Joining festivals is a great way to immerse yourself in different cultures and traditions, and it gets even better when you decide to join not just any festival, but those that locals and tourists consider to be the craziest of them all. If you’re interested in taking part of Europe’s craziest festivals, you need not tour the entire continent. In fact, you only have to set your eyes on one country – Spain – which is where the most insane celebrations are held.
1. La Tomatina
La Tomatina is held in the small town of Buñol in Valencia. The festival takes place on the last Wednesday of August every year, and about a hundred metric tonnes of overly ripe tomatoes are squished and thrown to crowds until the entire place is red and soaked in tomato sauce. In 2012, there were over 50,000 people who joined the event, mostly tourists. The “battle” lasts for 60 minutes, after which revellers will be sprayed with water to wash away the tomato sauce.
2. Las Fallas
Europe’s wildest spring party, Las Fallas is held every year from March 13-19 in Valencia and the entire city is taken over by the fallas, which refer to huge papier mache sculptures that can be as high as 15 metres. During the Las Fallas, you’re likely to see around 350 – 400 fallas. There are lots of fireworks display and Valencia being the pyrotechnic capital of the entire world will host a mascleta, which is a series of deafening sounds and explosions that literally shakes the entire city. The grand finale happens at midnight of the 19th where all the fallas will be burned in a fiery explosion. Talk about crazy.
3. Batalla del Vino
On the 29th of June every year, locals and tourists climb a mountain in Spain’s La Rioja and then start throwing wine at each other. Thousands more take to the streets of Haro where they load water pistols and spray cans loaded with wine in a 3-hour wine drenching celebration to mark the feast of San Pedro. If you want to join in the fun, make sure you come armed with your supermarket ammo, plenty of wine, and don’t forget to wear white t-shirt.
4. Running of the Bulls
When it comes to bull running and bull fights, only one place comes to mind: Pamplona. The Fiesta San Fermin is marked by the running of the bulls and every year from July 6 to 14, thousands of people flock to Pamplona to witness the event and join in the revelry. It’s one of the craziest and most dangerous event you can take part of. There’ve been fatalities reported through he years so you need to be extra careful!
This one’s the only festival on our list that’s not held in Spain. Munich’s beer festival ranks up there as one of the craziest and wildest parties in the world. The 16-day celebration attracts tens of thousands of people who come to drink beer from humongous mugs the size of your head. You get free-flowing beer at a very low price, and people are dressed up in traditional Bavarian attire.
Cooking, banking, exercising and even parenting, you’ve guessed it: there’s an app for that. But what you might not know is that there are a whole host of useful and, at times, even lifesaving apps available for iPhone and Android. Here is a guide to the best out there right now so you can be ‘appy’ skiing in no time, or just pretend you’re there already with the snow simulator app on Google Play.
Now, as fun as skiing can be, it can throw up a multitude of issues, even in this day and age with the numerous snow-focused gadgets and gizmos on the market. Anything from taking a picture on your phone to the weather can prove difficult on the slopes, and whilst conditions can’t be helped, these ski apps can tackle some of the most annoying of ski problems.
The SkiPhone app, which is free for Android, takes away the oh-so-aggravating task of fumbling with your phone in gloves to take a call. After downloading this app, all you have to do is shake your device and you can answer calls and take photos.
Snow reports are a must daily, and the Ski Club Snow Reports app gives you the most respected snow reports from over 250 resorts around the world for free. At £3.99 for iOS, the Ski:Europe app does cost you, but it also provides you with the best ski maps for European resorts on the market.
Finally, we have the Vapp app – the voice-activated camera app that turns the problems of clumsy glove-handed photo taking into a thing of the past and, even better, it’s free on iOS.
Now, it is common knowledge that skiing may not be the safest of outdoor pursuits, so anything that can make your holiday safer is a worthy investment. The Ullr Labs Mobile Avalanche Safety Tools app is top of the range and, while coming with the relatively hefty price tag of £6.99, available on both android and iOS, it guarantees to keep you in the know of avalanche forecasts, snowpack information and much more.
Then, on a lighter note, there are the ski apps that are just there for good, old fashioned fun.
The free iOS Action Shot app allows you to capture your amazing snow skills by taking photos in intervals and bursts, where you can decide how many are taken and how often, to create the ultimate action shots to bring home to your friends.
