The Importance of Travel Insurance

Insurance. It’s the cost before we travel that we question, for long trips it’s not a simple £20 and it’s sorted. A lot of insurances cost upwards of £200 for adventures we all dream about which can equate to around 50 nights accommodation in some budget countries. We tell ourselves it'll never happen to you, but just trust me when I say the moment you need it you are seriously bloody grateful you have it - I'm talking from experience here. I constantly hear people asking me why I’m happy to dish my dollar over to the dark side in exchange for a ‘what if’ policy.

That is of course what it is. It’s a backup, a ‘just in case’ scenario that will help sort you out if the worst was to happen. You can laugh all you want but it’s almost like the modern day equivalent of a fairy godmother. Sure, it’s not as easy as clicking your heels three times and a slightly plump women with wings appears, waves a magic wand and fixes that broken arm of yours. But, if you do snap that arm in half, it will cover the huge medical costs associated with it and get you home if you need it. Now that £200 it starting to sound like a bloody good deal when the average last minute flight home can easily cost £700 and don’t even get me started on medical care costs!

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that a lot of the time you don’t get your money's worth and that, as with all insurance companies in all insurance industries, trying to get your money back afterwards can be rather hard work. There are loopholes left, right and centre when it comes to covering flight delays and the like. Ash clouds over Bali are an ‘Act of God’ and so no-one is bothered when you miss out on your trip - suck city here! BUT; it’s worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to medical. The only way they can get out of paying for it all is if it’s proven you either were committing suicide or if you were under the influence of illegal substances… Other than that, they have to pay out millions of pounds or dollars to ensure that the correct medical care is given to you. They can also cover the costs for a family member / friend etc to fly out and stay in a hotel wherever you are until you are well enough to go home. When going home, if you’re not fit enough for a passenger plane, they send you home in a ‘air ambulance’ which is essentially a private jet with doctors on board to look after you until you’re back to a hospital at home.

You’ll find that different travel insurance companies have policies to suit certain clientele. For example, some will have adventure sports included in their policies while others are specifically for the over 60s. It’s key you pick a policy suitable for whatever your trip needs are for obvious reasons.

I’ve listed a few of the things that travel insurance will cover for you, and it pretty much will cover all eventualities as you can see.

Medical - Everything from dentist requirements to transport & accommodation, search and rescue if lost and funeral costs or repatriation to your own country for burial by your family - these are the heavy hitters, the big cost items you don’t want to leave to your grandma to have to cover!

Personal Accident - Death, loss of limb / sight etc, repayment of student loan and total disablement (so if you end up unable to work or move)

Luggage - There’s a huge list for this one but essentially you’re stuff goes AWOL and the insurance company will cover the costs minus the excess. This is the best if you're stuck goes within the first few weeks of travel as they’ll help you replace everything while on the road which can be rather essential. You don’t want to be wandering around in the same clothes you’ve had on for months!

Legal - If you get blamed for something you didn’t do, you’re sorted. What happens in Puerto Rico, stays in Puerto Rico right?

Other Cancellation - Loss of passport, abandonment, missed / cancelled departure etc.

There are a lot of other things covered, but these are the basics you’ll find in most insurance policies. Just check the insurance premiums as some companies require you to foot a lot of the bill before they chip in, or only cover you for a small amount (ie. Your phone is stolen & worth £1000. The policy says there is a £800 excess before they pay meaning you only get £200 back. A lot of companies are better that than but just double check - expect to contribute a small amount towards this though!) Don’t panic - insurance can be confusing but the people you buy it from are trained to talk you through it and help you understand so ask them to help!

One last awesome feature of insurance to note is that from the moment you purchase it, you're covered! Even if you policy doesn't technically start until the date of cover, if you walk out the building and get hit by a bus meaning you can't travel, the insurance will pay for the trip refund so you won't be out of pocket. Or if you were travelling with a friend and they can no longer go because they got hit by a bus, your insurance will generally cover you staying home too if you no longer want to go alone. But maybe steal clear of buses for a while just in case...


I could list a million and one horror stories that would make you book that travel insurance in even if when you weren’t dashing off travelling soon but feel free to google it yourselves. Just know that it’s the best thing you can buy in preparation. You can have your adventure with security in mind. It may never happen to you, but you're safe if it does!


