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The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

April 11th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.


The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

It’s been another great week in travel and travel writing and it’s been more difficult than ever to narrow down our favourites. We start this week’s adventure with the weekend. They fly by don’t they? I bet you’re sitting at your desk now thinking “where did that go?” Am I right?

So we might need a bit of help to make our weekends last that little bit longer. But whereto start? Let’s go over to Travel Candy then, a blogger who has previously featured here in the World First Wander, with this post on 10 ways to make your weekends last longer.

What to do with your weekend time?

There are a hardy few of the team here who can often be found out in the wilds of a weekend. MD Martin is one of them with regular trips to his beloved Woodbury Common. Personally I like to head to Dartmoor, so I loved this next post about backpacking in beautiful Belstone. Have a read of Dartmoor Tramping (part One).

Getting down and dirty

 travel blogs and blogging

This next blog is interesting because it not only ties in nicely with being on Dartmoor (see above) and coming home filthy covered in mud, but also resonates with the parents in the office. We often end up discussing how dirty our children got this past weekend and what mischief they got up to !

It’s not travel related but it’s a topic that is close to our hearts. If we instil a sense of adventure in our children then, who knows, they may turn out to be the great adventurers of tomorrow. Have a read of Dirt is good and then take the kids outside and have a roll round in the mud.

Taking the adventure a bit further…

Quite a bit further actually, with some long distance backpacking and hiking along the UK’s longest trails. It’s something we know many of you love to do as we get lots of enquiries about backpacking travel insurance from all types of walkers, hikers and backpackers. So if you are thinking of walking that bit further next time, this next post may keep you motivated. It’s from The Next Challenge blog – Could you walk the length of every national trail in the UK ?

For those who prefer pedal power

the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

If all this walking is not your cup of tea then maybe you’ll prefer two wheels. And that’s what our next blog is about… sort of. It’s all about staying on two wheels while on a two wheeled touring holiday. After all, disasters like running out of tea can and do happen…  If you are thinking of a cycling holiday or tour this year then you will want a repair kit with all the right tools and the next post, an in depth post from Tom Allen, has it all. The Ultimate Fix-anything Cycle touring toolkit.

If you like your adventure served cold

The first thing that caught our eye about this post was the statement “My current employer just sent me to Norway to chase the northern lights”, so, in the vague hope that our boss will do the same, we are including this next post from Love Life Go Travel. It’s not the only reason. We loved the way it is written and made us smile and, for us that’s what travel is all about. From dried haddock crisps before a date to tying up a Viking with gaffer tape, it sounds like an amazing trip (note to Boss, I am happy to go on a trip like this in the name of work).

Have a read of an arctic adventure in Norway.

Really getting away from it all

The World First Wander: the best from the world of travel blogs and blogging

While technology is a wonder of the modern age, helping us to stay connected with friends family and loved ones, it can also be a curse. Sometimes it seems we have become so reliant on technology that we can’t just actually look at a view and enjoy it. No, we have to take a selfie and share it with everyone we know!

Does that trouble you? Read this from camping with style. How to have a tech free family camping holiday.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Our last post this week comes from Beverley at Pack Your Passport. It’s not about travel but more about life itself and the thing that holds all of us back at certain times in our lives –fear.

Have a read. Fear and falling is a good one.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully there has been something here to get you inspired to go on an adventure and maybe even do it tech free, or maybe go out and tie up a Viking with gaffer tape.

Until next week.


April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April.

April 8th, 2016

April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April.

Thinking of jetting off this month in search of the sun? Great! We have put together some ideas of the kind of places you are – almost – guaranteed good weather…

April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April.

There is nothing worse than arriving at a destination, having saved long and hard, to discover it’s the rainy season! You’d be surprised how many people do just that. However, with just a little research we can improve the odds of getting some of that much needed sun.

We have divided this guide into 3 sections, The UK, Europe and the rest of the World.

The UK

April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April.

Last year Britain basked in its sunniest April on record, with Morpeth in Northumberland having its sunniest ever, with 110 hours of sunshine! Could history repeat itself this year?

The South coast is always a good bet  and the stats prove it. South east England takes the top spot though just beating the southwest to the sunniest spot with an average of 170 hours of sun in April.

So where to go?


