Kids playing in a park

How to find the best kids club for your family holiday

Posted on July 27, 2022

Sometimes when you’re on holiday quality time alone is needed. Kids clubs are a good option to keep children entertained and allows them to make new memories, holiday friends, and lets you sit back and enjoy a moments peace.

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Top Backpacking Tips for Couples

Posted on July 01, 2016

To some, the idea of travelling around the world with your partner for several months is the dream, but others see it as a potential nightmare. Spending all your time with the same person can be stressful, and if you’re not prepared, the experience will really test your relationship.

Fear not though, because many travellers manage to backpack as a couple with next to no problems at all. In fact, most will tell you it’s made their relationship stronger, not weaker.

If you’re planning a couple’s backpacking trip and want to know how to avoid the arguments, the tips below will prove invaluable!

Work as a team

Solo travellers are used to being able to do what they want, when they want, how they want, and it can be quite difficult to adjust to the mentality of backpacking with someone else. The truth is, there is absolutely no room to be selfish – you need to compromise on everything.

If out of the two of you you’re the seasoned traveller, avoid trying to take control of everything. Plan the trip with them and let them have a say. Tom Bourlet suggests taking it in turns:

Remember, you don’t have to do everything together

Just because you’re travelling together doesn’t mean you have to enjoy the exact same experiences. If your partner really wants to go skydiving, but you have a huge fear of heights, instead of convincing them not to go, let them! You can do your own thing in the meantime.

Make sure you plan any time apart carefully, though. You’ll need to know exactly where the other person is going and roughly how long they’ll be. Propose a time and place to meet up at the end of the day and stick to it, as it might not be possible to call each other. You don’t want to make your partner worry!

When you do finally meet up with each other again you’ll be excited to share the details of your day and you’ll no doubt feel a bit more relaxed after having some breathing space from your partner (and their annoying habits!).

Talk to each other

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And yet a lack of communication is one of the biggest reasons why couples fall out and break up. Talking to each other is even more important when you’re backpacking, as travelling the world is much more stressful than just sitting at home!

Whenever you’re feeling tired, hungry or you’re just not enjoying yourself, don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Tell them exactly how you feel and offer a way to solve the problem. For example, if you’re bored of sunbathing, let them know you want to take a quick walk; if you’re not feeling well, ask your partner for help. Being open and honest will stop a lot of arguments breaking out.

Don’t forget the romance

When you’re having to put up with your partner’s tummy troubles and sharing a bedroom with several strangers, it can be difficult to inject some romance into your backpacking trip, but it’s hugely important. Arrange to have ‘date nights’ on a regular basis – this could involve anything from dressing up and heading to a cocktail bar, or simply enjoying a private picnic on the beach.

Elizabeth Smythe recommends switching around the sleeping arrangements once in a while too. “On occasion, if budget allows, splash out on a private room, rather than sleeping in a dorm,” she told us. “Also, if you’re camping, bear in mind that people can hear everything in a tent.”

Agree on a budget

Unless you’re very lucky, it’s quite likely that your partner’s spending habits differ from your own. Money, or rather how it’s spent, can be another issue that causes arguments. Therefore, it’s best to agree on a daily budget before you go. Remember, you won’t be able to buy a lot of souvenirs, as you have to carry everything you have on your back!

Of course, if you want to treat yourself to a lovely meal out or a special activity that’s outside your budget, feel free to. Just make sure you and your partner agree on the decision – don’t go running off with any cash!

Eat and sleep well

Backpacking is tiring and all that walking and travelling is bound to make a person grumpy. Therefore, it’s vital to get enough sleep every night – if you’re struggling to drift off to the land of nod, consider buying some medication to help you. Don’t eat or drink late at night either.

Not eating enough can also make you or your partner snappy for no reason. We recommend keeping some snacks on you at all times, such as fruit, cereal bars, anything that will give you a burst of energy. Taking regular breaks is definitely the key to staying happy!

