Latest Blog Posts
8 ways to prepare for your gap year
Is 2020 the year you discover yourself abroad? Use these steps to ensure your trip is both satisfying and safe Gap years are a time for experience, self-discovery and growth. It’s a time you’ll never forget, but how do you make sure your gap year goes off without a hitch? Here are 8 top tips. Break up your plans A big block of free time can be pretty daunting, so start your planning by breaking up your calendar into chunks. Finding ways to fill five three-month lengths of time feels far easier than tackling a single 15-month stretch. Decide how much time you want to spend travelling, how much working and how much simply resting. “What am I going for?” This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when planning a gap year: what do you actually want to get out of your experience? Is it to see as many locations as possible? Or perhaps you’re looking to do charitable work? Maybe you want to bolster your CV with foreign work experience? Whatever your main intentions are, let them inform the process of planning your trip. Do as much research as you can Before you firm up your plans once and for all, make sure you’ve got all the knowledge you need. Research locations as much as possible, including customs and cultures, costs, travel, medical facilities and food. Don’t leave anything to chance — knowledge is power when it comes to a gap year, so arm yourself as much as possible. Budget, budget, budget So now that you know where you’re going and roughly what to expect from your location, it’s time to start thinking about money. A budget is absolutely key to a successful gap year. Without one, it’s all too easy to overspend in the early days of your travel, forcing you to cut corners for the rest of your time. Knowing how much you have to spend at any one time will remove the possibility of any nasty surprises. Seek out support Remember, even if you’re travelling alone during your gap year, you don’t need to plan your travels alone. Visit a travel agent who can help you arrange your trip safely and smoothly. Even speaking to friends and family who have enjoyed their own gap years can be helpful, as you’ll pick up some key hints and tips. Book early Try not to leave anything until the last minute when it comes to your gap year travels. Not only will booking early give you plenty of time to prepare for your trip, but it will also give you time to get used to the idea of being away from home for a significant length of time. Arranging the details of your gap year nice and early significantly reduces the possibility of you making mistakes or missing important factors. Create a checklist When it comes to gap years, lists are your best friend. Whether you’re creating an itinerary or making sure you don’t forget to pack anything, checklists are key. Put your health first Your health should be your first priority when travelling. Many of us use our gap years to visit far flung, developing locations. But while this can be an incredible experience, it also means you have look after your health in ways you’ve never had to think about on home soil. Be sure to research the necessary vaccinations and medications for your location. This is a vital part of any gap year, and will ensure that you stay safe and healthy on your travels. No matter what vaccinations your gap year destination requires, Express Travel Clinic has got you covered. Get in touch today by calling 0208 993 58 89 or click here to book an appointment.
29. Jan 2020
posted by Tim Deakin
3 things you didn’t know about meningitis
As one of the most serious health conditions, it’s important to gather as much information as possible about meningitis Meningitis is a severe health condition which, over the last 10 years, has been on the rise in the UK. The condition is an infection which impacts the protective membranes which surround the brain and the spinal cord, otherwise known as the meninges. Although meningitis can strike anyone of any age, it is most common in babies, children, teenagers and young adults. If left untreated, the condition can be extremely serious. It can result in life-threatening blood poisoning through septicaemia, and may also lead to brain and nerve damage. Symptoms of meningitis include a high temperature, sickness, headaches, rash, stiff neck, sensory sensitivity (particularly to bright lights), drowsiness and even seizures. Understanding meningitis is the first step to successfully avoiding it, which is why we’re here with three key facts you may not already know about this deadly infection. Let’s take a look. There is more than one cause of meningitis We often refer to meningitis as a single condition, but in fact there are many different organisms involved which can impact sufferers. The most common bacterial cases of meningitis include: Neisseria meningitidis (also known as meningococcus) Group B streptococcus Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus) Listeria monocytogenes The bacteria which can result in meningitis are not as contagious as those viruses responsible of the common cold or flu, but it’s still advised that you practice safe hygiene, especially when travelling further afield. These include: Washing your hands regularly Safely handling food Avoiding unpasteurized dairy products Not sharing toothbrushes Not eating or drinking off someone else’s plate or out of someone else’s glass Different people are at risk of different causes of bacterial meningitis Lifestyle factors can play a huge role in determining your risk of meningitis, and the kind of bacteria you are most susceptible to. Those who live in close quarters, or have undergone serious surgery, are at an increased risk, as are those who have a brain or skull injury or immunosuppression. Different kinds of meningitis also pose a higher risk to certain groups of people. Newborns – most affected by group B streptococcus meningitis Adolescents – most affected by meningococcal meningitis Adults – most affected by pneumococcal meningitis Older adults and pregnant women – most affected by listeria meningitis Bacterial meningitis is rarer than viral meningitis, though both should be considered a risk. Infections that cause meningitis can be spread through: Sneezing Coughing Kissing Sharing utensils, cutlery and toothbrushes The condition is usually passed on from people who carry the viruses or bacteria but aren’t ill themselves It is actually less likely that you will catch meningitis from someone with the condition. Meningitis can cause permanent damage if left untreated In severe cases, meningitis can cause permanent damage. Among the most common complications is hearing loss, but the condition can also result in brain damage, including neuro-cognitive difficulties caused by inflammation in the base of the brain. In extremely severe cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and could even require the amputation of limbs. It can also be fatal if left untreated. If someone is experiencing the symptoms of meningitis, it is important that they seek medical attention immediately. Another important fact about meningitis? You can receive your meningitis vaccination swiftly and easily at Express Travel Clinic. Get protected and book your appointment today. Simply call our team on 0208 993 58 89 or click here.
30. Dec 2019
posted by Tim Deakin