Holidays: Top five city destinations off the beaten track hand-picked by travel experts

Holidays often take British tourists to the well-worn path. Travellers are generally keen to tick off bucket list destinations and to visit the gems cities are most known for. And while there’s nothing wrong with this approach, holidaymakers shouldn’t forget that heading off the beaten track can throw up some incredible highlights.

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This month Lonely Planet publishes its new book Secret City, an insider’s guide to the world’s coolest neighbourhoods.

The team has shared with Express.co.co.uk five of the best under-the-radar destinations to add to your travel list for after coronavirus.

Woodstock – Cape Town, South Africa

“One of the hippest neighbourhoods in the city, Woodstock is home to microbreweries, craft distilleries, coffee roasteries and art studios,” explains Secret City.

“At heart, it’s still an industrial district – after dark you’d be wise to summon a ride-share service to get from A to B.

“Thanks to its slow gentrification, there are plenty of newly opened attractions and hidden sights to seek out, some even sitting on the main roads.”

Head to Altona Fisheries for famous foot-long sandwich the Gatsby, visit the enduringly popular and ever-busy Neighbourgoods Market on a Saturday and drink beer with a view of Devil’s Peak at the Drifter Brewing Company.

Vesterbro – Copenhagen, Denmark

Lonely Planet writes: “What was once the meat-packing district is now one of the city’s favourite evening hangouts.

“Vesterbro long had the questionable accolade of being Copenhagen’s seediest neighbourhood, with residents crammed into 19th-century tenement blocks, and plenty of unsavoury transactions on the streets.

“A clean-up in the 1990s kick-started its transformation into the hipster ’hood of today, albeit still with rough edges.”

Hang out at Kalvebod Wave on the waterfront, try out the excellent but casual restaurants at War Pigs Brewpub and go for a dip in one of the several harbour baths – Havnebadet Fisketorvet is the most popular.

Euljiro – Seoul, South Korea

“Discover noodle dishes and craft brews in this trendy, industrial-chic neighbourhood,” enthuses the book.

“Minutes from Seoul’s touristy Myeongdong neighbourhood, Euljiro is an industrial quarter filled with printing presses and hardware shops.

“Men in their 50s reigned supreme here five years ago, but recent gentrification has brought in hidden bars and cafes as well as millennial-aged hipsters.”

Eat signature dishes naengmyun, buckwheat noodles in ice broth, and bulgogi, marinated, pan-grilled beef at famous old restaurant Wooraeoak, snap top Instagram photos at Hotel Soosunhwa and peak into Seoul’s history (and shop) at the Sewoon Shopping Centre.

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Karlín – Prague, Czech Republic

“This neighbourhood east of the Old Town was forced to completely reinvent itself after the damage caused by the 2012 floods, which left it in ruins,” details Secret City.

“In a way, the restorations helped to establish an alternative side of Prague – rough around the edges but much more hip.

“It’s impossible to find the same vibe in the occasionally artificial-feeling city centre; head instead to Karlín, which is liveliest at lunch hours and on weekends.”

Savour a coffee at hipster joint Můj Šálek Kávy, sample authentic wines of the former Habsburg Empire at Veltlin and check out Kasárna Karlín – an exceptional space converted from former army barracks. It’s host to concerts, a summer cinema, exhibitions and workshops.

Campo de Ourique – Lisbon, Portugal

“At the end of the line of iconic tram 28, Campo de Ourique doesn’t feature on most tourist itineraries,” explains the book.

“The wide streets of modernist-style pastel-coloured buildings aren’t full of landmarks, but they’re brimming with local shops and family-owned restaurants.

“This is the Lisbon you’ll gloat about to friends and family, never fully unveiling all the spots you found on your wanders.”

Explore Casa Fernando Pessoa, the home where poet Fernando Pessoa lived his final years – a treasure trove of the modernist’s life, tuck into typical hearty and affordable daily specials at Imperial de Campo de Ourique and experience lively neighbourhood market Mercado de Campo de Ourique.

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet © 2020

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Holidays: How to explore wonders of the world from home with these seven virtual tours

Holidays are often the light at the end of the tunnel for many Britons. What’s more, heading to the wonders of the world is often on the bucket list of many people. However, with coronavirus crushing any hopes of travel in the coming week, foreign jet-setting is not an option any time soon.

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Thankfully, virtual escapism is still available to any Britons hoping to sate their wanderlust.

The travel-hungry can voyage to the new seven wonders of the world during the coronavirus lockdown thanks to virtual tours.

UK-based price comparison service Uswitch have brought together seven free virtual tours, allowing you to experience the allure of these wonders, right from your armchair.

From Jordan’s Rose City of Petra, to the white marble Taj Mahal in India there are more ways to visit these ancient architectural gems than you might think.

1. Great Wall of China, near Beijing, China

Every year, over 10 million people visit the Great Wall, China’s longest wall and biggest ancient construction.

