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Swim Safe this summer with the RNLI

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Swim Safe this summer with the RNLI

Keep them safe this summer with the RNLI and ASA Swim Safe

Keep them safe this summer with the RNLI and ASA Swim Safe

Are you worried about your little ones swimming safely at the beach this summer? It’s not unusual. IN fact, a study by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) recently concluded that one in five parents won’t let their children swim in the sea because they feel it’s too dangerous.

Well they are right, the sea can be dangerous. But it can also be enjoyed safely, with the benefit of a little bit of knowledge. Most people get into trouble at the seaside because they don’t know anything about local conditions, how to read the sea and what to do if they get into trouble. That kind of knowledge isn’t that easy to come by unless you have expert tuition.

The great news is that the RNLI, in partnership with the ASA, are holding a series of FREE sessions for all children between 7 and 14 at resorts around the UK this summer. The sessions, which take place at safe swimming locations around the coast, last about 40 minutes and include a 10 minute talk from lifeguards and then a 30 minute water session with instructors.

The sessions will give kids an insight into what they can expect when swimming in the sea and how they can keep themselves safe. It is a fantastic chance for your children to experience swimming in a non-pool environment in a safe and fun way.

So, parents! There’s now no excuse for not letting your kids enjoy the sea safely! And it’s FREE! Book your kids into a session now and save yourselves a bit of worry.

Book online CLICK HERE.


  • Remember to swim at lifeguarded beaches only if you are unsure of safety.
  • Always swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Do not enter the water if a red flag is flying.
  • If you get into trouble and swallow seawater, seek help.
  • If you see people in trouble alert the lifeguards. DO not enter the water yourself. Most drownings happen when people try to perform rescues. The rescuers are often those who perish.

The World First Wander: Crohn’s disease, surfing, tots and tats.

Friday, July 17th, 2015

The World First Wander: Crohn’s disease, surfing, tots and tats.

crohn's disease

Learning to surf. Best fun ever.

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are going to take a look at Crohn’s disease, surfing and passport photos for tiny tots. Oh, and tattoos.

We start off this week with a great post on Crohn’s disease.  If you were unaware of it, it is a long term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. It can affect any part of the system and results in ulcers, pain fatigue, pain and diarrhoea. Living with Crohn’s – and a similar condition, ulcerative colitis – can be difficult. Travel, even more so. For some getting Crohn’s Disease Travel Insurance can be difficult enough. Happily, as medical travel insurance experts, we can help. Get in touch.

In the meantime, if you are one of those 100,000 or so people in the UK living with Crohn’s – or would like to read more about travelling with the disease – then our first post is for you. It’s from @misslizzybarlow and is entitled Travelling with Crohns disease.

With the summer holidays just around the corner now is the perfect time to look for a new activity to take up. If you find yourself at the seaside it has to be surfing. We wrote a while back about some of the best surf spots in west Cornwall. Some say it’s the best surf in the UK. Whatever you think, taking the kids surfing is a brilliant activity for summer holidays. We promise you that nothing beats seeing the huge grins on their faces when they catch their first waves. Have a read of Learning to Surf from Challenge Sophie for an idea of what to expect from your first lesson.

A contentious issue next. Some people are so moved by travel experiences that they feel they want to commemorate it with something permanent. Yes that’s right, we are talking tattoos. While it might not be for you, there are a lot of people who love them and think very carefully about having tattoos that mean something to them. And that’s what this next post is all about. And if it’s any consolation, tattoos divide opinion here at World First. Some of us (me, Tristan) have more than the average number of tattoos, while others do not. And yet some of us (me, Tristan) say getting a travel tattoo is a no no, while other (the rest of the office) say they would. How about you? Read Travel: the ultimate tattoo inspiration from Travelettes for inspiration.

Baby Passports next. If you have ever tried taking a suitable baby passport photograph and really struggled to get it right then this one is for you. It’s from Tots to Travel which is one of our favourite family travel blogs. It is How to take a Baby Passport Photo. What is it they say about working with children or animals?

If you are travelling with children this summer then it’s always helpful to get some tips and ideas from other travellers who know a thing or two about family travel. With the next post,  40 Tips for Travelling in Europe with your Kids you will definitely find something for you that you may never have thought of.  A great travel post from @FlashpackerFam.

