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14 of the world’s best travel apps

June 23rd, 2015

14 of the world’s best travel apps

travel insurance

Smartphones can make travel easier. Travel insurance makes it worry free!

Mobile technology has made it faster, smarter and safer for travel-lovers to experience the best the world has to offer. From scooping bargain flights to effortlessly translating gobbledygook restaurant menus, it’s all just a finger-prod away. Turns out you really do have the world in the palm of your hand.

  1. Skyscanner

There are dozens of places to buy flights online. Skyscanner pulls in prices from all of them, searching millions of flights from hundreds of airlines in seconds. Neat. But Skyscanner’s real trump card is to alert you the moment there are any significant dips in the cost of tickets to your destination of choice – leaving you with more wonga to spend on sangria and souvenirs.

iOS, Android, Windows | Free

  1. TripIt

You’ve booked the flights, reserved a stunning room in that boutique hotel and arranged your airport transfers. You’re all set! Now, where did you put all of those reservation details? Liberate yourself from tedious inbox searches with TripIt. Just forward your reservation emails to a special email address and the app will automatically create your custom itinerary – giving you the essential lowdown about where you need to be and when, along with reservation numbers. Easy peasy.

iOS, Android | Free

  1. WeatherPro

Is that beachside parasol going to be pulling a double-shift as an umbrella on your getaway? For the answers consult WeatherPro. The app features weather reports for well over two million geographical locations – from Bruges to Bangkok – and it’s not afraid of the nitty-gritty – read: atmospheric pressure, wind speeds etc. Most importantly it’s insanely accurate. Essential pre-packing research? You bet.

iOS, Android | £0.79

  1. CityMaps2Go

There are two ways to discover a foreign city: aimless wandering or assured exploring. For the latter you need CityMaps2Go, an app bursting with city guides that will help you make the most of your city break, whether you want to take in the historic hotspots, architectural masterpieces or foodie delights.

iOS, Android | Free

  1. XE Currency

What’s the exchange rate? Bid farewell to there-or-thereabouts arithmetic and get spending-savvy with live exchange rates for every currency you can think of, as well as those you can’t. Belarusian Ruble to Costa Rican Colon, anyone?

Android, iOS, Windows | Free

  1. TravelSafe Pro

Travel insurance is what we do best. So any app that could potentially save lives gets a big tick from us. TravelSafe Pro features an inventory of emergency service numbers for any country you could wish to visit. (999 won’t help if you are stranded on a Bolivian mountain range.) And if you need to contact your embassy – let’s say, because your passport is pilfered – the app will point you in the right direction. It even works offline.

Android | £0.99

  1. Sunscreen

Fried lobster. A culinary treat for some, an unfortunate holiday souvenir for others. Stay safe in the hot stuff with Sunscreen. Just choose your skin type, destination and SPF strength of your lotion. The app does the rest, pulling in the UVI rating of your location and alerting you when it’s time to slather.

iOS | Free

The sun has got its hat on. But have you?
>> Read the World First guide to sun protection

  1. Google Goggles

That building in front of you must be important. Everyone’s taking photos of it. Find out what all the fuss is about with Google Goggles. Open the app, take a snap and Google’s image recognition technology will retrieve everything you need to know about the opus before you. So you can impress everyone at dinner with your local knowledge. (We won’t tell.)

iOS, Android | Free

  1. AroundMe

Hmm, petrol’s running a little low on the hire car. But you’re stumped if you know where the nearest petrol station is. For that you can turn to AroundMe, which uses GPS to track your location and reveal directions to the nearest petrol station, ATM, bank, hospital, café, park and, well, anything really. Seriously handy.

iOS, Android | Free

  1. Foursquare

TripAdvisor reviewers aren’t half grumpy sometimes. To find the best restaurants, bars and attractions – as rated by the locals – turn to Foursquare. It already knows where you are, so there’s no faffing. And it will surface the best of what’s around you, with tips from the locals. That’s how you’ll know that the paella in that restaurant around the corner is a must for discerning taste buds. Tuck in.