Its winding path covers over 21,000km and the wall is thought to be 2,300 years old.

This Virtual Tour provided by The China Guide allows you to ‘walk’ along the wall with just a click of your mouse.

2. Petra, Jordan

With Google’s Street View Treks, you can get up close and personal with Jordan’s Rose City, Petra.

Leave your passport at home and grab your headphones to be immersed into this stunning city steeped in history and impressive architecture.

Petra is over four times the size of Manhattan, but with Google Street View Treks, you can explore caves, temples and tombs spread out for over a hundred square miles with just a click of your mouse. 

3. The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Roughly 6.4 million people visited Rome’s Colosseum last year, making it one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world – and it is easy to see why.

This majestic amphitheatre measures over 189m long and 50m high and could seat over 50,000 to watch sporting events and games.

Skip the crowds and take a virtual tour on YouTube – this hour-long walking tour of the Colosseum is filmed in pin-sharp 4K, immersing you into the action. 

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4. Chichen Itza, Yucatán, Mexico

Attracting more than 900,000 visitors each year, Chichén Itzá continues to be a historical wonder popular with tourists. Situated just two hours from tourist hot-spot Cancun, it’s a popular cultural excursion for many visiting Mexico. 

Experience a 360 view of the stepped pyramids in this virtual tour.

5. Machu Picchu, Cuzco Region, Peru

Set high amongst the Andes mountains in Peru, it’s an adventure just getting to Machu Picchu. Built in the 15th century, this ancient Inca site draws tourists from all over the world to visit.

This virtual tour comes complete with a voiceover, educating and entertaining as you take in the spectacular scenery of Machu Picchu. 

6. Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

This ornate marble mausoleum is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The building was designed to be completely symmetrical and in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake everything would fall away from the tomb inside.

Go behind the scenes of India’s Crown Jewel with this virtual tour from Google. 

7. Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This colossal statue of Christ the Redeemer is the largest art deco statue in the world, standing at an impressive 98 feet tall overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and has been classed as a ‘World Wonder’ since 2007.

To reach the statue on foot, you’ll scale around 200 steps, but you don’t need to with this virtual tour of the statue. This 360 view includes a guided tour with some interesting facts about the origins and construction. 

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Cruise: The tip that could see you enjoying a better onshore excursion for less money

Cruise holidays encompass all of the relaxations of a luxury boutique hotel with the adventure of a multi-destination backpacking trip. Most cruises sail on a planned route, and often take in up to five port stops where guests can disembark and explore the local area.

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However, while these stops provide ample opportunity to experience new cultures, they can end up costing cruisers hundreds of pounds in additional expenses.

Speaking to Express.co.uk Adam Coulter, UK Managing Editor of Cruise Critic explained: “Shore tours vary in price, depending on the cruise line, and can run you anywhere from £40 per person for a simple beach break to hundreds of pounds each for such higher-priced options as helicopter rides, golf outings and long-day or overnight tours.”

These shore excursions are planned with the aim of enhancing the customer’s onshore experience enabling passengers to see new places, engage in new activities and immerse themselves in the local culture of the destination port they are visiting.

Most operators offer a variety of excursions, from sightseeing and walking tours to zip-wiring and dog-sledging, depending on the destination.

“Activity-based trips might feature a day at the spa or beach, a pleasure cruise on a sailboat, a wine or food tasting, a cultural performance or a visit to a museum,” says Adam.

“Sightseeing excursions are typically bus tours that take passengers to the highlights and shopping areas of the port city or nearby destinations, and they usually differ according to the particular part of the world you are visiting.”

He continues: “Cruise line tours are usually a tad more expensive than tours available ashore, so depending on what you want to do and experience and the time you have ashore, you can often save money by going it alone.”

Of course, whether the added expense is worth it is really down to the traveller.

In fact, savvy travellers could enjoy a very similar experience for a cut of the price simply by planning and researching.

“If you want to book your tours independently, then the key trick is to plan ahead. Learn about the attractions in each port and check to see how far these and key shopping outlets are from the port,” says Adam.

“If you want a relaxing beach day, find out if there are actually any good beaches nearby too.

“If all you want to do is walk around town, shop or visit the beach, then it could be much cheaper and less time-consuming to get a map and do it on your own.”

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Exploring port stops independently allows travellers to stick to their own time frame, and avoid large crowds of tourists.

Adam adds: “Although organised museum shore excursions, for example, include transportation and expedited admission, in most cases you can still go it alone and minimise hassle and wait times by planning transportation and purchasing museum tickets in advance.

“In many instances, it can be cheaper and quicker to get a cab to a certain attraction, rather than waiting for other passengers to get on and off specially-arranged tour buses.”

However, while the savings might be tempting for budget-conscious holidaymakers, there are some downsides of going it alone.

“The key potential downside of going it alone, is that while a ship will wait for any late-returning passengers on ship-sponsored tours, if your independent tour gets stuck in traffic or there are other problems and you are late returning to port, then your ship will leave without you and you will be stranded in port,” warns Adam.

