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Travel Insurance

Broken Camera

Travel insurance is the most important thing you need before setting out on your travels. Even if you are the most careful person on earth you can’t escape from a bit of bad luck now and then. You would be surprised at the amount of people that risk it and don’t buy travel insurance, hopefully i’m about to change those peoples minds.

I’m a careful person and guard my processions, especially when traveling, with my life! My camera is my most important thing i carry when traveling so i really do guard it with my life. In 2007 whilst traveling in Malaysia i had it stolen, literally from right under my nose. We had taken the overnight train from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, I had a terrible night sleep and so when we got off the train we decided to grab a quick coffee. As I was sat in the cafe with my camera bag on the seat next to me someone came a took it. I literally looked away for a second and when I turned back, it was gone. I was pretty hysterical but still managed to file for a police report. My camera was gone.

I, like almost 100% of other travelers, didn’t have a spare £600 to replace my camera. I had three months left of my trip and really couldn’t afford not to have a camera. All it took was a phone call to my insurance company and they could ensure my on the phone that with a police report I would be able to claim back the money for my camera. I begged and borrow the money for a new camera and as soon as I returned back my claim went though and I could repay the money. I am so grateful that I decided to take out travel insurance, the fact I may have lost out on three months worth of photos doesn’t bare thinking about.

Here are 5 reasons you should never over look the most important travel purchase, travel insurance,

  1. The number one reason for travel insurance should of course be for medical emergencies. Medical treatments can be very expensive especially when traveling in the US and Canada. Medical repatriation on average costs about £25,000. If you have a medical emergency whist traveling in a foreign country it can be quite scary to try and find a suitable and safe hospital. Travel insurance companies have the knowledge and resources to help you find treatment.
  2. Your passport cash or valuables get lost and you need to replace immediately. Sometimes if your traveling to a few different countries to loose your passport will mean you loose your trip. A travel insurance company may help you get a new passport quickly so you can carry on with your trip.
  3. Protect your investment if you can’t go. If for some reason you have to cancle you trip you may be able to recover some or all of your cash. Travel insurance can cover you for inclement weather, natural disaster, terrorist accident and even jury duty.
  4. Peace of mind. You can fully relax on your holiday in the knowledge that if anything where to go wrong your not alone.
  5. Lost baggage. Costs can be as much as £1000 if your were to have to replace your whole bag. insurance may cover for lost and delayed baggage.

Image by Shayne Kaye

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Don’t Overlook Package Holidays

Holiday

Lots of independent travellers I have spoken to really don’t have much time for cheap last minute package holidays. But I really don’t agree and I’m going to tell you why.

A few years ago I felt like I really needed a hassle free two week all inclusive holiday. After a few hours research and about £500 later I had booked my first ‘package holiday’. It was a half board, two week holiday somewhere chilled and away from the crowds in Turkey. I felt apprehensive and a little unsure as i had totally handed over control of my holiday. Four days before I was due to leave, I had the terrible news that there had been a terrorist attack in the town where I was due to be staying. No one was killed, but the foreign office advised against travel to the area, this meant that I couldn’t go. I found myself in the situations of having to plan and book a very last minute holiday.

For £198 I booked a two week self catering apartment with a pool and ten minute walk to the beach, all flights and transfers where included. From that day forward I have been a strong supporter of cheap, last minute flights, rooms and package holidays.

If my story hasn’t turned you on, even slightly, to the last minute holiday, here are reasons why last minute holidays can be a fantastic option;

  1. Its an amazing buzz leaving your holiday to the last few weeks, days or even hours to plan and book. Be gutsy to get the best deals but also be prepared of the possibility you may miss out.
  2. It can be very refreshing to have everything from flights and transport to your bed and break fast planned for you. You will literally be guided from door to door completely hassle free!!
  3. You can sit back and relax. When i’m traveling I tend to move around a lot, meaning that I’m constantly packing and unpacking and moving from place to place. With a package holiday car hire can be easily arranged meaning is easy to explore and come back to your base. It makes a surprisingly lovely change to be in one place for more that a few nights.
  4. Package holiday are a great place to meet people. For many people their package holiday is the only holiday they will have that year so they go all out to have as much fun as they can, making it a a great environment for friend making! You get a great cross section of all sorts of different people from young families to older couples. I have make some great life friends on two week holidays!
  5. Cost, even though I have become great at low cost traveling, I can’t beat the value of a last minute package holiday. With some holiday days as cheap as £150 for bed and breakfast it would be hard to imagine how you could doi it yourself cheaper.

