The Isle of Wight: Hampshire’s unsung gem

by Julie on December 12, 2017

When most people think of visiting England, the bustling capital of London is probably the first destination to come to mind, with its historic buildings, tourist destinations, and Buckingham Palace. But there is so much more to this country than that. One such unsung destination is the Isle of Wight, in Hampshire county.

Also known as the IOW, the Isle of Wight is the largest island in the British Isles. It has an area of 147 square miles and is located about five miles off the country’s south coast, with a population of approximately 140,000. During the summer months, that number increases by around 2 million, as it is a popular vacation spot for those living in the UK as well as travellers in the know.

What makes the Isle of Wight popular is its wide variety of beautiful scenery. From the breathtaking sandy beaches (a rarity in England, where many beaches are rocky) to the picturesque cliffs and some of the most beautiful gardens in Hampshire. Because of this natural beauty, much of the region has been designated as a heritage coast. The agreeable climate on the IOW is also one of its main draws (the mild temperatures have given the island the nickname “the Garden Isle,”) as is the dazzling array of wildlife, from endangered birds to sea life and flora, that can be found here. In a country known for its grey, drizzly days, the Isle of Wight is certainly a bright spot.

Visitors to this region have a wealth of choice when it comes to accommodation. Whether you prefer to stay in a high-end hotel or a locally owned and run family bed and breakfast, the Isle of Wight has a place just waiting to welcome you. No matter what your travel budget, there’s a comfortable bed and a hot meal waiting for you on the Isle of Wight. And the best part is, because of the plethora of beautiful scenery in the region, there’s almost certain to be lovely view outside your window.

If you’re looking for a good meal, the Isle of Wight has something to satiate every taste, too. They have a wide variety of restaurants and pubs (in fact, there’s about one pub for every square mile of real estate on the island!) If you’re a seafood lover, the Isle of Wight is paradise, as many of the local restaurants here specialize in dishes centred around freshly caught fish and seafood. Here, you’ll also find all different ways to whet your whistle, too, from award-winning breweries to ciders and wines of all descriptions (Note: in the UK, “cider” denotes an alcoholic drink, not the juice-like drink that is popular in North America).

In terms of activities, sailing tops the list of things to do on the island. Visit during Cowes Week for a celebration of the sport in a week-long regatta held on the Solent. The event is one of the biggest sailing-related events on the planet, attracting nearly a half-million visitors from all over the world each year. If sailing isn’t your thing, the IOW is also home to many music festivals, with such headlining acts as the Rolling Stones.

The next time you are planning a family vacation, consider the Isle of Wight. And don’t forget to bring your camera!

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5 Of The Best Fishing Destinations

by Julie on December 8, 2017

Are you bored of your usual fishing destination and fancy taking your hobby to the next level? If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place. Fishing is a remarkable activity to get involved with; it can encourage you to travel all around the globe, exploring a wide variety of cultures, species, and waters. So, without further ado, here are some of the top fishing destinations around the world!

Amazon Basin, Brazil

For all you brave and adventurous anglers, this trip is certainly the one for you. If you head to Manaus, the capital of Amazonia, and embark on a tour that offers piranha fishing. Yes, you heard that right, piranhas! These feisty creatures can be found in fairly large quantities at the Amazon basin, but it takes knowledge and skill to be able to catch one. Their razor sharp teeth can cut through steel hooks… not to mention fingers. You’ll be needing sturdy fishing reels by Total Fishing Tackle for this one. This destination certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted… or the weak.

Congo River Basin

Another destination for the adrenaline seekers. The Congo is home to the goliath tigerfish – Africa’s alternative to those wonderful piranhas. Think of the goliath tigerfish like a moody teenager; snappy, unpredictable… somewhat terrifying! This fish isn’t the easiest one to catch, so expect long days and a whole lot of patience. However, once you see sight of one of these predators, it’ll all be worth it. After all, fishing is all about the chase!

Umba River, Russia

Russia’s Kola Peninsula is a winter land of dreams for the most part of the year. However, head there in May and you will be in luck. From the month of May through to October, you can cast your reel and catch some of the most succulent salmon on earth. Watch out though… the bears might beat you to it!

The Bahamas

The Bahamas are home to many extraordinary species. If you are a fan of competition when it comes to fishing, then it’s time you booked a ticket here. Each year, some of the worlds best fishermen try their absolute hardest to get the prize-winning catch and set a world record. Just a few of the species you can find in The Bahamas include mahi-mahi, tuna, and marlin.