*All depends on your insurance policy. Pre existing conditions rarely covered. Read all documents carefully.

 

Travel Money Cards

Essentially this is the modern day version of a travellers cheque - it’s a way for you to carry money around with you safely while you explore the world. I’ve been using cash cards for years now, and everytime I go away for a long term trip and don’t feel comfortable taking a lot of cash with me. People always ask me about the benefits of them so I thought I’d write a short list of the pros below!

Cash Point Charges

Using your bog standard debit card at a foreign cash point generally builds up hefty charges, you won’t get the best exchange rate either from it meaning that you’re being charged to get cash out, charged for it to be exchanged and then not even given the best rate for that money. A cash card is made to help with those charges, meaning much smaller cash point costs and better exchange rates! You can get your cash out worry free and save some money at the same time!

Easy Loads

From online to mobile apps, you can load money onto your cash card any time, anywhere if you have internet access. Even if you don’t I always make sure a family member or trusted friend has my details to whack some more money onto the card for me! This will come straight from your regular bank account, but is not linked. This is key as it prevents electronic theft. If they steal your identity or cash card details, all they can do is use the cash on the card and generally like a credit card you can get this back / claim on your insurance.

Not all your money at once

You can have £1000’s in reserve without using your entire backpack to hoard all the physical money around with you. For long trips, you know you’re going to be spending a lot over the course of the trip so this is the best way to allow for safe use of money over the course of a few months (or years!)

Local Currency

If you’re staying in one country for a long time, spending a few months exploring Australia and then a few months in New Zealand, you may want to consider a cash card in the local currency. This way you just load your money on in your home currency, and it automatically exchanges it. There are pros and cons to this but it’s easier to keep track of your finances in the currency you’re travelling in as you pay the exchange rate in advance and not on the day of use.

Home Currency

If you’re travelling around more than 2 countries, I would definitely recommend getting your cash card in your home currency. It means that you’re not carrying around a large number of cash cards with you but also that you’re not constantly having to guess how much you’ll spend in each place if only in one currency for a week or so. You pay the exchange rate on the day, and generally the cash cards give you a good exchange rate. For long term travel, it’s perfect in countries that don't deal in digital money and you're only options is to use cash from an ATM

Friends can Load it

If you have no access to the internet, as long as you can get a message out to friends or family who you trust, they can load it up for you. If you decided to seriously go off the grid they can also keep an eye on the funds and top it up if it gets below X amount. You may even find that family members add a little extra money from their accounts on there for you for a birthday or christmas if you’re away at the time!

Back Up Other Than Your Bank

If someone steals your debit card, they bank block it. This is great as it means the thief can’t use up more of your hard earned dollar however it does mean that you can’t access it too. The bank’s generally have a rule that they can only send a replacement card to your billing address at home… Pretty useless if you’re halfway around the world! With a travel money card you can take a backup with you in case this happens and store it separately to your main cash card. All you have to do if one is stolen is contact the company you purchased the card from and let them know to cancel the card that’s gone missing & activate the current card you have - easy peasy!

Insurance Purposes

Your insurance will only cover a certain amount of cash in hand if you get mugged or robbed. Even if you’re carrying £1000, they generally won’t pay more than £100 if anything at all so you’re down on hard earned dollar with no way to get it back. Having a cash card means you can have that kind of money at your fingertips but have it safely stored aways.


If you need some recommendations on the best cash card for you, feel free to get in touch via my contact form! I’ve not used over 5 different companies for cash cards and know the best one to use for different styled trips.

 

Help! I Need to be Inspired: Movies

When I'm feeling low, I always turn to travel to pick up my spirits. Unfortunately, travelling tends to break the bank a little when you can't roam for months on end in Asia or have the luxury of hitchhiking for months on end. So what do you do then? You live vicariously through someone or something else! I turn to movies, books or music and have decided to share my top travel movies with you all. Of course, this was with a little help from my girls over at Girls LOVE Travel! So check out the list and see if you agree, or have something you add...