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“This is more common than you’d think, so it might be advisable, for absolute peace of mind, to opt for a ship-organised tour if you plan to visit cities, such as Athens, Rome or Florence which are pretty far from the port.”

The destination should also be at the forefront when deciding if you’re going to venture off independently.

Adam explains: “It is also wiser to take a ship-sponsored shore excursion in any third-world country or in foreign ports if you don’t understand the language and customs, such the need to cover most of your body at certain religious sites, or the usual haggling practices of stallholders or taxi drivers, which can seem overly aggressive to tourists.”

What’s more, though the price tag for a cruise line excursion may seem high, the quality and content of the trip are sometimes beyond what can be planned DIY-style.

“Cruise-organised tours generally take the hassle out of arranging your own shoreside activities and will usually look after you from the moment you step off the ship, to ensure you get back onboard safely and on time,” says Adam.

“Shore excursions are generally worth it if you want to venture to attractions that are located far from the pier, learn more about an area through a guide or participate in physical activities where gear is required, such as scuba diving.

You also have the assurance that your ship-sponsored tour provider is licensed and reputable, and the ship won’t depart until all of its tour buses have returned.

“It’s also worth noting that some ship tours are exclusive to the ship only, which means you are getting a unique experience that you would not get if you go DIY.

“The knowledge and efficiency of tour operators vary, and some tour offerings are not good value for money – especially if they simply offer time-consuming bus rides with drop-offs at shopping centres. It always pays to do your research and check other cruiser reviews before you book.”

For holidaymakers who do decide to book onto the pre-arranged excursion, it is advised you do so as soon as possible, as popular excursions can fill up fast.

“If you decide to book a ship-sponsored tour, check to see how many places are available and how popular the tour is. If it’s a limited-availability excursion, or specialist must-see tour, then it is certainly worth adding this to your booking as soon as you can,” says Adam.

“Be aware, however, that some cruise lines charge penalty fees for cancelling shore excursions onboard or within 24 to 48 hours of the port call, so make sure you check the weather in-port, in advance, if you can.”

Largely, whether shelling out for a planned port excursion is down to the specific needs of the traveller.

“The answer ultimately depends on budgets, personal preferences, what’s available in port, the particular customs and language at your destination, and the distance of key activities or sites to your port,” concludes Adam.

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Cruise: Cruisers could be shelling out an extra £10 per day on cruises due to this policy

The cruise industry has been expanding rapidly in recent years, offering a whole host of cruise opportunities. While there is something for everyone, a luxury experience tends to remain the central theme for most cruises.

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It’s no surprise, then, that many holidaymakers spend months, if not years, saving up for their dream escape.

However, it seems that even once the holiday bill has been paid, passengers could have yet more cash deducted from their accounts.

In fact, cruise experts estimate cruisers could be seeing anywhere between £9 ($12 USD) and £11 ($14 USD) charged to their accounts every day, but why is this?

Well, it comes in the form of cruise gratuities.

According to cruise experts and Youtube creators Ben and David, these are a necessary cost which benefits the hardworking crew.

In a recent Youtube video, Ben explains: “Gratuities is an automatic tip or what we would say is a service charge that’s charged to your account every single day.

“So it’s a set fee per person per day that is automatically added to your account.

“In addition to the automatic daily charges, you’ll find an 18 to 20 percent gratuity on things like drinks packages, meal packages, speciality restaurants, the spa or if you buy drinks without a drinks package you’ll pay that gratuity per drink.”

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Unlike regular tips, these fees are automatically deducted from your account.

David adds: “On average gratuity costs around $14 US per person per day but this can vary depending on the cruise line and the type of cabin that you’re in.

“Somewhere between $12 and $14 per person. Suites and cabins above the suite category are usually more expensive than a regular balcony cabin.

“But as you can imagine this can add up, particularly if you are a family. Say you are a family of four with two adults and two children, that’s going to cost you around $500 for a week’s cruise.”

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As you might expect, many budget-conscious cruisers aren’t too keen on having this money come out of their accounts, especially if they don’t know where the money is going.

Although some cruise lines make it their duty to inform passengers exactly how gratuities are broken down, it remains a grey area for others.

David explains: “Each cruise line differs in this respect but its usually split between the crew. Things like room attendants, dining staff, wait staff and people behind the scenes.

“Dining staff usually get the biggest chunk of this, but there are some grey areas around this because we don’t know whether or not cruise lines take a cut of this so we don’t know exactly what proportion is going to each person and how much the cruise line, if any, are taking off the tip.

“But the crew work incredibly hard with ridiculous hours.

“You’re talking 15+ hours a day, barely any breaks, seven days a week for months on end and cruise passengers are really demanding so it is a really tough job to be crew on a ship.”

It is also thought that gratuities can actually make up wages which are traditionally low on some cruise lines or for some workers.

Cruise Critic explains: “Most cruise lines are based in the US, where the crew members’ pay structure is based on tips – whether you like it or not.