Next up is Toniwonitravels with some brilliant advice on packing.  If you have ever agonised over it – we have – then it’ll come as a breath of fresh air. Toni’s travel blog  Reclaiming my Future has had a recent revamp so it’s definitely one to add to your list. It’s on ours. Anyway, back to packing. Have a read of The ultimate packing List for everybody and start making plans.

Until next time.

The World First Wander: Scilly, Dubrovnik and summer holidays!

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The World First Wander: Scilly, Dubrovnik and summer holidays!

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Perfect for backpacking, with Backpacking travel insurance from World First.

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Perfect for backpacking, with Backpacking travel insurance from World First.

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are going to take a look at backpacking, Dubrovnik this month hottest travel topic The Isles of Scilly.

With the school summer holidays appearing just over the horizon parents everywhere are starting to panic. “What shall I do with the kids?” they shriek as they contemplate an end to the peace and quiet of term time life. Fear not! Help is at hand from Global Mouse and their great list of 30 things around the UK to do with your kids this summer. We particularly like number 2. Find a sheep and raise money at the same time? Love it!

If you are looking for an activity filled holiday a little further afield then this next travel post from @familyonabike will be just what you need. From swimming in a hot volcano to bouncing below Wales, Stuart and Kirstie have put together some great ideas for a fun packed summer in their 10 unusual active family adventures. Number 10 leads us nicely to our next post.

Last week we saw why Babyroutes wasn’t ready to leave the Isles of Scilly. And who wouldn’t want to?  These islands off the Cornish coast are proving really popular with travel bloggers at the moment so when we saw that our old friends and regular visitors to these hallowed pages Hand Luggage only had made the journey we knew we had to share it.

Have a look at First impressions of The Isles of Scilly and More Photos from The Isles of Scilly. Their shots are always nothing short of exceptional.

Another popular summer holiday now, backpacking. We love it so much that we have a policy that’s specially designed for those heading off with their homes up their backs. If that’s you, take a look at our Backpacker Travel Insurance

Right, let’s head to Dubrovnik now with Victor’s Travels. Dubrovnik, a city with a lot to offer, is getting a lot of attention at the moment for being one of the locations used in Game of Thrones. Have a look at Victors travel post The Backpackers Guide to Dubrovnik for more. There is also a handy City guide to Dubrovnik over at the Travel section of the Telegraph.

Next we head for Northern Island with Johnny Blair. Johnny has put together a great list of cool things to do if you are backpacking in Northern Ireland – including Ballintoy, another Game of Thrones location. We have to admit Northern Ireland might not be the first place that springs to mind for a backpacking trip but this may just change your mind. Check out Backpacking in Northern Ireland: 9 cool things to check out in Ballintoy.

Part of travelling is not just about discovering new places. It’s also about discovering yourself (man).  Finding One’s Self: Solo Backpacking in Sagada is all about such a soul searching venture. It’s from Two Monkeys Travel, another great travel blog and well worthy of your time.

Another part of the travel experience is “getting local”, going off the beaten track and finding places not many visit, as written about here by Global Help Swap. Combine that with finding yourself and you could well find yourself in travel Nirvana… if you like that kind of thing.

Until next week.

The World First Wander: Smurfs, Scillies and boredom.

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

The World First Wander: Smurfs, Scillies and boredom.

World First

Feeling blue? No! This is Smurf village…

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we take a peek at bloggers writing about Smurfs, ‘travel personalities’, being bored in airports and the ‘most photogenic town in the world’. Or is it?

We start off this week looking rather blue with Global Grasshopper and a visit to Smurf Village in Spain. Otherwise known as Júzcar and once a pretty whitewashed village, it was painted by Sony Pictures as a publicity stunt for the Smurfs movie in 2011. The 4000 litres of blue paint used to cover every surface of the wall, house and gatepost has so impressed visitors that the number has swelled from just 300 a year to 80,000. The change has been so popular that the locals had a vote and have decided to keep the village blue.