DISCLAIMER - THESE ARE NOT IN ORDER OF GREATNESS

  • 1. Eat, Pray, Love
  • 2. Outsourced 
  • 3. The Darleeing Limited
  • 4. The Motorcycle Diaries
  • 5. The Way
  • 6. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 
  • 7. On The Road
  • 8. Into the Wild
  • 9. Under the Tuscan Sun
  • 10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • 11. Tracks
  • 12. Hideous Kinky
  • 13. Hector and the Search of Happiness
  • 14. Indochine
  • 15. One Week
  • 16. Before Sunrise
  • 17. Broke Down Palace
  • 18. Up at the Villa
  • 19. The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants 
  • 20. The Beach
  • 21. The Painted Veil
  • 22. Out of Africa
  • 23. Australia
  • 24. The Thorn Birds
  • 25. The Grand Budapest Hotel 
  • 26. Slumdog Millionaire 
  • 27. Indiana Jones Series 
  • 28. Amelie 
  • 29. Reincarnated
  • 30. The Hobbit Trilogy 
  • 31. Jeu tu Paris
  • 32. Machine Gun Preacher
  • 33. Peewees Great Adventure 
  • 34. Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • 35. Elizabethtown 
  • 36. Big fish
  • 37. Lost in Translation
  • 38. Leap year
  • 39. Moulin Rouge
  • 40. The Life of Pi
  • 41. Across the Universe 
  • 42. Maiden Trip
  • 43. The Gods Must be Crazy
  • 44. Only You 
  • 45. Vicky Christina Barcelona 
  • 46. A Room with a View
  • 47. Thelma & Louis
  • 48. Midnight in Paris
  • 49. French Kiss
  • 50. Wild
  • 51. One Week
  • 52. Stealing beauty
  • 53. Knight and Day
  • 54. Lost in Translation
  • 55. Casablanca
  • 56. Time of Gypsies
  • 57. In the Mood for Love
  • 58. Romantics Anonymous
  • 59. The Crazy Stranger
  • 60. The Bucket List
  • 61. Cabaret
  • 62. The Girl on the Bridge
  • 63. Never on a Sunday
  • 64. La Dolce Vita
  • 65. Euro Trip
  • 66. Before the Sunrise 
  • 67. Mile / Mile & a Half
  • 68. Enchanted April
  • 69. Chasing Liberty 
  • 70. PS I Love You 
  • 71. Letters to Juliet
  • 72. One day
  • 73. African queen 
  • 74. Contact
  • 75. Broke Down Palace 
  • 76. Moonrise kingdom
  • 77. Fools Gold 
  • 78. Blood diamonds
  • 79. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
  • 80. Mamma Mia
  • 81. 180 Degrees South
  • 82. National Treasure
  • 83. Into the Blue
  • 84. The Holiday
  • 85. Sahara
  • 86. Death on the Nile 
  • 87. The Water Diviner
  • 88. Roman Holiday
  • 89. Mary Kate & Ashley Series 
  • 90. Lara Croft Tomb Raider 
  • 91. Encounters at the End of the World
  • 92. Without a Paddle
  • 93. The Art of Travel
  • 94. A Map For Saturday
  • 95. Hit The Road: India
  • 96. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
  • 97. Long Way Round
  • 98. The Darien Gap
  • 99. Julie & Julia
  • 100. The Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hopefully this has helped hook you all up with a 'to watch' list to last you Netflix lovers at least a couple months! You don't have to panic for long when you're done as I've already started writing up about inspirational boxsets  / series for you to all check out soon too! 

Help! I've got a Long Haul Flight - The Flight Itself

How to get the most enjoyment out of the long haul flying experience...and no, I don't mean the mile high club!

Regarding the flight, it's not uncommon for apprehension and nerves to creep into the experience. Just remember that when everything shakes and rattles... It's designed to do just that, and air travel is the safest form of transport in existence. Just relax and enjoy - how often do you get to see the world from the sky anyway?!
A window seat is best for nervous fliers, it eliminates some of the effects of claustrophobia and allows some distraction as opposed to a central seat. At the end of the flight, you can always try asking to see the cockpit. Contrary to popular belief you can still visit, subject to the captains decision and providing the engines are shut down. Being able to see the "business end" of the aircraft is quite an eye opener, and nervous fliers find it a great help to see how this flying business really works. Plus it can be a great opportunity for selfies...!

