Expert Tips for Planning the Perfect Golf Holiday

Posted on March 16, 2017

If you’re planning a golf trip, we’ve collated expert tips to ensure it goes without a hitch.

Golf Ball near hole

Pre-Planning

One of the first key parts of planning a successful golf trip is choosing who goes with you. It’s really important to get a good mix of people; you don’t want anyone who’s going to throw their clubs around the course in fits of rage, but you also won’t want to invite anyone who’ll drink all night long and then act like a zombie on the course (we assume).
 
Once you’ve finalised numbers, you can then decide; when you want to go, how much time you’ve got for the trip and what budget you have to play with.

Research

Now you can start to research the best places to go at your time of year, and the top courses available. It’s really important to be flexible at this point, to ensure you get the best deal and itinerary available, for example many courses offer reduced rates for late morning and early afternoon tee times.
 
If you’re booking through a tour operator, they should be able to help you with these issues, but if not it’s also important to think about three things. Firstly accommodation, if there are a few of you going, you could save money by booking a villa instead of individual hotel rooms. Secondly, when booking flights always ensure you check their oversized baggage/sports equipment allowance, and any costs involved. Thirdly, always book or reserve places at your chosen course, to ensure you avoid disappointment.

Plan Time On and Off the Course

It may sound crazy, but if your schedule allows it’s important to book time on and off the course. Sometimes it pays to take a day to explore the local area, after all, golf courses are usually built in stunning settings, and a day to clear your head may improve your game for the last day!

Further Reading

If you’re planning a golf trip, just remember to invest in quality travel insurance to protect you, your trip and your equipment against any unexpected holiday disasters. Visit our golf travel insurance page for more information and a free quotation.

Top 10 Golf Courses in the World

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Need inspiration for your next golf destination? We’ve listed our top 10 favourite golf courses in the world, to add to your travel bucket lists.

Golf Course and buggies

Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia

Home of the US’s most famous golf tournament each spring; the Masters, the Augusta National Golf Club is a fantastic place to tee off. The course also boasts three of the sport’s toughest holes, the 11th, 12th and 13th holes known as ‘Amen Corner’.

Cypress Point Club, California

A private club but in a beautiful setting; south of Pebble beach in California’s stunning Big Sur country. Designed by the same architect as the Augusta National, Cypress Point boasts an 18 hole course and rolling fairways.

Muirfield Village Golf Club, Scotland

Founded in 1744, Muirfield is the oldest golfing society in the world, making it a must visit for any golfing enthusiast. Jack Nicklaus actually won his first British Open here, and now many golfers consider the club to be a true test of their ability.

Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania

Apart from Augusta National, Oakmont has hosted more major championships than any other course in the US, and is widely considered to be the toughest course in the world. In fact, it is rumoured that the greens are actually slowed down ahead of national championships, as they are really (really) fast!

Pine Valley Golf Club, New Jersey

Pine Valley is set in picturesque woodland, but its remote beauty unfortunately makes it extremely hard to find. The club was founded in 1913, and has been extremely private and mysterious ever since – but, if you can find it, it is widely believed to be one of the finest courses in the world.

Royal County Down Golf Club, Northern Ireland

The 100+ year old Royal County Down Golf Club offers not one but two 18 hole courses; ‘the Championship’ and ‘the Annesley’. Set between the mountains of Mourne and the Irish Sea, the club’s setting is truly stunning, but the sea wind adds to the difficulty.

Royal Dornoch, Scotland

Every year professional and amateur golfers make a pilgrimage to the remote Royal Dornoch course, which perfectly captures the wild beauty of Scotland. The course was officially founded in 1877, but records suggest that golf was played in Dornoch as far back as 1616, making it the third oldest course in the world.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Melbourne

The only course outside of the UK and US which made our top 10, the Royal Melbourne is a private club which offers two 18 hole courses; East and West. In 1959 the club held the Canada Cup (now called the World Cup), which began a tradition of merging the two courses for special events and tournaments.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, New York

Shinnecock Hills is a place of firsts for the sport, for example it was the first course to admit female members. The rolling terrain offers plenty of variety throughout the game, and the winds from the Atlantic Ocean add an extra layer of challenge to this private course.

St. Andrews (Old Course), Scotland

Golf has been played here since the 15th century, making it one of the most famous courses in the world. As well as the beautiful ‘Old Course’, there are also four more 18 hole courses, one 9 hole course and a practice centre for all abilities available. All course are open to the public, but make sure you’ve made a reservation to avoid disappointment.

Further Reading

If you’re planning a golf trip, just remember to invest in quality travel insurance to protect you, your trip and your equipment against any unexpected holiday disasters. Visit our golf travel insurance page for more information and a free quotation.

Top Tips for the Perfect Cycle Tour

Posted on July 13, 2016

Cycling holidays and tours are a fantastic way to really explore everything a destination has to offer, from tiny quaint back streets to stunning mountain views. Whether you’re looking for a new challenge, to indulge your cycling passion, or simply a change from a regular beach holiday, we’ve got tips to ensure you have the perfect cycling trip.

Mountain biker

Independent or Tour Operator

It’s completely up to you – many people find a scheduled tour with other riders much more fun and relaxing than trying to plan a route themselves, whereas others prefer to get going on solo adventures. If this is your first tour it might be worth booking with an operator to get the experience, then you can book future solo trips. There are a whole wealth of tours available all over the world, so do some research and find the best one to suit your passions and budget.