iOS, Android, Windows | Free

  1. Word Lens

Who knows what black arts are at play here? All we know is that Word Lens uses augmented reality to transform written language, right before your eyes. Let’s say you’re struggling with a foreign menu. Open up Word Lens, hold your phone above the menu and the words will appear in a language of your choice. Same menu, different language. The mind boggles.

iOS, Android | Free

  1. Tipulator

To tip or not to tip? It’s a question that has vexed even the most experienced travellers. In a world where tipping customs can vary wildly across national borders, it makes sense to play it safe and get the inside knowledge from Tipulator. No more awkward restaurant exits for you!

iOS | Free

  1. Journey

The best holiday memories last a lifetime. But unless there’s something you’re not telling us, you can’t remember every special moment of your getaway. That’s where Journey comes in. Think of it as a personal diary that lives on your phone. Grab an evening glass of wine, take a seat on your balcony and document your day’s activities with a few well chosen words. You can add geolocation tags and photos too. Journey tucks away all your memories nice and neatly. One day at a time.

Android | Free

  1. Touchnote

Fed up with the same old postcards? Make your own! Send someone special something a bit more personal with Touchnote. Select your finest/funniest holiday snap, add a short message and the app will print and send your postcard anywhere in the world for just £1.49. Decent.

iOS, Android | Free
Ready to jet off? You need travel insurance that you can count on, without blowing your budget.

8 ideas for a memorable Father’s Day trip

June 19th, 2015

8 ideas for a memorable Father’s Day trip

Playing child

The little boy inside every dad. Let him fly his plane this father’s day!

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Stuck for gift ideas? If Dad deserves more than a tie and a card this year, look no further than our short list of special days out. Sure to raise a smile, create memories and liberate him from that spot on the sofa.

  1. Golfing tips from a pro

They say that golf is a game played on a five-inch course – the one between your ears. He won’t admit it, but we’re willing to bet your dad needs some proper advice to improve that handicap. Here to help is The James Andrews School of Golf in East Sussex. They offer structured golf lessons with one of ten PGA professionals and a maximum group size of just four students. Or should that be fore?

www.golfschool.co.uk | From £235

  1. Whisky tasting

What’s the difference between whisky and whiskey? What makes for a good blend? Where are the best single malts distilled? Your old man will be a veritable font of knowledge after a day-long whisky course at the Scotch Whisky Training School in Edinburgh. It includes talks on the history of the Scottish whisky industry, tips on the art of blending and – of course – a 90-minute whisky tasting.

www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk | £195

  1. Visit the world’s biggest collection of F1 cars

Is Dad an F1 fan? Office bragging rights will be his after a trip to The Donington Grand Prix Collection – home to the world’s largest showcase of Grand Prix racing cars. Through four halls and 130 exhibits, your dad will walk through the history of F1 and come nose to nose-cone with the actual cars driven by F1 greats like Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Juan Manuel Fangio. (Ask your Dad.)

www.donington-park.co.uk | £10

  1. Race to the chequered flag

If he’d rather get behind the wheel than look down at it, a trip to Thruxton Kart Centre is in order. Claiming – with good reason – to have one of the UK’s best kart circuits, you and Dad will hurtle around a 1,100m track in high-performance carts capable of an adrenaline-spiking 60mph. Time to unleash your competitive sides.

www.thruxtoncarting.co.uk | From £25

  1. Get his pulse racing with something more powerful

Oh right, so a go kart won’t cut it for your petrolhead pop? Not a problem. How about giving him the chance to drive a Ferrari V8 F430 Modena around Silverstone? The car of all cars on the track of all tracks? We are not about to disagree.

www.silverstone.co.uk | From £255

  1. Fly in a vintage plane

Forget about checking in your baggage. Wave goodbye to the scramble for overhead storage. Strap on the goggles and soar across the Kent countryside in a 1930s Tiger Moth biplane. It’s an adventure that harks back to the days when flying was the ultimate adventure. The roar of the engine. The whoosh of the air. What are you waiting for?