Pre-travel backpacking advice for couples

Before you travel together there will be a few things to agree upon. Destination, budgets, what you need to pack, how long you’ll go for and what you are looking to get from your travelling experience together.

Research destinations, of course there is the usual South-East Asia tours, make sure you look at all options and tailor your trip on you as a couple, remember to compromise!

Insurance companies offer couples travel insurance which can reduce your overall premium, obviously take into consideration medical conditions and activities you are looking to do whilst travelling.

Work out budgets based around what you can afford. You’ll usually find that the flights are the most expensive cost to consider, once you’ll there make use of local bus services to get you from A to B.

We at Holidaysafe wish you the best of luck on your couple’s backpacking adventure. Remember the tips above, and you and your partner will have a wonderful time. For more backpacking advice, click here.



Backpacking Advice from the Experts

Posted on May 19, 2016

Backpacking can be a hugely rewarding experience when done right – you’ll make some amazing memories to cherish for the rest of your life. If you’re planning a gap year or simply want to explore the world (and why not, eh?), you’ll want to know what to expect.

Who better to ask for advice than the experts? We spoke to those who had already lived the dream of staying in youth hostels and camping in jungles, and asked them for their top tips. Here’s what they said.

Keep your money hidden

It should go without saying that it’s a bad idea to walk around flashing all of your cash, but if you’re travelling to an area where pickpocketing is common, you should avoid storing any money in a wallet or somewhere easily accessible, like a pocket.

Instead, take a money wallet with you, so you can keep any notes underneath your t-shirt. If you’re a lady, you might want to take Holly Cooper’s advice:


Additionally, it’s a good idea to take some spare US dollars with you, as it’s a currency that’s accepted in a large number of places, especially in countries which have unstable economies.

Of course, you might need to protect more than just your wallet. In these instances, place a bag protector over your rucksack. These are steel wire meshes that will stop potential thieves from taking anything from your bag.

“A Shewee is a life saver”

Men rarely have to worry about how they’re going to go to the bathroom when there isn’t one, but for women it’s a different story. Ellie Whiston recommends investing in a Shewee – a device that lets women urinate whilst standing. You don’t even need to remove your clothes!

“99 per cent of the time you’re fine, but those two or three times you need to use it you’ll be eternally grateful,” Ellie says.

“Leeches are going to happen”

If, at any point, you’re going to be camping or trekking through a jungle, you’re going to come into contact with leeches. There’s not much you can do to repel them, but Alex Matheson says there is an easy way to remove them.

“Use a lighter or matches to make them fall off,” he suggests. Be careful not to burn yourself, though!

“Take a smaller bag than you think you’ll need”

Remember that you’ll have to carry everything you take with you on your back all day, so don’t buy the biggest rucksack you can find. Be wary of what you pack too – you don’t need 30 pairs of socks and underwear, as there will be places to wash your clothes at your chosen destination. The same goes for toiletries; you’ll be able to buy most things you need on the go.

“You’ll thank yourself in the end for not taking that extra 10L,” says Ellie.

To test how heavy your bag is, and whether you’ll be able to carry it all, wear your rucksack before you go. Pack everything you’re planning to take with you and go walking with it on all day. You’ll soon know whether you’ve packed too much.

Related reading: View our full backpacking checklist for more details of what you’ll need to take with you.

Take iodine tablets with you

They may not taste great, but iodine tablets will ensure you “always have clean water to drink,” says Alex. If you are trekking through the jungle, clean water may not be in abundance, so you will need to purify anything you collect from a stream or river. Otherwise you will risk getting very sick!

Always tell someone about your travel plans

“Before you go anywhere let someone know where you are going and don’t do it alone without a guide,” Alex notes. Indeed, this is great advice, as if no one has a clue where you are or when you’re meant to be back, then how will anyone know if you’ve gone missing? Moreover, a trusted local guide will not only be able to help you get to your destination, they’ll also keep you safe and inform you of the best places to eat, sleep and more. Even the most experienced travellers should avoid going anywhere alone, especially if they don’t know the area.