Sicily

If you want to get familiar with some old fishing techniques, then Sicily is the place for you. This area is swarming with fishing villages, known for catching mainly tuna and swordfish. In terms of old techniques, the island of Sicily is renowned for spear-fishing, which every passionate angler should try. If you’ve never done it before, then don’t expect much luck, but the experience is just as worthwhile.

It is important to ensure that you are fully equipped for your next fishing trip, especially if you plan on fishing in waters that you have never experienced before. Having durable equipment is a must when it comes to this; the last thing you want is a broken rod after travelling so far for this once in a lifetime experience.

 

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Planning a trip abroad is far from being a piece of cake. However, you shouldn’t be too concerned, because with a little planning all obstacles can be conquered, especially when it comes to travelling. From getting your Visa, to safety measures, we will cover them all in the following paragraphs.

 Discuss your Visa with a specialised agency

When travelling abroad, you must make sure that you pick a dedicated Visa for your needs. For instance, many agencies recommend a flight booking for Visa application. A flight itinerary means that you’ll have to have a proof of your temporary accommodation, such as hotel bookings. However, final bookings are not recommended given the fact that sometimes, the Visa application is not accepted. Flight only bookings are more acceptable and also recommended. Because of this reason, you want to discuss your options with a dedicated agency which is mastering Visa matters. Only after you get your Visa, you can consider booking permanent accommodation for the duration of your trip.

Make sure that you have all your vaccinations up to date

Having all the vaccinations and all prescriptions renewed is an essential step you should check before your departure. Not all countries have the same drug policy, and what you may be able to get without a prescription in your home country, might require one abroad. Also, make sure to check with your insurance carrier that your health insurance includes overseas medical emergencies. You don’t want to leave your home country without such policies.

Bring some copies of your passport with you

It’s vital to make some copies of your passport before your departure, and keep those in separate places. If your passport gets stolen, you will at least have a copy. Also, make sure to leave some copies to some relatives as well, for the same reasons. A great idea would be to have an electronic copy on your e-mail as well. Better safe than sorry.

Check in with your embassy

The safest ways that you can travel is checking in with the embassy of your home country in the country that you’re visiting. This way, if problems appear in the country, you will be easier to contact. Also, if you encounter some unpleasant events, it will be easier for you to get home safe.

Know your money before leaving

ALWAYS make sure to check the monetary conversion rates before leaving. Finding out that the money in your home country is worth considerably less in the destination country than would you expect is always a bad surprise. So, be prepared, and make sure to have enough funds, including emergency funds.

These are some great tips and tricks that you help you be safe no matter the destination picked. Always make sure that you’re up to date with the social and political climate in the country which you plan to visit. If the climate is a hostile one, better skip the destination until things become calmer.

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Cars as a whole have generally become more reliable as years have gone by. With better technology and increased understanding of what really helps to make cars far more durable, finding a reliable vehicle is extremely important. This is especially vital if you’re a fan of self-drive holidays, as it can provide you with the peace of mind that your vehicle will be efficient and won’t break down on you halfway through your journey, causing unnecessary stress.  Self-drive holidays have become more and more popular over the past few years and with Europe on our doorstep it is easy to do.

You will need to look for the right car for the type of holiday that you are going on. If you are doing a lot of motorway driving you will need a car that is capable of driving at high speed for long periods of time and that is comfortable.  If you are going camping you will need something will a lot of boot space for all your gear and equipment. Perhaps you are heading up into the mountains for a real adventure in which case you might need a 4×4. If you are heading off for a romantic city break somewhere like Paris or Rome then a jaunty little sportscar might be just the ticket.

In order to provide you with an extra helping hand when it comes to choosing the right cars for your next self-drive holiday, we’ve put together a list of some of the most reliable as a good starting point.

Alfa Romeo, Giulia

If you’re looking for a little extra comfort, style and luxury when it comes to your self-drive holiday, particularly if you’re heading to a particularly luxurious destination, then the Alfa Romeo Giulia is the perfect choice. With the very best Ferrari engineers put in place on the project for the Giulia, the vehicle has outshone a number of competitors such as Audi and BMW to the point of embarrassment. With the most recent model receiving numerous software updates to help ensure that the drive is as seamless as possible, this reliable vehicle is certain to never leave you stranded at the side of the road. Now, you can purchase an Alfa Romeo from local dealers to make this luxurious vehicle even more accessible than ever.

Lexus Cars (ALL OF THEM!)