April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April. sussex

Last year Sussex was one of the driest places in the UK and the coastal resorts of Sussex and neighbouring Hampshire are amongst the sunniest places in the UK.


April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April. devon

Not only is it one of the top places to retire in the UK but it averages above 1600 hours of sunshine a year. The highest points on the moors will get more rain than surrounding areas due to their height but don’t let that put you off. If you strike it lucky with some April sun then there is nowhere more beautiful to be.

The Isle of Wight

April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April. isle of wight

With its milder sub-climate than other areas in the UK, the Isle of Wight is a great bet for finding April sunshine. Lower Ventnor enjoys a position sheltered by cliffs, giving it its own micro climate. That means if it’s raining on one part of the Isle of Wight it may well be dry there. Temperatures hit an average high of 55F in April so while it may not have you reaching for the factor 60, it does have a good track record for weather.


April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April. europe

According to the Met Office you are spoilt for choice in Europe, from Osta  in Portugal with a lovely and warm maximum average of 20.7c and up to 8 hours of sunshine a day, to that old British favourite, the Costa del Sol,  with temperatures in April reaching 20c or just slightly over.


April Showers? Your best chance of finding Sun in April. greece

Kos in Greece is another popular destination for British sun lovers. It might have been 14c, which is just under 60f, at the time of writing, but it’s forecast to  rise to a heart warming 22c and possibly as high as 25c and that’s perfect for starting off your 2016 tan.

Considering going to Greece have a look at Visit Greece.

The sunniest country in Europe – Spain

The sunniest country in Europe - Spain

Spain is a consistent contender in the sunniest spot awards. With a high of 21c in Malaga and 8.1 hours of sunshine it’s another good bet for escaping those British April showers. Seville is consistently a winner in the sunny stakes with spring being one of the most popular times to visit, as summer temperatures can reach the 30’s. Some find it too hot.

If Spain is your destination of choice then head over to Spain.info

The rest of the World

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Peaking at approximately 25c in April with just 5mm of rain this is a great bet! Excuse the pun, Vegas doesn’t have to be just about gambling though, and to get some great ideas for what activities are available there take a look at the trip advisor website:  Things to do in Las Vegas.


Florida sunshine

Florida is typically hot in April with a daily maximum of over 28c and 9 hours of sunshine a day. It’s also home to Disney World in Orlando – it is guaranteed to keep almost any child happy.

There is loads to do and see in Florida in April from the Charlotte harbour super boat grand prix to the seafood festival at Palmetto to the one which we really liked the sound of – The festival of Chocolate in Tampa.

Cancun – Mexico

Cancun – Mexico

With its tropical climate, the temperature in Cancun averages 32C in April but can rise to a sweltering 36c. It’s dry too, with average rainfall of approx 1.5 inches. Apriul marks the end of the dry season so the chances of rain are a bit higher than in January or February.

So if it’s real heat you want then Cancun is your best bet this month.

Happy holidays…















The World First Wander: the best travel blogs this week

April 5th, 2016

The World First Wander: the best travel blogs this week

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

It’s been another great week in travel and travel writing and it’s been more difficult than ever to narrow down our favourites! But anyway, we had a go…

Starting the journey close to home

The World First Wander: the best travel blogs this week

Dartmoor has tough terrain, but it can be done!

Dartmoor is just a 30 minute drive from our Exeter office, so, for us it’s almost like our back garden. It’s stunning whatever the season and weather but as spring approaches it really shines out there on the moor. So it’s a good place to start this week, with regulars The Bimblers, who have been checking out how accessible Dartmoor is. So let’s find out on Our Accessible Dartmoor Road Trip.

Are you thinking of travelling while pregnant?

travelling while pregnant

Travel while pregnant? Why not?

For  some the idea of travelling while heavily pregnant is an absolute nightmare. But for others it’s just another day at the travel office. It all depends on how you feel, what kind of advice you’ve been given and how far you want to go! Event then it can be helpful to get some good advice from a seasoned travel blog like Travel Mamas. One of their writers Stacy Jessee has travelled at 8 months pregnant and has some sage advice in Pregnancy travel tips learned the hard way. And don’t forget your pregnancy travel insurance – while you may not feel like it, pregnancy is classed as a medical condition so you’ll need decent medical cover.