“Take a sleeping bag liner!”

Alex Jones says a sleeping bag liner can come in handy in many situations, even if you’re staying in a hostel. After all, you might not want to sleep on a bed that thousands of other travellers have slept on, particularly if there are any dodgy stains present! Thankfully, sleeping bag liners won’t take up much room in your pack.


A headlamp will come in handy

Headlamps are great if you’re going camping, as they make it easy to rifle through your bag, read and go to the loo in the dark without the inconvenience of having to hold a torch with one hand. However, as WanderTooth points out, you’ll want a headlamp if you’re staying in hostels too.


“Don’t skimp on your boots”

You may be on a budget, but as Alex says, investing in a good pair of boots is vital. You’ll be wearing them all day every day, so make sure they’re comfortable and won’t give you blisters. If you’re going trekking or will be walking anywhere that may be muddy, then your boots must be waterproof and have a decent grip too. Wet socks will make your feet sore and uncomfortable.

If we had to give one piece of advice, it would be to plan thoroughly. Researching your destination will help you decide on what to pack, where to stay and what to do during your adventure. Of course, don’t forget to purchase travel insurance for backpackers before you leave – you’ll need a special backpacker insurance policy, which will cover you for extended trips. We wish you the best of luck on your first backpacking experience; you’ll have the trip of a lifetime!

A Responsible Guide to Drinking Alcohol Abroad

Posted on March 21, 2016

For many, no holiday is complete without the odd drink, from a pool side pina colada to a malt whiskey to keep you warm on those winter breaks; there is something for every palate.While the temptation may be to drink more than you usually would (it is a holiday after all) there are a few things you should bear in mind before hitting the bar.


With great drinks come great responsibility

Stay hydrated

For the most part the weather in the UK is generally dull. This means the risk of becoming dehydrated from drinking in the sun is not something we usually worry about, aside from the brief hot spells in the summer months.

However, dehydration is something which can become extremely dangerous in hotter climates. Although it’s a liquid, alcohol actually makes you more dehydrated so it is important to drink water at regular intervals.

Respect the local laws and customs

Travelling is all about experiencing local customs, but with this experience comes a level of responsibility to show respect. Laws will vary dramatically in different countries and something which is legal in one could see you facing prison in another. Research the local laws and etiquette before travelling to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment or legal issues.

Local drinks from around the world

One of the most exciting aspects of backpacking (and any kid of travelling) is experiencing new cultures and customs first hand. And what better way to do that than indulging in the local specialities.

Every country has their own national drink, albeit their own take on a classic. To help you make the rounds and try what the world has to offer, we have compiled a handy little breakdown of the top tipples from around the world.


France has long been renowned for its excellent cuisine and the drink available is no exception. Most commonly associated with the production of wine and champagne, France offers much more than the odd bottle of plonk.

Absinthe – Banned for almost a century, this once controversial drink was invented by a French doctor by the name of Pierre Ordinaire in 1792, just after the French revolution. Originally created as a medical treatment and used for everything from curing Epilepsy to headaches, it soon became a firm favourite for Parisians.

No longer used in medical treatments, it is a piece of French history which should not be missed if you find yourself exploring the old streets of Paris.

Be warned, drinking too much is more likely to cause a headache than cure one!

Cognac – Named after the town it originated from, Cognac is a variety of brandy. Although not particularly popular with the French population, surprisingly it is a firm favourite with Asia, with much of the produce being shipped internationally.

If you visit a traditional Cognac house, you may be lucky enough to step inside the exclusive underground storehouse which plays host to the oldest and most valuable vintages.


Vodka – When you think of Russia you think of Vodka, and they take their national drink very seriously. Generally a staple for toasting at any celebration or occasion be prepared to drink a lot if visiting Russia. Unlike the west, Russians tend not to mix their vodka instead drinking it straight.