“If you refuse to tip on principle, you are impacting the salaries of the people who have served you well onboard.”

This is why the cruise experts say passengers should not remove gratuities, even if they have a negative experience on board.

Instead, they recommend speaking up about a negative experience and allowing the cruise staff to make up for any bad service.

“At least give them the opportunity to make it back up to you and have your voice heard as well,” says David.

“By just removing your tip you’re not actually saying there’s an issue and that means they can’t resolve it for future cruises as well.”

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Coronavirus: Obese cruise passenger unable to fly home to sail from Australia to Germany

Cruise ship the Artania arrived in Fremantle in Australia on Friday and 800 European passengers were flown home. MV Artania is a cruise ship chartered since 2011 by Phoenix Reisen, a German-based travel agency and cruise ship operator. Australian newspaper The West has reported that 16 passengers will be remaining onboard, in the latest cruise news.

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This is allegedly due to obesity and being unable to fit in a plane seat.

Phoenix Reisen did not reveal the reasons for 15 of the passenger deciding to remain onboard but confirmed to Express.co.uk that one was too obese.

Phoenix Reisen said in a statement: “16 travelers also decided to stay with the crew on board MS Artania under the care of Captain Morten Hansen and cruise director Klaus Gruschka.”

They added that “the nautical crew will remain on board with a reduced service crew.”

MailOnline reported that the crew are mostly from Asian countries including Indonesia and the Philippines.

Seven people tested positive for coronavirus onboard the Artania, Phoenix Reisen said, after Australian health authorities onboard MS Artania tested passengers and crew members for Covid 19 due to cold symptoms.

On Sunday, passengers and crew were flown from Perth to Frankfurt.

Guests were only allowed to take “one piece of hand luggage weighing seven kilograms,” said the cruise company.

“The additional luggage will be delivered to the guests as soon as the organization between the authorities, the shipping company and Phoenix Reisen has been completed.”

The company’s statement continued: “The total number of people who have been positively tested by the Australian health authorities over the past few days is 36.

“These people, 23 guests and 13 crew members, have been placed in Australian hospitals in a fortnightly quarantine. Phoenix Reisen will organize the return trip of the guests in coordination with the Federal Foreign Office, the German Embassy and the Australian authorities.”

They added: “The ship and the remaining crew are still in Fremantle.

“The shipping company is in contact with the Australian authorities and the embassies of Indonesia and the Philippines to arrange a special flight departure for the crew.”

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The Australian Border Force wrote to the ship’s management on Sunday ordering the Artania to leave Australian waters as soon as possible.

However, the vessel wants to stay put until April 15 so the ships can be cleaned and any further crew or passengers who have coronavirus can be identified before the Artania sails back to Hamburg in Germany.

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan said: “I’d urge the Australian Border Force to get the ship on its way.”

“I think the Federal Government needs to step up here. If the ship needs to be cleaned, well, clean it and then get it on its way.”

Federal Attorney General Christian Porter told radio 6PR: “The vessel is the subject of an order to leave. They don’t have to do that tonight but they are subject to an order to leave.’

“My information is that there are still 12 passengers on board, some of whom… cannot get into a plane.

“Passengers who are too unwell to fly, and the crew, will have to go home in the boat, back I presume to Germany.

“We’ve got a responsibility for those passengers to ensure the Western Australian health system gives them the available attention to ensure that they don’t, let me put this bluntly, don’t die on the voyage home because they’ve not received the proper attention before that voyage commences.”

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Major travel insurers halt sales & amend policies amid coronavirus crisis – full list

The coronavirus crisis has thrown the entire travel industry into an unprecedented state, with airlines cancelling flights, airports shutting down, cruises banned from ports and countries worldwide rapidly shutting their borders. As a result, nearly half of the UK’s major travel insurance providers have pulled the sale of new insurance policies amid the crisis.

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Meanwhile, many of those who continue to sell new policies have amended their terms and conditions to exclude disruption or cancellation as a result of the pandemic.

This could be worrying to some who are intending on future travel, particularly those embarking on travel deemed essential in the near future, and hope to purchase a policy to protect that journey.

Consumer rights advocate Which? contacted 75 providers serving the nation to uncover what kind of amendments they have made to policies and whether Britons could face concerning financial losses.

The good news is, regardless of whether an insurer has cancelled sales of new policies or is amending the terms and conditions to those it is currently offering, travellers with policies purchased prior to the March 11 declaration of a pandemic should still be covered.

Whether coronavirus has left you with a lost holiday booking or a cancelled flight, these policies should work to cover non-refundable costs so long as customers purchased adequate coverage.

Which?’s researchers found that 34 insurers, including well-known insurers such as Aviva, LV= and Direct Line, have temporarily suspended the sale of travel insurance to new customers as a result of the pandemic.

A further 10, including Axa, Saga and Staysure, have changed aspects of their policies making them more restrictive.