A 2017 Which? survey on car reliability showed that the Lexus topped the reliability chart with a score of 92.1%! Another luxurious model, which you are certain to be able to put your foot down on when navigating some of the winding roads in Europe and beyond, the majority of Lexus models are highly recommended by critics and owners alike. Generally, the NX is the highest rated model from the Lexus range, which is not only reliable, but also allows you to capitalize on low running costs (which can be particularly important when driving from city to city on your travels as stopping at services can be expensive no matter which country you’re in!) Auto Express magazine’s 2016 Driver Power report also stated that the Lexus RS, IS and GS are some of the best models for reliability too, showing that the Lexus is the perfect choice. Plus, you’re certain to be comfortable in these incredible cars.

Mitsubishi Lancer

Japanese vehicles are generally known to be extremely reliable, and the Mitsubishi Lancer fits into this stereotype extremely well. Having been voted as one of the most reliable models outside of its manufacturer’s warranty in the 2016 Warranty Direct Reliability Index, the Mitsubishi Lancer is the perfect vehicle to choose if you’re travelling long distances. This sports sedan is packed with a broad number of features which you are unlikely to find in a number of similar competitor models, and you’re certain to have a bit of fun in this particular model as it reaches speeds of 125mph, and being able to achieve 0-60mph in just 8 seconds. If you’re looking for a fun, exciting and reliable model for your self-drive trip, then the Mitsubishi Lancer is the perfect choice.

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If the prospect of saying goodbye to dry land and heading on an epic sailing trip thrills you to pieces, it’s to unleash your inner wanderer. While there’s plenty of fun for pleasure boats close to the shore, most are built for long-distance travel. Catamarans, in particular, are perfect for extended ocean voyages.

With the right supplies and sailing know how you can spend weeks or even months at sea. You can travel half the world, from Europe to the Caribbean, Australia, the Americas, and beyond. There are few limits when you’ve got a sailboat, so there’s no excuse for small ambitions. It’s time to start planning your first international adventure.

This article explores some of the things to consider before heading out on a long voyage.

Know Your Route

It’s easier than ever to map out international sailing trips. For instance, with the help of companies like Make Fast Mooring, you can find docking spots in plenty of time. It works in a similar way to Airbnb, with a matching system that hooks boats up with vacant spaces.

Being able to locate mooring for rent, before you depart and during your voyage, takes a lot of the stress out of sailing. It’s an important part of planning where you’re going, where you’ll stop off, and how you’re going to get there. You need to know and record this information.

Tell Everybody about It

Itineraries do change, of course, but having a planned route reduces the risk of a boat getting stranded. Sailing guidelines advise all vessels to log their route with marine safety officials, so they can be found quickly if trouble develops.

The weather will be your biggest enemy out in the ocean. It may force you to change direction or take a route that isn’t part of the plan. This does happen, and it’s usually nothing to worry about, especially if you’ve got a working radio. Regardless, you need to log a route before departure.

Inspect All Safety Items

Before you go, take the time to inspect every piece of equipment in your safety kit. There should be flares (kept dry at all times), a radio (preferably more than one), personal EPIRB devices, extra fuel, and anything else deemed essential for a long voyage.

This includes items like life jackets, a radar reflector, life saving signals, safety lines, and kill cords. Take each object out of storage and visually inspect it. Pick the items up. Handle them. Switch them on. Do this with plenty of time to get replacements if anything is dysfunctional.

Calculate Food and Water

The chance of a catamaran running out of water on a carefully planned voyage is very small. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to take a little more than you know you’ll need. Obviously, space is an issue, so calculate how much drinking water will be consumed each day.

The same applies to your food supplies. You should have a good idea of how much will get eaten every day, so you can take the perfect amount, plus a little more. On a long voyage, you need plenty of canned foods. Spaghetti, beans, corned beef, and tinned fish are ideal.

Why Happy Sailing is All about Careful Planning

There are lots of scary things out there in the ocean. However, the vast majority can be avoided or weathered with a little forward thinking. The key to successful sailing is being prepared for anything. When all of the basics are covered, there’s nothing left but to have the time of your lives.

 

 

 

 

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Worry is not something we want to associate with travelling for leisure. In fact, the whole point is that travel should take you away from the stresses and concerns of everyday life. The last thing we want is a whole heap of new issues.

But the truth is, Lady Luck is no respecter of who we are or where we happen to be. Things can go wrong anywhere. The problem is that accidents and mishaps in a different country can seem ten times worse because we are out of our comfort zone and our usual support network. They then have the potential to ruin an entire trip.

But as we said, that is not what travel is about. There’s no point worrying about things going wrong before they happen. But with a little preparation, we can make sure we are in a good place to ride out whatever fate throws at us, and enjoy our time away to the max regardless.

