ZoÃ« Dawes – aka The Quirky Traveller – is a travel writer. Â She was recently voted Britainâ€™s Best Travel Blogger and her website www.thequirkytraveller.com was voted in the Top 10 Inspiring Travel Websites 2010. We asked ZoÃ« to give us a few ideas for brilliant places to visit. We never guessed that it would be good old Blighty that would take the top spot. But there it is. And ZoÃ« really does know what sheâ€™s talking about.
Posts Tagged ‘responsible travel’
For many of us, going on holiday is one of those rare times when you can settle into a deckchair and get stuck into a really good book. Itâ€™s a glorious indulgence isnâ€™t it? Once you know that everything, including the travel insurance, is in order you can begin to relax.
I love reading and adore books so Iâ€™ve spent many trips hauling piles of novels around with me. On one trip, to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bali I endured a couple of months with three volumes of IndianÂ epic â€˜A Suitable Boyâ€™ in my rucksack. They must have weighed over a kilo but I just couldnâ€™t bear to be parted from them. What a fool I was. But then again, they hadnâ€™t invented e-readers yet!
July 4th 2011
Busy day today? Too stretched to catch up on the best in travel news and writing? Manic Monday making it impossible to manage those blog feeds? Donâ€™t panic. The World First Weekly Wander is our very own weekly breakdown of the best travel based web content. Itâ€™s compiled by our very own Tristan Rothwell ( @WFTristan for all you tweeters). So sit back and let him do all the work.
Sharm El Sheikh beaches re-open
Following the spate of shark attacks in Sharm El Sheikh, which saw the death of one tourist and four others injured, the Egyptian authorities have re-opened all of the resortâ€™s beaches.
For holiday makers looking for the unique thrill of diving in clear Egyptian waters this will come as good news. And, with restrictions in place to keep holiday makers safe, the Egyptian authorities are confident that no more attacks will occur.
Swimmers and divers will only be allowed to dive, snorkel and swim is areas that have been designatedÂ by the authorities and that are patrolled by divers and spotter boats. Hotels along the beaches will also be required to man watch towers to scan the seas for possible intruders.
What this means for UK travellers who are heading for Sharm El Sheikh is that itâ€™s business as usual. However, here at World First we have to remind all travellers that, whilst their scuba diving travel insurance will cover them automatically up to 30 metres, it excludes diving outside the designated areas. Likewise with swimming and snorkelling. Should anything happen when you are outside of the patrolled areas then you could face hefty bills for medical care and repatriation. As usual, the word from our insurers is caution.
Taking off for a winter sun holiday? No doubt youâ€™ll want to make the most of every opportunity that comes along. And what is a beach holiday without getting in the water? Exactly. If youâ€™re the type of person who canâ€™t lie on a sun bed all day then scuba diving must be the ultimate sea going thrill. Itâ€™s not something youâ€™d ever consider in the UK ( for obvious reasons) but on a winter sun holiday, when the air temperature is 28 degrees and the sea temperature is 20 degrees or more, who could resist?
Of course diving can be dangerous so there are going to be a few hoops to jump through before you can swim with the fishes. Firstly â€“ and most important â€“ is your travel insurance. Will yours cover you for diving? Some policies will have exclusions, others will limit the depths to which you can go and some will specify that you always dive with a reputable operator (and why wouldnâ€™t you?). World First Travel Insurance policies will cover you for diving up to 30 metres, providing you dive with an approved and qualified operator.
Earlier this week we talked about carrying surfboards on UK airlines. So, with half term coming up, we thought it might be a good time to talk about travelling with young kids â€“ and all the paraphernalia that goes with them â€“ on those same airlines.
Family travel essentials
There are always going to be things that you must have when travelling. Passport, tickets, money, the usual. Family travel insurance is also one of them. You could call it an essential. But did you know that having a car booster seat is essential â€“ as it is in the UK – if you intent to drive anywhere in Europe? It is law in Europe for children between the ages of 3 and 12 (unless they are taller than 135cm) to have an age-appropriate car seat. So if you fly-drive itâ€™s something youâ€™ve either got to take with you or hire when you get there.
Carry-on or fly and hire?
We took a look at what the airlines will (or wonâ€™t) charge you to carry booster seats versus what car hire companies will charge to rent them at the other end. The results were great for the airlines but not so good for the car hire companies. Many of the UK airlines will carry pushchairs and booster seats for free. However others wonâ€™t and will charge per item per flight. So if all you want to do is take a couple of booster seats on a half term break to Spain choose your carrier carefully. Ryanair and BMI Baby will charge you Â£40 for the privilege. And if thatâ€™s a shocker, try leaving yours at home and renting one! Europcar will charge you Â£11.00 per day over the half term for renting a booster seat in Alicante. Hertz will charge you Â£22 per day. For a family of four staying for a week thatâ€™s an awful lot of cash considering the cost of an average high backed booster is about Â£40 and a seat booster is about Â£10. To be fair though, many of the airlines we asked will take boosters and pushchairsÂ for free. Good for them!
Using your own seats
It seems obvious that taking your own seats is going to be the cheapest option â€“ and perhaps the best. After all, you know how to fit your seats and car hire companies often operate a first come first served system, so even if youâ€™ve booked the seats in advance, there may not be any available. Also, thereâ€™s no guarantee that a hired car seat hasnâ€™t been involved in a accident previously. If the extra hassle of taking car seats into the airport is going to cause you stress you can always take the opportunity to relax airside with a great value holiday extra - a VIP lounge pass.
The cost of not complying with the law
But what happens if you decide that itâ€™s not worth the hassle or the cost of hiring a car seat? Firstly you could get an on the spot fine for breaking the law. Secondly it just isnâ€™t worth the risk to your children. And whilst underwriters might not see it as a serious offence â€“ like driving whilst on the phone, under the influence or without a seatbelt â€“ good sense must always prevail. Don’t risk invalidating your holiday insurance. Â The story as always is this: â€˜donâ€™t take chances, either with the law or your familyâ€™sâ€™ safetyâ€™.
Kid friendly? The UK’s popular airlines and their booster policies…
Lets face it, we’re all part of the food chain. Humans have always relied on both wild animals and plants Â for our most basic needs. Since we first got up on two legs, we’ve relied on our surroundings for food, shelter and clothing. Fast forward to recent years and concern has been increasing over trade in what have now become endangered species. Formed in 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has drawn up a list of species and their by-products to be protected and its member countries (currently 126) have introduced laws banning trade in them. (more…)
Be a traveller, not a tourist. It’s an expression that gets banded about a lot these days, by me if no-one else. But what does it actually mean? If you read travel literature, not just Bill Bryson (good though he is) but Paul Theroux (Louis’ father), Jonathan Raban or Bruce Chatwin, you’re probably a traveller. If you’re more interested in what’s going on the beach or go on the tour to the local Roman ruins but don’t understand (or care) much about them, you’re a tourist. Travellers go to places to discover, relax and learn. Tourists go to places to tick them off a list of places they can say they’ve been to. (more…)