www.strictlyflying.com | From £175 for two

  1. Celebrate the beautiful game

It’s the biggest football museum in the world. And good luck finding a better one. The National Football Museum in Manchester is a necessary pilgrimage for any footy mad Dad. The history of the FA Cup. How the world’s biggest teams got to where they are. And a bunch of interactive stuff that will expose whether your dad is right to be quite so confident when it comes to his passing ability. Here’s to the beautiful game.

www.nationalfootballmuseum.com | Free

  1. Take a tour of Lord’s

If the knock of leather on willow is more your father’s cup of tea then a trip to Lord’s is in order. It’s the home of cricket. And for a small fee your dad can treat it as his playground. Sit in the dressing rooms. Gaze at the names of greats on the leaderboards. And see the famous Ashes Urn in the MCC Museum. For cricket fans, it doesn’t get much better than that.

www.lords.org | £18
Booking ahead? Cover the cost with Cancelsure.
Staying overnight in the UK? Guest First will help.
Travelling further afield for Father’s Day? You need World First.

The World First Wander – Glamping, Glastonbury and grabbing a last minute bargain

June 12th, 2015
World First Wander

Festivals! Can you survive them?

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are going to take a look at festivals, man’s best friend, last minute deals and Tenerife on a budget.

With Glastonbury only a few weeks away I thought we would start off this week with a few festival tips. Love them or hate them, festival season is upon us so it’s only right that we should pass on a few survival tips. One travel blogger who loves a festival is Vicky Flip Flop so we begin with her 7 Glastonbury essentials you haven’t thought of yet. If you are lucky enough to bag a ticket for the world’s greatest rock festival then these tips will see you right. Especially the one about the tent kite.

Fancy a festival but not sure which one to go for? We found something that should be useful. The handy Festival Value Chart may help you decide as it works out how much it would cost to see all the headliners individually versus the cost of a festival ticket. It’s a great idea. Have a look here.

If music isn’t really your thing then maybe getting stuck into a great book is. So how about some holiday reading inspiration? And by that we don’t mean recommendations of books. We’re talking about The London Short Story Festival on the Londonist website. A different kind of festival!

Glamping next. It divides opinion here at World First. Personally I like to rough it and in the past have been known to not even bother with a tent. However, other members of the team have said they think that Glamping is the way to go. Hence inclusion of Travel Candy’s A Glamping Weekend in Hay on Wye . Doesn’t look too shabby, does it?

Dogs next. It’s true a dog is man’s best friend. Mine, a crazy sheepdog named Bo, is sitting at my feet as I type and she follows me everywhere. But going on holiday with a pet isn’t always so easy. Finding accommodation that accepts dogs (or cats or parrots for that matter) can be a tough one. So, for all of you with similar issues, here’s a blog all about  50 dog friendly holidays in the UK  from the ever useful and informative Feet on the ground, a great site dedicated to travellers who don’t want to fly.

During the last few weeks there seem to have been a lot of status updates relating to last minute holidays. I shan’t be going anywhere is a hurry now that I am Dad to a freshly minted 10 day old baby girl, but, if you can, it’s a great way to get great deals. You’ll even save on your  Last Minute travel insurance when you book it through World First. We don’t include cancellation cover, which makes it much cheaper than your average policy. Worth bearing in mind when you read the next article, a little something from the Mirror website. Check out 6 hacks to find cheap last minute holiday deals to Spain, Greece and Europe then give us a call!

If there’s one travel blogger who knows a thing or two about saving money it’s Budget Traveller.  Check out his 5 tips to enjoy Tenerife on a budget is perfect if you are counting the pennies.

That’s it for this week. Until next time.



Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

June 11th, 2015

Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

Off the beaten track in Northern Spain

High tide at Playa San Lorenzo

Many millions of us will head to Spain this year on our holidays. But how many of us will head off the well trodden path looking for something a little different?