Now if you're on any sort of flight,  it's important to stay hydrated. The air inside an aircraft, especially some of the older types, is near enough totally dry.
This means that it will dehydrate you very quickly - the best thing to drink is water. Try to stay away from any alcohol, although I do always have a G&T to help me sleep and put me in the holiday mood! Millie on the other hand like to sample quite a few drinks throughout her flight which I can't totally endorse...
 

When the plane's wing is so long it's hard to see the end of it!

When the plane's wing is so long it's hard to see the end of it!


A common myth is that aircraft air conditioning systems breed germs, bacteria and other viruses. The units actually recirculate half the air in the cabin and take the other half as bleed air from the engines. So in fact, you do end up with quite fresh, albeit dry air. Obviously when you get many people crammed into a tight space (for example, I currently have 10 rows in view in front of me, equaling 100 people), the chances of at least one person having a cold is fairly high. To minimise chances of catching anything, if you have an air vent above you, aim it so the air flow is right in front of your face. This will keep any airborne diseases from straying anywhere near your respiratory system.

And onto the topic of jet lag and sleep. As soon as the aircraft pushes back, I switch over to the destination time. This will give you extra hours for your body to readjust.
If you're due to land at night, don't drink any caffeine rich drinks -this will only affect your sleep pattern (usually for the worse). Likewise with sleeping pills.
Move around a bit during the flight, stretch and wander the aisles for a few minutes - you'll feel so much better for it! It will help to reduce the potential for DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis), where blood clots form in your leg due to inactivity - quite a common issue for the more mature while flying long distance.

Regarding eating on the flight, the vast majority of people cannot stand airline food. I for one, love it! Your Ryanair and EasyJet I will agree don't have it down, but Emirates for example provide a choice of 3 -5 options for each meal, along with a start and a pudding! I would also recommend that you try and be as organised as possible so you can make good use of the little space you have, it's not easy I know but you can make it work. Remember to keep your arms tucked in so you don't disturb your other passengers too!



A quick note, when the Captain puts on the seatbelt signs.. This is for exceedingly good reason, usually to stop you taking off from your seat in the event of turbulence! Please obey the sign, it makes life easier for everyone! As a pilot myself, I know the risks associated with ignorance of this sign and it's just not worth it.

When it comes to disembarking, again there really is no hurry to leave the aircraft. If you leave first, you'll still end up waiting for your checked luggage anyway. I wait until the majority have left and then take a much more relaxed departure. Don't forget to take everything with you!

Last point of any use - despite all the above tips, nothing will change the fact you're sat inside a tube 6 and a half miles up.. for the best part of a day. Just keep sitting tight and remember it's a means to an end. It will pass and you won't even remember the hardships you endured when you're sat on the beach with a cool drink in your hand!

Thanks Alex for all the tips from this and part one of Help! I've got Long Haul Flight

Help! I've got a Long Haul Flight - Pre-Flight Checks

How to get the most enjoyment out of the long haul flying experience...and no, I don't mean the mile high club!

Over the years I've done a fair bit of long haul (anything over 6-7 hours in the sky) - I'm even writing this over two flights on an Etihad Airbus between London Heathrow & Tokyo. So, as you can imagine, I've managed to pick up a few tips along the way that I thought should be shared.

If you really want to get out, and see the corners of the world, common logic dictates that eventually you will end up sitting in a big cramped tube for several hours on end. As a pilot myself, I also have a more little knowledge on this subject than most - check out my list of pre-flight pointers below!

Booking flights

Most, if not all young travellers, will be flying cattle (economy) class. Booking as early as possible, (probably goes without saying), allows you to pick up the cheapest fares which is fantastic when you're on a budget. Most major carriers now allow you to reserve specific seats (occasionally with a small surcharge, but many offer the service for free). This can be really useful when you want to catch a particular view down below or if you really want an aisle seat. Use the website SeatGuru to check the seats before you book – this website tells you which seats are the best or worse for the particular flight and route you’re taking!

What to pack – hand luggage 

What you pack depends a lot on you as a person, where you're flying to and which airline you're using etc. To start, I always take a warm fleece, when you're sat at 30000 feet and the outside temperature is -35C (as it currently is - remarkably warm in fact - there's a storm outside), the inside doesn't feel all that much warmer and it's nice to have something to supplement the often weedy airline blanket.

