do. However, there can sometimes be complications, especially if you want to take part in an obscure activity, have medical problems of a specific nature or have complicated travel plans.

That’s when our customers find that it’s easier and quicker to get the results they want by picking up the phone. Our customer service team are available from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5.30pm and between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays. We are also able to answer any queries by email. However, possibly the quickest way to get help is with our new Live Chat feature on our website.

Live Chat makes it even easier

Live Chat is operational during office hours at the moment but we hope to extend the time in due course. It enables you to ‘talk’ to one of our team at any point during your quotation process if there is something you are stuck on. It’ll save you a phone call and is the easiest was to get in touch with us quickly – most of our standard enquiries can be sorted out this way.

How to use Live Chat

It’s very easy. The Live Chat box appears on most of our website pages. All you have to do is click on the button and someone will help you straight away. To ask a question you simply type it in the box, hit enter and wait for the reply. It’s quick and easy.

Using Live Chat if you are in the middle of getting a quote

This is easy too. Live Chat is also available on the secure site so if you get stuck at any point during the process of getting a quote, retrieving a quote or amending a quote, we can help. Just click on Live Chat. We’ll be able to help you straight away.

Got a problem you need help with? Try Live Chat now.

 

There may be trouble ahead. Consular hot spots around the world.

August 18th, 2014

Millions of us travel overseas every year. We travel the world to work, see the sights and relax on our precious time off. The majority of trips – by a long, long way – are trouble free. But sometimes things go wrong. That’s when the FCO’s consular staff step in to help out where they can. While they can’t provide cash, pay hospital fees or bake a cake with a file in it, they can and do provide lots of valuable assistance to thousands of British citizens every year. In fact, according to the recently published British Behaviour Abroad Report, which the FCO publishes every year, between April 2013 and March 2014 British consular staff assisted more than 17,000 British nationals worldwide.

How these numbers break down can be seen in the interactive map below. It shows the type of help required country by country and region by region – so it’s easy to see where the trouble hot spots are.

Happily the number of hospitalisations has fallen to a five year low and the number of cases involving rape or sexual assault has also reduced.

However the message from the FCO remains the same:

  •  Get comprehensive travel insurance
  •  Check health requirements of the country you are visiting
  •  Research your destination so you won’t end up falling foul of local customs or laws.

Should you let it guide your travel plans?

We think this map makes very interesting reading. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. If you were considering using the map to guide you in your plans then you might want to think again. What it doesn’t show is the numbers of British nationals travelling in the first place. So at first glance you might think that Spain was the world’s most dangerous country to travel in. Yes, the numbers are high but the numbers of British citizens travelling there is higher than anywhere else in the world, apart from the US. It may be that the proportion of people travelling who require assistance is one of the lowest in the world. Again, before you panic and change your plans, do your research!

 

And get a good travel insurance policy.

 

 

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

August 15th, 2014

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

Africa travel. Should you be worried about Ebola?

The news is full of stories about the Ebola virus. With 50 – 60% of infected people dying from the disease, no known cure or treatment and emergency measures taken by governments and airlines, the prospect of the disease spreading from Liberia and Sierra Leone to Europe is frightening indeed.

The situation seems to be getting worse too, with over 1000 people now confirmed dead from the virus. British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 August 2014 “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries” and the World Health Organisation has declared it a ‘global health emergency’.

But is it really that bad? What is the risk to us?

We did a little reading to find out if we should be worried.

 

What is Ebola? Why is it so dangerous?

Ebola virus disease is a viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF). There is no vaccine or cure.

The incubation period is between two and 21 days.

Symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle aches and weakness. As the infection progresses, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, shortness of breath, confusion and haemorrhage can occur. This can lead to multi-organ failure, shock and death.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola is not an airborne disease. Most human infections result from direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions from an infected human. Ebola has also been reported following contact with the tissues of infected animals such as non-human primates and bats.

Where is Ebola coming from?

Sierra Leone is considered to be the epicentre of the epidemic as it has reported the largest number of new cases.  As of 27 July, the cumulative total number of cases in the country was 533 (473 confirmed, 38 probable and 22 suspected), and 233 deaths (figures from National Travel Health Network and Centre).

If you are booked to go to Africa, should you be worried?