Here are some tips for making sure you can cope with any emergency that might befall you on your travels.

Keep a note of your bank details somewhere safe

In most parts of the world, the days of using traveller’s cheques are behind us. For those who do not like to carry large amounts of cash they have exchanged at home, it is easy enough nowadays to get local currency, from a bank teller or an ATM, using your bank card. However, this can leave you stuck if your card is lost, stolen or eaten by a machine. It is always a good idea to carry a back-up card if you have one, or make a note of your account details and keep them somewhere safe. That means, should you lose your card, you can contact your bank and still arrange a withdrawal to see you through.

Stash some emergency cash

Again on a money theme, it is always a good idea when you have obtained some local currency to stash some in a safe place – a safety deposit box in a hotel is ideal. Loss or theft of money can happen at any time, if it is at night or on a Sunday or a similar religious holiday, the banks might not be open and you could be caught short.

Look up contact details for your embassy or consulate

Your national embassy or consulate can provide you with assistance for all sorts of situations which might arise while you are abroad, from replacing lost passports to organising repatriation if the emergency is bad enough to call for it. Having a phone number or address with you is always a good idea just in case.

Carry a copy of your passport

Should you lose your passport, you will usually have to file a police report locally before going to your consulate or embassy to request a new one. Having a copy of your passport with you can speed up the process for identification purposes. A photocopy is safer than taking a photo on your phone – should you lose the phone, a picture of your passport is a prize catch for identity thieves. If you really wanted to be extra prepared, you could carry a passport-sized photo ready for if you have to apply for a replacement document.

Take emergency contact numbers with you

If something did happen abroad such as you fall seriously ill or are involved in a police incident, it is helpful to the authorities if you have the numbers of people back home they can contact should they need to. This is particularly important if you are planning on travelling solo.

Get the right travel insurance

Not all travel insurance policies are created equal. Your average general policy will not, for example, provide you with cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. You need to find a specialist policy which will give you the correct level of cover you need should you need medical assistance while abroad. This applies even if you need treatment for something unrelated to your condition – on many general policies, the fact you have a condition is enough to invalidate the medical cover.

 

Single trip insurance, suitable for any one-off expeditions from beach holidays to cruises. Avanti Travel Insurance specialises in policies for the over-50s, with a wide range of packages for those going abroad, with pre-existing medical conditions. For more information on our tailor made products, visit our website and take a look at our bespoke single trip travel cover. Keeping you covered for the duration of your trip.

 

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Unless you travel with your own WiFi hotspot, you’re likely relying on public WiFi or your own data plan to access the Internet while you’re traveling or otherwise away from home. And while this can be a convenient way to get online, accessing the Internet via public WiFi isn’t always the safest bet. Because anyone can gain access to this public WiFi network, it can make your activity very vulnerable to fraud or attack. So to help ensure that you don’t come home from traveling with a stolen identity or other type of fraud, here are three tips for safely using public WiFi while traveling.

Read The Terms and Conditions First

When logging into a public WiFi network, chances are you’ll be asked to first accept the terms and conditions set up by whoever’s supplying this Internet access. And while you may not normally read through the entire terms and conditions section, David Nield, a contributor to Popular Science, recommends doing this in its entirety when using public WiFi. In these terms and conditions, you’ll be made aware of if the supplying company plans to use your information in any way. This may affect your decision regarding if you want to use this public WiFi or not.

Avoid Accessing Sensitive Information

As was mentioned above, public WiFi can be much more vulnerable to attack than other WiFi networks. Knowing this, the staff at LifeHacker.com recommends never logging into your personal accounts or accessing sensitive information when you’re on a public WiFi network. Others who are on or have access to that network could easily gain control over your sensitive information from you when on a public WiFi network. So to make sure you keep your sensitive information safe, don’t sign in unless you know you’re on a secure network.

Use The Mobile Browser Rather Than The App

According to another article by David Nield published on Gizmodo, it’s recommended that when you’re logging into your frequently used accounts that you use the mobile browser version rather than the app that may already be downloaded on your phone. The reasoning behind this advice is that there’s often more authentication required when using the mobile browser rather than when using the app. The websites can be much more particular about getting a secure connection. This means that your information could be much safer when you’re logging in through the actual website. So look for the HTTPS before you log in to keep your information as safe as possible when you’re abroad.

If you’re concerned about how to safely use the Internet when you’re abroad, use the tips mentioned above to help you protect yourself and your sensitive data.

 

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