On March 11, following the World Health Organisations decision to name COVID-19 a pandemic, LV= issued a statement saying: “In light of the significant impact that coronavirus is having globally, LV= General Insurance has taken the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers.

“In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the number of policies sold double. While LV=is a major motor and home insurer, we are a small travel insurance provider and it’s important for the long-term benefit of all our customers that our exposure to this market remains at a sustainable level for the overall business.

“We considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or significantly increasing prices for new customers but we strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision.

“There is no change for existing customers who already have a policy with us. They can contact us in the normal way if they need to make a claim, and we are also still offering renewals to our existing customers so they can continue to be insured with us.”

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Similarly, upon suspending new sales Direct Line released a statement saying: “Due to the impact that coronavirus is having across the world we have experienced a huge increase in demand for travel insurance.

“Our priority is to protect and service our existing customers and therefore we have taken the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the sale of travel insurance to new customers so that we can focus on our existing customers.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Aviva told Express.co.uk: “Following a review of Aviva’s travel insurance, we have decided to adjust our cover to reflect the current risks posed by Coronavirus.

“This means that while new Aviva direct travel insurance customers can still purchase our core travel insurance, they will not be able to select our ‘travel disruption’ or ‘airspace closure’ add-ons.”

However, while existing customers are still protected, the options for new customers are becoming increasingly limited.

While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has urged Britons to avoid all non-essential travel, while a stringent lockdown is in place across the UK, there may be those who must embark on essential travel in coming weeks and are seeking protection.

Though some insurers are still continuing to sell new packages, many have amended their policies to rule out coronavirus coverage.

For example, a spokesperson for AXA told Express.co.uk: “Any new policy purchased, or new trip booked covered by an existing annual multi-trip policy after 3 pm on 13th March 2020, will not cover any cancellation claim in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“We will continue to cover any medical claims because of coronavirus if you are travelling to an area where no FCO advice against travel exists.”

Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the travel insurance market, with dozens of providers amending policies or pulling them all together.

“This is creating confusion and uncertainty for consumers, who may feel they simply can not make plans for future trips in the circumstances.

“The government, insurers and the travel industry must work together to tackle the huge challenge posed by coronavirus, to ensure people feel confident enough to travel in the knowledge that they will be covered.”

Which? is currently advising those purchasing new policies to check the details and exclusions of the coverage prior to buying.

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Which companies are still selling travel insurance policies?

Of the insurers surveyed by Which? the below are still selling new policies, with some amendments, at the time of writing:

All Clear

The insurance firm is still selling policies to new customers but will not provide cover on those policies for coronavirus-related claims.

Axa

Axa continues to provide policies to new customers but without coronavirus-related cancellation cover.

Allianz Assistance UK

From March 12 the insurer has ruled out cover on new policies for coronavirus-related claims.

Columbus Direct

From March 13 the insurer is providing no new cover for coronavirus-related claims.

Debenhams

As of March 16, there is no new cover from coronavirus-related claims.

Direct Travel

On March 17 the insurer stated they could no longer offer coronavirus-related claim coverage on new policies.

InsureandGo

Though new policies can be purchased, they will not cover coronavirus-related incidents.

Nationwide

As of March 18 new policies will offer no protection against coronavirus issues.

Saga

From March 13 the insurer will provide no new cover for coronavirus claims.

Staysure

While new customers can still invest in a policy, there will be no travel disruption extension for new customers.

Which companies are no longer selling travel insurance?

Insurance firms currently halting the sale of new policies include:

AA

Admiral

Alpha Insurance

Asda

Aviva

Boots

Churchill

Clydesdale Bank

The Co-op

CoverMore

Direct Line

Ergo Travel

Esure

ETA

First Direct

Flexicover

Fogg Travel

HSBC

Holidaysafe

LV

More Than

M&S Bank

NFU Mutual

Now I Can Travel

Post Office

Puffin Insurance

Sainsbury’s Bank

Santander

Sheilas’ Wheels

Spectrum

TopDog

Virgin Money

Yorkshire Bank

Zurich

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Royal travel secrets: The unlikely household item Meghan Markle packs in her suitcase

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle embarked on yet more international travel recently, hot-footing it across the US border to LA before the stringent coronavirus lockdown. It’s likely the Duchess took with her all of her essentials, including one unlikely household item.

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Having spent years travelling for work, and later for the royal duties she temporarily took on with her husband Prince Harry, Meghan has her own tips and tricks to ensure a comfortable journey.

In an interview with Birchbox, the Duchess revealed one household item she always packs in her suitcase.

She explained that she always packs tumble dryer sheet in her luggage.

“Your clothes will smell fresh when you arrive—and especially when you return home!” she said.

The actress swears by dryer sheets for keeping clothes smelling crisp, simply by layering them between folded items.

It is particularly useful when coming back from a long stint of travelling, something the Prince and Duchess are quite accustomed to.

Of course, this isn’t her only travel tip.

