The History of the Holiday

Posted on March 21, 2016

In the 21st Century, most people have at least one holiday per year. If you asked these people to describe their holidays, most would probably depict an airplane journey, lovely sunny weather, beautiful beaches, relaxation in a hotel and some kind of adventure or anecdote.

The history of the holiday…

However, the origins of these kinds of holidays were very different;

  • Pilgrimages – Before the 16th Century, most people only travelled for work, however, much like today they took religious days off work. On the other hand, as the famous writer Chaucer points out, people did travel on religious Pilgrimages. On these trips, people would travel the country, stay in inns, swap stories with fellow travellers and enjoy food and drink.
  • Queen Elizabeth – In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Queen Elizabeth I started to encourage rich heirs to travel, to help them broaden their knowledge for when they eventually entered her court.
  • Renaissance – During the Renaissance people started looking back to the ancient Romans for ideas about medicine and healing. For example, mineral water became extremely popular. In places like Bath, healing spas were launched, and entertainment was added to amuse the patients and to draw others. Therefore, everyone began to flock to these spas for enjoyment and relaxation.
  • Unsurprisingly these spas developed into holiday retreats for the wealthy, for example Bath was extremely famous during the 18th Century, as a place the rich went to socialise, watch plays and dine. In Bath, Richard Nash made a career of amusing the rich by arranging Bath’s social calendar of events.
  • In the 18th Century, it was then suggested by Sir John Floyer, that sea water had amazing healing properties. Therefore, Brits began to flock to the previously unpopular English sea side. With close links to London, Brighton flourished, and was even visited by Royalty, George IV built the famous Royal Pavilion.
  • The Industrial Revolution gave the working classes more income, and improved transport links, meaning that holidays were no longer limited to the rich. During this time several acts were passed giving workers extra holidays.
  • In 1936 the first Butlins Holiday Camp was built – a chain which proved extremely popular for many years.
  • After this, heritage sites became extremely popular with the British holidaymaker. Places like Stonehenge and Shakespeare’s birth place in Stratford upon Avon were visited by tens of thousands of people every year.
  • During the 20th Century, aeroplanes began to transport holidaymakers across the world, and popular low cost airlines grew.
  • The 20th Century also saw the birth of package holidays in the UK, Spain and France. This market then rapidly expanded to include popular destinations such as Florida and Disneyland. Now travel is an unlimited prospect which is available to anyone.

Wherever you decide to holiday this year, make sure you invest in top quality Travel Insurance before you travel.

Advice for Travelling with Gadgets

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It’s rare to leave the house these days without carrying some kind of gadget with you; whether a now ubiquitous smartphone, or gadgets with more specific uses, such as sat-navs and mp3 players. Indeed, they are now so commonplace and easy to use, that it can be easy to forget just how many you regularly use, what conditions could potentially damage them, and, most importantly, how desirable they can be to other people.

The advice on this blog will help you to make the most out of your holiday, allowing you to be sure of the maximum efficiency and safety of your gadgets while abroad. After all, the last thing you need when on holiday is to have your favourite or most expensive device stolen from you, or find yourself robbed of all of your diligently gathered holiday snaps!


While there’s not a dramatic risk of theft or damage occurring to your gadgets while in flight, there are certain restrictions and security measures that may impede the use of certain devices, or prevent their transportation completely. Different airlines may have slightly different policies, so be diligent with when you use certain gadgets during flights. In many cases activating flight mode is plenty to prevent any inflight issues; though double checking with airline staff is always the best policy.

One recent change in airport regulations now means that electronic gadgets must be kept charged, or else passengers risk having them confiscated, or being refused access to the plane itself. The criteria that airport security will judge a gadget by is whether or not they can turn it on; the thinking being that if they can’t, there’s a good chance that the device in question may instead be camouflaging a weapon or bomb. By making sure that your devices are fully charged before you leave for the airport, you ensure that they will be completing the full trip by your side.



When it comes to keeping your gadgets safe and secure in your chosen accommodation, your most paranoid instincts are often the most effective at safeguarding your property. Avoid revealing your gadgets as much as possible, and ensure that they are stored securely in your room (in a locked safe or locker if possible) to minimise the risk of theft in your absence. This can be especially necessary when staying in youth or traveller’s hostels, as there is not only an increased likelihood of strangers sharing your room, but of there being a high turnover of other tenants; making it that much easier for your favourite gadgets to disappear if not sufficiently hidden, or used in a conservative enough manner. A little bit of common sense can make all the difference; it just isn’t worth taking chances with your expensive tech!