From the Smurfs to The Isles of Scilly,  an archipelago just off the tip of Cornwall. It is a beautiful place. BabyRoutes travelled there on the Scillonian 3, a tub that’s been making the voyage to the  Islands since 1977. Kate from Babyroutes has written a lovely travel post on why she doesn’t want to leave, 10 reasons why I’m not ready to leave the Isles of Scilly yet . Trust us, if you visit you won’t want to leave either.

If you are travelling further afield there is always a risk of getting stuck at an airport for a few hours. And it’s easy to become a little time weary. Call it boredom if you like. If the worst happens it’s time to enlist the help of Anita Hendrieka and one of her recent blog posts, 50 things to do when you are bored in an airport. We like the idea of no 11. We also like the idea that our Travel Insurance policies will pay out if you are delayed by 12 hours or more.

Long haul next, to Mexico, or more precisely, Guanajuato – The Prettiest City In Mexico. Looks pretty good, no? Lauren, who has travelled a bit, questions whether or not it might well be the most photogenic city in the world, over her previous favourite of Chefchaouen in Northwest Morrocco. The jury’s out. What do you think?

Travel Personalities next. We really liked this next post from Angie the blogger behind Silverspoon London. It’s a good read. If you haven’t thought much about your ‘travel personality’ yet, now is the time to start. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you like to travel spontaneously or do you like to plan every detail? Have a read. My Travel Personality.

If your travel personality is a little bit more ‘pack 63 pairs of trousers’ than ‘chuck it in and be damned’ it might be time for this next blog. It’s from Vicky Flip Flop and it’s a handy guide to hand luggage size and weight. There’s not much in it but if you’re trying to stuff a few more pairs of trousers in, be warned. Useful stuff.

With this week’s weather being hot and humid it made us think about escaping to the beach and cooling down in clear blue seas. Regular visitors to the world first wander, Hand Luggage Only, have given us food for thought with their latest blog post, 7 amazing beach holidays you need to go on in France. We always look forward to reading their travel posts as their photography is brilliant. And they haven’t let us down this time either.

Until next time.

How to avoid sea sickness this summer

Monday, June 29th, 2015

How to avoid sea sickness this summer

Taking to the high seas? Sea sickness advice from the travel insurance specialists

Taking to the high seas? Sea sickness advice from the travel insurance specialists

Sea sickness. Mal de mer. It’s the bane of the seven seas. If you sometimes struggle to find your sea legs, you are not alone. Many thousands of us will take to the water this summer, on cruises, cross channel ferries, inter islands ferries and pleasure jaunts and fishing trips. And many of us will feel the rolling and the bobbing more than others. But don’t worry. There are things you can do to give the wonky tummy a wide berth.

What causes sea sickness?

In a nutshell? Information your brain receives from your eyes conflicting with your perception of balance.

Your eyes send visual information to your brain to help you see where you are in the world. Your inner ears send positioning signals to your brain to help you balance. When you are bobbing up and down in the waves, your brain gets confused about whether you are moving or standing still. This disconnect between eyes, ears and brain results in conflicting inputs, which confuses the brain and causes you to feel particularly out of whack.

Who gets sea sickness?

The bad news is that sea sickness is pretty non-discriminatory. Anyone can fall foul to the motion of the ocean, although people do vary in their sensitivity to it. The NHS suggests children aged between three- and twelve-years old are particularly prone, along with pregnant women and people who are susceptible to migraines.

How to beat sea sickness: prevention

You know what they say. Prevention is better than cure. Here are some tips to prepare for your ocean voyage.

Stay in the lower levels, in the middle of the ship.

The middle is the balancing point of any ship. That means there’ll be less motion. By extension, you should be avoiding the bow and stern of your boat as this is where you’ll get the greatest up-and-down motion.

Eat (and drink) smart.

Avoid excessive alcohol as well as foods that make you feel unusually full.

Avoid reading.

Your eyes think the book is stationary. Your ears know that its moving with the boat. This heightens the disconnect between your senses and can intensify – or bring on – sea sickness.

Wear an anti-nausea wristband.

Sea-bands offer drug-free relief from sea sickness. They work by applying pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on your wrists via a plastic stud. It might sound a bit out there, but they have been proven to work. And you can pick one up for around a fiver.

