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Do you practice safe sun? Here’s why you should.

May 11th, 2015

Do you practice safe sun? Here’s why you should.

sun awareness week

Did you know that last week was sun awareness week?

It was covered in our news feed here, with some rather alarming results from a poll from the British Association of Dermatologists. In it they revealed – from a poll of 1,018 adults – that most Brits fail to check for signs of skin cancer, that three out of four of us wouldn’t know what to look for when it comes to skin cancer and that 72% had suffered from sunburn in the last 12 months.

So we thought that we should perhaps shed some light on that darkness with a little of our own information about skin cancer, how to avoid it, what to look out for and why it’s a growing problem. To do this we enlisted the help of World First Customer, Marcus, who told us a little about having skin cancer, what it means, how to avoid it and how it has affected his life in the sun.

This is what he told us.

“I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma – skin cancer – when I was in my early twenties. This is the most dangerous form of skin cancer as it can spread if left untreated. That’s when it becomes really dangerous. I was lucky as my cancer was removed completely with a couple of operations under local anaesthetic. I’m now 48 and have had no further malignant melanomas, although I have had a few moles removed to be on the safe side.”

That’s good news. But what does it mean to you? Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know:

What types of skin cancer are there?

This is what Public Health England says about the types of skin cancer:

Malignant melanoma: This is the most serious type but is less frequent. It requires early treatment because if the disease progresses too far it can lead to death.

Non-melanoma: This type of cancer can be formed from either squamous or basal cell carcinomas and is the most common type of skin cancer. It is rarely fatal and can be easily treated as long as it is diagnosed early on.

How many people are affected by skin cancer each year?

According to Cancer Research 13,348 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in 2011. This accounts for 4% of all cancer cases in the UK. Yet only 2,148 people died from it in 2012, which is just 1% of cancer deaths. What this means is that malignant melanoma is treatable- if it’s caught early enough – with 90% of all patients surviving 10 or more years.

What causes skin cancer?

Marcus’ skin cancer was almost certainly caused by sunburn. In fact, most skin cancers are caused by over exposure to ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or from artificial sources.

“I attribute my skin cancer to getting sunburned when I was young. We went of lots of holidays to Spain, Portugal and France when I was a kid and I always got terribly burnt because I didn’t put cream on or cover up properly. But that was the seventies and my family were ignorant of the dangers. Cancer, unfortunately, is the legacy of that careless attitude towards the sun.”

What are the symptoms of skin cancer?

The appearance of moles or dark patches on the skin – and changes to them – can often be early signs of skin cancer skin.  To help you remember what to look for, there is a simple, universal acronym: ABCDE. This stands for:

Asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape

Border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches

Colour – this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen

Diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor

Expert – if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS

Marcus told us “My mole was pale in colour, more like a blemish. But slowly over time I noticed a darker spot had appeared within it. It wasn’t until I saw a photograph of me from a few years before that I realised how much it had changed and how much the dark spot had increased in size. That was the prompt to get checked out.”

Can skin cancer be prevented?

The simple answer is, more than likely, yes. And the simple method is to cover up, avoid going out without protection in hot sun and make sure that you have adequate sun protection, even if it’s cloudy. UV can penetrate cloud cover so it’s important to remember that it is possible to burn even when the sun isn’t shining.

Marcus said “It’s actually pretty easy to avoid getting burned. After my treatment I changed my attitude towards the sun and just did my best to cover up, stay out of the midday sun in hot countries, wear a hat and generally be sensible about going out unprotected. It isn’t that hard. A tan is actually a sign of sun damaged skin so I’m happy to be paler than most. It’s a sign of health!”

Will skin cancer affect your ability to get travel insurance?

Better ask Marcus that one. He said “I was accepted by World First for annual travel insurance with no quibbles after answering a few questions about my follow ups and the dates of the cancer. There was no additional premium for the condition.”

Obviously every case is different but it’s good news that having skin cancer may not affect your ability to get covered for your travels.  However we do think it is a good idea to reassess your attitude towards the sun. We would certainly advocate practicing safe sun at all times – even in the UK.



The World First Wander. Places to see, things to do.

May 8th, 2015

The World First Wander. Places to see, things to do.

Holiday and Travel Destinations

Snowdon. Walk or train? You decide.

