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

Friday, March 6th, 2015

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

travel blogs

The Internet’s best travel blogs

Welcome to another World First Wander.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Friday, February 27th, 2015

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

the Internet’s best travel blogs

Lessons learned from travel? There are many!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week









The very best beach in the world? Or is it?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The very best beach in the world? Or is it?


Wild and wonderful: Derrynane Beach

Everyone has a favourite beach. It could be somewhere far from home, a palm fringed beauty on an unspoiled paradise island perhaps. Or it could be right here in Blighty, on a wild stretch of coast where the wind blows and the waves crash. It could be in the most unlikely of places, a hidden gem in an otherwise dreary landscape. A ray of light and hope in an otherwise hostile city. Or it could also be brash and bold, with twinkling lights and Ferris wheels, revelers and sun worshipers.

The point is that ‘favourite’ or ‘best’ is always subjective. Everyone has different tastes, and we are no different. My favourite beach, for example, is Derrynane Beach in County Kerry in Ireland. It is a white sand crescent beneath high mountain passes, dotted with huge round granite boulders that create rock pools that are big enough to snorkel in and is lapped by clear blue water and white capped rollers. Even in a storm it is beautiful. But then it is in Ireland and storms are a regular occurrence there. So for those who like it hot, it really wouldn’t rate too highly.

Another of my favourites, Bathsheba beach in Barbados is a world away from the wild shores of Kerry – and no less beautiful – but I wouldn’t rate it as highly as I do Derrynane. Why? Because I like Ireland and I like wild beaches and mountains and it has something that many other beaches I have visited simply don’t have (and I have visited a lot of beaches). OK so it has none of the sand made from crushed coral, the palm trees and the tiny rum shack resonating with the sound of cracking dominoes that Bathsheba has but it’s still a very special place. How would you rate it? I suspect many of you would prefer to be in Barbados than Ireland any day.

So what is the world’s best beach?

This week Tripadvisor, the peer review website announced its list of the World’s Best Beaches as voted for by their users in the website’s Traveller’s Choice 2015.

And if you doubted that it’s a valid list, Trip Advisor will remind you that their site is the world’s largest and that it contains over 200 million reviews. It’s hard to argue with that.

Of the world’s beaches reviewed on Trip Advisor, the ‘world’s best’ has been announced as Baia Do Sancho, in Brazil, with over 2,250 5 star reviews. The best in Europe is Rabbit Beach on Sicily. The best UK beach, which ranked 13 in the world chart and 4 in Europe, was Devon’s Woolacombe Beach.  But are they right?

See the World’s Top 25 Beaches here.

See the UK’s Top 25 Beaches here.

See Europe’s Top 25 Beaches here.

Let us know what you think! Have they got it right? Have you got a hidden gem for us?

We’d love to hear from you.


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

Friday, February 20th, 2015

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

best travel blogs

Will your holiday bring health benefits? You bet!

Welcome to another edition of the World First Wander, our weekly take on what’s hot in the world of travel writing and blogging. Each week our social media man Tristan Rothwell scours the internet to find the best travel articles published over the last 7 days so it’s easy for you to can stay right up to date. This week we save money using social media, discuss the similarities between pregnancy and travel and visit the cheapest cities in Europe.

First up this week: saving money. Now there is a phrase we all love! In fact, here at World First we have been saving people money on their travel insurance since 1973. So we know a good deal when we see it. Some of the money saving tips in Budget Traveller’s  latest post are pure gold, especially if you are a social media fan.  If you want to save some money, check out How to save money on travel; with social media.

Staying with our money saving theme, our friends over at Hand Luggage Only have put together a great list of 15 of the cheapest cities in Europe that you need to visit . Scroll down to number 12 and feast your eyes on the photo of Bruges. If that doesn’t have you packing your bags immediately then nothing will!

Another topic close that is close to my heart at the moment is pregnancy. If you didn’t already know my  fiancé and I are due to hear the patter of tiny feet on the 2nd June. Naturally, anything pregnancy related is catching my eye at the moment. The Travel Hack’s next post, How being pregnant is a lot like travelling, was one I was always going to spot! Read it and see if you agree.

A friend recently sent me an email with a link to a recent post on her Life Beyond Borders Blog with an interview with The Greek Evzones, the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens. I have to admit I had never heard of them so I was instantly intrigued. They sound like pretty tough chaps. Anyway, give it a read as it’s fascinating stuff. Read Interview with Former Evzones – Soldiers of the Greek Presidential Guard then decide if a soldier’s life is for you!

If none of the above have made you want to fire up your computer and book that next trip then maybe our last post will. It’s from Becky and Gray, two UK based bloggers who are also known as Global Grasshopper. I have follower them for quite a while as their blog is a great source of travel inspiration. They have written a great article entitled Why you should take a break: the health benefits of a vacation which highlights a whole bunch of reasons why you should take a break and get on to your travel agent right away!

