Posts Tagged ‘travel insurance’

Cruising through Germany on two wheels

As you might remember from some of our previous articles, discovering Germany with us will at some stage involve a bicycle. At Sidetracks we think a bike is an excellent way of covering a decent distance and still having the leisure to enjoy your surroundings, town and country alike. So for the next season in Germany we have put together three exciting bike tours that will take you through different parts of Germany and can be combined with our other tours. These tours will not only keep you fit cycling, but take you on a ride discovering Germany’s history, culture and traditions. Today I want to introduce the tours and the regions they cover in general and in the following weeks we will present to you some of the highlights of these tours.

Main River Bike Trail

"Roter Main (Bayreuth)" by Tafkas - Own work.

“Roter Main (Bayreuth)” by Tafkas – Own work.

This 5 star trail will take you through picturesque towns of the Main valley starting in the festival town of Bayreuth and finishing in Würzburg, a UNESCO world heritage city which dates as far back as the 4th century. Along the river you will get to see other stunning examples of architecture throughout the centuries and experience a variety of local cuisine, wines and beers as we move from traditional beer brewing country to wine growing region.

Saar Moselle Bike Trail

Saarschleife by Niesefrosch Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwikiFileSaarschleife.jpg#mediaFileSaarschleife.jpg

Saarschleife by Niesefrosch

This is a wine lovers’ kind-of trail: along two rivers famous for their wine growing and wine making history we will take you on a journey through time. From the UNESCO heritage site (Völklinger Hütte) to breath taking views from mountain tops (Saar Loop), a medieval castle (Burg Eltz) and to the Villas and Baths from Roman times (Porta Nigra, Villa Rustics and Imperial Baths). By the end of the trip you will have enjoyed more than your share of art, architecture and history on top of having a taste of the renowned wines of this region.

Weser River Bike Trail

599px-Minden_an_der_Weser-FachwerkhäuserAlmost smack-bang in the middle of Germany this tour takes you through a region rich in history and stories. Along the river Weser you will get to see buildings dating from the Romans (Porta Westfalica) through the Middle Ages to the Baroque Period, all set in small rural towns and all with different characters. From porcelain manufacturing to perfume making to the birthplaces of some truly unique characters of German folklore. One special feature of our ride will be discovering the huge range of half-timbered houses prevalent in this area. By the end of the tour you will have gained an interesting insight into middle German history and culture.

Last comment…

…for today that is: as electric bikes are becoming increasingly more popular, we will be offering the use of those on our tours as well. All the tours are quite easily manageable with ‘normal’ bikes, but if you would like to, you can experience the difference for an additional charge. Please get in contact with us if you’d like to know more about electric bikes or our tours.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens







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New Zealand and Australian Government Tips on Visas, Passports and Insurance

There is a whole raft of information you can get on travelling to Europe and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.  We’ve made things easier for you by sorting through it all to find the key things you should know when planning your European adventure.  Here’s the first installment!


New Zealand and Australian passport holders can spend up to three months in most European countries without a visa and up to six months in the UK.

The countries listed in the table below are party to the Schengen Convention and together form what is known as the “Schengen Area”.  Border controls have been eliminated between the countries in this Area, meaning that if you are planning to spend less than 90 days in total within a 180 day period in the Schengen Area, those countries do not require you to obtain a visa.

Austria Belgium Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia Finland
France Germany Greece
Hungary Iceland Italy
Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg
Malta The Netherlands Norway
Poland Portugal Slovakia
Slovenia Spain Sweden

When you travel with us, we’ll arrange for you to get your passport stamped when entering the Schengen Area.  Then you can sit back, relax and enjoy the border hopping!

Note that Ireland and the UK are not part of the Schengen Area.  This means that if you move between these countries or from one of them into the Schengen Area, you will need to go through the usual border controls.


Check the expiry date!  Many countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure from the country.  Check whether you need to renew your passport before you apply for any visas or leave the country.

Leave a copy of your passport, itinerary, tickets and insurance policy with your family or a friend and take a copy with you.  We recommend you also carry a duplicate of any prescriptions you have, including ones for glasses or contact lenses.  You may need this documentation in case you need to obtain a new prescription while you are away.

Handy hint: Back up important documents like pages from your passport and medical prescriptions by scanning and emailing these to yourself.


Rest assured that we will look after you in case of an accident or illness on one of our tours ― that’s when travelling with someone who speaks the local language really comes in handy ;-).

You should also ensure you have comprehensive medical insurance to cover medical costs overseas, as well as repatriation costs.  Make sure you are covered for pre-existing conditions and, if necessary, purchase specific cover for these.  Talk to your insurance provider about the details of your policy before you travel.

In the event that you suffer an injury while overseas, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) may assist in covering the cost of any treatment for these injuries that is received in New Zealand.  Note that ACC will not, however, fund the cost of any treatment incurred while overseas – that’s where your travel insurance comes in.  If you need to submit a claim to ACC upon your return to New Zealand, you will need to provide a full written medical report from the doctor, dentist or hospital detailing the incident and any treatment received.  To speed up the process, it is easiest to request this documentation before you leave the country in which you received your treatment.  The ACC website provides more information on eligibility and how to claim.

In part 2 of our favourite travel tips you can find Long-haul Flight Tips. When booking your flight from Australia or New Zealand to Europe / Germany you might find these articles helpful: General Long-haul Flight Booking Considerations and Flight Booking Tips – Down Under to Europe.

Once you arrive in Europe, you can sit back and relax on a hassle-free Sidetracks Tour to Germany!


Author: Barbara Panettieri




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