On a similarly paranoid note, it’s also a good idea to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, such as the ones found in many hotels, wherever possible, as these networks are vulnerable to enterprising hackers, potentially opening up your devices to unauthorised access by third parties. There are plenty of ways to secure your devices in such situations, but if you’re not confident about such things, it may be worth avoiding public Wi-Fi networks altogether.

While we’re talking about data networks, also make sure that you’ve turned off data roaming! The last thing you want to find when you return from your trip is a ridiculously large roaming charge.


Out and about

While it’s a good idea to avoid drawing too much attention to expensive devices while staying at a hotel, this advice goes double for travelling out and about in foreign climes. Tourists often make extremely easy targets for thieves and pickpockets; flashing the latest smartphone, or showing of a desirable model of mp3 player just mark you as an obvious, affluent target; which in turn may ultimately rob you of more than just the gadgets you brought with you.

The risk of mugging or theft alone makes a good case for leaving your most valuable and/or desirable gadgets at home when you travel abroad, though there are also other more practical, and environmental reasons for the restriction of gadget usage while abroad.

Extremes of temperature and humidity, for example, can play havoc with electronic gadgets, as can the egress of dirt, dust and sand; so take extra precautions when staying in areas that are likely to expose you to these kinds of conditions. Other factors that may damage or impede the usage of your devices include excess sun cream preventing easy operation, and, as obvious as it may sound operation near or in a swimming pool increases the odds of a gadget finding a premature, watery grave!

More physical holiday activities, such as skiing or snowboarding, also risk damaging your precious gadgets; the usual places that you carry them may place them in harm’s way when on piste. While carrying a smartphone in your back pocket, for easy access should the urge to take snow-based-selfies prove too powerful, may seem like a smart idea, the second you wipe out you may find yourself sitting on the shattered remains of your favourite device!



Needless to say, while it won’t mitigate the risk of any of the above taking place, taking out the correct level of gadget travel insurancewill go a long way to offsetting any doubts you have about bringing them with you on your travels. A good policy won’t bring back a lost or damaged phone, but it will give you fast access to a replacement, and possibly further restitution.

Tips for Dealing with Heat

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When most people plan their holidays, they head to hotter climates for some much needed sun. However, every year people fall victim to sun burn, heat stroke and dehydration.

To avoid a holiday disaster in hotter climates, here are our top tips for dealing with heat;

• Stay hydrated; drink plenty of fluids like water and fruit juice (try to avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks). You can also eat cold foods like fruit and salad; these will keep you cool and hydrated.

• Take regular breaks in the shade throughout the day, sprinkle your skin with cold water or use a damp compress to cool yourself down.

• Use a high SPF factor of sun protection, you must use at least factor 25. Reapply every few hours and after swimming.

• Always use a sun hat, sun glasses, and wear light, loose fitting cover ups.

• Avoid being out at the hottest parts of the day (usually around lunch time e.g. 11am-3pm).

• If you are driving, try to park in the shade, there is nothing worse than getting into a boiling hot car and burning yourself on your seat belt.

• Try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in the heat, this will only dehydrate you.

• After being in the sun, cool your skin with a shower and then apply lots of moisturiser or after sun.

• When leaving your accommodation, try to leave the fan on and the curtains drawn. This should reduce the heat in your room.

• Try to avoid physical exertion, for example walking a long way in the heat, this will put you at risk of dehydration, exhaustion and sun burn.

Enjoy the heat safely!

Sex, Drugs and Alcohol

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Every year, more and more teenagers and young adults are heading abroad on group holidays or backpacking adventures. We are not suggesting that these people abstain from having fun altogether (as this would be extremely naïve), but to stay safe we warn them to be sensible.

Follow the guidelines below, to avoid a holiday disaster;

• Invest in quality travel insurance before you depart, just in case.

• If you are visiting Europe, make sure you have a valid EHIC.

• Visit the FCO website before you depart, make sure you are clear on the country’s rules and customs about behaviour, alcohol and drugs– if you follow them, this should prevent you getting into any trouble.

• Make sure you photocopy your important travel documents and passports, and store them in a different location to the originals – if a safe is available lock everything valuable in there.

• Do not carry all your money around with you, carry a supply and lock the rest in a safe. Furthermore, be careful not to flash your money around too much, unscrupulous people will spot vulnerable tourists and you could be pickpocketed.