If you are one of them then we have a great recommendation for you. It’s the city of Gijon in the northern province of Asturias.  While it is still a busy port city with plenty of industry there is much to attract the tourist and traveller. The sea front – San Lorenzo Bay – is fabulous and has a curve of beautiful sands. This is the place to sit and observe the daily paseo – promenade – when it seems as if the whole city is taking to the beach. The Spanish love their daily walks and it doesn’t matter whether you do it in the evening along the promenade or during the day in your speedos. If you want to see and be seen, this is the place to be.

World First Travel Insurance Blog

The Church of St Peter the Apostle

At the eastern end of the bay you’ll find the Church of Saint Peter the Apostle and the narrow streets around the Port. This areas is known as Cimadevilla and is the oldest part of the city. Here you’ll find traditional restaurants and cider bars as well as the fortified Palace of Revillgigedo, a seventeenth century addition to the city that overlooks the old port. It’s a great spot to stop and sample what Gijon and Asturias is famous for – great local food. But of course don’t go for something new. Try the fabulous local peasant speciality, fabada, with a glass of Asturian cider. It’s a truly authentic taste that you’ll find in few other places. Alternatively go for seafood and red wine.

World First

Fabada Asturias, a rich, tasty peasant stew

A walk from the port will take you out onto the headland and into the Santa Catalina park, an open area that once formed part of the city’s defences. Today it offers far reaching views over the peaceful Bay of Biscay, the old port and the city to the south and west. It is a stunning vista.

The densely populated city centre sits behind the Bay of San Lorenzo, the Cimadevilla and the enclosed Playa de Poniente. Much of it is old and labyrinthine, with small independent shops, cider bars and restaurants punctuated by squares and green spaces. With narrow streets and tall apartment blocks it’s typical of a northern Spanish city. But what need would you have of a garden or pool when there are magnificent beaches so close at hand?

travel insurance spain

Looking at new city from the old city.


For surfers Gijon could well be the ultimate city surf destination. Like its more glamorous cousin a few hundred miles to the east, Donostia San Sebastian, it blends city life with beach culture perfectly. Don’t be surprised to see wetsuited surfers heading to the waves from their apartment blocks while besuited business people walk to their offices. Come lunch time you can pretty much guarantee they will be in the water themselves.

Travel Insurance Spain

Gijon: a hidden gem on Spain’s north coast.


BY AIR: It is possible to fly to Asturias airport at Oviedo (which is about 30 minutes from Gijon) with Easyjet and Iberia.

BY ROAD: Driving takes a little longer but is possible from the UK via the ferries to Bilbao or Santander. The road and motorway network in northern Spain is excellent.

ON FOOT: Walking will take you along the famous Camino de Santiago, a long pilgrim trail to Sanitago de Compostella in the west.

BY RAIL: Gijon is connected to the rest of Spain by the RENFE and FEVE betworks. The FEVE route is narrow gauge and runs betweenBilbao in the east and Ferrol in the west. It is said to be one of Europe’s most beautiful railway journeys.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE GIJON: Don’t say Geejohn, as no one will know what you are talking about. The G is soft, as is the J, so it ends up sounding very unlike we’d pronounce it naturally as English speakers, as Hee-Hon (like on not hon like honey).


If you haven’t got one already, pick up a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the NHS website. It’s free and entitles 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.

The EHIC does not cover ongoing medical care, non-urgent treatment or medical repatriation. In other words, unless you’re in immediate danger, you will have to pay for your own treatment. That can be extremely expensive (fixing a broken arm in Spain can cost as much as £11,000, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers.) That’s why it makes sense to take out a good travel insurance policy.

Our Spain travel insurance covers up to £10 million worth of medical costs that your EHIC doesn’t account for. So there’s no need to worry about how you will fund treatment if you get hurt or become ill.



The World First Wander: Cuba, Kites and Peppa Pig.

June 5th, 2015

The World First Wander: Cuba, Kites and Peppa Pig.

World First

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are going to take a look at France, Cuba and, of course, Peppa Pig World. That’s travel! And if you need some travel beauty tips, we’ve got them too…which you will need after your first kitesurfing faceplant!