Men are expected to down their shots in one, while woman are generally excused. Should you find yourself drinking with the locals, never leave an empty vodka bottle on the table, empty bottles must be placed on the floor.

Samogon – Overshadowed by the Russian reputation for vodka, if you travel outside of the cities you will find the drink of choice for the majority of Russians is Samogon.

A type of moonshine, it comes in a variety of flavours all proving to be extremely strong. While we would advise to stay away from this atomic homebrew, there is a commercial brand available in bars called “Kosogorov Samogon” which is fighting for shelf space against its rival vodka.


Tequila – When most of us think of tequila we think of shots with salt and a slice of lime, but tequila connoisseurs will tell you how it should be sipped and savoured to enjoy the taste. By law tequila can only be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco. This preserves the authenticity of the recipe and taste.

Chances are you won’t have to go out of your way to find good tequila when in Mexico as a national favourite you will see your fair share.


Mekhong – Thailand is renowned for its love of whiskey and with many available you will be spoilt for choice. Thailand’s first domestically produced golden spirit; it was put into production in 1941 and has since become the most popular branded drink in Thailand.

Despite being classified as a whiskey, the spirit is actually much closer to rum. Often used as the main ingredient in the infamous “Buckets” (a small metal bucket filled with ice, mixers, alcohol and a handful of straws to share).

Some countries have strict laws on alcohol consumption, specifically where you can drink. As always you should research you destination beforehand to get the most out of your adventure.

Wherever you end up on your travels and whatever you end up drinking, ensure you do it responsibly and respect the local laws and cultures.

The Backpackers Guide to Street Foods of the World

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Foods of the World; something people claim to know a lot about judging by the volume of dishes that are recreated across the globe. But nothing can be more authentic than trying food in its natural surroundings and native country. Not only to enjoy the locally sourced ingredients often used but to mingle with the people, atmosphere and culture which can change your dining experience tenfold. Around the World, food is a massive driver in welcoming guests or used to showcase how proud people are of their heritage. This is why we have delicacies and traditions across in all corners of the globe…

A memorable experience may differ upon expectations and we are going to talk about a guerrilla, off the cuff style dining that will provide memories long after you return home from your travels. When backpacking, it is recommended you fully immerse yourself in the destination you visit and that means living like the locals. Partake in their traditions, visit sites with historical significance and make the most of opportunities you won’t find at home…

Many people go travelling and spend their time seeking the home comforts we crave but don’t particularly need, restricting themselves to food they know, like and recognize. There is such a vast variety of food served that has been developed in the style and authenticity of the region you are in that creates huge diversity among destinations and an air of spontaneity. You can’t head out to Malaysia and avoid eating something from a banana leaf and you wouldn’t dream of backpacking the World without trying any tasty local street foods. Here is our pick of the bunch:

Gelato – Rome

The key to finding the best gelato is to explore…now the architecture in Rome is sensational…if you like to explore, you can visit the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and more. Similar to famous landmarks, gelato is not hard to find in Rome, so why not test out some of the most beautiful gelato en route?

Gelato in gelateria

Jerk Chicken – Jamaica

The best kept secret to a Jamaican is their special jerk chicken recipes. Served from a traditional smoky jerk hut and complete with a myriad of flavour, if you are in this part of the World, you have to get your hands on some of this chicken. Cooked using a variety of methods and marinated for hours, this will melt in your mouth!

Pastel de nata – Portugal

Heading to Portugal? Pick up what could perhaps be the tastiest pastry you’ll ever try! Created before the 18th century, these egg tart pastries are a sugary delight, native to Lisbon but introduced to regions with significant Portuguese populations. You’ll soon know where to find them with street stalls and bakeries flooding with customers.