Secondly, a toothbrush and shaver is great especially if I'm stopping anywhere. There's nothing worse than spending 12 hours stuck in an aircraft without washing facilities and arriving feeling like the armpit of a Bombay rickshaw driver. So these two items are great to keep up that fresh feeling.

Also on the list, some form of entertainment, book, iPad, iPod, iPhone etc plus headphones. Most, if not all, long haul airlines have inflight entertainment, usually on mini tv screens on the back of the seat in front. These can vary from basic tv like screening on a few channels on repeat to 1200 on demand channels plus music and gaming options. A lot of aircraft (including this Airbus A380) have in flight Wi-Fi too but it's usually a pay as you go type deal that can really rack up huge bills. However, I always believe in being prepared, so loading up with some movies, music and books on your person is a great bit of advice should all else fail.  

BIG TIP -  secure your valuables. Whilst you’re tucked up asleep for a few hours, there is a huge opportunity for other passengers to rifle through your bag.  Minimise this risk by burying valuables deep inside your luggage or on your person.

NB: Obviously the liquid rule applies for pretty much every flight (nothing more than 100ml/item, in a marked, transparent, resealable bag.)

What to wear

I'd recommend loose fitting garments and shoes - they are also key to maintaining that fresh feeling!  Anything with many pockets is good for keeping passports and boarding cards tucked away.  I do admit that I rigidly stick to jeans, but they’re comfortable and never look too scruffy!

On the day; the airport

  • Always aim to arrive at the airport around three hours before a long haul flight. This will allow for any delays, and you won't rush through the airport - meaning a much more relaxed start to your journey.
  • When you say goodbye to your checked luggage, just double check that your suitcase has the label for the airport that you're actually going to - I've heard countless stories of luggage going missing whilst in transit etc.
  • Once you're checked in, when you see security and customs scans approaching, take your belt, watch, phone etc. and put them inside your hand luggage. It saves so much messing about!
  • So now you're all checked in and have lots of time to waste. Have a light meal and a small drink. It's always good to get this done as early as possible... I do it to reduce visits to the toilet once in the cruise – always a bonus as none of us like those cupboard styled loos on the planes.
  • When boarding commences, the departure gate turns into a scene reminiscent of a rugby scrum as everyone fights to board first. There really isn't any need for it, all passengers have seats, so keep relaxed and wait for the majority to go through. Take advantage of the time to gather all the things you'll use during the flight (headphones, iPod, phone, pillow etc) and keep them in your hands.
  • Once on the aircraft, you can then pop these on the seat and quickly slot your bag into the overhead locker. Well... Unless you happen to be seriously vertically challenged!


Enjoyed this? Keep an eye out for my follow up on how to keep comfortable on the flight itself and to combat the trial of jetlag so you can get on the go as soon as you touch down!



Help! I'm Allergic to XYZ (Backpacker)

So since my recent post about how to travel and stay safe when being allergic to foods was such a success, I’ve been asked to write a similar post about how to manage when backpacking! When travelling on a budget as many of us do, it’s hard to stop and chat with the chef each time especially when in more eastern countries!

While I’m not allergic to anything, I’ve travelled with friends who are allergic to nuts, are vegetarians and even those who can’t eat oranges (bizarre I know). I think the hardest is a nut allergy when exploring Asia. Nuts are in almost everything, from curries in India to a Pad Thai in South East Asia - so I can see why doctors recommend that those with serious nut allergies steer clear especially with the temptation of street food all around. So what can you do about it?

  1. Take your medication - this is obviously essential. Whatever medication you require remember to take it, and take triple the normal amount you travel with. I would recommend this even in western countries - it’s not home and even in English speaking countries we have different words for foods (eggplant for aubergine etc). Always carry it on you too, you never know when you’ll be chilling on a beach having taken a trip to that abandoned island an hour away and take a bite of something deadly.
  2. Translation - Always take a translation in writing of the problem on paper or on your phone. This way you can show your waiter in their own language that you cannot eat XYZ. This isn’t a definitive method as messages aren’t always passed on too well but it generally works well.
  3. Do you homework and research local dishes - It could be that a local dish is FULL of your favourite tastes just looks like it contains your allergy. Generally, if it’s not in the recipe you’re going to be safe, but maybe always check with your translation method above.
  4. Street food - depending on what your allergy is, avoid street food where you can. Please do try it, as some of my favourite meals have been Asian street food dishes, but I know they don’t clean pans between cooking sometimes so even if you say no nuts, it still could have the nut residue on the pan (depends how allergic you are as to if you want to risk it). If you’re a veggie and really serious about it, just mention it a few times as they sometimes like to throw in chicken without telling you… Or just go to India where even McDonalds is mainly a vegetarian joint.