• Always use a condom – this will protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Whether you are male or female, if there is a chance you may have sex whilst abroad, always pack a good supply of condoms, just to be safe.

• Measures are stronger abroad, so don’t assume that you can drink as much as you do in the UK; pace yourself. If you are visiting a hot country, make sure you drink plenty of water between alcoholic drinks to avoid dehydration.

• Always carry your drink with you, to avoid it being spiked.

• If you do get so inebriated that you hurt yourself or need medical attention, remember that your travel insurance will probably not cover you – be sensible!

• Most travel insurers will never cover the use of drugs, whether they are legal in your holiday destination or not.

• Always stay with the group, make sure no one is walking around alone.

• Do not give into peer pressure, if you don’t feel comfortable doing something, then don’t do it.

• Follow the ABTA and FCO advice; know your limits, and do not put yourself in danger. Do not mess around near balconies, do not swim if drunk or at night, and do not jump off any rocks or peers. Use your common sense!

How to be a Responsible Tourist

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In our modern day, more and more people are travelling more often, further afield and for longer durations. Therefore, it is extremely important that these tourists respect the places they are visiting, by following their customs and helping local people. Below are our top tips for being a responsible tourist;

• Do not litter! Basic rule, it is rude and disrespectful, do not do it.

• Try to travel in a responsible manner, for example if you can walk to the beach instead of taking the bus then do it – this will help the environment and your sun tan!

• Research – check local laws and customs before you travel to make sure you don’t accidentally offend anyone.

• Invest in local people – eat in authentic restaurants, hire a local guide, and buy souvenirs crafted by natives.

• Language – buy a phrase book and perhaps try to learn the basics of the country you are visiting. Remember that you are visiting their country; you should never simply expect that everyone speaks English.

• Try something new – try the local cuisine, again do not assume that English food will be readily available. The great thing about travelling is experiencing another culture – embrace it!

• Save water –by having quick showers for example.

• Do not buy any souvenirs made from endangered or protected species, for example ivory or coral.

• Avoid using excessive heating or air conditioning, try using other methods to adjust your temperature, for example a cold compress or hot water bottle.

By following the simple tips above, not only will you be a responsible tourist, but you will also experience more of your destination and the amazing experiences and cultures it has to offer. For further information, try speaking to your travel agent, reading relevant forums, or researching online – most tourism boards have websites packed full of important and interesting information.

Travelling by Bus or Rail Abroad

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Public transport is a great way to travel around abroad; it throws you head first into the culture, and allows you to see more of your destination, plus it is usually a lot cheaper than using a taxi.

It can be daunting to use public transport abroad, but if you know some simple facts and use our suggestions below, it can be extremely easy;


• Buses will usually be the cheapest way to get around; and it will also give you a chance to see more of your destination. If there are several bus routes, make sure you check the map and route before you get on.


• In most countries there will be a mix of trains available, ranging from underground to high speed and trams. There will also usually be a mix of local and international trains, trains that travel slowly around your destination, and high speed trains which take you through and out of the country.

• Again, make sure you check that you are on the right platform and line before getting on the train.


• Print out the bus and train routes on the internet before you depart for your holiday, or buy a local guide book (which should include public transport maps). This should help you to familiarise the stops you want.

• If you know the name of the station or stop you want to get off at, and you are feeling nervous, ask the bus driver or someone on the train to let you know when you are approaching that stop, (learning a basic phrase and pointing at the stop on the map should be sufficient).

Tips for Avoiding Jet Lag

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Every year, more and more people are heading further afield for trips and holidays, unfortunately a long flight and the effect of entering into a new time zone will usually result in jet lag.

Jet Lag will have different effects on different people, and these can range from lethargy and grumpiness, to headaches and stomach upsets, to disorientation and diarrhoea.

To help avoid and counteract jet lag, here are our top tips;

• If your flight is particularly long, think about booking a stopover for a day or one night, this will give your body a chance to adapt mid journey.

• A few days before your trip, you could attempt to sync your sleeping habits with the country you are planning to visit. This should reduce the effect of jet lag when you arrive.

• When you step onto the plane, change the time on your watch to your destination time. This will give you a few more hours to adapt.

• Try not to consume too much caffeine, sugar or alcohol before you arrive, as this will only confuse your body further. Once you arrive, small amounts of caffeine and lots of fruit will help to make you feel more alert.

• When you arrive, make sure you sync your sleeping and waking routine as quickly as possible, if you can stay awake during the day and sleep only at night it will get easier faster.