On her former blog Tig, the Duchess previously revealed ways she maintains optimum health, even amid time zones and long-haul journeys.

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In a slightly bizarre revelation, she explained in a post that she has been known to place antibacterial gel or cream on the inside of her nostrils in a bid to limit the spread of germs on a plane.

The former Suits star claimed this was a travel hack she picked up from Hollywood royalty Leonardo DiCaprio.

“[Leonardo] puts a little Neosporin on a cotton swab and coats the inside of his nostrils,” she wrote on the site.

“Not only does it create a barrier for germs, it also lubricates the skin in the nose.”

Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment, and while the celebrities swear by it, there’s no definitive answer as to whether this truly is a barrier from illness.

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Meghan isn’t the only royal who has a list of travel must-haves to enhance the experience.

Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton also has a selection of items she insists on having when embarking on a journey.

Royal author Marcia Moody offered an insight into Kate’s handbag in her 2013 book Kate: A Biography.

The author says there are always four specific items with the Duchess.

She wrote: “In her small clutch she carries a compact mirror, blotting paper, a handkerchief and lip balm.”

A keen photographer, Kate is also reported to always carry a camera with her.

This is something that was noted on her first-ever royal tour with William.

Discussing their trip to Canada in June 2011, Moody wrote in her book: “Since she has always been a keen photographer, she took her own Canon camera to snap some personal images.”

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Google Maps: Two women caught in bizarre position – is everything as it seems?

Google Maps Street View is popular among those on the hunt for weird and wonderful happenings in the world. Eagle-eyed viewers frequently scour the virtual world in a bid to find unlikely occurrences.

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One such occurrence was located in Cuba when a Reddit user spotted two women in a most unlikely situation.

The user shared the finding within a Reddit forum, keen to find some answers as to how such a thing could have happened.

In the courtyard of the famous Museo Oscar María de Rojas two women can be seen walking together.

One is dressed in a cerise t-shirt and a pair of black cut off trousers.

On her arm, she carries a white bag and an umbrella, which could be a welcome rescue from the overcast skies that loom overhead.

Her hair is tied into a ponytail at the side of her head, meanwhile, a pair of sunglasses are resting on top.

She seems deeply engrossed in conversation with her sidekick, another female dressed in a white shirt and blue denim jeans.

The scene of two friends together isn’t too out of the ordinary, simply two women enjoying a day out in the Cuban metropolis together.

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However, something bizarre is happening in the background, which has lead users to wonder.

Indeed, the same two women can be seen following them, and then another set of identical women follow them too.

All of the women wear the same clothes and carry the same accessories- they are completely identical.

However, their expressions and movements are slightly different.

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With six women in total, is it possible that this is three sets of identical triplets all dressed in uniform?

The user who came upon the scene certainly thinks so, posting the image to Reddit alongside the caption: “Three couple of triplets in Cuba.”

However, upon closer investigation, it seems something else could be to blame.

if you cast your eyes to the middle pair, you will notice a slight green glow emitting from one of the women, something which often happens amid a Google Maps Street View glitch.

These glitches aren’t uncommon and are a result of the way in which the Street View technology works.

Google uses a 360-degree camera to snap multiple images of a scene before stitching them together in post-production.

This usually creates a seamless virtual world that users can click around.

However, things can turn out with unexpected results should something moving enter into the frame.

As the two women were likely walking towards the camera as the images were being snapped, they were photographed repeatedly before the pictures were stitched together to create this bizarre result. 

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Coronavirus: Wish this was your quarantine? Cruise passengers to stay on holiday island

Cruise passengers onboard the Vasco da Gama cruise ship Australia are perhaps enjoying one of best coronavirus quarantine situations there are. The state of Western Australia has decided to put 800 Australian cruise passengers onto a popular holiday island for a two-week quarantine, in the latest cruise news. The cruisers – 200 of whom are West Australians – are being sent to Rottnest Island, a 30-minute ferry ride away from the coast of WA.

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Rottnest is home to sandy beaches, unique wildlife and spectacular scenery.

There are 63 beaches in total and snorkelling is a popular activity on the island.

Families often flock to the car-free island at the weekend to soak up the sunshine and relaxed atmosphere.

Rotto – as it’s been nicknamed by locals – is particularly famous for the quokkas who live there.

Quokkas are fluffy marsupials about the size of a domestic cat.

The critters have earned the title of “happiest animal in the world”.

There are estimated to be 12,000 quokkas on Rottnest, according to National Geographic.

Rottnest is also a perfect location to see humpback and southern right whales during their annual migration.

The Vasco da Gama cruise ship is due to arrive at Fremantle Port tomorrow.

Cruise company Cruise and Maritime said of the vessel in a statement: “Vasco da Gama is now undertaking a 2837 nautical mile voyage directly back to Australia with 952 passengers including 907 Australian & New Zealander nationals and 552 crew members onboard arriving back in Fremantle (Perth) on 27th March.”

