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

December 5th, 2014

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

World First Travel Blog - travel writing

Greetings! Welcome once again to the World First Wander, our weekly meander around the internet. As usual we have found the very best in travel blogging and writing for you to enjoy.

This week we have found some great stuff, including blogs about Greek food, solo travelling, backpacking on a budget, hiking and a trip to Poland.

Let’s head off.

I am going to start with one of my favourites,  Rebecca Hall. Rebecca has written for us in the past and her blog a taste of life in Greece was really popular. It also leads us nicely (I think) to her latest post about Greek food, She recently visited a new restaurant in Athens where they serve Food like your mother would cook. Next time you find yourself in Greece, do seek it out – it sounds wonderful.

I really enjoyed reading this next post from Brenna Holeman about travelling alone. Solo travel can often be amazing but sometimes it’s better to have a bit of company. In her post When I don’t feel like being a solo traveller Brenna talks about how she became a ‘female solo traveller’ and why she loves meeting up with people along the way to share sights, frights and memories. Worth a read.

Another regular on the World First wander is Kash Bhattacharya AKA Budget Traveller . There is a  good reason for Kash’s regular appearances here, and that’s because he’s a  decent writer with a good eye for a photograph. His posts are always interesting and useful. This latest is no different. Thinking of going to Malta? Read Backpacking in style across Malta and Gozo – 21 Tips first!

Staying with the subject of budget backpacking, Elle-Rose Williams has written a really nice piece on ‘The world and then some’ travel blog about backpacking destinations that are as kind to your pocket as they are to your travel experiences. Backpacker Heaven: The best countries for backpacking on a budget is great for ideas…

From backpacking to hiking now with Bristol based Heather Cowper . Walking is as popular as ever as a way to see the countryside, stay fit and active and meet like minded souls – so if you like putting one foot in front of the other you’ll enjoy her post about hiking in Mallorca. Lace up and take a wander with her in Hiking the dry stone route in Mallorca.

Poznan, one of the oldest cities in Poland, next, in a blog from the Travelocafe Travel blog. They say that “Eastern Europe is largely overlooked by first time visitors to Europe” but reading this post, we can see that we’ve really been missing out. It looks beautiful . And there’s a croissant museum! Where do I sign up? Poznan. A travel guide to 10 of the best places to visit.

That’s it for this week. I hope you have enjoyed reading these wonderful blogs and that it makes you hungry for more travel.  As always I am constantly on the lookout for great travel articles and posts so if you have a travel blog, let us know about it! Add the link in the comments box below.

Until next week.

Staying home in 2015? Why you still need travel cover.

December 2nd, 2014

Staying home in 2015? Why you still need travel cover.

travel cover

Holidays in the UK still need to be insured.

Earlier this year we asked our customers where they like to travel in our first ever World First travel insurance survey. While many of the respondents told us they head for Europe (46%) and the USA (11%), there were still 25% who said they like to travel within the UK. Some respondents said they travel by coach or train, while others prefer to travel by car, campervan or motorhome.

It is understandable that so many of us should choose to see Great Britain. It is a remarkable place that’s almost 850 miles from end to end. Between Land’s End and John O’Groats there are so many unique places, buildings, natural wonders and stunning views to see and experience that you could spend a lifetime exploring England Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and still not see it all.

Making a booking? It’s still a holiday.

One thing that UK travellers sometimes forget is that holidays in the UK are no different from holidays abroad and still need protecting. You might not need medical cover because you will be covered by the NHS in the UK, but you may need medical repatriation home if you become ill and need specialist transport.

You will also need cover for losses, delays, breakdowns and cancellations that aren’t covered by your household insurance policy or your roadside assistance provider. Any booking that you make before the event, even if it’s buying a ticket to a theme park, still needs to be protected if you value it.

Your booking is a contract.

If you book a train, sign up for a coach trip, make a booking at an hotel or rent a holiday cottage anywhere in the UK then you are entering a legally binding agreement.  This means that you may be liable for the cost of the entire holiday if something happens and you are unable to travel.

Many holiday companies have cancellation policies where you have a right to cancel before a certain time. This could be a month or two weeks before the start of your holiday. If you have paid a deposit then you may lose this if you cancel before that time and if you have to cancel after that time you may lose the entire value of the holiday.