So, even if your a complete holiday control freak, please do consider the last minute package holiday. Here are my top five destinations for the cheap last minute holiday;

  1. Crete, or come to mention it, any island in Greece. Its hard to beat the weather and the gorgeous Mediterranean sea. Plus, I would go to Greece for the olives alone!
  2. Spain. Yes, there are lots of very touristy bits to Spain but you can soon get away from that. There is so much culture in Spain and so many things to explore. I also believe that everyone has to visit Ibiza once in their lives!
  3. Portugal. Not the obvious package holiday choice but an great one. Portugal has some spectacular beaches and coastal scenery and things are still reasonably cheap.
  4. Bulgaria. Up and coming as a holiday destination, Bulgaria is still slightly rough around the edges but that adds to the charm. Amazing scenery and amazing people.
  5. Turkey, it has everything from beautiful beaches to culture rich cities. Holidays to Turkey can be really cheap and you can do a lot of exploring.

Image by krejcirikmira

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Snowing

 We rarely get snow here in Cornwall, England, but today he have it.  In 5 minutes we went from zero-snow to total coverage.  Traffic crawling, schools are closed and people are unsure about what to do.

In the last few years we have had the odd day when it has snowed, but this year we have had several periods of snow, even in Cornwall.

Earlier in the year I was living in 37 degree Celsius weather, today it is -2.

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British Pound is Weak

So the British Pound remains weak against just about every currency at present.  This is annoying as my money is worth less just about everywhere.

The secret to solving this is to travel to the cheapest countries at this time.  The weaker the target currency the less I’ll lose now.  One should travel to the countries with the stronger currencies when your own currency returns to full strength.

So for now I am thinking of Southeast Asia again.  Japan and Korea will have to wait.  As does returns to Australia and New Zealand.

When I visited Australia in 1998 I got 2.8 dollars to each pound.  Today it is just 1.75. 

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The Importance of Being at Home

I’ve been home for about 2 months now, sorry for the lack of updates. My intentions for this blog have wandered many times, and my focus has been lost.

Since I have been back the normal family and friends things have happened, but also something important has happened.

A family member has become unwell. This family member has also just had serious surgery and requires care and help from the family.

I am so glad I am home to help. I am close to this family member, and it has become an important part of my everyday to see them and help them.

Their decline in help was not foreseen, and was not any of the reasons I returned home.

But being back home has become vital for now.

Travel plans continue to swirl in my head, but they do not even reach the draft stage. They are just ideas.

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Back Home in Cornwall, England

Well, after another great trip away, 9 month this time, I’m back home.

I am really enjoying being back, despite coming home just as Winter is setting in. I don’t like cold weather, and Winter in the UK is a challenge for me. Let’s see how it goes.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

He arrive in Kuala Lumpur.

After 2 months in Bali we are pleased by the cleanliness and efficiency of the city, but the pace is frantic and it takes a moment to adjust.

We grab cash and drinks and take the efficient bus to KL Sentral. Then take the monorail to the Tune hotel.

We are in KL for a few days. We are hoping to visit the Petronas Towers, which has eluded us so far, and to get some shopping.

In 1 week will be home in Cornwall, back in the house that I left 9 months ago. We are ready to go home. I am ready to go home. It will be cold and expensive, but it will be civilised, and organised, and cheap if I want it (actually cheaper than here if you’re clever), and ultimately it will be home.

I intend to make the most of being home. Going to the gym, makeing nice food, seeing my family and friends, working hard, enjoying quality items at cheap prices.

I love travelling in Asia. I love the cheapness and the variety of life. But it wares me down. I had thought about trying to live here for a time. But now I am worn out my Asia.

Maybe if I went back to live in the house in Thailand I would love it all again.

Dunno

But for now I am going home, and I will enjoy it.

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Goodbye Bali

Last night we had goodbyes with our friend Cam. It feels more sad this morning. He is a good friend, has been the source of many good times recently, and we will miss him. I think he will also miss us.

We pack and say goodbye to Hotel Sorga, and to Bali.

I wanted more or something different from my stay in Bali. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but nevertheless, I have had a great time here, but it is time to move on.

We take a taxi to the Airport and check in.

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Nusa Lembongan

We catch the 10:30am Permana boat from Sanur to Nusa Lembongan.

The swell is big so the boat hugs the Bali coast for some time before turning towards the island. The big boat surfs a couple of the waves, and we make it to the island without any dramas.

The reef around the island is very shallow, so the boat takes some time weaving its way through the rocks and plant life, before stopping at the Permana office.

We leave Caroline at a cafe and trek up the beach looking for a place to stay. We ask at a lot of places, probably 10 or more, and see various levels of accommodation. A lot are overpriced, as are many things with Bali’s current over-inflation.

We eventually settle on the Pondok Baruna dive school. They have lovely new villa style rooms around a pool. The rooms are pricier than we’d like (IRP350,000) but it’s worth it considering the other places we have looked at.

We have to do a little room juggling over the next few days, but at least we get to stay somewhere clean and (mostly) bug free.

The staff are very helpful.

After unpacking we head out. We walk along the front, and over to the first of the small cove beaches we can see. We swim, before heading home for an amazing sunset.