In my mind, if you’ve done your research you’ll be fine! Listen to your doctor, but don’t let them stop you! My travel buddy for Thailand (the second time I went), had missed coming with me the first time as she was told by her doctor that her severe nut allergy would cause her serious problems. She clearly regretted is as when I mentioned I was going again she was ok with a 37 hour journey from Canada to get there for only a couple weeks (she is insane, but the BEST)!

 

Help! I'm Allergic To XYZ - (For Luxury Travellers)

I know a large number of people who are put off from travelling or staying all inclusive due to their allergy or food intolerance. Suffering from a complete intolerance to gluten myself, I have a lot of sympathy with you guys, however I wasn't going to let my diet affect my honeymoon experience and booked into a 5* all-inclusive resort. Before I arrival I informed the hotel of my intolerance and  was assured they would be able to cater for my needs. I decided to write this post both to share my experience and give advice which I hope will help others who suffer from the same issue. Although my allergy is gluten I hope this information will be helpful to those with any dietary requirement.

As anyone with an intolerance will tell you eating out is always a bit of a challenge. My experience of staying all-inclusive was unfortunately no different. I cannot say I didn't have delicious food or that the staff were not willing to help but for me, as a self confessed foodie, dining in buffets where my choice is limited is always difficult (especially since I could see and smell everything). In the buffet my choices were repetitive, most evenings I could eat the salad and the curry but not a lot of the other dishes. Watching my husband devour plates of Italian pizza and pasta (my favourite) on Italian night was particularly difficult. After one less than satisfactory evening in the Buffet we were upgraded to eat in the Al la carte restaurants which were noticeably better! Here the chefs would come out and discuss the meal with me to make sure my dishes were suitable however there was still quite a basic understanding that gluten meant flour, but not thinking of a lot of the products which have flour in, for example sausages are generally made with heaps of flour mixed with the meat.

The breakfast buffet was a whole other story, every morning I was greeted with gluten free pancakes and hash browns with the option of gluten free toast if I wanted.  There was also an abundance of fresh fruit, yoghurt and although I couldn't help eyeing up the pastries there was more than enough to keep me satisfied. Despite my best efforts a couple of times during the fortnight my food was contaminated with gluten and I felt unwell; this was always from when I had eaten at the buffet.

So...what would I suggest to other with a food intolerance? Well for a start - never let it stop you! I had the best holiday of my life and one on to remember - I wouldn't have swapped it for the world. If you are mildly intolerant to something or if the food you are intolerant to is quite unusual, I would recommend letting them know before you arrive and speaking to the chef on arrival but taking no further action, sit back, sip a cocktail and enjoy your holiday. If however your allergy is more serious I would recommend these steps.


Before your arrival not only inform the hotel but make a plan with them, ask whether the food is buffet style and try to arrange a package that allows you to eat al la carte. Book your table in the restaurants before arrival so that they have plenty of time to ensure they have good options for you. Also, ask to see the menus at the restaurants so you can gauge for yourself what sort of things you can eat. On arrival arrange to meet the head chef and the head waiter just to confirm your arrangements (I found the restaurant staff are actually very keen to help and would rather meet with than be caught off guard by a request mid dinner service when they are busy - everyone was very friendly and polite to me when I had requests). If you can get a translation explaining your requirements in the staffs local language that also highlights likely and unusual places you may find your ingredient so that they are fully aware. My final recommendation is always have your own snacks just encase you are caught off guard!

Post by Victoria Aldrich, MillieGoes' fabulous sister

Help! I've Lost my Passport

So when this happens it feels like you're really in the shitter and I guess you kind of are. You're going to have to waste a couple days depending on which country you're in sorting it out but in the grand scheme of things you'll be able to get another and continue on your road to everywhere. Below I've written you a 'emergency to do' list if this happens to you.