We start off in the stunning south of France this week with World First Wander regulars Hand Luggage Only. We love their blog as it’s packed with wholesome travel information from wall to wall. And their photography is never less than stunning. Have a look at their 15 reasons why you need to visit Annecy in the south of France. I am sure you’ll agree that the photos say it all.

One place I have always wanted to visit is Cuba. It has always looked truly amazing, with a culture that is like nowhere else. And who doesn’t love Cuban music? That in itself must be a good enough reason to go there. I spotted Wanderlusters7 must see cities in Cuba : a visual guide and have to say that I want to go to every single one. How about you?

One problem with travel is that it’s all too easy to end up looking like you have been dragged through a bush backwards. So I thought a bit of beauty advice might be handy. I discovered Heels in my backpack last week and this is definitely a top tip-packed article for the ladies (and maybe a few boys too). Check out Top Travel Beauty Tips from the Experts.

I spotted this next one and instantly thought of our MD, Martin Rothwell. His youngest daughter absolutely loves Peppa Pig, so this one is for you her. It’s from Mummy Travels and is entitled 23 things you need to know before you visit Peppa Pig World. Essential reading for any parent thinking of making the trip.

Talking of our MD, it may have passed your attention but he was one of the pioneers of British Kite Surfing. This is one reason we do such great deals on Kitesurfing travel insurance. When I saw  That Adventurer’s blog about Kite Surfing I had to take the plunge…It’s called Perfecting the art of face planting. Or, learning to kite surf and it made me smile and think of the many happy hours I watched Martin face plant whilst learning to kite surf. If you are bored on your hols, send someone off to get a lesson – it’s entertainment for all the family. Just check your insurance will cover it (of course we’ll cover it – just let us know first).

I am going to finish off with this great article from as the bird flies which is about stress and anxiety. Everyone worries from time to time so it could well be very useful. The article is about pregnancy but it’s just as relevant to all of us.

Have a read and chill out a little. There is great advice in On Pregnancy, Anxiety and How to Destress in Five Minutes.

That’s it for this week. I am so pleased to say that my newborn baby daughter Nancy Tate Rothwell arrives home from hospital today. I am already struggling with that nappy change so wish us luck. I never thought it would be so tricky!

Until next week




The World First Wander. The “how to save money” edition.

June 2nd, 2015

The World First Wander. The “how to save money” edition. 

Summer piggy bank with sunglasses on the beach

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we look at a few ideas for something we all like to do – save some money.

We have been helping our customers to save money with our great value travel insurance since the early 1970’s. At the time you could enjoy two weeks in Majorca for the princely sum of £50! If only…  We often include money saving tips on our travel blog too.

So let’s tighten those purse strings and start saving for that trip of a lifetime. But it’s not easy, is it? If you are anything like me and find it near impossible to save up for anything, let alone a big trip, then you may find our first blog very useful indeed. It’s from Caz and Craig from ytravel. They know a thing or two about travel and saving money and have even written an ebook about it. But before you go searching, have a look at their article The Secrets To Saving Money For Travel Revealed. The best news is that they won’t even demand you cut out that daily coffee!

Staying on theme, let’s head over to Heels in my backpack for some more great ideas on how to get the cash together for that round the world trip of a lifetime. There is some really great advice in this post. How to save money to go travelling and still have a life.

More saving now… as promised… this time with Emma Higgins. We included her in last week’s wander so it’s a rare double appearance for Emma…why?… Because she writes great travel articles! 30 tips for saving money for Travel includes some great ideas.

Next up is some good advice for the girls, and a great bonus tip for the guys. I discovered The Blonde Abroad recently and I instantly liked her ideas for saving money on social spending. It’s just one of her 10 easy ways to save money to travel the world.

My brother Martin Rothwell spotted this one the other day from My Melange. As luck would have it she  also has some great tips for saving some money. She says “a little sacrifice now can help you travel later” and we know it’s true. Wise words indeed. Saving money really is about working out what your priorities are and adjusting life accordingly. Check out her 9 easy ways to save money for travel.