The 800 Australian cruise passengers will then be ferried to Rottnest.

This will likely take a number of trips to allow for appropriate physical distancing and cleaning between journeys.

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During their-two week quarantine, they will stay in empty holiday accommodation.

This includes a hostel, bungalows, cabins and dormitories.

Any visitors on the island have been ordered off the island so it can be prepared as a quarantine base.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said at the time preparing Rottnest as a potential quarantine site sounded almost “ridiculous” to him, reported local news site ABC.

“But I’m so pleased we made that decision a couple of days ago because we now need it,” he said.

The WA Government has said current staffing levels on the island will be sufficient to cater for the passengers, reported ABC.

State and commonwealth emergency services personnel will also be made available.

All cruise passengers will be assessed by medical staff and triaged if needed.

The Tourism Minister for WA Paul Papalia, said that “The intention is that we take people out there who are well, they isolate for 14 days, hopefully, they come off at the end of that time and they can go back home,” reported the NZ Herald.

CMV has said it has no health concerns for anyone on board the vessel, according to newspaper The Australian.

Express.co.uk has contaced the cruise line for further comment.

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Coronavirus: FCO issues urgent travel advice to help stranded Britons get home

The UK government is urging Britons to return home if they are still overseas. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on Monday: “The time to come home is now while you still can.” However, as countries across the world begin to lock their borders and travel services rapidly become suspended, many Britons abroad may be fearful of becoming stranded.

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In a bid to help the nation the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has provided crucial information to help people make their way home in this time of crisis.

The FCO website has issued an urgent warning, saying: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.

“Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

The government has assured it will help Britons get home, but urges them to make their own steps while they can to ensure they are returned to the UK safely.

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Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: “The government’s promise that a huge repatriation effort is underway will be good news to many UK residents stuck in increasingly difficult situations abroad who have struggled to get any practical advice or help from the foreign office.

“The problem has been growing for weeks so the government must urgently improve its communications regarding travel advice and make sure it leaves no stone unturned to get these people on flights home.”

Britons in any of the following holiday hotspots should follow the government advice for that region and make immediate plans to return home if that is their intention.

Spain

British travellers who are currently in Spain and who wish to return to the UK are advised to make travel plans to do so as soon as possible.

The FCO website explains: “At present, air and maritime borders remain open, but many airlines and ferry companies are operating revised or reduced services.

“Travel to airports to leave Spain is still permitted, but travellers may be asked to provide evidence that they are departing Spain (i.e. plane ticket).”

Travellers can exit Spain via the French border, which will remain open for those heading home. British nationals can still drive through France to return to the UK but will have to carry an “attestation” or declaration explaining why they are outside.

France

Britons currently in France are subject to new measures brought in my the government on March 16.

The FCO website explains: “This includes confining people to their homes except for outings for specific purposes effective from midday 17 March 2020 for an initial period of 15 days.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return to the UK now.”

It continues: “The availability of transport from France to the UK is subject to change. Many airlines and cross-Channel operators are operating very substantially reduced services for passenger traffic. Passengers should check with their operator before departing, and may still be subject to severe disruption.

“Flights departing from French airports may be cancelled or rescheduled. You should check with your airline for the latest information.”

Britons can still drive home and connect via ferry but may be required to carry an “attestation” or declaration explaining why they are outside.

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Germany

“British nationals in Germany who wish to leave should contact their travel operator to make arrangements to do so as soon as possible,” says the FCO website.

“There are now only limited commercial means of leaving Germany to return to the UK by air, from just a few major airports in Germany.”

However, these restrictions could further tighten with little notice.

Italy

As Italy is one of the worst affected countries in the world, the majority of carriers have now ceased direct flights between Italy and the UK.

Alitalia continues to operate flights but on a reduced schedule.

“Other airlines have indicated that they will assist British tourists in Italy who have booked travel with them to return to the UK, which may require travel via other countries. Contact your airline as soon as possible,” urges the FCO.

Many surrounding countries have imposed restrictions on people entering from Italy, which may mean travelling home via land is not an option.

Portugal

Flights are still running to the UK from Portugal, however, airlines have cancelled a number of tours.

The FCO advises: ” If your travel plans are likely to be affected or you want to check on the status of your flight, contact your airline or travel company for the latest information.

“British Nationals who wish to leave the country should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible as transport options to leave Portugal may not be available indefinitely.”

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The Netherlands

“The situation is changing rapidly,” says the FCO.

“We recommend that UK nationals who wish to leave check the latest travel advice and the most recent updates from their travel operator before travelling.”

Those wishing to travel home by land through Belgium or France may be subject to each country’s individual lockdown laws.

Poland

Britons currently in Poland are advised to make travel plans to get home immediately.

All air transport in Poland has been suspended until midnight on 11 April and may be further extended. Almost all flights to the UK have therefore been suspended until this date. However, there is a lifeline for Britons.

“LOT Polish Airlines are operating a limited number of special flights from Warsaw Chopin Airport to the UK,” reads the FCO Poland advice page.