For when you travel with a medical condition

For many people, medical conditions are no reason to stay at home, especially if it’s something chronic like IBS, Crohn’s or UC. Dealing with unfamiliar food and places can be a real challenge but it often worth it. And if you ever needed some inspiration to book that trip – and don’t forget we cover 1000s of medical conditions –  then take a look at this next post from Jodie from the Little Backpacker. It’s a frank account of her recent diagnosis of IBS and how it affects her eating. Well worth a read: Dealing with Food Intolerances.

Do you travel with medication?

travel with medication

If you travel with a medical condition then there is a good chance you will need to carry some form of medication. Often it’ll also mean taking a little more time to be prepared. That’s something Julie, mum at Have Wheelchair Will Travel knows all about. Thankfully, she’s written a helpful blog entitled What to do when travelling with medication. It’s a well informed and informative piece, so please, give it a read.

You’re not going to travel around the world, especially if………












Someone once told our next travel blogger “You’re not going to travel around the world, especially if you are deaf”. Little did they know Ed Rex of Rexy Edventures would be buying his round the world ticket the very next day! Fortunately he took no notice of this awful piece of advice because he’s an expert blogger (and one of our favourites). He shows that, while being deaf may throw up a few obstacles along the way, it’s no reason not to travel. Ed travels with cochlear implants due to Pendreds Syndrome and has listed some of the things he packs to make sure his travels go smoothly in Travelling solo with a cochlear implant around the world.

Another travel blog we follow is Definitely Wanderlust which is run by Lilo and Stacey, both of whom are deaf. They have written a great blog post about what you can ask when meeting deaf or hard of hearing people. It’s a good post and well worth a read.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…sometimes


The best of Vegas with Curb Free Cory Lee

We have followed Curb Free with Cory Lee for quite some time now and it’s a veritable treasure trove for the disabled traveller. Recently Cory lived it up in Vegas and he has written a great blog post for any wheelchair user thinking of heading there. He got up to all sorts, from hot air ballooning to scaling the world’s largest observation tower. As Cory says in his post, “there is nothing getting in the way of wheelchair users having the full on Vegas experience”. So here it is!  9 Wheelchair accessible things to do in Las Vegas.

That just about rounds up this week’s wander, hopefully you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have enjoyed writing it, let us know which is your favourite this week and if you have found a great travel blog post we may have missed please let us know.

British traveller facing ÂŁ53,000 medical bill after rare bird attack

April 1st, 2016

British traveller facing ÂŁ53,000 medical bill after rare bird attack

Photo Picture of a Guitar on the Sand Beach

Lost your guitar? It could be worse….

We get a lot of emails here at World First. But occasionally we get one that really stands out. Like the email we received from a gap year traveller, who recently had their round-the-world trip cut short after just one week. The sender, who has asked to remain anonymous, has given us permission to publish the email below.

Never forget to take out travel insurance. And do NOT mess with wild animals.

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander: A worldwide road trip special

March 29th, 2016

The World First Wander: A worldwide road trip special

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

Pack your bags and pack them light. This week we are heading off on a road trip – and we don’t need you jiggering the rear axle with your shoe collection. That much we do know. For everything else, we have a swashbuckling A to Z of road trip advice from some of the finest travel writers in the blogosphere. Start your engines. It’s time to mirror, signal, manoeuvre your way to the trip of a lifetime. Honk, honk!

What exactly is a road trip?

According to the font of all knowledge (ahem, Wikipedia), a road trip is “a long distance journey on the road”. Hmm. Not exactly a robust definition. So how long is long distance? Does a road trip really have to take place on the road? And do you need to hire a hootin’-tootin’ RV or will your Uncle Jack’s Fiesta 1.1 do the trick?

The World First Wander: A worldwide road trip special

The legend of the road trip starts back in 1888 when Bertha Benz borrowed (without consent) her husband’s car to travel 66 miles to visit her mother. 66 miles may not sound like much of a stretch in today’s money, but by nineteenth century standards – with a two-thirds of a horsepower engine that struggled to hit 10mph – it was a bona fide test of endurance. And you couldn’t even stop for a Burger King on the way.

road trip travel blog

Flash forward to today and your road trip can be anything and everything you want it to be. Coast to coast along Route 66, 10,000 miles in an old banger in the Mongol Rally, the length of Australia’s Gold Coast on an epic surfing adventure. You choose. Long or short. Through mountain passes. Along salt flats. You are limited only by your imagination. Okay, you are limited by your vehicle too – but even that’s negotiable with the right budget.