How to beat sea sickness: cure

Okay, prevention didn’t work? There are some simple measures you can take to ease your symptoms. And remember, your symptoms will gradually improve as your body adapts to the new environment that it’s finding so peculiar. Hang in there.

Get some fresh air.

The breeze out on deck will help you feel less stuffy and more refreshed.

Keep your gaze fixed on the horizon.

As you know by now, sea sickness is about your brain getting confused by what’s moving and what’s not. The horizon is still. Fixing your gaze at it helps bring a little equilibrium and normality back to your senses.

Keep still.

See above…

Eat ginger. And apples.

Ginger is a time-honoured remedy for upset tummies. And while there is no medical evidence supporting its use, many people swear by it. Ginger tea, ginger biscuits, anything goes. Apples are supposed to be good too.

Listen to music.

It gives your brain something else to focus on. A welcome distraction.

Count backwards from 100.

Again, it diverts your brain.

Immerse your feet in ice water.

Yes, it sounds odd. But then again if nothing else has worked you’re probably ready to try anything by this point. In they pop.

All in the mind?

Now, when you are struggling with sea sickness, the last thing you want is for someone to come along and tell you that it’s all in the mind. But some studies have suggested that in fact it may be. Either way, there is little doubt that worrying about sea sickness becomes self-fulfilling. So relax. Stay calm. And focus on the great holiday you are about to have. All aboard!

Taking to the open ocean? Don’t leave the port without our specialist cruise travel insurance.

The World First Wander: getting it right, great apps and gap years.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

The World First Wander: getting it right, great apps and gap years.

Grand palace at twilight in Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok’s magnificent Grand Palace.

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we  look at getting it right (as far as etiquette is concerned) , gap years and  great apps.

Mobile phone etiquette made the headlines last week when one of Sainsbury’s cashiers refused to deal with a lady who was chatting on her phone whilst trying to pay for her goods. What do you think of that? Good for her, we say. So we were interested to read our first post this week from @uptourist. In case you were wondering, here is Everything you need to know about cellphone etiquette on different continents. It could come in very handy for those of us who travel a lot.

Eleanor Hawkins made headlines recently for stripping off in Malaysia. Colleen Williams over at Adlib Traveller has written a great post with her Top 5 tips: what not to do when you travel . A lot of this is common sense, of course, but it’s worth mentioning. You wouldn’t climb to the top of Primrose Hill and take all your clothes off would you? So why should it be acceptable on a sacred mountain? It isn’t.

Colleen also mentions our favourite subject… yes its travel insurance. As Colleen says, “don’t Skip booking travel insurance”.  Good advice.

Travel Apps next. They really can make life easier if you can find the right ones. We have just published our own list of the best travel apps so when we spotted a list from our friends over at Hand Luggage Only ,  I wanted to include it too.  I love the look of the Carrot App in this list of 7 Apps that will change your life when travelling. The team at World First will be doing the dragon mating dances before work next week.

tourist holds up camera mobile at big ben with flag in london ** Note: Shallow depth of field

The most photographed building in London? Probably.

More Apps now, this time from Baby Routes , who manage to combine parenthood with travelling, hiking and the great outdoors. This time they are off to London with their list of Great Apps for travelling in London to make it all so much easier… We know our MD relies on Google maps when in London to save him getting lost ( he still does get lost though) so this one may be handy for you boss…

If you do find yourself in London and are not quite sure what to do with yourself, then this post from The Little Backpacker is perfect for you. 101 Things to do in London  will give you some great ideas. Our favourite is 66 – climb the monument – amazing view. No 92 – Visit the photographers gallery – is another great recommendation.

Gap Year Travel now with Liz Jarvis. This is  a good one, and it’s all about The importance of gap year travel and the life experience you can gain from it. And of course you can be any age to go on a gap year. You don’t have to be fresh faced and straight out of school to benefit from a year away.

Happy senior couple sitting in grass, camper in background

Gap years aren’t just for school leavers.

We agree with Liz that a gap year on your CV can make you more employable, so hopefully Liz’s No 1 son will see the light and head off. If he does – and if you decide to do the same – we have the perfect Backpacker and Longstay travel insurance for it.