Currywurst – Germany

Germays favourite fast food! Commonly found in the capital Berlin, the traditional Currywurst is a boiled bratwurst cut into pieces, topped with a tomato based sauce, curry powder, and paprika served with a roll (Brötchen) or fries. The Currywurst has risen in popularity across the country – you will smell them a mile off and see dedicated food stalls everywhere!

Currywurst mit Pommes

Chilli Crab – Singapore

If you are looking for the most enjoyable and typical dish to have for your trip to Singapore, it is hard to overlook Chilli Crab. This Singaporean seafood dish is a must try dish to complete the culinary exploring journey of any travellers, simply iconic.

Tunnbrödsrulle – Sweeden

Tunnbrödsrulle is a popular fast food meal in Sweden, which is traditionally bought from stands placed on the streets. It consists of grilled sausages wrapped in a tunnbröd (flat bread), dressed with mashed potatoes, ketchup, tomatoes, mustard, onion, pickled cucumber, lettuce, and creamy shrimp salad dressing. Obscure, but worth a try!

Churros – Spain

Known more commonly as a Spanish doughnut, Churros are a fried snack sprinkled with sugar and dipped in chocolate, typically enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack. Thought to be developed centuries ago by Spanish shepherds, Churros are extremely popular among locals and you’ll find these everywhere from street stalls to restaurant menus.

Churros with chocolate

…and finally

No matter where you decide to travel, there will be a delectable dining delight just around the corner. Take the opportunity to try something new. Something that seems particularly quirky to you is just a day in the life for someone else. This is what travelling is all about, new experiences, new traditions and inevitably a new outlook on a destination you have welcomed first hand.

Backpacker Security – What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover

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It’s a common misconception that you can just go and buy the first travel insurance policy you see and it will cover you for everything you need, for all of your trip. However, the reality is quite different, with various policies having huge lists of terms and conditions, as well as exclusions. Reading the actual policy wording or document is essential because if you end up needing to claim when you’re away and find that your policy doesn’t cover you, there’s a real risk of you having to foot a very steep bill.

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How to Live in Hostels

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If you’re planning a backpacking holiday or a Gap Year it is more than likely that you will spend some time in a hostel. Hostels tend to come with an unfair stigma attached; they are associated with dirty, dangerous and unruly hovels.

Contrary to popular belief, many hostels are great places to stay; they are safe, welcoming, comfortable and clean. They generally have rooms with multiple beds, a kitchen, showers, and a socialising area.


Nevertheless, staying in a hostel does come with a period of adjustment, just like living in university halls. Below are our tips and advice for thriving and enjoying your time in hostels:

Research hostels before you depart


  • Don’t just turn up and hope you will find a bed; you might find yourself somewhere a bit grim.
  • Research the nicest places in the best locations, ideally you want to be in the heart of the place you are visiting, otherwise you will end up spending more money and time on transport.


Invest in the essentials


  • Ear plugs and natural sleeping aids are very good investments, if you are doing a lot of walking and travelling a good night’s sleep is absolutely essential.
  • An inflatable pillow is always a great investment, good for travelling and if the pillows provided are rubbish.
  • Get a Travel clock with alarm, if you want to make the most of your travels this is essential.


Do live out of your bag


  • Don’t make a mess, if you are sharing a relatively compact space you will not be thanked for spreading out your possessions. Plus if you have some early mornings planned your fellow travellers will not be happy if you are tripping around the room trying to pack up.


Listen and learn


  • You will meet some amazing and interesting people on your travels, especially at hostels, talking to seasoned travellers could get you some invaluable advice.


If you can rent a locker/space to secure your possessions, do it! Just to be extra safe.


  • Otherwise investing in some small luggage locks is advisable.


Accidents happen


  • Make sure you have packed any important possessions or documents safely, either wrap them up or put them in a water proof bag, to avoid damage.
  • Always carry a photocopy of any prescriptions you are on, your passport and your travel documents in case of emergency.


The final key to surviving any trip is to make sure you invest in travel insurance, to make sure you and your possessions are fully protected. Explore what the world has to offer, with Holidaysafe.