A travel insurance policy for UK travel

Guest First is a travel insurance policy designed especially for UK travellers. It can be used to insure holidays up to a maximum value of £6000 for anyone travelling in the UK up to the age of 100. It covers cancellation if you can’t travel for any number of reasons. If you are ill, if someone you are travelling with is ill, if a close colleague is ill, if you are called for jury duty or if your home is flooded and you can’t travel it will cover the full cost of your losses. It will also cover you if you are delayed in your travel because of strikes, disputes, weather and mechanical breakdowns.

Cover for that “holiday from hell!”

What if your holiday turns out to be a disaster through no fault of your own? It does happen. Sometimes a holiday property can become uninhabitable, beaches can be closed and catastrophes such as landslides, floods and extreme weather events can hit even the best planned getaways. It doesn’t happen often but it can. A Guest First travel cover policy will cover you for most unforeseen holiday problems.

No screening for medical conditions.

As travel insurance specialists covering 1000s of medical conditions we know that getting medical cover can be difficult for some people with chronic or serious conditions. But with Guest First you don’t have to declare any medical conditions, go through any kind of medical screening, although we do charge an excess of £80 for any claims arising from a pre-existing condition.

Get automatic cover with your annual policy.

Did you know that all UK trips are covered by your World First Annual policy? As long as you have more than 2 night’s pre-booked accommodation then your annual policy will cover it. It means that any weekends away, mini breaks or holidays will be covered as well as your annual holiday. So if you only take one main holiday a year but also head away throughout the year it may well work out cheaper than buying a single trip policy.

Get a quote for a UK holiday now.

Tell us your secrets. Today is World Aids Day.

December 1st, 2014

Tell us your secrets. Today is World Aids Day.

World Aids Day

Today is World Aids Day

Today is the day we take time to think about AIDS and HIV and its impact around the world. And, if we can, do something to help those less fortunate than us. It is a cause that’s close to us, as we were the first travel insurance company to offer cover for people with HIV. That was in 1991, after a ten year battle with the world’s underwriters.

This year we are supporting a charity called Sentebale that was founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. There are more than 37,000 children under 14 living with HIV and AIDS in Lesotho and the charity works with them and other vulnerable and needy children to give them a better life. The charity’s World Aids Day campaign aims to de-stigmatise those children by asking people in the west to declare their deepest secrets. The idea is to be open about who you are and to be proud of who you are.

Prince Harry is very involved with the campaign and has promised to reveal a secret about himself in the coming days. So far lots of celebs have revealed a little about themselves, including boxer Ricky Hatton, who claims to be afraid of cats.

So what’s your secret? Before you tell us, you can tell the world by using Twitter. Just hashtag your confession with #feelnoshame to let others know you support the campaign. It may even appear on the charity’s website at feelnoshame.today. You can also donate to the charity by texting FEEL01 £5 to 70070.

What are we confessing to today? We did a little straw poll around the office and here’s what our customer service team came back with. If you are of a sensitive disposition, you may want to look away now.

Martin Rothwell, Managing Director: My mum once dressed me in red tights and I like watching Emmerdale.

Angela Guest, Customer Service: I buy my pastry ready-made and pass it off as my own if asked.

Kirsty Gardner, Customer Service: I love watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians and I refer to Kim Kardashian as the Queen. Also I love a bit of One Direction!

Tristan Rothwell, Social Media Manager: I have a massive secret but I can’t tell you until tomorrow !

Sarah Milverton, Customer Service:  I pretend to hate Holyoaks but secretly love it!

Luke Morrison, Customer Service: Luke’s secret is he has to shave his neck hair because it  grows faster than his facial hair!

Kim Gallin, Customer Service: I love to listen to Westlife’s first album and was gutted when they split up.

Daniel Evans, Customer Service:  I once had to have a nature poo on a first day of work when I was 23, I’ll spare you the details.

Steven Hole, Customer Service: When I was 13 I went to Disneyland Paris with my parents I went on Space mountain and I screamed “I LOVE YOU MUM” all the way around screaming. Very embarrassing.

Richard Taylor, Digital Director:  I love listening country music… Doesn’t sound too bad eh… Well, Kenny Rogers is one of my favourite country artists. There, I’ve said it now…

Shushanah Tolley, Customer Service: My children draw me so many pictures that sometimes, when they are not looking, I throw them in the bin! Mean Mummy.


For more about the Sentebale charity, CLICK HERE.

For more information about our Travel Insuracne for HIV and AIDS, CLICK HERE .


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

November 28th, 2014
the best travel writing on the internet

The best travel writing on the internet

Welcome to this week’s World First Wander, our regular look at the week’s best travel blogs and articles. As always it has been compiled by our social media man, Tristan Rothwell.