One of the most popular destinations for a gap year is Thailand. If you are heading for the Land of Smiles  this next post – The Best Hostels in Thailand – is for you. It’s from 2 Monkeys Travel . Some of them look fantastic. And cheap! Better get packing.

Until next week


8 ideas for a memorable Father’s Day trip

Friday, June 19th, 2015

8 ideas for a memorable Father’s Day trip

Playing child

The little boy inside every dad. Let him fly his plane this father’s day!

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Stuck for gift ideas? If Dad deserves more than a tie and a card this year, look no further than our short list of special days out. Sure to raise a smile, create memories and liberate him from that spot on the sofa.

  1. Golfing tips from a pro

They say that golf is a game played on a five-inch course – the one between your ears. He won’t admit it, but we’re willing to bet your dad needs some proper advice to improve that handicap. Here to help is The James Andrews School of Golf in East Sussex. They offer structured golf lessons with one of ten PGA professionals and a maximum group size of just four students. Or should that be fore?

www.golfschool.co.uk | From £235

  1. Whisky tasting

What’s the difference between whisky and whiskey? What makes for a good blend? Where are the best single malts distilled? Your old man will be a veritable font of knowledge after a day-long whisky course at the Scotch Whisky Training School in Edinburgh. It includes talks on the history of the Scottish whisky industry, tips on the art of blending and – of course – a 90-minute whisky tasting.

www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk | £195

  1. Visit the world’s biggest collection of F1 cars

Is Dad an F1 fan? Office bragging rights will be his after a trip to The Donington Grand Prix Collection – home to the world’s largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars. Through four halls and 130 exhibits, your dad will walk through the history of F1 and come nose to nose-cone with the actual cars driven by F1 greats like Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio. (Ask your Dad.)

www.donington-park.co.uk | £10

  1. Race to the chequered flag

If he’d rather get behind the wheel than look down at it, a trip to Thruxton Kart Centre is in order. Claiming – with good reason – to have one of the UK’s best kart circuits, you and Dad will hurtle around a 1,100m track in high-performance carts capable of an adrenaline-spiking 60mph. Time to unleash your competitive sides.

www.thruxtoncarting.co.uk | From £25

  1. Get his pulse racing with something more powerful

Oh right, so a go kart won’t cut it for your petrolhead pop? Not a problem. How about giving him the chance to drive a Ferrari V8 F430 Modena around Silverstone? The car of all cars on the track of all tracks? We are not about to disagree.

www.silverstone.co.uk | From £255

  1. Fly in a vintage plane

Forget about checking in your baggage. Wave goodbye to the scramble for overhead storage. Strap on the goggles and soar across the Kent countryside in a 1930s Tiger Moth biplane. It’s an adventure that harks back to the days when flying was the ultimate adventure. The roar of the engine. The whoosh of the air. What are you waiting for?

www.strictlyflying.com | From £175 for two

  1. Celebrate the beautiful game

It’s the biggest football museum in the world. And good luck finding a better one. The National Football Museum in Manchester is a necessary pilgrimage for any footy mad Dad. The history of the FA Cup. How the world’s biggest teams got to where they are. And a bunch of interactive stuff that will expose whether your dad is right to be quite so confident when it comes to his passing ability. Here’s to the beautiful game.

www.nationalfootballmuseum.com | Free

  1. Take a tour of Lord’s

If the knock of leather on willow is more your father’s cup of tea then a trip to Lord’s is in order. It’s the home of cricket. And for a small fee your dad can treat it as his playground. Sit in the dressing rooms. Gaze at the names of greats on the leaderboards. And see the famous Ashes Urn in the MCC Museum. For cricket fans, it doesn’t get much better than that.

www.lords.org | £18
Booking ahead? Cover the cost with Cancelsure.
Staying overnight in the UK? Guest First will help.
Travelling further afield for Father’s Day? You need World First.

The World First Wander – Glamping, Glastonbury and grabbing a last minute bargain

Friday, June 12th, 2015
World First Wander

Festivals! Can you survive them?

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are going to take a look at festivals, man’s best friend, last minute deals and Tenerife on a budget.