I hope you have enjoyed my selection of travel blogs this week. Please let us know what you think. Do you agree that pregnancy is like travel or have you saved money using social media? Tell us all!

Until next week.

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

Friday, February 13th, 2015

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

travel blogs

Mousehole, Cornwall. Worth the walk.


Welcome to another edition of the World First Wander, our weekly compendium of the very best in travel writing and blogging. Each week we scour the internet – so you don’t have to – in search of blogs and stories we think you’ll love. It is compiled, as always, by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell.

This week we head to Prague, avoid pickpockets, take in a beautiful walk and find out where to take the kids in London this half term. (more…)

Dechox for the British Heart Foundation

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Dechox for the British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation

Make more time for exercise: BHF’s recommendation for the 10 Day Challenge.

February is National Heart Month. This year, people all over the UK will be invited by the British Heart Foundation to take ten minutes each day, for ten days, to make a difference to their heart’s health.

The ’10 Day Challenge’ aims to get all of us making one small change each day for ten days. It couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is swap unhealthy snacks for fruit or vegetables or fit ten more minutes of exercise into your day.

Could you do that? Easy? You can get one simple health challenge from BHF each day from the 16th February by signing up to their 10 Day Challenge HERE.

If that sounds too easy, how about giving up any kind of chocolate for March as part of BHF’s “Dechox”? Once you’ve completed the 10 Day Challenge you’ll be in the right –and righteous – frame of mind to take up this sponsored ‘event’.

All you have to do is pledge to give up chocolate, chocolatey drinks, cakes and ice creams for March.  And the more you raise for heart research by getting sponsorship for your “Dechox” the more chance you have of winning prizes. Raise just £75 and you could win a special heroic Dechox medal. It’s edible, of course.

OK, so giving up chocolate during March won’t be as tough as giving up something that’s actually proven to be physically addictive for Lent or giving it up altogether. But it’s a step in the right direction. And if you find it difficult to forgo those sweet treats then you can get plenty of help from the “Dechox” website HERE. They will even let you nominate friends for days off (on the understanding that it’s mutual we assume) or special treats as long as you are willing to pay a fine on their behalf. So your friends can cheat and still raise money!

But come on! You aren’t that weak, are you? It might be a fun campaign with a handy ‘way out’ but it has a really serious side.  There are a lot of very good reasons to cut down on your sugary, fatty intake.

According to BHF one in four of the UK population is lost to heart and circulatory disease every year and there are currently seven million people in the UK living with the disease. And we all know having a few too many sweet treats can be a real danger to your good health. Chocolate is a high-calorie food and is high in sugars and saturated fat and too much of it can contribute to weight gain, which is a risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

How much is too much chocolate?  Let’s put a little perspective on it. The BHF tell us that one chocolate bar averages 250kcal. This is equivalent to around 10% of a man’s and 12% of a woman’s recommended daily intake. In order to lose the energy from just one chocolate bar, someone who is 50 would have to walk for at least 45 minutes. Think about it and it soon begins to add up.

Now where did you put those walking boots?

Travel cover for your heart condition stopping you travelling?  We can help. Get a quote from us and see the difference.

Why your pregnancy doesn’t have to stop you travelling.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Pregnancy travel insurance. Why being a mum-to-be shouldn’t stop you travelling.

.Pregnancy travel insurance

We have some exciting news at World First HQ. Senior Customer Service Supervisor Shushanah Tolley is expecting a baby on the 13th of June. Naturally she’s thrilled, as is her partner and fiancé, Tristan Rothwell, our very own Social Media Man. He’s beside himself at the prospect of being a father for the first time! As you can see from the pictures above.

Last chance for a child-free holiday?

While Tristan and Shushana have no plans for a big getaway before the event, it’s understandable that lots of young mums-to-be should want to travel before their baby is due. It is a fantastic opportunity to relax, take time out and enjoy the calm before the storm. After all, life and travel will never be the same again once the baby arrives. But what about getting pregnancy travel insurance?

Travelling while pregnant

Pregnancy is considered to be a ‘medical condition’ by the travel insurance industry, so you will need specialist cover. Also, if you were to head off on your holidays and didn’t declare it, the chances are your insurance company would decline any claim that arose as a result of that pregnancy. So it is absolutely vital that you take out a policy that will cover it.

Talk to a specialist insurer

Lots of travel insurance companies won’t cover pregnancy because it is seen as too great a risk. That means that cover you get free through your bank or with your credit card may not cover you without exclusions, if it covers you at all. Shop around and choose carefully who you go with. Some companies may refuse cover, while others may charge you a small fortune for it.