• It is not advisable to take medication to help you sleep; this will prevent your body from properly adjusting, and will make the effects of jet lag last longer.

• Make sure you drink plenty of water, as this will keep your body hydrated if you become ill.

• If you really need to take a nap during the day, only sleep for 20-30 minutes, this has been found to be the optimum ‘power nap’ time. Any longer or shorter and your body will feel worse.

If you follow these guidelines, it should reduce the effect jet lag, and help your body clock to readjust and conquer it as quickly as possible.

Driving Abroad

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Driving can be a great way to get around a foreign country and avoid busy public transport. Many people choose to drive abroad as it allows them to travel and see as much as possible, and do it at their own pace. However, if you are intending to drive abroad you must be extremely careful, most countries have different rules, laws and behaviours when it comes to driving and you must be aware of these to keep safe.

Here is our advice for avoiding disaster when driving abroad;


Before you go

• Research the country you are travelling to before you depart. Look up websites and forums which offer advice on driving in the country, then memorise laws, speed limits and the side of the road they drive on!

• Some countries have certain vehicle requirements which you must meet, for example in Germany you are required to use special tyres in the winter months. Make sure you can meet these requirements before you travel.

• Check that your license allows you to drive abroad, for example if you do not have a full motorbike licence you will not be allowed to hire a Harley Davidson. Remember that in some countries you also need an International Driving Permit.

• Check that your motor insurance covers you to drive abroad. It is definitely worth investing in breakdown cover as well – just in case. Travel insurance will not cover you for liability when driving abroad, so you must make sure your car insurance, or the car rental insurance does.

• Remember that in some countries you are required to carry vehicle registration documentation at all times, this is not advised in the UK – check before you travel. Always carry a photocopy of your driver’s licence and insurance documents, just in case.

• If you are using your own vehicle abroad, make sure you give it a full service before you depart. Check the lights, oil, wheels, spare wheel, water and do not forget to get petrol. It is also advisable to invest in an emergency kit, including a high visibility jacket – just in case.

• Make sure your licence plate is fully visible and that you have a GB sticker on your car (If the information is not on the licence plate).

Hiring a vehicle

• If you are planning to hire a vehicle during your trip, make sure you research and use reputable companies, you need to know that the cars or bikes are safe and well serviced.

• Again check with your insurance company, make sure you are covered to drive a rented vehicle abroad, if not invest in extra cover. Check the excesses on your cover carefully, these vary depending on the insurance provider and policy, could you afford to pay the first £500 towards an accident?

During your trip

• Always wear your seat belt! It is a law in the UK so you should be used to it. If you are travelling by motorcycle, make sure you always wear a helmet and quality protective clothing.

• Don’t drink and drive, once again you aren’t allowed to do it in the UK so there is no need to do it abroad. Many countries have a zero tolerance to drink driving. For example, in France you are required by law to have breathalysers in your vehicle at all times, if you do not and have not tested yourself after drinking, you will face an on the spot fine.

• Don’t use you mobile phone when driving, like the UK many countries have very strict rules about this. Invest in a decent hands free kit if you really need to talk whilst driving.

• Drive cautiously and expect the unexpected, remember that the driving style may be extremely different to what you are used to. If you are driving a motorbike or moped be especially careful and vigilant.

• If you are doing a lot of travelling, make sure you pull over and take regular breaks, driving whilst tired only puts yourself and other road users at risk.

• If you are packing up the car ready for the journey, make sure you can see out of all windows and mirrors, especially the back window.

• If you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, contact your insurers as soon as possible and take pictures of the damage. If the accident involves another driver, take as much detail as possible from them and take photographs.

• Be careful, in countries such as Spain British cars and hire cars have been known to be targeted by thieves, who smash windows and snatch and grab any possessions left in the car. Travel insurance will always restrict the amount of cover you have for these items, so do not leave valuable possessions in an unattended vehicle.

Travel Safety Tips and Advice

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We are normally at our most relaxed when we are on holiday or travelling, unfortunately this is usually when disaster strikes. In our tranquil state we let our guard down, and increase the risk to our possessions and personal safety. Here we have created tips and advice for keeping safe whilst abroad;


Your Personal Safety whilst on holiday

• The number one rule is always use your common sense, if your gut tells you something is wrong, then trust it. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

• Try to avoid dangerous or risky areas.

• Do not wear expensive jewellery.

• Wear and use money belts.

• Before answering the door check through the spy hole.

• Leave a television or radio on when leaving your room.

• Take your room key with you; do not leave it at reception.