With Glastonbury only a few weeks away I thought we would start off this week with a few festival tips. Love them or hate them, festival season is upon us so it’s only right that we should pass on a few survival tips. One travel blogger who loves a festival is Vicky Flip Flop so we begin with her 7 Glastonbury essentials you haven’t thought of yet. If you are lucky enough to bag a ticket for the world’s greatest rock festival then these tips will see you right. Especially the one about the tent kite.

Fancy a festival but not sure which one to go for? We found something that should be useful. The handy Festival Value Chart may help you decide as it works out how much it would cost to see all the headliners individually versus the cost of a festival ticket. It’s a great idea. Have a look here.

If music isn’t really your thing then maybe getting stuck into a great book is. So how about some holiday reading inspiration? And by that we don’t mean recommendations of books. We’re talking about The London Short Story Festival on the Londonist website. A different kind of festival!

Glamping next. It divides opinion here at World First. Personally I like to rough it and in the past have been known to not even bother with a tent. However, other members of the team have said they think that Glamping is the way to go. Hence inclusion of Travel Candy’s A Glamping Weekend in Hay on Wye . Doesn’t look too shabby, does it?

Dogs next. It’s true a dog is man’s best friend. Mine, a crazy sheepdog named Bo, is sitting at my feet as I type and she follows me everywhere. But going on holiday with a pet isn’t always so easy. Finding accommodation that accepts dogs (or cats or parrots for that matter) can be a tough one. So, for all of you with similar issues, here’s a blog all about  50 dog friendly holidays in the UK  from the ever useful and informative Feet on the ground, a great site dedicated to travellers who don’t want to fly.

During the last few weeks there seem to have been a lot of status updates relating to last minute holidays. I shan’t be going anywhere is a hurry now that I am Dad to a freshly minted 10 day old baby girl, but, if you can, it’s a great way to get great deals. You’ll even save on your  Last Minute travel insurance when you book it through World First. We don’t include cancellation cover, which makes it much cheaper than your average policy. Worth bearing in mind when you read the next article, a little something from the Mirror website. Check out 6 hacks to find cheap last minute holiday deals to Spain, Greece and Europe then give us a call!

If there’s one travel blogger who knows a thing or two about saving money it’s Budget Traveller.  Check out his 5 tips to enjoy Tenerife on a budget is perfect if you are counting the pennies.

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



Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

High tide at Playa San Lorenzo

Many millions of us will head to Spain this year on our holidays. But how many of us will head off the well trodden path looking for something a little different?

If you are one of them then we have a great recommendation for you. It’s the city of Gijon in the northern province of Asturias.  While it is still a busy port city with plenty of industry there is much to attract the tourist and traveller. The sea front – San Lorenzo Bay – is fabulous and has a curve of beautiful sands. This is the place to sit and observe the daily paseo – promenade – when it seems as if the whole city is taking to the beach. The Spanish love their daily walks and it doesn’t matter whether you do it in the evening along the promenade or during the day in your speedos. If you want to see and be seen, this is the place to be.

World First Travel Insurance Blog

The Church of St Peter the Apostle

At the eastern end of the bay you’ll find the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle and the narrow streets around the Port. This areas is known as Cimadevilla and is the oldest part of the city. Here you’ll find traditional restaurants and cider bars as well as the fortified Palace of Revillgigedo, a seventeenth century addition to the city that overlooks the old port. It’s a great spot to stop and sample what Gijon and Asturias is famous for – great local food. But of course don’t go for something new. Try the fabulous local peasant speciality, fabada, with a glass of Asturian cider. It’s a truly authentic taste that you’ll find in few other places. Alternatively go for seafood and red wine.

World First

Fabada Asturias, a rich, tasty peasant stew

A walk from the port will take you out onto the headland and into the Santa Catalina park, an open area that once formed part of the city’s defences. Today it offers far reaching views over the peaceful Bay of Biscay, the old port and the city to the south and west. It is a stunning vista.

The densely populated city centre sits behind the Bay of San Lorenzo, the Cimadevilla and the enclosed Playa de Poniente. Much of it is old and labyrinthine, with small independent shops, cider bars and restaurants punctuated by squares and green spaces. With narrow streets and tall apartment blocks it’s typical of a northern Spanish city. But what need would you have of a garden or pool when there are magnificent beaches so close at hand?

travel insurance spain

Looking at new city from the old city.