World First can cover you

We are happy to say that World First can offer pregnancy travel insurance cover with the same great range of benefits as all other travellers enjoy. In fact, we cover hundreds of mums-to-be each year who don’t want to let their pregnancy stop them from seeing the world. Our policies include medical expenses cover for pregnancy and childbirth from week 0 to week 28 while you are away. From week 29 to week 40 we can’t offer any cover for claims relating to a normal pregnancy or cancellation due to the pregnancy. However, we will provide this cover if you experience complications more than 12 weeks (or 16 weeks if you know you are having more than one baby) before the expected delivery date.  These are: toxaemia, gestational hypertension, ectopic pregnancy, post-partum haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia, molar pregnancy or hydatidiform mole, retained placenta membrane, placental abruption, hyperemesis gravidarum, placenta praevia, stillbirth, premature birth, miscarriage, emergency caesarean or a termination needed for medical reasons.

Are you fit to travel?

All airlines and most ferry companies place restrictions on how far into your pregnancy you can travel. This can be as little as 28 weeks or as much as 38 weeks, depending on the company and the length of your journey. If you’re having trouble travelling by air or sea and are still keen to get away, it’s worth noting that there are usually no restrictions on coach or rail travel. The best thing to do here is to check with your carrier – before you book – that they will be willing to let you travel at your stage of the pregnancy at the time of travel. Unfortunately, if your carrier refuses to take you then we will be unable to cover you.

Getting vaccinations right

If you are planning to travel to a country that requires vaccinations it is important to do your research before you book. This means checking that you’ll actually be able to have the necessary vaccinations. If you discover – after booking – that you are unable to have the appropriate and required vaccinations as a result of your pregnancy then you will not be covered if you decide to (or have to) cancel your trip.

What if you have your baby when you are away?

It does happen! The good news is that we will cover both of you to travel home. If you have Annual cover all you have to do is let us know and we can add the baby to your policy before you travel home. Just make sure you keep us in the know.

Should you be worried about travelling when pregnant?

Unless you have been told by your doctor not to travel, then most likely, no. However, if you’re flying when pregnant, you may have a slightly increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis – a potentially life-threatening blood clot that (usually) forms in the deep veins of the legs. This is why carriers are unlikely to carry you after a certain period. Simple preventative steps like wearing DVT socks, walking around every so often, staying well-hydrated and avoiding tight clothing will minimise the risks.

If in doubt, talk to us

Our Customer Service team have a lot of experience of helping mums-to-be. So if you have any doubts or worries about travelling, or our pregnancy travel insurance give us a call before you book anything. They will be able to let you know where you stand right from the off.

We look forward to hearing from you!



10 ways to make your partner’s heart soar this Valentine’s

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is coming! Better be on your best behaviour. But forget about the overcrowded restaurants, overpriced flowers, soulless cards and supermarket chocolates! This year it’s time to do something different. It doesn’t have to be lavishly extravagant or a grand romantic gesture, just something completely different.

We’ve compiled this list of ten very different ways to make your partner’s heart soar this Valentine’s Day. OK so there’s no Orient Express or trip to Paris on the list but who cares? Sometimes it’s good to go against the flow.

10 ways to make your partner's heart soar this Valentine’s (more…)

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

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

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

travel writing

Scotland: wild and beautiful. Is it in your travel plans for 2015?

Welcome to the first ‘Wander’ of 2015! A very happy New Year to you all.

New Year is all about goal setting for many people. This year it’s no different, with lots of travel bloggers writing about their plans for 2015. Judging by some of the blogs I have read, 2015 is going to be an epic year for travel.

So let’s see what the best British travel bloggers have got planned….

The Cosy Traveller, Emily Ray, has a few great suggestions in her post, “Where do I hope to travel in 2015?”. On her list is Scotland, a place that is ‘easily overlooked’ by the English – even though it is right on our doorstep. I agree. It really is a fantastic country, with wonderful scenery and a long and proud history . Of course it’s not the be and end all of Emily’s travel ambitions by any stretch, so take a look and be inspired!

Does anyone have plans to travel less in 2015? @jayneytravels AKA Girl Tweets World writer Jayne Gorman is planning on doing just that. However, as she’s living in Sydney it’s not an announcement that she’s retiring from travel blogging just yet! Far from it! When you have an entire continent to call home there’s always more to see in your own back yard!!! Anyway,  Travelling less in 2015 is a great read.

How about if you want to do more travelling this year? Then you may need to read one of our favourite travel blogs, The Travel Hack. It’s written by Monica Stott and has some great travel tips for getting more miles under your belt in 2015. Interested? Take a look at “How to travel more in 2015” if you are wavering….