So, where would your dream road trip take you?

Wherever you go, make sure it’s safe

Car safety advice for a road trip.

First up this week is a blog post from Wander Mum, who has some sound advice about car safety. Sure, it might not be the most romantic part of road trippin’, but it is one of the most important. You won’t be going very far without both you and your car in one piece: Car safety advice for a road trip.

Go solo or go with friends?

A solo road trip – why you can and why it will be fabulous!

Make no mistake, this is a mighty big decision. Going solo can be immensely liberating – it’s just you and the open road. Trouble is, if (or when) something goes wrong, being on your own will bite that much harder – especially if you think a carburettor is something that belongs in an Italian restaurant. Going with friends can make things much less daunting. But you’d better be sure you can cope with living in each other’s pockets. Being together 24/7 is enough to drive a wedge between even the closest relationships. Decisions, decisions. While you scratch your head, Solo Traveler has your back: A solo road trip – why you can and why it will be fabulous!

If you decide the solo thing just isn’t your cup of cocoa, let’s look at this from a different angle. Would you consider road tripping with a stranger? Pick your jaw off the floor. Yes, it’s a gamble. But it can also be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. And you might just get to have as much fun as the guys from Internet Adventure Club.

Just make sure its epic

How to plan an epic road trip.

Of course a road trip doesn’t have to be epic must be epic. And the supremely unglamorous secret to achieving epic? Planning. Lots and lots of planning. The good news is that Helen In Wonderlust is here to throw you a bone or two: How to plan an epic road trip.

Talking of epic…

Valley of Fire - travel blog

The name Valley of Fire conjures images of biblical epicness. But you won’t find the Valley of Fire in the pages of Leviticus or Genesis, it’s in Nevada! And the scenery is every bit as dramatic as the name suggests. Don’t believe us? Hotfoot it over to Alex In Wanderland’s A very JUICY road trip part V: Valley of Fire. The photos are stunning. As for the hired RV – well, you be the judge.

It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey

Exactly. Sure it’s a cliché, but it’s lost on so many travellers. The journey is part of the travel experience. One person who knows that better than most is Elle-Rose from The World And Then Some, a traveller who discovered the joys of road trippin’ after realising that flight gave her the wrong kind of goosebumps. Thousands of miles, hundreds of photographs and dozens of unforgettable experiences later, Elle-Rose knows a thing or two about how to make the most out of a road trip.

how to make the most out of a road trip.

Road tripping at 90

You don’t have to be a spring chicken to road trip. After a cancer diagnosis, 90 year old Norma Bauerschmidt opted against treatment in favour of packing her bags and hitting the road. How inspiring is that? Norma has since become something of an internet sensation – and you can follow her adventures on Facebook at Driving Miss Norma.

What about a road trip at home?

You don’t have to go to the end of the Earth and back to enjoy a road trip! There’s plenty on offer right here in Blighty. In fact a road trip is one of the best ways to see Britain for what it is: a little island that’s endowed with a rich and varied beauty. Travel around the coast. Go up hill and down dale in the Peak District. Take in the visceral landscapes of Snowdonia. There’s a lot of choice for such a small island. Whittle down your options with Hand Luggage Only: 20 essential places you must include on your British road trip.

Europe bound!

As we enter the home straight of this week’s Wander, we look to Europe. And let’s just say that with 3,930,000 square miles to explore, you will want to make sure you have a full tank. Or just do what Michael Hodson did and bee-line for Slovenia. There’s plenty to see – from the European Green Capital – that’s Ljubljana, by the way – to the Julian Alps. You would know that too if you had read Roadtripping Slovenia: The parts you shouldn’t miss.

Roadtripping Slovenia: The parts you shouldn’t miss.

That’s the joy of road tripping. It makes it so much easier to make like Fleetwood Mac and go your own way. No itineraries to stick to. No waiting in departure lounges. And no letting the tour guide decide where you go. So if you’re in the mood for rebelling against the norm, may we be so bold as to recommend a trip to Riga – Latvia’s architecturally beautiful capital? Bruised Passports did just that. And by jingo it sounds like they had a fairly decent time in the process: Baltic roadtrip: A guide to Riga, Latvia.