 

Fitness

The fitness level required for your trip will totally depend on the terrain you plan to ride on and the distance you want to travel each day. To avoid any mishaps (and dreaded saddle sores), make sure you prepare for your trip by practicing, for example riding to work is great preparation for a city tour, whereas mountain biking at weekends will be better for on and off road adventure preparations.

 

Equipment

If you have a bike that you’re comfortable with, that you service regularly and that is in good condition, it will probably be better to take it with you as opposed to hiring one when you arrive. However, you can always enquire with the tour company to see if you can rent equipment locally or from them – just make sure they’re of a good standard, otherwise your whole trip could be over before you even get started. If you do take your own bike, make sure you tell the airline ahead of time, so you know whether you have to pay a flat fee, or if it’s included in your baggage allowance.

Whether you take your own bike or rent one, it’s always a good idea to do some quick research on bike repairs, it shouldn’t take long but will save time on your trip should something happen.  The basics to read up on include changing tubes, repairing punctures, replacing chains and adjusting brakes.

Remember that a helmet is an investment, especially when cycling abroad, so make sure you get a good one! Choose shoes and clothes depending on the weather and terrain in your chosen destination,  but make sure you get base layers, gloves, lycra shorts (to wear under your baggy shorts) and good quality shoes.

 

Insurance

Most standard travel insurance policies will cover ‘cycling’, however, activities such as off-road cycling or cycling at altitude may require additional cover, so check the T&Cs carefully. Another thing to consider is that a standard policy won’t usually cover your bike, cycle accessories, or repatriation of your bike, so it’s always worth investigating specialist bike specific travel insurance policies. Visit Holidaysafe’s cycling travel insurance page for more information.

 

Top 10 Cycling Destinations to Consider

  • New Zealand
  • USA
  • Wales
  • Morocco
  • Croatia
  • Scotland
  • Canada
  • South Africa
  • France (the Loire Valley)
  • France (Provence)

Guide to packing Sports Equipment

Posted on March 18, 2016

Every year thousands of people get on airplanes and head off on sporting or activity holidays abroad. Most sports equipment is not allowed to be carried as hand luggage on an aircraft, so must be checked in as luggage. To make sure your equipment arrives safely and unscathed during the flight, here are our top tips for packing and travelling with sporting equipment;

Sports - Equipment

  • When booking your flights check the airline’s policy on transporting sports equipment or oversized baggage. The airline could have very specific rules about the size of baggage allowed on the flight, plus rules about how the equipment must be packed, for example some airlines expect you to remove your bicycle peddles and deflate the tyres before packing. Be aware that you will probably have to pay an extra charge.
  • The best way to protect your equipment is to buy a specialist bag, it may cost a little extra but these carriers have been specifically designed to house and protect vulnerable equipment. Never try to transport equipment such as skis outside of a bag, as it is dangerous for baggage handlers, other baggage and your gear.
  • Next, place the equipment in the specialist bag, if there is extra room add rolled up items of clothing or towels around, this will add further padding to the bag and should give the gear extra support during transit. Just remember to put any toiletries, shoes or anything hard in another bag, to prevent damage.
  • Always padlock all of your bags and include two luggage labels, one on the outside and one on the inside of your bag (in case the outer label falls off). This should ensure that your luggage arrives safely at your destination.
  • Finally, always remember to invest in travel insurance before you depart for your trip. You could spend hours meticulously packing your gear only to find that it has been lost or damaged when you arrive. Quality travel insurance should cover lost, delayed or damaged equipment as standard.

Sports Travel Insurance

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Typically, there are two types of sporting holidays;

  1. You have booked your holiday specifically to partake in your chosen sport, for example playing golf or scuba diving the entire time.
  2. You have booked a holiday and may partake in an activity once or twice during the trip, for example swimming, paragliding or banana boating.

Whichever holiday you are planning, it is absolutely vital that you invest in quality travel insurance before you depart.

Sports - Equipment
 

Here are our top tips for buying affordable and quality Sports Travel Insurance;

  • Does the policy actually cover you to participate in your chosen sport?
  • Are there any limits to how many days you can spend participating? For example some ski policies limit you to a maximum of 17 days skiing during your trip.
  • Does the policy cover your/hired sports equipment, if it gets lost, delayed, damaged or stolen?
  • Make sure the insurance will cover you for the entire duration of your trip.
  • Make sure you choose the correct cover for the country you are visiting. For example, many companies ask you to choose from Europe, World Wide Excluding and World Wide Including, make sure you pick the correct option. Ask the company if you are unsure.
  • Does the policy actually meet your needs? Check the levels of cover offered carefully to avoid being left out of pocket.

When you buy any travel insurance policy you should check that;

  • Make sure you have declared any pre-existing medical conditions, and make sure your policy covers them. If you have not declared your conditions you will not be covered for any subsequent bills.
  • The cancellation cover is enough to cover the pre-paid costs of your trip.
  • The insurance includes at least two million pounds of emergency medical cover and repatriation (£5 million if travelling worldwide). This may seem extreme but medical treatment abroad can become extremely expensive.
  • The policy covers the costs of emergency items of clothing if your bags are lost by the airline.
  • The policy covers your baggage and personal possessions if they become lost, damaged or stolen.
  • Once you have purchased your policy, you will usually be given 14 days to read it through and check that it covers your particular needs.
  • Most importantly, ALWAYS read the small print.
Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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