Welcome to another World First Wander, your weekly destination for the latest hot topics in travel and holidays. Each week Tristan Rothwell scours the internet to find out what the leading travel bloggers are talking about. This week it’s all about what to see and what to do on your travels…

We start off this week’s journey close to home in Leeds. Now it might not be first place you think of for a weekend break, but have a read of this post from @pckyourpassport and you might change your mind. Check out the Weekend guide: 10 awesome things to do in Leeds. Looks pretty cool wouldn’t you say?

Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander – thoughts on destinations

May 1st, 2015

The World First Wander – thoughts on destinations

Mauritius - world first wander

Chamarel in Mauritius: top natural destination

Welcome to another installment of the world first wander , our weekly look at the hottest travel writing and blogging from around the globe. As always its compiled by Tristan Rothwell  as he takes us on a whistle stop tour of the internet’s best travel writing.

This week it’s all about the destination.

What makes us choose one destination over another? Everyone has different needs and wants, of course, so what’s perfect for one person may be hell for another. Some people like solitude, peace and quiet, deserted beaches and warms seas and while others like culture, vibrant cities, museums and nightlife. Then again, there are some for whom nightlife is everything and the resort with the best clubs and DJs comes first. How about you?

isles of scilly

This is getting Scilly. Would you? Oh yes!

How much does the weather influence your decision?  If you like it mild, but not too hot then it may well pay to take a look at our first blog, which is about The Scilly Isles.  They are situated 28 miles south west of Cornwall  – you can see the islands on a clear day from Lands End – and has the mildest climate of any area in the UK. The Beaches are truly stunning.  And they are only enhanced by the work of Oriel Hicks, an artist living on the islands who takes workshops about making beach art. What a great idea! For people with a low boredom threshold it’s a perfect way to spend the day, as The Family Adventure Project show in their lovely post Scilly Art from Nature with Oriel Hicks.

A little further afield now, to Spain, a massively popular destination among World First customers and travellers and holidaymakers in general. IF you are thinking about going Balaeric or Iberian this summer then you might want to have a quick scan through some of the basics in our quick guide to travelling in Spain.

quick guide to travelling in Spain

Paella. Delicious, but it’s only a regional speciality.

Next, if you think you know Spain, take a look at 49 things you didn’t know about Spain from Inside the Travel Lab. Which one will inspire you to book your next flight? 42 did it for me.

Moving even further afield we are now off to Xi’an, China,  with The Travel Hack. This latest post is a guest post from a presenter called Sophie. She lived in Xi’an  for just over a year and knows her stuff. As it shows in this post, An Insider’s Guide to Xi’an. 

Mauritius now. What does the name conjure up for you? Beautiful beaches? Blues skies? Of course, but there is more to this Island.  It’s a haven for stunning wildlife and was once home to the now extinct Dodo.  Despite the famous loss, there is still some amazing wildlife to see. Our next blog, from luxury travel company Original Travel, lay it all out for us in their latest guest post, Four must-see Mauritius nature spots.

Table Mountain Cape Town

Table Mountain. Cape Town’s towering icon. A must-see.

If you aren’t the nature type then how about a trip to Africa’s most exciting city, Cape Town? It’s just a 6.5 hour flight away from Mauritius but might as well be further. Cape Town is one of our favourite cities because it is colourful, vibrant and is always buzzing. Also, it’s got a little of everything – beaches, city life and the magnificent Table Mountain.

Need any more persuading? Try this, from The Cosy Traveller . 10 reasons why we all need to visit South Africa may well give you the push you’ve been waiting for.

Well that’s it for this week’s wander. We’ve covered a lot of ground!

Until next week



How a weak Euro can help you save this summer

April 30th, 2015

 How a weak Euro can help you save this summer

weak Euro

Have you been looking at the Euro / Sterling exchange rate recently? If you haven’t then we’ll be happy to tell you that the pound is at its strongest against the Euro since the crash of 2008. From an all time low of around 1.04 Euros to the pound in January 2009, the pound is now worth around 1.4 Euros, the most it’s been worth in over 6 years.

What does that mean to you?

A favourable exchange rate means that you’ll get more Euros for your pound when you exchange them prior to travel and pay by cash or when you use a credit or debit card abroad. At the time of writing the rate you can expect when paying for items in Euros with your Visa card is around 1.34 Euros to the pound. That means if you buy something costing €100 you’ll pay around £72 for it (excluding fees). In 2009 the same item would have cost you around £99 or so. If you get a good exchange rate for your cash at the bank it may be even cheaper.