Baltic roadtrip: A guide to Riga, Latvia.

Righto, that’s it for this week! We hope we’ve left you with an appetite to get those wheels rolling. But remember that wherever you go and however you get there, if you are blogging it we want to know. Chances are you might appear in the World First Wander one day soon!

Until next week.

The top 5 phone travel photography apps. How to get more out of your camera phone.

March 24th, 2016

The top 5 phone travel photography apps.  How to get more out of your camera phone.

travel photography











Mobile phone photography has come a long way! A few short years ago the phone in your pocket couldn’t even take a picture. Now your smart phone is an amazing camera in its own right (never mind making phone calls), with lots of apps to choose from, easy manipulation and incredible quality.

Whichever was the first mobile phone to have an on board camera – the Samsung SCH-V2000 or the Sharp J-Phone – they weren’t up to much, with just 0.35 and 0.11 megapixel cameras each.

In March 2007 everything changed when Nokia brought out the N95. Its camera could take shots at a whopping (for the time) 5 MP. Then again, it wasn’t too long before the first generation Apple iPhone hit the high street. That was on June 29th 2007. Many consider it to be the day that the mobile photography revolution began in earnest.

The mobile phone is the perfect tool to take travelling. It is compact, almost always with you and will allow you to be discreet, allowing you to capture better moments. Cameras, through the use of apps, can also allow you to be more creative than ever before with your pictures.

So what apps do you need to take better photographs? If truth be told no app is going to take the place of a good eye for a picture, but they can really help to bring otherwise dull images to life by allowing you to change the look and feel of your photographs.

We asked our social media man, Tristan Rothwell, who also happens to be a very accomplished and widely published photographer, to tell us about his top 5 favourite apps and tell us why he likes them.

1              Hipstamatic Classic for iPhone

Website: Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic is a retro camera app for the iPhone and is – allegedly – based on the Hipstamatic 100, a retro film camera from the 80s that was a massive failure and sold less than 200.

The app gives you access to 100s of combinations of lenses, film types and flashes so your pictures can take on all kinds of different feels. It’ll keep you amused for a long time! The “shake for random” option is interesting as you really don’t know what you will end up with! That feature seems to replicate the randomness of a Russian plastic cameras rather beautifully.

Tristan says, “Hipstamatic is my go to app for iPhone photography. I always use the “random” option as I like the unpredictability of it. And if there are settings you really don’t like you can exclude them in settings. I recommend using  the Libatique 73 Lens with Rock BW-11 film and a Dreampop flash for Black and White and the John S Lens plus Pistil Film and Standard Flash for colour shots.”

travel photography

2              645 Pro Mk3 for Iphone

Website – Jag.gr

645 Pro is not your average point and press photography app. It’s a fully controllable camera based on a digital SLR so it’s perfect for those times when you don’t want to take your bulky DSLR with you. It has some stunning film modes (as used by photographers from the 60’s up to the present day) and a panoramic 6 x17 option. Basically it has all options covered, with fully manual exposure control – including spot and matrix metering – so if you want to replicate your SLR or even medium format, this is the camera app for you.

Tristan says, “I love 645. The quality is amazing. It’s got everything that my  DSLR has, but it fits in my pocket, so if I was travelling and had one app I could use it’d be this one. It’s taken mobile photography to a whole new level. I particularly like the high quality output with its options of max quality JPEG and TIFF for amazing quality.”

3              Snapseed for Android and iPhone

Website: Snapseed

Once you have taken that shot you’ll probably want to edit it a little (or a lot) to make it even more stunning. Snapseed is the app you need. It has been around for a while and was bought by Google back in 2012. It can perform mild editing tasks or let you do a full blown job on your image if you feel it needs it.

travel photography











Photograph taken in Hipstamatic and then edited in Snapseed.

Tristan says, “I have used snapseed for as long as I have had an iPhone and I love it.  A professional photographer friend put me onto it. I like to use lots of different layers to add drama then distress it and add retrolux. I also like the tilt shift and drama options as they are particularly powerful. When you use them in conjunction with 645 Pro you can get some really powerful effects.”