SnowEdge, meanwhile, is the free iOS app that allows you to track your performance by monitoring your turn acceleration speed and even the time you spend in the air, which will perfect for those looking to improve – or brag about – their skills.
These are just a handful of the helpful and fun ski apps available on the market so, if you are busy preparing for your annual ski holiday, put down the suitcase and pick up your phone to start downloading. Ski preparation now starts in your pocket, not at the airport.
Without a doubt getting travel insurance is one of the most crucial aspects of your vacation plan. It is your back-up plan when everything goes wrong. Comprehensive insurance is the most complete policy since it covers everything from hospital bills to ambulance transfers and even the costs for missed flights and lost luggage.
Common Travel Insurance Dilemma
Here’s a common question a lot of people ask when it comes to buying travel insurance: when should they buy it? Some believe that your insurance policy begins on the day you buy it (even if it is before your day of travel) or that it only begins on your day of travel. Because of this confusion a lot of people wonder whether they should buy insurance before their departure date or on the day itself. So what’s the real deal and when is the best time to buy travel insurance?
To answer this issue you have to look at two different aspects: what your insurance policy covers and when it takes effect. The best insurance is comprehensive travel insurance because it covers every aspect of your travel, as discussed above. It will cover both medical issues and monetary issues (lost luggage, cancelled flights, and missed flights). When you get these types of insurance policies they usually take effect on the day of travel.
This means it is always best to buy insurance before your travel date and on the same day you book your flights. It is always best to book your flight and then immediately buy policy. You will want to do this so that you are covered in case you missed your first flight or if you get hurt during your travel. However, while this solves the immediate question, you still might be asking: how about the circumstances wherein something happens to you the day before your travel?
Coverage Prior to Your Travel Date
So what if you bought your tickets and insurance two weeks before your flight and now you got into an accident? How are you going to cover this incident and who’s paying for the expenses? The thing is, it won’t be your travel insurance. Instead, it will be your regular medical health insurance, life insurance, and other personal insurance policies that you already have.
Your travel insurance coverage begins and ends during your time of travel which goes from the day of your departure to the day of your arrival back home. Any other incident that occurs outside of that time frame will have to be covered by other insurance policies that you may have.
So going back, the right time to buy travel insurance is on the same day you book your flights because this is more convenient and also because it protects you in case of missed flights or lost luggage. But your travel insurance does not cover you before or after your travel period, which also underscores the need to have other insurance coverage to ensure you and your loved ones are protected any time, any day.
It is more than likely that you’ll experience a good deal of confusion when attempting to track down the best single trip travel insurance policy. You might be unsure of whether to use a comparison website or buy directly from a reputable company. You may also have trouble deciding whether to pay a little extra for extreme sports insurance. You’ll have a clearer idea of your options after reading this article.
Don’t Base the Decision Purely On Price
It is worth pointing out that the cheapest single trip travel insurance policies may not cover you against the great range of unexpected injuries and accidents that can occur; and a cheaper policy may not guarantee enough financial protection against cancelled flights or lost valuables, for example. Of course, you can minimise the price of cover by agreeing to a high level of excess; however this may mean that you are left with considerable financial problems should the worst happen.
Consider Multi Trip Insurance
If you are planning on taking a number of holidays throughout the year, it would be sensible to select an annual multi trip policy rather than single trip travel insurance. However, you should find out whether such a policy would protect you for the duration of extended foreign trips. It would also be a good idea to find out whether you’ll be covered during trips to UK destinations.
Insure Your Baggage
The items you take on holiday may well be covered under the terms of your home contents insurance, so you should check whether this is the case before handing across extra money to your chosen provider. It is also worth bearing in mind that companies are often sceptical about the reported loss of personal goods – so don’t try to scam the system!
Buy Cover For the Whole Family
Some specialist companies offer well priced single trip travel insurance for family groups. However, you are urged to read the small print before taking out this type of policy. Find out whether the cover extends to trips that your child may make with friends or school groups, and ask whether the policy guarantees financial protection against injuries sustained during family activities.
Opt For Exclusive Gadget Cover
Increasing numbers of people opt to travel with their expensive electrical devices these days. However, research has revealed that the average policy doesn’t include adequate cover for the loss or theft of such items. Thankfully it is possible to purchase specific gadget cover from specialist companies.