Finishing up this week a great post from Budget Traveller,another regular to this blog. Regardless of whether you have to scrimp and save or prefer to spend and splurge, it’s worth remembering that it’s all about the experience. At least that’s what they tell us in their post Budget travel or luxury travel? It’s the experience, stupid. So if you are struggling to stay focussed, focus on the end result – the experiences of travel.

Until next week.

Got holiday cover? But have you got the RIGHT holiday cover?

May 27th, 2015

Got holiday cover? But have you got the RIGHT holiday cover?

FCO Insurance Checklist May 2015

It’s at this time of the year that we get wind of new campaigns from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This year they are highlighting the need for travellers and holidaymakers to get the right insurance cover.


According to research, 30% of travellers aged between 16 and 24 were uninsured in 2013-14, and 41% of overall British travellers didn’t think it was necessary to purchase travel insurance for their trip abroad. That’s surprising! We all know that travelling uninsured can lead to costly bills and all kinds of heartache and financial problems.

However, this year the FCO campaign is focusing on the problem of people going abroad without the right cover – something that can also lead to similar problems. How so? Well, if you don’t declare pre-existing medical conditions, aren’t aware that drugs or alcohol can invalidate your policy and don’t get cover for activities like diving or climbing then you could end up coming unstuck. If you don’t have the right cover your travel insurance company is perfectly within its rights to refuse to pay out.

That could prove costly. If you had an accident diving, for example, and needed to be airlifted to a decompression chamber, then needed specialist care followed by an airlift home it can run into many thousands of pounds, hundreds of thousands even. That might sound extreme but it does happen. What’s more likely is that you twist an ankle and need an ambulance to take you to a clinic to get an x ray and a plaster cast while on holiday in Spain. That could cost you a few thousand. And if you did it under the influence your insurance company might refuse to pay up.

So how can you make sure you have the right cover?

  • Read the small print to make sure your cover is right for you.
  • Check that the activities you intend to do are covered by your policy.
  • Declare all your pre existing medical conditions.
  • Take a look at the FCO’s list of things to check.

It might be worth taking a look at the It All Adds Up video here. It makes a very good point.

The next thing to do is to give us a call on 0845 90 80 161 or get a quote online. If you have medical conditions we can help. We cover 1000s of them and can arrange cover for more serious or chronic conditions. We also insure over 150 sports and activities automatically as part of your policy. All you have to do is tell us what you plan to do and we’ll take care of the rest.


The World First Wander – Half Term Holidays

May 22nd, 2015

The World First Wander – Half Term Holidays

Welcome to another installment of the World First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we look at a few ideas for things to do during half term to keep the kids (and mum and dad) occupied.

Hisley Bridge On Dartmoor

Dartmoor. No end of half term surprises.

In case you hadn’t noticed, next week is half term. Are you ready for those cries of “I’m bored!”?  Not on our watch! We’ve got plenty of great ideas for an exciting half term…

Starting off close to home, on Dartmoor. How could anyone be bored when this is on the doorstep? With so many different and varied Tors to climb, scramble and explore, you could explore it for a week and see something different every day. There is a list of Dartmoor’s Tors here. If you need some visual inspiration then check out this post by Gotta Keep Moving. It has some stunning photos of the moors and Tors. Dartmoor in Pictures is truly stunning

Woolacombe Beach In The Morning

Woolacombe: one of the world’s finest beaches.

Over to the other coast now. Woolacombe to be precise.  Our MD and I spent a week surfing there many years ago – unfortunately the waves didn’t show. However, Woolacomb is the perfect place for a surfing holiday, especially if you want to learn. It’s also consistently rated among the world’s best beaches. DO while the kids are enjoying the waves – they will – you’ll be able to enjoy the beach itself. And very nice it is too. So if a seaside holiday is your idea of a great half term break then take a look at Camping with Style and their review of their recent break in Woolacombe.

Heading north from Devon now, to South Yorkshire with Baldhiker, the online home of Paul Steele and friends.  One of their bloggers, Janine Moore, has written a post all about The Strines. It really does look stunning, and a great place to head for during half term.