4              Native IOS Camera

The iPhone in built camera – with its current IOS 8 isight version – has really come on since the 2MP fixed sensor camera on the 1st generation iPhone. It now boasts 8mp on the iphone 6. And, like all apple software, it’s well thought out and a doddle to use. It also has a lot of new features. You can set the focus and adjust the exposure – something that’s really useful.

 Native IOS Camera










The Native Iphone camera will take great shots

Another new addition is time-lapse. Now you can capture that sunset and watch it back at faster than normal speed. To use it, open your camera, swipe the menu to time-lapse, compose the shot and start it recording. You will need to shoot for at least a few minutes so make sure the phone is steady – ideally using a tripod. It’s great for recording a drive or a cycle. Just mount it on the dash or the handlebars and away you go!

Tristan says, “I have found myself using the native camera more and more recently. I never used to use it much, as it was limited at best, but if you want no frills photography I would go for it!”

 5              Pixlr-o-matic for iPhone and Android

Website:  Pixlr-o-matic

This is another retro feel camera, from developers Autodesk. Like all apps it enables you to add after effects including scratches and bokeh although there is an irony to taking pictures on a very advanced camera phone and then making the shots look like they came out of a ÂŁ20 Russian toy camera.

Tristan says, “I have been using this for a while and love it. When I am travelling I want to have lots of different options for shooting great photos I might shoot the same shot three or four ways but I don’t want to have to spend loads of time editing my travel photography. This app makes it possible to edit quickly.”

Want a little bit of extra help using your DIGITAL SLR? See our blog post HERE.




Terrorist attacks in Brussels – where you stand

March 22nd, 2016

TUESDAY 22 March 2016

Following the recent explosions at the Brussels Zaventum Airport, and the Brussels metro line, we would like to extend our sympathies to those affected.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued advice this morning and it can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/belgium

British officials and nationals in Brussels are being given the same advice to avoid crowded places and the public transport network. If you are concerned about family or friends then you can call the Belgian Crisis Centre on 0032 2753 7300 (or 1171 for general enquiries).

For clients caught up and in need of emergency medical attention we advise making sure they are safe first, then calling our Emergency Assistance Facilities service with the number provided in the policy wording.

Booked to go to Brussels or booked to come home?

If you want to cancel a trip:

These claims should go through the tour operators at this time as there is no cover under the policy for attacks of terrorism.

If your tour operator or airline offers you alternative flights / holidays:

If you are offered an alternative destination and / or dates from your travel agent, we are pleased to advise that we will shift your insurance policy to fit the new trip without any administration charges.

If your trip is refunded:

If you are unable to move the trip to an alternative destination and have been offered a refund from your travel agent or tour operator, we are happy to offer a full refund of premium on the understanding that no claim is to be made against the policy.

If you are travelling independently:

You should make your own arrangements to leave by either altering your return tickets where possible or booking into an alternative form of transport.


Got a question?

Email our claims team at claims@tif-plc.co.uk.

Do I need travel insurance? You asked, here’s the answer.

March 21st, 2016

Fed up with paying an insurance premium before you jet off? You don’t have to. You can travel anywhere in the world without travel insurance. But that doesn’t mean you should. Without travel insurance you could find yourself out of pocket if something goes wrong – anything from a few quid if you lose your passport, to hundreds of thousands of pounds if you need medical treatment on foreign shores. Oh and the travel policy you have with your bank account probably isn’t as foolproof as you thought.

Travelling without insurance isn’t illegal. It won’t get you turfed out of your taverna. But it could prove costly. It depends whether or not you are prepared to gamble with your savings and how much you can afford to lose. Here’s what you need to know. Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander: The best in adventure travel this week

March 20th, 2016

The World First Wander: The best in adventure travel this week

Welcome to another World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in the world of travel blogging and writing. As always it’s compiled by Tristan Rothwell, the man who scours the internet for the very best travel related stuff so you don’t have to.

Pop your head out of the window. Go on. You can almost smell the hot cross buns can’t you? Easter is just around the corner. That means warmer weather and brighter evenings will soon be with us too. Finally! Yep, it’s time to activate the beginning of the end of your hibernation sequence. New adventures await! It’s what travel is all about, right? Right.