Are you in the mood for setting goals for 2015? Blogger Frankie Thompson has put hers down in a big list of the things she wants to achieve in 2015. It might not be the same kind of things you might aspire to but the principle is there. Write it down and it’s more likely to happen! Make a list! Here’s Frankie’s travel and writing goals for 2015.

For those of you with resolutions rather than goals for 2015, “7 effective ways to become a better version of yourself this Year” , an interesting post from the quirky blog Hand Luggage Only, might be something to take a look at. . It’s not about places to go or things to do, rather a few suggestions to make yourself a better you in 2015. If that puts you off, don’t worry. If you are staring 2015 in the face wishing you could do it better than you did in 2014, it’s a fun list of things to ponder. The final point on the list? Travel more, of course.

To round up this week’s Wander, we go now to a post by another regular here, Ed Rex, who has listed some great British weekend getaways. It’s nice to see that he rates our hometown Exeter among them. So, if one of your goals for 2015 is to see more of the UK, it’s a great place to start. See his list of 15 British weekend breaks.

That’s it for now. See you next time.






Snow or no snow? Where you stand with your travel insurance.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Snow - Where you stand with your travel insurance

Booked to go skiing soon? Hoping for the best conditions is a natural part of the experience. There’s no guarantee of snow and certainly no promise of perfect conditions. Last month the press was awash with talk of snowless resorts in Europe yet this week it’s all about huge dumps stranding motorists and holiday makers and making travel very difficult in some areas of France. You simply never know what you’re going to get!

So we thought it might be a good time to let you know where you stand with snow and your World First travel insurance policy.

What happens if you get there and you can’t ski because there’s no snow?

With Winter Sports cover from World First you will be covered if there’s no snow on your skiing holiday – as long as it’s within certain limits. If you booked a skiing holiday in a resort that’s above 1600 metres between 1st January and 30th April then you’ll be covered for £20 per day up to a maximum of £400 with our Superior policy if you can’t ski. Maximum limits on our Economy and Standard policies are £200.

What happens if you can’t travel because of too much snow?

It might seem like the deepest of ironies to get stranded at home, in the UK, in a snowdrift, but it does happen.

This week we’ve already heard of a few problems with snow in the North of England and in previous winters we’ve seen snow disrupt thousands of flights. So what if it happens to you? While your airline is only obliged to get you from A to B and will either offer a refund or later flight, the good news is that you can claim on your World First travel insurance policy, as long as you booked it before any problems were forecast.

If you are delayed at the airport for 12 hours or more because of bad weather, we will compensate you providing you checked-in on time. You just need to get a representative of your airline to confirm the length and nature of your delay in writing.

If you are delayed for more than 12 hours at the airport you will be entitled to claim Trip Abandonment on certain policies, with a maximum payout of up to £5,000 on our single and multi trip Superior policies. So if you decide a major delay is no way to start the holiday of a lifetime, you’ll be able to recover your holiday expenses. Additionally, if bad weather causes an accident you’re involved in or your vehicle suffers mechanical breakdown en route to your departure point and you subsequently miss your flight, we will provide compensation up to the amount covered for trip cancellation. We will also pay-out if you are travelling to the airport on public transport that becomes delayed as a result of the adverse weather.

If snow delays you on the return leg of your journey, there’s no need to worry about extending your cover as your policy duration will automatically extend until you’re back in the UK.

What if there’s so much snow that you can’t get to your resort?

This did happen this week! Ski resorts are used to snow so it’s much more likely that you’ll be delayed by snow in the UK than in Europe or the USA. However, if you were to be delayed leaving or arriving in your resort due to avalanche your World First policy will cover the cost of additional transport and/or accommodation if you are unable to reach or leave your pre-booked resort because of access problems due to an avalanche.

What happens if you hit the wrong type of snow?

We aren’t talking about snow that stops trains. We are talking about snow that causes you to slip, trip or fall when you are away. Frankly it’s any type of snow, because, as all rational people know, there is an inherent risk of injury on winter sports holidays. So, whatever excuse you give for slipping and hurting yourself, no matter how seriously, we’ll be there to cover you.

Our policies will cover you for up to £10 million (with a Superior policy) worth of medical expenses, including the cost of medical emergencies and repatriation if you hurt yourself on your winter sports holiday. If you need to be airlifted off the mountain or even airlifted home after a serious injury it will more than cover it. And if someone else gets seriously injured on the slopes and it’s your fault, we’ll cover you for £2 million worth of personal liability cover too.

If you have any questions regarding your travel insurance, get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to give you all the help you need. Call 0845 90 80 161 or email info@world-first.co.uk.




Rothwell & Towler Tourism House Woodwater Park
Pynes Hill Exeter EX2 5WS

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

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