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

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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

Advice for travelling with kids

Advice for travelling with kids

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

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

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

France Passion: the secret to a perfect holiday!

An Aire de Camping Car at Contis in Western France

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

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

You may have been doing it all wrong.

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

Sounds good? It is.

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

Stay for free? What’s the catch?

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

Motorhoming isn’t what you think it is

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

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

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

Why France is fantastic for campers and motorhomes

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

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

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

Once you’re here you might as well stay!

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

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

Fancy a motorhome adventure?

See our travel insurance guide for European long stays.

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

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

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

Flying south for winter. A travel insurance guide.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Flying south for winter. A travel insurance guide.

Flying south for winter - A travel insurance guide

A travel insurance guide

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

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

Our guide to travel insurance for European long stays

1                      Do you need travel insurance?

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

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

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

2                      Your access to healthcare in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

3                      What policy should you go for?

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

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

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

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

4                      Declaring your medical conditions

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

5                      Taking medication for your trip

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

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

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

 

The World First Wander

Friday, 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?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

Air France pilots on strike. Where do you stand?

 

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? (more…)

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

Monday, 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.

 

 

How to use your EHIC in Spain.

Wednesday, 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!

Monday, 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. (more…)

Young Brits abroad: gambling with their family’s future?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Young Brits abroad: gambling with their family’s future?

Young Brits abroad: gambling with their family’s future?

Young Brits abroad: gambling with their family’s future?

What would you pay to get your loved ones home safely following an accident abroad? Would you be willing to remortgage the house to pay a hospital bill in Mexico? How about using all your life savings to get them home from Oz with a medical escort?

Of course, as parents you wouldn’t fail in your duty to your children. But, it seems from the latest research, that young Brits are risking their family finances for the sake of saving a few quid on their holiday essentials.

So if your children are about to fly the nest and are seeing the world or are heading off for a fab holiday abroad, we hope they have a great – and safe – adventure. But don’t let them put your future finances at risk by travelling without one of the essentials – travel insurance. (more…)

A Last Minute Weekend in…Tromsø

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

A Last Minute Weekend in…Tromsø

World First Travel Insurance - A Last Minute Weekend in...Tromsø

A Last Minute Weekend in…Tromsø

Mid summer is almost upon us! Thank goodness for that. It’s great being able to enjoy long evenings. But what if you could enjoy REALLY long evenings? That would be amazing. It’s also very possible to jump on a plane and enjoy 24 hour daylight right here in Europe. So pack your bags, we’re heading off to Tromsø, the Paris of the North in the Arctic Circle. For culture lovers and lovers of daylight, it’s the only place to head this midsummer’s eve.

But before you go, don’t forget that our Last Minute travel insurance policies are designed for people like you. With no cancellation cover costs included in the price it’ll work out cheaper than most standard policies – so you’ll have more to spend on those reindeer steaks!

We are pretty sure you’d never have thought about Tromsø for a last minute weekend. But, with direct flights from London Gatwick to the city in the Arctic Circle, it is a possible destination for someone looking for a weekend away with a difference. At this time of year, when you can expect 24 hour daylight, it is a remarkable place to spend a very long, sun drenched weekend. It’s also a cultural centre, with lots to see and do. A weekend might not be enough! (more…)

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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