Step 1

Don't panic. You're going to panic I know but try to keep yourself in a realistic zone of panic and not freak out too much. When you're freaking out you become a target for other crime as you're not going to be focuses as much on keeping your other valuables safe.

Step 2

Find out your nearest embassy. These are the guys who will be able to replace your passport and give you all the advice you need. Use an Internet cafe, a friends phone or other digital device as this is easily google-able. You can also take the opportunity to find information on what to do in the country you're in by looking at

Step 3

Get to the embassy, unless specific advice tells you otherwise. I would generally steer you towards to home office travel advice as your first port of call - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Now, if your whole bag has been stolen it probably means that a big chunk of your money, if not all it is gone along with your debit/ credit cards, phone and any other means of accessing money. But, backpackers are so of the most generous people I've ever met. I've seen them give up their clothes, chargers and money to help other travellers in the past with no guarantee they'll ever get paid back. I think it's in the hope that if they had everything stolen, someone would help them just as much in return. There will be someone who will listen to your pleas for help and may even give up their day and accompany you to the embassy to give you support - I've seen it happen.


Step 4

You will get your passport. Once you are at that embassy you’ll get sorted and you can relax. You’ll be missing your cool travel stamps from all the places you’ve been, and you’ll have to reapply for visas if you’ve still got more wanderlust in you but the embassy will be able to help you with that or at least tell you where to go. I would also report your passport missing again once you get home, just to make sure it matches the database there so that you’re not going to be at risk of identity fraud (and it would be seriously unlikely anyway). It’s also temporary, so you’ll have to get a new one when home anyway and we all know how fun it is getting that passport picture redone…


The key is not to panic, the country you’re in is no more dangerous or scary without your passport. Nothing scary is going to happen, no-ones going to descend and send you to jail. It’s always horrible to have lost your stuff or have it stolen but you’re always going to be looked after. And thumbs up for the friends of mine who are travelling to Iran now as they’ve reopened their embassy - yay!

Help! I've got Delhi Belly

Not to fear - Delhi hits the best of us and I don't think there's a way to escape it. Even with a stomach as hard as nails and you're staying in a 5* resort you still may not escape it. For those of you who don't know, Delhi belly is the result of eating Indian food in India. The reason is that India hasn't quite caught up with the Western world on food hygiene standards in most cases or the water quality is just not good. Number one rule is to never drink tap water, drinks with ice in or eat any food that could have been washed in tap water uncooked like a salad. BUT please don't let this up you off going here. India is a place like no other with such rich cultures, ideas, history and incredible scenery.

So - if you're caught out while in this beautiful country here are my tips on how to to get over it fast and keep exploring. 

Symptoms  

  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Basic medication 

Rehydration sachets - I cannot push these enough. You can find them in any pharmacy or shop that sells paracetamol, and you simply disperse  the powder in 100ml of water and drink up. They can rehydrate you super fast which stops headaches and dizziness that come about when having these kinds of problems. This should be your first port of call when contracting Delhi belly. 

Imodium - yep this one is a must. We all know what it does and is a must on any trip to India, give it an hour or two and it should sort you out. I'd recommend then instants that dissolve of your tongue if you're being sick also as you don't need to swallow them which may cause more vomiting. You can get ones that also stop the stomach cramps that come along with bad diarrhea but I don't think they're in the instant form. 

Anti vomit medication - you can get these in most pharmacies and aren't a must have but sometimes help ease the sickness side of Delhi belly for a few hours, giving you time to rest up. 

Please note

I'm not a doctor so if your symptoms are really bad go and see one or arrange for one to visit you at your hotel/hostel if you can. From my experience, doctors in India are really well trained and know what they're talking about. You are just one in a million Delhi belly cases they've seen this week and it's routine to prescribe a lot of medication to you. Ask them to write down the name and instructions for each one so you can inform your doctor when you're home of what you've taken for good practice. Doctors in India are also super cheap and I think it only cost me £20 including medication when I saw one in the hostel. But - my conclusion is, you don't want to be caught out and only have one of these toilets to use which are the common throughout India & the rest of Asia.