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The World First Wander

September 26th, 2014

The World First Wander September 26th 2014.

The World First Wander

The World First Wander

Tristan Rothwell, our social media man, is someone who loves to travel. And when he’s not travelling himself he’s absorbing himself in the world of travel by seeking out the internet’s best blogs and travel sites. So let him transport you with another look at the best on the web. This week we are staying closer to home than usual with our wanderings…

It’s been a busy week here. I have been keeping up with some  truly inspirational and helpful travel bloggers and writers.

First up this week is a brilliant tip from Johnny Jet that I thought would be helpful to those of our customers who travel with medication – after all, we do specialise in medical travel insurance! Anyway, it’s this. And it’s quite inspired! Johnny Jets travel tip of the day – photograph your prescriptions.

On our own blog this week we wrote about sending kids off with a smile on their gap year. Sooner or later going on a big adventure is going to include some backpacking, which I love to do. So when I found Kash Bhattacharya’s recent post Backpacking in style across England  I knew we should include it. Kash includes plenty of really amazing looking spots to give you inspiration. My only grumble is that he didn’t visit as far south as Devon. Maybe next time?

Our friends over at A Luxury Travel Blog wrote a blog this week, giving us 5 reasons why the North of England is awesome. Who am I to argue? It’s beautiful up there, and if you have never been, take it from me that it will be worth it.

Not wanting to miss out our beloved Southwest  of England I spotted a nice article in the Telegraph Travel Site about  Wild Camping on Dartmoor. There is some great advice in there, including how to go to the loo in the wild!

Whether you are in the wilds of Dartmoor or have travelled to the beach for the day, it’s important to remember to tidy up after yourself. That’s why #2minutebeachclean is one of my favourite websites. It’s a brilliantly simple concept that is having amazing results. We did our bit on holiday in Mousehole with our 7 and 4 year old and they loved it. We left the beach feeling great! If everyone did the same, just imagine the difference it would make!!!

Out of the country and into London now. It’s one of those place you either love of hate, but never any doubt that you’ll always have something to do. A couple of weeks ago I included an article about East Street Market and this week we are Bermondsey bound to Maltby Street Market  with A Lady in London. It looks like it’s well worth checking out – that seafood stall looks delicious.

Well that’s it for this week. But don’t forget to let us know if you have seen or written a great travel post. We’re always on the lookout for great blogs to include.

Before I go I just want to wish my brother (and boss) the very best of luck in this weekend’s Dawlish Triathlon – I know he and Kate have trained hard for it.

Until next week


Flying south for winter. A travel insurance guide.

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.


Don’t be a grieving gap year parent (or grandparent)!

September 22nd, 2014
Don’t be a grieving gap year parent (or grandparent)!

Gap Year Travel

How to wave them off with a smile: advice for parents and grandparents sending kids off on a gap year.

Legions of parents and grandparents will wave their kids and grandkids goodbye this year as they set off on their gap years to find themselves, have a little fun after the stress of exams or university and see the world in all its wondrous glory.

It’s understandable that, as parents, you should be worried about them.

But rather than wibble and wail that your little babies are leaving home, get involved and help them to make it the trip of their lives. The more you support and encourage them, the better travelling will be for them and the more confident you’ll be when you wave them off that they will come home safe and well.

Good luck! Read the rest of this entry »

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.



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 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? 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
World First Travel Insurance MD - Martin Rothwell: donning the lycra for a great cause

Martin Rothwell: donning the lycra for a great cause

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:





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.



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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