Buy Your Policy Online
You may well have heard about the great range of companies currently offering superb deals to online customers. They can provide you with everything from single trip travel insurance to UK holiday cover. You are encouraged to do some web-based research and secure the very best deal for your personal situation.
Every year a huge number of students go to study abroad and student travel insurance plans are an integral part of their preparations. At the time of travelling, you can never completely push aside the probability of loss or damage of property and important documents, and the student insurance plans currently offer complete protection against such incidents with their affordable international students travel insurance plans. These travel cover plans for student are of many different types and you can buy insurance for the journey or also go for a plan that offers complete protection throughout the period of studying abroad.
There are a number of banks both from the public and the private sector that offer student travel cover along with their student education loans for overseas. People availing both these facilities are often charged a lower interest rate. If you are contemplating of studying abroad against an educational loan it is always a better choice to seek insurance for a career that is approved with the bank. Compared to other kinds of travel health insurance policies, international travel insurance plans for students are found to attract lower premiums and often include health insurance benefits for the entire duration too.
A good way of finding attractive student travel cover policies is to look for and comparing them online. Most of the major insurance carriers have made their travel medical insurance plans available online. You can also use their online insurance calculators to compare the rate of premium for different policies. But whenever you buy an international travel assurance plan, make sure that they cover even the worst of the situations and nothing can be of better priority than the safety and protection against all unwanted incidents during all those years that you study abroad.
There is another type of student travel insurance available that allows a student to insure his vacation to an international destination. Compared to travel assurance plans for ordinary citizen student’s insurance plans for students are less expensive and cover almost everything including loss of baggage and important documents, financial inconvenience due to flight cancellation or other incidents for which the policy holder is not responsible in any way and also for extensive medical assistance during the whole duration of ravel.
Depending on the area you are travelling and the coverage you seek, the cost of international travel insurance for students will vary considerably, including the terms and conditions for paying the premiums. Travelling to different countries for receiving an education and the encompassing facilities they provide for travelling to international destinations are considered as a way of promoting practical education. You can always find a policy as per your specific requirements, but it is natural that a few individuals possess the essential knowledge and expertise for finding the best for them. Thus, it is always wise to seek help from a professional insurance advisor, so that you never lose out on any important aspect or benefit of the plan.
Have you received a job offer out of your country of residence? Then, along with your travel plans, you should be considering Expatriate Health Insurance. This is a specialised field. In order to get the best advice, it is a good idea to engage with a registered and professional broker. This way, you can be certain that they are sourcing the very best health options, for you.
A qualified broker is aware of the potential health covers and policies that are required, for you and your family, in your destination country. They will also have information about the local health system and how this affects you, as an expat. Importantly, they will clearly explain the fine print to you.
Appropriate Expatriate Health Insurance is therefore essential for anyone going to work oversees because:
- The cost of healthcare is increasing across the globe, at a faster pace than the prevailing cost of living. This is particularly felt by the person who requires a minimum standard of international medical care.
- Accidents can happen with little or no warning. They happen to anyone, at any time, even though we all do our best to avoid them. In a foreign country, an accident can cause extreme stress if you are not covered properly.
- Even you are in excellent health and are feeling strong, serious illness could still strike without any warning, particularly when, as a foreigner, you are coping with changes in weather and climate conditions. The probability of illness becomes higher when you become immersed in different culture, practices, habits and cuisines.
- Having well designed expatriate health cover means that you will be cushioned against the physical, emotional and financial stress that such an experience will cause, whilst working in a new country.
One cannot stress enough, the importance of using a good broker, when you do decide to purchase your insurance. There are technical terms to consider and these need interpretation. Other factors come into play too. Perhaps the medical rules in the country you are travelling to, differ from the rules that you are accustomed to. Or, certain medical procedures may require you to make a trip outside the new country. You really don’t want to find these things out when you are in an emergency situation. It is always best to be well prepared and well covered for such eventualities.
Insurance is a safety net that you should use. It allows you, the international expat, to focus on the big picture, without pressure. Your new role needs your full attention and being safe in the knowledge that you are adequately covered, in terms of the unexpected, will enable you to focus on your job.