“To book seats on remaining flights in these exceptional circumstances, LOT Airlines have asked the British Embassy to collect the full name, contact number and email address for each prospective passenger.”

Passengers can submit necessary information via the LOT airlines website.

The FCO continues: “The British Embassy in Warsaw will then pass on those details to LOT, who will contact prospective passengers directly to complete the booking, including confirmation of the flight details, and to take a credit or debit card payment.

“If you are not a British national, please contact your appropriate Embassy in Warsaw.”

Polish authorities may check the temperature of passengers booked onto these special flights and can deny boarding to anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus.

The land borders remain open for those leaving Poland at designated land border crossings, though the situation could change rapidly.

Those leaving by road may still pass through Germany to travel home provided they have evidence such as a train, flight or ferry ticket.

Turkey

The Turkish authorities have imposed a direct flight ban in which those who are from the UK or have transmitted through the UK are not allowed to enter Turkey.

The FCO warns: “Options for leaving Turkey are becoming increasingly limited and if you wish to leave Turkey you should make arrangements to do so as soon as possible.

“As of the 25th March there are no direct repatriation flights scheduled from Turkey to the UK; the last direct repatriation flight left on March 24th. Indirect routes are still operating.

“Given the speed of developments, you should check carefully any transit restrictions or requirements before starting your journey and contact individual airlines to check availability.”

Turkish Airlines is currently operating flights to five locations: Hong Kong, Moscow, Addis Ababa, New York and Washington.

Land crossings with Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran and Iraq have also been closed.

UAE

The UAE has announced that inbound and outbound flights will stop as of midnight Tuesday 24 March.

The FCO advises: “We know that British travellers in the UAE will have been affected by the recent suspension of flights. The British Embassy is collecting information to help understand how.

“If you are a remaining British traveller and in difficulty, contact the British Embassy on [email protected] Include your full name, passport number, visa status (resident or tourist), contact details and your particular circumstances.”

However, in the meantime, Britons are urged to continue contacting their airline or tour operator about the possibility of returning home.

This will ensure any demand is logged in the airlines own assumptions about the number of people waiting to return to the UK.

U.S.A

British travellers currently in the US are advised to return to the UK now.

Although international travel is becoming very limited, there are still commercial flights available from the USA to the UK and British travellers currently in the USA will be allowed to leave.

The US is currently denying entry to any Britons.

“The new US travel restrictions are affecting commercial flight schedules to the UK. Many airlines have reduced their transatlantic flight schedules by up to 75 percent,” explains the FCO.

“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling in the US, you are strongly advised to return now, while there are still commercial routes available.”

Transatlantic flights are running from limited airports.

These airports include JFK, New York; LAX, Los Angeles; BOS, Boston; IAD, Washington DX; ORD, Chicago; SEA, Seattle; MIA, Miami; EWR, Newark; and ATL, Atlanta.

Airlines who are still operating flights include American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, United and Virgin Atlantic.

“If there are no longer direct flights available to the UK from your current location, please use airline websites to book connecting flights to cities where flights are available to the UK,” says the FCO.

Canada

British nationals currently in Canada who want to return home are strongly advised to do so now.

“Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving,” warns the FCO.

The only airports now operating international flights are: Toronto Pearson (YYZ); Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau (YUL); Calgary International Airport (YYC); and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Porter Airlines have suspended all flights, meanwhile WestJet and Air Transit are no longer flying to the UK.

Air Canada and British Airways are offering limited service, but have suspended some routes.

The FCO say: “The situation is liable to change with little or no notice. We will post significant updates on the British High Commission’s UkinCanada Twitter and Facebook accounts, but please contact airlines directly as they will have the most up to date information.

“You can find contact details for airlines still operating on our Facebook and Twitter page, as well as on our website.

Maldives

“The new travel restrictions are severely limiting commercial flight schedules,” warns the FCO.

“If you are visiting Maldives you should make arrangement to leave while commercial means are available. Speak to your airline or travel company as soon as possible.”

The British High Commission Male’ is frequently updating its Twitter account with the latest information for Britons wishing to leave Maldives.

The FCO also has a warning in place advising Britons against all non-essential travel for 30 days. This will be reassessed on April 15, though could be pushed further into the future.

Mr Raab explained: “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.

“The FCO will always take into consideration the safety of British nationals so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British Nationals against non-essential travel globally for a period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.

“I should emphasise this decision is being taken based on the domestic measures being introduced into the UK alongside the border and a range of other restrictions which are being taken by countries right around the world. The speed and the range of these measures across other countries is unprecedented some of those decisions are being made without notice.

“In some countries or particularly cases where there haven’t yet been any reported cases of COVID-19 local authorities are nonetheless imposing restrictions on movement, and again doing so with little or sometimes no notice whatsoever.

” In light of those circumstances, we want to reduce the risk of leaving vulnerable British travellers or tourists stranded overseas.”

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