Welcome to another week in the world of travel blogging. I have seen the first few Christmas posts this week but, seeing as it’s still only November,  we shall speak no more of it until another couple of weeks have passed.

I have become an avid reader of this week’s first blogger . He’s a man who knows adventure inside out and there and back again. He is a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and motivational speaker, among other things. However, this week’s blog isn’t about him. It’s all about a man who is having one hell of an adventure for himself on a penny farthing,  Joff Summerfield.  Read going round the World on a penny farthing and you’ll get to understand a little of this amazing quest. You can follow Joff on his travels here.

Who doesn’t love a travel tip or two? Well there are a few great ones in this next post, which was written by two sisters from Bristol, Sophia and Alex Saint, who are otherwise known as Saints on a Plane. They have listed their list of 35 things I wish I’d known before I started backpacking. Some good advice there if you are planning a few adventures.

As medical travel insurance specialist we hear all kinds of stories of illness. Things do happen when you travel, especially if you travel a lot and to remote places. Naturally it’s always vital to make sure your travel insurance is up to date and includes cover for all kinds of possibilities. But sometimes you just have to sweat it out, as Vicky Flip Flop tells us in this next blog. The title Feeling ill and travelling : never the two should mix, says it all. We hope you are feeling better now Vicky.

If you have ever travelled on a train with children then this next post is going to make you smile. It could also save you from tears and tantrums later. This post from Mummytravels tells all about First great Western’s new idea to reunite lost teddies with their owners. We love it!

Teddy Rescue – finding lost toys on trains

Paddington doesn’t look too bothered in that shot, does he? But some people get the fear when they think about travelling. Is that you? There may be something familiar in this post from The PlanetD, about 10 fears of becoming a traveller. I am sure that some will at least ring true with everyone.

Finally, some more of that lovable old bear, Paddington, with a post from Hannah Aka @adventureHan.

The reason it caught my eye is because of the new Paddington movie. I am sure my family isn’t the only one eagerly awaiting its arrival! Anyway, until it does come to a cinema near you, you may have to be content with something like the Paddington Bear Trail, a lovely way to see London.

Follow that bear….

Until next week,


What the $1m baby tells us about medical travel insurance

November 27th, 2014

What the $1m baby tells us about medical travel insurance

medical travel insurance

A newborn with mother: priceless

Have you read the story that’s been all over the press recently about the new parents presented with a $950,000 bill for medical care in the USA? No? Well, if you are in the process of buying travel insurance, are pregnant and want to travel, are thinking about travelling without travel insurance or have any medical conditions and want to travel, it’s worth reading up a little. However, if you don’t have time, please allow us to present it to you in the briefest form.

A couple from Canada were recently handed a bill for a little over $950,000 after their daughter was born in the USA. The couple travelled to Hawaii on a two week holiday when the woman was six months pregnant. Two days into the trip her waters broke and she was flown to Honolulu where she stayed for six weeks until the baby was born by emergency C-section. The baby, which weighed just 4lbs and 7oz, was then incubated for a further two months until the family were able to return home to Canada.

That wasn’t the end of it. The couple’s travel insurance company have since refused to pay the claim, stating that the emergency was excluded from coverage under the terms of her pre-existing condition provision. They also claimed that the baby wasn’t covered by the policy.

Whether or not the decision or the bill are unfair is for another discussion. So why talk about it? The simple reason is that we want to ensure that this kind of thing never happens on our watch to our customers travelling on our policies.

How can you avoid having a ‘$1m baby’?

It’s not the kind of line we ever expected we’d have to write on this blog but needs must. The simple answer to this question is to make sure you do a few things whenever you buy travel insurance, whoever you buy it from:

  • Declare everything – you will only get cover for what you declare
  • Ask questions – your insurer should answer them. If not, call us
  • Read the small print – and if unsure, ask about it
  • Don’t take any chances – the $1m baby proves these things can happen

Don’t be afraid to declare everything, it won’t add up to as much as $1m

The more you tell us about your medical condition or conditions, the better. That way there will never be any bad surprises, for us or you. We don’t want to dispute claims but if you were to have problems when you were away due to an existing or ongoing health problem that you had failed to declare, we would have to.

In most cases we can provide cover – at a fair price – for declared medical conditions because we are medical travel insurance specialists. But if you don’t tell us about your conditions we can’t cover it. If we can’t cover you through World First, we can refer you to Travel Insurance 4 Medical, one of our brands. Failing that, we can refer you to another provider we work with closely.