It depends on where you are going, but more than likely, no. Africa is a huge continent. The US, China, Eastern Europe, Japan, India and the UK and could fit within its land mass. That is huge.

As Ebola is not airborne you would have to be in direct contact with an infected person or eat infected bush meat (such as bat or primate) to catch it, so the chances of being infected in South Africa or Morocco (for example) if you observed the safety precautions below, are extremely remote.

However, if you are due to fly to Nigeria (which has declared a state of emergency in the past few days), Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia then your risk is higher, even though the risk is still considered as VERY LOW by Public Health England. The exception would be people engaged in humanitarian activities where there is direct contact with infected people.

Where do you stand with travel insurance?

As travel insurers we take our advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and will only insure you for travel to places where the FCO does not advise against all travel or all but essential travel. Also, cancellation cover does not include the fear of pandemic or infection and, unfortunately, will not cover any changes in the FCO advisories, even if it comes after you have booked and before you travel.

What if you decide to cancel your trip?

If you decided to travel to a country against the advice of the FCO you will not be insured.

However, currently there are no Ebola-based advisories (14th August), only those that refer to general safety, terrorism or conflict. Whilst these still apply, there is nothing to stop anyone travelling to other parts of affected countries.

The FCO only says “Following an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia British nationals should carefully assess the need to travel to these countries, and if travelling to them, should ensure that they have adequate arrangements in place for onward travel/exit and have adequate emergency health provision.”

What if you have already booked a trip?

If you booked a ticket or holiday to a country with Ebola or a country nearby that the FCO considers ‘safe’ (no advisories against travel) then you would not be insured for cancellation if you decided not to travel as it would be considered to be ‘a disinclination’ to travel.

What can you do to keep safe?

The following precautions are recommended by The National Travel Health Network and Centre for traveller heading for areas with on-going cases:

  • Avoid contact with symptomatic patients and their bodily fluids
  • Avoid contact with corpses and/or bodily fluids from deceased patients.
  • Avoid close contact with live or dead wild animals (including monkeys, forest antelopes, rodents and bats)
  • Avoid consumption of “bush meat”
  • Wash and peel fruits and vegetables before consumption
  • Practise safe sex
  • Follow strict hand washing routines.

What if you think you may have been exposed to Ebola?

The National Travel Health Network and Centre says “Travellers who have been potentially exposed to Ebola virus should seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms consistent with Ebola within the first 21 days of return to the UK.”

 

How to use your EHIC in Spain.

August 13th, 2014

How to use your EHIC in Spain.

Going to Spain this summer? If you don’t want to be ‘redder than a Spanish tomato’, you might want to watch this video. It has been jointly produced by the Department of Health and the British Embassy, Madrid to explain how to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Spain. And it’s a cracker!

But before you have a chuckle to yourself, it’s worth remembering the message. And that is that your EHIC is one of your holiday essentials. Knowing how to use it properly could save you big bills if you need urgent medical attention when you are away. Your EHIC is your passport to the public healthcare system in Spain, but it cannot be used in private clinics or hospitals and will not pay for other expenses, such as being airlifted home or private ambulances.

So while the EHIC could save you a small fortune if you fall asleep in the sun and end up redder than a Spanish tomato (or need any other kind of urgent medical treatment) it does not replace your travel insurance.

For further information, please visit www.healthcareinspain.eu.

Enjoy.

If you’re going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

July 21st, 2014
If you're going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

If you’re going to party, do it like you never took out that travel insurance policy!

We all love a drink on our holidays. A glass of wine to relax after a tough day on the sun lounger or a refreshing G & T in the bar before dinner? There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, for many of us, enjoying alcohol is an essential part of our holiday experience. We sample new things, we see new places, we try a cocktail we’ve never had before.

However, the trouble comes when it goes too far. Last year the FCO published some research that suggested that almost a quarter (23%) of young British holidaymakers have gone swimming while drunk on holiday abroad and over a quarter (26%) have done something while drunk on holiday that they were ashamed of.

Oh dear. The fact remains that drinking can impair your judgement and the after effects can last far longer than the hangover. Getting arrested or hospitalised can cause a lot more emotional trouble than you might think. And it may cost a lot more too – even if you have got travel insurance. Read the rest of this entry »

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