The best in adventure travel

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure means different things to different people. For some it could be a weekend camping in Cardigan Bay. For others it will be going solo and discovering a new country – alone. For others still it will be something more extreme. You know, like scaling Everest. And it’s the extreme side of adventure that we have trained our digital crosshairs on for this week’s Wander. Step forward Steve Backshall.

Life in the Extreme

the world first wander

In 2008 Steve fell from a cliff and broke his back in two places. Twelve operations (and a lot of rehab) later he resumed climbing. His is an inspiring story – and a small part of it is revealed in his recent interview with Sidetracked Magazine. Sleeping on vertical rock faces, suspended hundreds of metres above the ground, with bullet ants and scorpions as bedfellows. Sounds pretty extreme to us: Life in the extreme – an interview with Steve Backshall.

Now we have got a taste for adventure…

Now we have got a taste for adventure

Okay, both feet back on firm ground, it’s time for a hike. And where better than the Himalayas? Many travel lovers make the mistake of thinking the Himalayas is for pro ramblers only. It doesn’t have to be that way. The Beas Kund trek carves a distinctly manageable path through these snowy mountain peaks, with a difficulty level of easy to moderate. Just ask Joy from Global Grasshopper. Her account of her Himalayan adventure features some stunning, visceral photography that will make you want to fetch your passport and head for the hills: Trekking the Himalayas – Beas Kund.

Staying in the Himalayas

Staying in the Himalayas

Of course, it’s almost impossible to speak of the Himalayas without honourable mention of its principal peak. Its pre-eminent pinnacle. It’s most stately summit. You guessed it: Everest – the towering apex in the roof of the world. Scaling Everest has long been the dream of gutsy adventurers, but even getting to the Everest base camp is a mission! Curious? Peregrine Wanderer has the skinny on What to expect on a hike to Everest base camp. And if that whets your walking whistle, soak up the advice of Brian and Noelle from Wandering On: The ultimate guide to walking the Everest base camp trek independently.

In search of Incan civilisation

In search of Incan civilisation

A staple on the bucket list of travellers far and wide is Machu Pichu. And who can blame them? Thought to have been built in 1450 and abandoned a century later, it remained unknown until 1911. In 1983 it was declared a World Heritage Site and in 2007 was voted as one of the 7 Wonders of the World. A mere glance at any photo from this spectacular destination is enough to stoke the excitement – even if that particular snap is being photobombed by one of the llamas that call this part of Peru home: Trek to Machu Pichu – 10 amazing facts about the mystical Andean beauty.

How many of these can you tick off?

travel list

Who loves a travel list? Who doesn’t! When it comes to adventure there are lists for everything. And this next one is going to stoke your hunger to get your next trip booked. Probably. Hop to it: 50 adventures to try in your lifetime.

Time to ride

Time to ride

From two feet, to two wheels. Taking to the bike saddle is fabulous way to see the world. Leisurely peddling hither and yon, from village to village, taking in the sights and sounds and scents and scenery. Sure sounds good to us. Of course there’s an extreme side of cycling too. Just take a look at this insane video from Diamondback as Eric Porter races along the Colorado trail. The scenery and filming is amazing. (Hey, hundreds of cyclists come to us every year to get the cover they need for their two-wheeled adventures. You can too.)

Getting outdoors when you are stuck indoors

Getting outdoors when you are stuck indoors

Having the appetite for adventure is one thing. But before you fill your boots, chances are you need to figure out how to untether yourself from your desk. Easier said than done. But hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t set your mind free. Fill your lugholes with travel inspiration with Outside’s 8 best outdoorsy podcasts. And for a bonus shot of motivation – hey, we all need it sometimes – watch this short video on the theory of human motivation from the makers of The Dirtbag Diaries. Inspiring stuff.

Persuading your better half

Overcoming other commitments to make your adventure happen

With any adventure, there’s always people that get left behind. And the general rule is that the older (nay, wiser) you get, the more responsibilities and commitments you have. That can make it harder to down tools and set off on your next big adventure. Harder, but not impossible. Author and motivational speaker Alastair Humphreys has the advice you need to make today’s ambitions tomorrow’s memories: Overcoming other commitments to make your adventure happen.

Right then! That’s it for another week. Hopefully there’s more than a little inspiration in here this week to help make a reality of your travel dreams, whether that’s hiking the Himalayas, racing through the dusty downhill sections of the Colorado trail or discovering an ancient civilisation at Machu Pichu.