Another avid rambler and walker is Rambling Man. I have been following his blog for a while. His latest blog is The Pennine Way Stage 4: Hebden Bridge to Ponden and looks like the perfect half term activity. If you can get your kids to put their boots on they will surely love it!  As I was writing this Rambling Man posted Stage 5 Ponden to Earby. You can read that here.

Exeter Devon England Uk

Exeter Quay: worth a wander, if not a climb.

It’s back to Exeter now, World First’s home city. There’s plenty here to keep the little ones amused if you find yourselves in the Westcountry on a non-beach day in the next week or so. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is always a massive hit with kids. Another huge favourite is Clip n Climb on Exeter Quay. You can book an hour of safe climbing with instruction. It’s perfectly safe and great exercise and you can enjoy one of their amazing cakes while you wait. Good enough reason to go? I think so.

Until next time.

The World First Wander. Cruise Travel

May 15th, 2015

Welcome to another installment of the world First Wander, our weekly look at what’s hot in travel writing and blogging. This week we are taking a look at cruise travel. It seems to be a hot topic right now!

Cruise Travel

Cruise travel: who wouldn’t want this? Just make sure you are properly insured!

Cruising has been enjoying somewhat of a golden age recently, with new ships, new destinations and new adventures being announced at every turn. Cruising is a great way to travel and see the world. You can go as far as you like, with every type of voyage available – from a no fly round Britain cruise to a scientific tour of discovery to the Antacrctic.

Before we start our journey it’s important to mention Cruise Travel Insurance. Cruise lines will insist that their passengers have appropriate travel insurance  for their medical conditions, including cover for medical expenses and repatriation. Getting ill at sea without proper travel insurance cover can be a very expensive business. So make sure you are covered. Your cruise line will no doubt offer cover through some kind of a partnership with an affiliate – but remember that you are not obliged to take it and that our Cruise policies may well work out a lot cheaper. Plus, if you have a difficult to insure condition they may not want to insure you without hiking up the premium.

Pull up the anchor, let’s set sail

First up let’s have a look at that perennial problem, what to pack and what not to pack for a cruise? One rule we employ is to pack, then take it all out an, remove half and pack again. But for cruising? Our first port of call has to be Cruise Critic, a site that’s packed  full of top tips for experienced and new cruisers alike. Their blog 5 things to pack for your first cruise is a great place to start. It’s also well worth reading the comments underneath the article to get some more top tips from experienced cruisers.

Cruise Travel

Packing for your cruise. Smart or casual? Or both?

I have followed Emma’s Travel Tales for quite some time. It’s a great travel blog packed full of tips and tales. This one, What not to pack for a cruise holiday, contains more useful advice, including a very important point about reading the dress code. This is something every cruiser should do. Not only will it ensure you don’t take piles of clothes you simply won’t need but it will also save you the embarrassment of turning up for dinner at the Captain’s Table in shorts and a tee shirt. There is a good article about dress codes over at Cruise Critic if you are unsure.

Cruise Miss is a dedicated cruise blog that’s always a good read. Danielle’s latest cruise adventure is aboard the Saga Sapphire Baltic Cruise which looks lovely. Have a read of Danielle’s first blog post about the boat and the journey so far. Also check out the New to cruising section of the blog. You’ll find some valuable information there.

Rhine River Village

Spoiled for choice. The Rhine or the Danube?

With so many destinations to choose from, making your final decision can be tricky, but with some help and advice from experienced cruise bloggers the decision making process may become a little easier. Another well respected cruise blogger, Cruise Maven, recently wrote a great blog post titled Choosing a Rhine,Main or Danube River Cruise. If you have ever considered exploring Europe’s great rivers this is the best place to start.

Gary Bembridge is a travel blogger I have followed for a long time. His Tips for Travellers is a brilliant blog and well worthy of your time. It is packed with info for cruisers both new and old. Gary’s most recent post is all about the dreaded Norovirus and his experience of it. Sadly mini epidemics do happen on cruise ships from time to time so it’s worth knowing about and what you can do to help stop it. Have a read of  Gary’s Norovirus : My Experience.