The point is that paying an extra premium to cover your condition is never going to add up to $1m. So tell us everything. We’ll do our best to give you a quote to cover you at a price you can afford.

The chances are that it’ll be cheaper – a lot cheaper – than you might think.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, then ask a few more

We are here to answer your questions. So if you have any doubts about your cover just ask us, but make sure you ask us before you commit to buying a policy. If our customer service team don’t know the answer they will find out and get back to you – that’s a promise. That way you’ll be able to buy your policy with all the knowledge you need to make your holiday worry-free.

Read the small print to make sure

When you take out a policy with us we’ll provide you with a full policy wording. This will highlight exactly what is and isn’t covered by your policy. If you aren’t sure about any of it just give us a ring and we’ll talk you through it. If it turns out you are unhappy about the terms you can always cancel your policy within 14 days and we’ll refund your money. We’d rather it was that way than risk a controversial claim.

This is especially important if you intend to travel on an all-in policy you have through your bank or with a credit card or via work because one size never fits all with travel insurance. If you have any kind of medical condition and it hasn’t been declared your cover may be invalid. It’s just not worth the risk. And it’s the same with taking part in activities and sports. If it’s not in the small print, talk to your insurer. If they can’t cover it, call us.

Don’t take any chances

The $1m baby case proves that these things can and do happen, even though they are rare. SO it’s always best to get more cover than you think you might need, even if it does cost you a few pounds extra. The consequences of the unthinkable happening are just too big to ignore.

Where you stand with your pregnancy…

If you do happen to be expecting more than a great holiday, we are happy to insure you as a pregnant traveller, even if it’s a multiple pregnancy, at no extra cost. We offer medical expenses cover for pregnancy and childbirth from week 0 to week 28 while you are away, as long as you have not experienced any previous complications in childbirth in the last 2 years. If you need to travel from week 29 to week 40 we can’t cover you for normal childbirth or cancellation, however we will cover all medical expenses and cancellation cover if you have complications such as pre-eclampsia or an emergency Caesarean.

If you have your baby while you’re away, you’ll both be covered by your policy to travel home. And if you have annual travel insurance before you travel, you can add your baby to the policy when they’re born.

Just keep us informed!


Travel insurance and you. Have you got the facts?

November 27th, 2014

Travel insurance and you. Have you got the facts?

Travel insurance

Travel insurance and you. Have you got the facts?

Last week the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) began an awareness raising campaign to encourage travellers to be well prepared for any foreign travel, particularly where travel insurance is concerned, and are advising all British nationals travelling abroad to do more than just take out the first policy that comes along. As we know, for people with medical conditions this is especially important.

The trouble may arise when it comes to making claims on policies that aren’t suitable for the person travelling or when people rely on ‘free policies’ that come with credit cards, home insurance, private health cover or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Read the rest of this entry »

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

November 21st, 2014
World First

The World First Wander: travelling while pregnant

Another weekly look at the best travel blogs, blogging and bloggers the internet has to offer. As always it is compiled by our social media man Tristan Rothwell.

It’s been another good week in the blogosphere. As I trawl the internet and RSS feeds looking for the best articles and blog posts it never ceases to amaze me how many great and passionate bloggers are out there.

First this week is a regular visitor to the world first wander,  The Travel Hack, who has shared some of her tips for travelling while pregnant. It’s amazing how many places she’s travelled to since she’s been pregnant, which just goes to show that being pregnant doesn’t always have to mean staying put. If you are one who doesn’t want to hang up the travelling bags just yet, it’s as well to know we offer travel insurance for pregnant travellers. Not all insurers do.

A firm favourite when it comes to bloggers is Ed Rex. He writes really good pieces and this one is no exception. There were a few items on Ed’s 28 Items this backpacker can’t do without list I hadn’t thought of.  But what’s the number one item? A spare pair of pants…essential!

Let’s stick with Ed for another article. This isn’t a new one as it was written back in May, but it’s a good one. It first appeared on The Deaf Traveller and is a thought provoking piece. Take a quick look at travel and deaf awareness. Great work Ed.

Last week I mentioned we were starting to see a few travel bloggers write about their plans for travelling in 2015…but we still have over a month left of 2014! So how about hearing Iain Mallory’s top travels of 2014 in My Top Travel Experiences of 2014.