• Always use bolts or deadlocks on doors.

• Carry small change for drinks and busses and keep smaller notes or coins in a separate pocket, this should mean that you don’t have to get your purse or wallet out on the street.

• Research the area you are visiting, find out if there been an increase in tourists muggings recently, or if it is generally recommended as a safe place to visit. Check here before you travel.

If you do face a holiday disaster, here are our tips to rectify the situation;

• If you are injured or need medical attention, immediately visit your local hospital. It may sound obvious but many people choose to wait until they return home, when the injuries have worsened. Notify your travel insurer as soon as possible so they can help with medical expenses.

• If your possessions have been stolen, report the incident to the local police and obtain a statement from them about the loss. This is not always easy, but you will usually need a police report if you want to claim on your travel insurance.

• If your bank cards are stolen, you’ll need to phone your bank and card issuers to stop any access to your funds.

• If your mobile phone is stolen, phone your mobile phone company to stop your account.

• Should your passport be stolen, your travel insurer will offer advice on how and where you can get a replacement from.

• If your tickets are stolen, your tour rep, airline or travel agent will help you replace tickets.

When you get home

• Check bank and credit card statements carefully. Raise any charges you don’t recognise with your card issuer(s) immediately.

• If you were taking a course of anti-malaria tablets make sure you complete the course.

• Remember to tell your doctor that you have been on holiday if you become ill on your return.

• Make sure you put any complaint about your holiday in writing to the holiday company within 28 days.

• Report any claim to insurers as soon as possible.

Your Holiday Disasters Solved

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When travelling or holidaying abroad most of us know the basic safety precautions, however there are many more serious issues which people tend not to think about until they themselves or someone they know find themselves in a tricky position abroad. In this blog, we intend to list those issues and offer advice.


Know how to contact Emergency help

It may sound obvious, but many people do not think about this until they face a medical emergency. This can be especially frightening if no one around you speaks English, or understands what you need. 112 is the international number to contact emergency help, but some countries also have local numbers, which you should be aware of when you travel.

If you do face a medical emergency you should always contact your travel insurer as soon as possible, because they will be able to offer help, support and advice.

Protect your possessions

Most travel insurance claims arise from stolen, damaged or lost possessions; never leave your possessions unattended and beware of pickpockets, always keep important documents and cash locked in a safe.

If you need to carry your passport a money belt may not be the fashionable choice, but it is the best way to keep your passport and money safe while you’re out and about, wear it under your clothes to avoid notice. It is also a good idea to carry a small extra wallet or purse with change, to avoid flashing your cash. Also avoid wearing expensive jewellery, because this may attract unwanted attention.

Beware of local customs and laws

Always check local laws and customs before you travel. You could find yourself in serious trouble for something that would not be illegal or simply frowned upon in another country.

Never surrender your passport to anyone

Sometimes hostels and hospitals will ask to see or hold your passport, but always remember never to give possession of your passport to anyone. Around the world some hospitals will hold a passport until a patient has paid their medical bills, basically holding the passport to ransom and causing a lot of problems for the traveller. In your passport it actually states that it is your property, and should only be in your possession.

Remember Custom’s regulations

If you break custom’s regulations, even unknowingly, you could still find yourself in a lot of trouble. Make sure you have declared everything and anything they ask, and always check their rules before you travel.
For example, in some countries it is illegal to carry natural products such as shells, coral and some types of wood (e.g. souvenirs).

Be careful of what you eat and drink

Food poisoning and stomach upsets are really common complaints amongst travellers, so always be really careful about what you eat and drink abroad. If you do become severely unwell, alert your travel insurer and seek medical help.

Remember to adjust to new climates

Again, it may seem obvious but many people fail to properly prepare for a different climate. Especially if you’re heading somewhere hot, make sure you wear sun protection of at least factor 25, carry a sun hat, and sunglasses to protect against UV, take regular breaks in the shade and make sure you stay hydrated.

If your relatives are unwell…

Be aware that many travel insurers will not cover you to cancel your trip, or to cut it short because of a relative with a pre-existing medical condition.

Never travel against FCO advice

Always check the FCO website before you travel, to make sure your chosen location is safe and open for tourists. Insurers will not cover people who travel against FCO advice.

If you get stuck on holiday

This can happen for multiple reasons, perhaps your flight has been cancelled due to adverse weather, or maybe your airline has gone bust. In either situation it falls to the airline or the aviation/travel authorities to get you home. Your travel insurer will be able to offer help and advice in this situation.

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