Norovirus is definitely one good reason to make sure you have good Cruise travel Insurance.

Also make sure you check out Gary’s Podcasts. They are a hive of information from destinations to general cruising tips to advice on particular cruise line operators.

If you are on Twitter a great place to ask questions is by using the hash tag  #cruisechat. There are plenty of people on hand to help. Twitter chat is a great resource if you are looking to get up to date information and answers quickly.

That just about rounds up this week’s World First Wander. We hope you have enjoyed sailing with us this week!


The sun has got its hat on. But have you?

May 13th, 2015

The sun has got its hat on. But have you?

The World First Guide to Sun Protection

The World First Guide to Sun Protection

And, perhaps more importantly, do you know your UVA from your SPF? And would you know what type of sun cream to buy anyway?

Don‘t worry. We’ll explain it to you.

Firstly, we wrote a blog this week in which we highlighted the dangers of skin cancer and some things you can do to prevent it. One of those things is to wear decent sun protection. But it’s not as simple as that. Sun creams come in all shapes and sizes and ratings and it can be confusing knowing which one to pick up as you tear through duty free on your way to the plane…

The World First Guide to Sun Protection:

What does SPF mean?

The SPF is the sun protection factor of a sun cream. It is a number rating that is supposed to be the amount of time you can remain in the sun before burning without sun cream. So if your SPF is 15 then it means you’ll be able to stay in the sun for 15 times longer without burning.

What are the flaws of the SPF rating?

For a start the SPF rating is only good enough if you know how long you’re going to take to burn! While it understands that different people burn at different rates it doesn’t help you if you are new to the sun, especially if it’s your first time in a hot country.

The SPF rating is based on UVB rays, the part of the spectrum that causes burning. So it doesn’t take into account the harmful effects of UVA, the part of the spectrum that causes ageing and skin cancer. There is currently no rating for UVA protection in sun protection products.

Can I get UVA protection?

Some products claim to be ‘broad spectrum’ sun screens in that they contain ingredients that can deflect or absorb UVB and UVA rays from the skin. These may give you more protection against UVA but, since there is no equivalent scale for UVA as SPF is for UVB, it may be best to use block rather than screen (see next paragraph).

Sun screen or sun block?

There is a very simple difference between these two products. Basically a sun screen is a chemical barrier that absorbs UVB (and sometimes UVA) to stop its harmful effects on the skin. SO it’s a chemical barrier. Sun block, however, is a physical barrier that reflects or diverts UVB and UVA away from the skin. Sun blocks often appear translucent or of a more creamy consistency that spray on or oily sun screens. This is because they offer a physical barrier against the sun.

Many modern sun protection products include an element of each to give the best protection but it’s worth checking ingredients of any sun screen you choose. Some chemicals in sun screen can be harmful.

How to get the best protection from your sun cream

Also, it’s worth remembering that it’s all about the application when it comes to sun creams. IF you put it on too sparingly or unevenly the protection will be patchy. Conversely, if you slap more on it won’t make it stronger. Two layers of SPF 15 won’t make SPF 30.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to reapply your sun protection regularly to avoid the risk of burning, especially if you go in the water or tend to sweat.

And, of course, don’t forget that your sun protection needs time to be absorbed by your skin BEFORE you go out in the sun. 15 minutes is usually recommended.

Use an SPF that is higher than you need. Always under estimate its powers.

Why should you stick to one brand of sun protection?

Once you have chosen your sun protection and are sure that it is giving you enough UVB and UVA protection, stick to it. Changing your sun protection could result in getting less protection that with a previous product, even though the SPF is the same.

What else can you do to avoid burning besides wearing sun creams or blocks?

  • Wear a hat.
  • Wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers.
  • Don’t go out in the sun during the hottest part of the day – between 10 and 4.
  • Sit in the shade. It won’t kill you!
  • Remember that white skin is healthy skin!



Rothwell & Towler Tourism House Woodwater Park
Pynes Hill Exeter EX2 5WS

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