For surfers Gijon could well be the ultimate city surf destination. Like its more glamorous cousin a few hundred miles to the east, Donostia San Sebastian, it blends city life with beach culture perfectly. Don’t be surprised to see wetsuited surfers heading to the waves from their apartment blocks while besuited business people walk to their offices. Come lunch time you can pretty much guarantee they will be in the water themselves.

Travel Insurance Spain

Gijon: a hidden gem on Spain’s north coast.


BY AIR: It is possible to fly to Asturias airport at Oviedo (which is about 30 minutes from Gijon) with Easyjet and Iberia.

BY ROAD: Driving takes a little longer but is possible from the UK via the ferries to Bilbao or Santander. The road and motorway network in northern Spain is excellent.

ON FOOT: Walking will take you along the famous Camino de Santiago, a long pilgrim trail to Sanitago de Compostella in the west.

BY RAIL: Gijon is connected to the rest of Spain by the RENFE and FEVE betworks. The FEVE route is narrow gauge and runs betweenBilbao in the east and Ferrol in the west. It is said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful railway journeys.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE GIJON: Don’t say Geejohn, as no one will know what you are talking about. The G is soft, as is the J, so it ends up sounding very unlike we’d pronounce it naturally as English speakers, as Hee-Hon (like on not hon like honey).


If you haven’t got one already, pick up a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the NHS website. It’s free and entitles you to the same level of complimentary medical care as the Spanish locals receive. So you won’t have to pay the medical bills yourself in the unlikely event that you need urgent treatment while you’re away.

However, your EHIC won’t cover everything.

The EHIC does not cover ongoing medical care, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation. In other words, unless you’re in immediate danger, you will have to pay for your own treatment. That can be extremely expensive (fixing a broken arm in Spain can cost as much as £11,000, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers.) That’s why it makes sense to take out a good travel insurance policy.

Our Spain travel insurance covers up to £10 million worth of medical costs that your EHIC doesn’t account for. So there’s no need to worry about how you will fund treatment if you get hurt or become ill.



The World First Wander. The “how to save money” edition.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

The World First Wander. The “how to save money” edition. 

Summer piggy bank with sunglasses on the beach

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we look at a few ideas for something we all like to do – save some money.

We have been helping our customers to save money with our great value travel insurance since the early 1970’s. At the time you could enjoy two weeks in Majorca for the princely sum of £50! If only…  We often include money saving tips on our travel blog too.

So let’s tighten those purse strings and start saving for that trip of a lifetime. But it’s not easy, is it? If you are anything like me and find it near impossible to save up for anything, let alone a big trip, then you may find our first blog very useful indeed. It’s from Caz and Craig from ytravel. They know a thing or two about travel and saving money and have even written an ebook about it. But before you go searching, have a look at their article The Secrets To Saving Money For Travel Revealed. The best news is that they won’t even demand you cut out that daily coffee!

Staying on theme, let’s head over to Heels in my backpack for some more great ideas on how to get the cash together for that round the world trip of a lifetime. There is some really great advice in this post. How to save money to go travelling and still have a life.

More saving now… as promised… this time with Emma Higgins. We included her in last week’s wander so it’s a rare double appearance for Emma…why?… Because she writes great travel articles! 30 tips for saving money for Travel includes some great ideas.

Next up is some good advice for the girls, and a great bonus tip for the guys. I discovered The Blonde Abroad recently and I instantly liked her ideas for saving money on social spending. It’s just one of her 10 easy ways to save money to travel the world.

My brother Martin Rothwell spotted this one the other day from My Melange. As luck would have it she  also has some great tips for saving some money. She says “a little sacrifice now can help you travel later” and we know it’s true. Wise words indeed. Saving money really is about working out what your priorities are and adjusting life accordingly. Check out her 9 easy ways to save money for travel.

Finishing up this week a great post from Budget Traveller,another regular to this blog. Regardless of whether you have to scrimp and save or prefer to spend and splurge, it’s worth remembering that it’s all about the experience. At least that’s what they tell us in their post Budget travel or luxury travel? It’s the experience, stupid. So if you are struggling to stay focussed, focus on the end result – the experiences of travel.

Until next week.

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