As Kash Bhattacharya AKA The Budget Traveller says in our next article, 2014 has flown by. So while  Iain has been looking back at 2014 Kash has come up with some great suggestions of Luxury Hostels to check out in 2015. This article is as much a celebration of super cool interior design as it is a guide! Some of them look truly amazing.

Regular readers will know I love my photography so I am always going to take notice of any articles that include tips on how to take better travel photos. Devon’s Chris Stevens has written a blog post about Photographing your travels, which I thought was interesting.  Chris has admitted that most of his photography is done on an iphone! As is mine these days.

Happy snapping.

Until next week.

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

November 17th, 2014

travel writing

The World First Wander: the best travel writing on the internet – 17th November 2014

Here we go again with our weekly look at last week’s best and most useful travel blogs and articles from around the internet.

Let’s kick of with a funny, yet philosophical post from Elle-Rose Williams from her travel blog – The World and Then Some. If you ever thought about what travel brings you, then this will show you one side of it. Take a peek at 11 things you learn about yourself when travelling and see which of those you can relate to. Just look at that sunburn though! Ouch.

Sometimes you don’t need to travel far to experience amazing journeys. The London Eye is one of those journeys that takes you all over the city without going anywhere. It is truly fantastic!

If you have never been then you might want to read this informative post from Sunny in London about going up on the Eye. Everything you need to know – along with some nice pics – is on the post  Advice on how to fly high .

If London is not your cup of tea then maybe Exmoor will be more your kind of thing. We love it, as it’s just a short hop from our Exeter office. In fact, it’s just upstream! Exmoor is the source of the River Exe, which flows through Exeter before hitting the sea at Exmouth.

Travel Candy’s latest post Exmoor: Red Stag Adventure in Doone’s Land is really inspirational. It’s simply written and illustrated by good shots that will help to put you right there among the heather! Something for the wish list!

Mind you, there are plenty more adventures to be had on these lovely islands of ours. This post from Escapisim Magazine might get your heart racing with the possibilities. How about climbing on Dartmoor, cycling the  Severn Valley or kayaking in Northern Ireland? Sounds good? You need to READ THIS!

One of our favourite writers – and a regular in the World First Wander is Zoë Dawes aka The Quirky Traveller. She has put together a stunning looking list of her Top 10 Lake District Views. Lovely. Tarn Hows looks amazing doesn’t it?

Before we sign off for another week we’re going to venture further afield for a jaunt to Ko Chang , Thailand’s second largest island. Jodie from The Little Backpacker has written all about her experience of this tropical hot spot in Travel Journal – A Journey to Ko Chang.

It’s enough to set you off making travel plans isn’t it? If you haven’t yet decided where to take your next break then you might like to see Liz Jarvis’s 2015 Travel Wish List from The Mum Blog. Who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii?

Well that rounds off another great week! Don’t forget to let us know if you have seen any great travel posts this week. Either leave the link in the comments below or send me a tweet to @wftristan. Thanks.

Until next week.

Holiday water safety. If in doubt, don’t go out.

November 13th, 2014

Holiday water safety. If in doubt, don’t go out.

Holiday water safety

Water safety: watch your kids like a hawk

World First staff writer, Martin D, is also a trained and qualified RNLI Beach Lifeguard. Following the recent drowning of holiday makers at home and abroad he explains how you can avoid getting in trouble in the sea while on your holidays and what to do if you see others in trouble.

There have been some disturbing incidents recently on beaches in the UK and Cyprus. In late October three people died at Mawgan Porth beach in Cornwall and in early November two British tourists died in the sea off Pathos.

These incidents are terrible tragedies made all the more so by the fact that, as far as I can tell from reading the reports, they were avoidable.

In both incidents there are a couple of common threads. Firstly there were no lifeguards present at either of the beaches in question because of the time of the year. Secondly, it appears that in both incidents the people who died had entered the water to save someone else who had got into trouble. In both incidents the people who had got into trouble in the first place survived. Read the rest of this entry »

The World First Wander – The Best of British Travel Writing

November 10th, 2014

The World First Wander – The Best of British Travel Writing – 7th November 2014


Quantum of the Seas

We take our weekly cruise around the best travel blogs and bloggers from the UK with Tristan Rothwell.

How did we ever manage without smart phones?

They have made our lives so much easier and so much more complicated, all in one.  We can send pictures across the globe in seconds, find restaurants, track our travels and even find out what’s playing on the radio. Some of the Apps (applications) that are now available for smart phones are astounding. There are hundreds to choose from too, and many of them are useful for travel. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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