Advice for Parents of Backpackers

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Making the decision to go on a Gap Year or a Backpacking adventure is an amazing and exciting undertaking; however for the people left behind it can be a frightening and stressful realisation. Parents find it especially hard to cope with their child’s decision to leave home for months on end, so we have created our top tips and advice for the parents left behind.

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Local Customs and Laws

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When planning a trip overseas a little bit of research can save you an enormous amount of embarrassment, and money. The number of Brits arrested abroad rises every year, and no-one wants to spend their holiday in a foreign prison or incur heavy fines because they’ve upset the local populace by flouting local customs and by-laws.


Here are our top tips for avoiding encounters with the law abroad;

  • Be careful what you wear. In some countries, such as Egypt, women are expected to keep their arms, legs and torsos covered.
  • Whilst it is acceptable throughout most of Europe for women to sunbathe topless, it is not acceptable in most Arabic and Indian countries and also in many parts of the USA.
  • Also watch your footwear. In some places women are banned from wearing high heels/shoes at historic or religious sites. In some countries it is offensive to walk around in bare feet.
  • In countries such as Thailand, you are expected to carry your passport or ID with you at all times. If you fail to produce ID when asked you could be arrested and/or fined.
  • Remember your manners. In some countries you can be fined for swearing, spitting, chewing gum and littering. In Hong Kong you will be fined for littering and spitting.
  • Sex in public is never acceptable and in Arabic countries it is punishable by imprisonment and a hefty fine.
  • Mooning or streaking on holiday will always result in arrest and a fine.
  • The FCDO recently alerted gay travellers that homosexuality is still unfortunately illegal in some popular travel destinations.
  • In some countries, such as Greece and Spain, it is now illegal to smoke in indoor public places.
  • In France all drivers and motorcyclists, (including foreign visitors,) are required by law to carry breathalysers in their vehicle. Anyone who does not comply will incur an immediate fine.

It is important that you familiarise yourself with local laws and customs before you go away. For the latest travel advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), check our handy Know before you go page.

Keeping in Contact Abroad

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Modern travellers rely on their mobile phones not just for games and apps, but as a means of communication. However, just bringing your mobile phone along for your travels does not necessarily mean you will be able to stay in touch, or contact anyone in an emergency.

Message in a Bottle

Here are our tops tips to make sure you stay in contact abroad;

  • Make sure your phone can receive calls, and make outgoing calls abroad – it may sound obvious, but many people do not realise that their phone contract or SIM card has not been set up for use abroad. You can change this with a quick call to your phone provider, who can update your details.
  • Make sure you have enough credit – if you don’t have a phone contract, make sure you have enough credit on your phone to make and accept calls at all times. You should also make sure you can top up your phone wherever you are.
  • Skype is not great for emergencies – many travellers rely on Skype to stay in touch with people at home during their trip, and although Skype is a great way of staying in contact, the line can be unstable, so it is not a great medium for contacting people in an emergency.
  • Always charge your phone before you leave your accommodation each day – again it may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how quickly your phone’s power starts to drain during an emergency situation. Make sure it is fully charged each day.
  • Turn off any apps or games that you are not using – lately there has been a lot of media coverage about escalating mobile phone bills because of apps running in the background. Avoid draining your credit and battery by turning these apps off.
  • Make sure you know important phone numbers – before you leave for your trip, save important contact information into your phone book (as well as noting them down in a separate place in case your phone dies). You should make sure you know what number to call in an emergency, (for example 112 is the international number to contact the Police or an Ambulance), as well as your travel insurance provider’s emergency medical helpline. You should contact both as soon as possible in a medical emergency.

Some of these points may seem over cautious, however if you do face an emergency abroad, you will soon realise how much you need to rely on your phone. Your travel insurer will always endeavour to help you if you face a medical emergency, however communication can easily break down if they cannot contact you.

Safe travels!

*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.