Over to you… !


Looking for something different this Easter? Here are 8 alternatives…  

March 15th, 2016

Looking for something different this Easter? Here are 8 alternatives…  

Fed up with chocolate eggs, hot cross buns and the elusive Easter bunny? Cast your net beyond the UK and alternative Easter traditions await. Marvellous, curious and intriguingly different.

Seville: huge parades celebrate Easter during a week long revel.

Seville: huge parades celebrate Easter during a week long revel.

1.Czech Republic

During an event that does nothing for women’s lib, in the Czech Republic men grab special Easter whips made from pussy willow and get busy flogging the women they like most. In return the freshly flagellated women endow their admirers with chocolate eggs and shots of whiskey. It’s more light-hearted than it sounds, however. Many women take offence if they don’t get whipped.

2. Slovakia

From whips to water. Buckets full of it. On Easter Monday in the villages of Slovakia, the locals dress up in traditional folk garb, before the men delight in pouring buckets of water over the women. The event is known as OblievaÄŤka, which translates as “watering”. Similar, erm, celebrations are held in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland – where the event is known as Ĺšmigus-Dyngus, meaning Wet Monday.

3. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has an average annual coastal temperature of 28oC and humidity that usually falls somewhere between 70 and 90%. This tropical climate isn’t exactly ideal for devouring chocolate, unless you like it wet. No, the Easter treat for Papua New Guineans is sticks of tobacco and cigarettes, which are often handed out to the congregation after Easter church services.

4. Bermuda

Every Easter in Bermuda kites are designed, created and decorated from scratch. These are taken to the beach and flown high in the sapphire skies to symbolise Christ rising from the grave and ascending to heaven. The kites can take weeks to create and awards are dished out for the best kites across a multitude of categories.

5. France

On the Saturday before Easter it’s tradition for the churches in France to stop ringing their bells. The day is called Silent Saturday and is intended as a token of remembrance of the passing of Jesus. French kids are spun an ulterior yarn. They are told that the bells have stopped ringing because they have left their towers and flown to Rome to see the Pope. When the bells return to France, they drop chocolate eggs and bundles of candy for the children to enjoy. (Sounds about as plausible as the Easter bunny.) But for France’s most eye-catching (and belly-busting) Easter tradition, look no further than the quaint village of Haux in southern France. Every Easter Monday the residents gather to make an omelette of epic proportions. Some 4,500 eggs are emptied into a gigantic pan to create an omelette that is measured in yards and feeds over 1,000 people.

6. Norway

Partial to a murder mystery? Then you’ll love Easter in Norway. Here the tradition is to sit down with your nearest and dearest while watching and/or reading murder mysteries together. It’s become such a big deal that most major television stations in Norway change their schedules and only broadcast murder mysteries during Easter. Publishing houses, meanwhile, fast track the release of murder mystery novels in time for Easter. Adding to the sense of drama is the fact that almost everything shuts down in Norway for practically the entire Easter week. Nobody goes to work. Kids don’t go to school. The shops are shut. The only thing that matters is whodunit.

7. Spain

For an Easter procession to end all others, head to Seville to take in the celebrations of Semana Santa. During a week of revelry, lavish floats festooned with decorations and twinkling candles amble through the streets, accompanied by marching bands and thousands of revellers and worshippers. The bars and restaurants of the city are thrumming and celebrations extend well into the small hours.

8. Germany

Georgiritt (St. George’s Parade) is an Easter tradition in Germany that harks back to the 18th century. Every Easter Monday in Traunstein hundreds of revellers dressed in traditional Bavarian costume take to garlanded horses and trot through the fields to a local church to receive blessings. The event is actually held to commemorate the legend of George’s victory over the dragon that was threatening the pagan city of Sylene. Fancy a more traditional Easter fix? There’s no beating the Passion Play, which is held 90 miles away in the village of Oberammergau. This special depiction of Christ’s trial and death is produced by residents to thank God for sparing them from the plague, which threatened to wipe out the village in 1633. The play lasts six hours and is staged every ten years, seven days a week from May to October. Unfortunately you will have to wait until 2020 for the next performance.

Heading off this Easter? Get cheap travel insurance from World First.

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