How to make your holiday cheaper

A favourable exchange rate is only useful if you are paying for items in the local currency. That means anything you book and pay for in sterling before you go will not be any cheaper. It’s bad news if you are going all inclusive as your meals and drinks in your hotel will already be paid for. But if you are going independently and buying food, accommodation, excursions and suchlike as you go – for example if your are touring, camping or staying in self catering – then you will be able to make the most of it.

The cost of holiday essentials

Whatever the exchange rate, it’s always good to know what you can expect to pay for typical holiday items once you get there. Each year the Post Office conducts a survey of typical holiday items in countries across the world. It’s a bit like the shopping cart that supermarkets use here in the UK except that it counts the cost of items like sun cream, bottled water and cigarettes. Our favourite holiday destination, Spain, is still among the cheapest places in Europe – something that’s great news for millions of us hoping for some cheap sun and sangria this summer.

The fantastic website pintprice.com has prices of a pint all over the world. It also details cities and areas of each country so you can make informed decisions about what it’s going to cost where. In Donsotia San Sebastian, for example you might expect to pay up to €5, whereas in Benidorm you may get it for as little as €1.04. It won’t tell you the price of accommodation, meals out or other holiday sundries but it can give you a good indication of local pricing, especially when it comes to tourist areas.

Save on independent travel cover too           

Some holiday essentials you’ll have to buy in the UK in sterling before you go – even if you travel independently. One of them is your holiday travel insurance. However, you’ll still be able to enjoy savings with our policies. We offer cover for the entire family, for extended families and for people with medical problems at a price that’s fair and can cover most conditions. That’s because we are specialist and do nothing but travel cover. Even if you’ve been quoted a price for your travel cover with your all inclusive you may still be able to save with us – especially if a member of your family has to make medical declarations.

Get a quote now.


The World First Wander: a city breaks special

April 24th, 2015

The World First Wander: a city breaks special

The World First Wander: a city breaks special

The ultimate city break? Paris, as always and forever.

Each week our social media man Tristan Rothwell scours the internet looking to bring you the cream of the crop from the world of travel blogs and writing. Welcome to this week’s installment! We have focussed on city breaks this week, with blogs on taking time out both here and abroad.

Got a week or a weekend to spare? What could be better than taking off to explore somewhere new on a city break? Whether a quick overnight or a long weekend, we have been offering travellers City Breaks travel insurance for over 40 years – so I thought we should see what the world of the blogger has in the way of tips, hints and ideas. What city should you head for? What do you do when you get there? What’s it to be?

New York? London? Paris? Munich?

Let’s look at Paris first. Read the rest of this entry »

Faldo to play his last. But will you play his best?

April 23rd, 2015

 Faldo to play his last. But will you play his best?

golf travel insurance

Nick Faldo announced recently that the Open Championship of 2015 at St Andrews will be the last time he will play in the event. Still, he’s not had a bad run. Faldo has won the Claret Jug three times. That includes a 1990 win at St Andrews. Add to that 3 Masters wins and it all adds up to one great career. Read the rest of this entry »

Heroes head north for charity fundraiser

April 14th, 2015

Heroes head north for charity fundraiser 

travel and medical insurance

From time to time we get involved in projects that need very specialist insurance. Recently we were delighted to be able to broker the travel and medical insurance for a fantastic charity fundraising trip to the North Pole into the Lloyd’s market. Read the rest of this entry »

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

April 10th, 2015

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

best travel writing

Paris – perfect no-fly destination.

Welcome to another edition of the World First Wander, our weekly take on what’s hot in the world of travel writing and blogging. In this edition we look at tips to make your journeys and holidays easier by getting some sound advice on stress free airport travel, no fly holidays, train tickets and cruising.

So let’s begin with a stress free airport experience, courtesy of Zoë Dawes AKA The Quirky Traveller. Zoë knows her stuff when it comes to travel so everyone is bound to find something useful in her 9 tips for Stress free airport travel. Read the rest of this entry »

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

March 27th, 2015

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

World First

Walking with toddlers – the rules change!

Welcome to another installment of The World First Wander! This is where we take our weekly look at travel blogs and post from over the last week or so. This week we look at babies, Exeter, Cornwall, City Tours and things to do near you over Easter.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

March 20th, 2015

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


Welcome, once again, to our weekly look at some of our favourite travel blogs and articles from the last week or so. As always it is compiled by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell .

This week we look at accessible travel, learn about first aid and visit Jane Austen’s Bath (as in the city, of course). Read the rest of this entry »

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