Travel Briefings

Freely Travel Briefing: Issue No.78

Photo by Nathan Anderson

Did you indulge in a European summer this year? If so, you may have noticed you were sweating more than usual thanks to a series of persistent heatwaves. This week, we’ll be looking at how climate change is affecting tourism in a region researchers have called a “hotspot” for sweltering summer temperatures. We’ll also be scaling a blue-flamed volcano in Indonesia and learning how tourism can actually be of assistance in an area where sulphur miners are facing life expectancies of just 50 years. Finally, we’ll demystify some of the head-scratching jargon that is typical of travel insurance, from ‘excess’ to ‘existing medical conditions’!

How to Hike Gunung Ijen: Indonesia’s Blue Flame Volcano

Photo by: tomas_malco_malik

Tourism can actually be of assistance here. 🌋

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: that’s the glow of electric blue flames at Indonesia’s Gunung Ijen: a volcano in East Java that houses the world’s most acidic lake and makes for an incredible trekking destination. The colour, which can only be seen at night, happens when thick sulphur clouds come into contact with the heat issuing from the fissures of the volcano. That sulphur gets mined every day by people who work in wildly hazardous conditions and consequently have an average life expectancy of 50 years old. The good news is that tourism can actually be helpful here, with some miners able to trade in their jobs for tour guiding, leading travellers safely up into the crater in time to watch the sunrise. In this insightful guide, we learn how to attempt the Ijen hike – which we at Freely have all added to our bucket lists!

Read: Geena Truman for Beyond the Bucket List

How Heat Waves Are Changing Tourism in Europe

Photo by Harry Knight


In the middle of July this year – the peak of summer and also the peak of travel season in the northern hemisphere – the heat in Europe was taking its toll. Across Britain, trains were delayed or cancelled due to heated tracks; wildfires roared across Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal; and a heat-induced “surface defect” caused London’s Luton Airport to close its runway. With climate researchers predicting that future heat waves will be longer, more intense and more frequent, tourists are having to adjust: choosing destinations like Stockholm over Rome, opting to be nearer to a waterfront or even travelling in cooler months such as April or October. Yikes… 🔥

Read: Paige McClanahan for the New York Times

Travel Insurance Explained

Photo by Tiago Rosado

We’ve thrown together a handy guide.

Travel insurance is chock-full of head-scratching jargon – and we should know, having been in the biz for quite a while now! Though we strongly advise that everyone who purchases a Freely policy first reads over the fine print in our PDS (that’s Product Disclosure Statement, for those playing at home), our lawyers did draft it, meaning it’s not the most titillating of reads. As part of our mission to demystify travel insurance, so that you know and understand exactly how you have coverage when they’re on the road with us, we’ve thrown together a handy guide that explains some of the clunky terminology and legalese: from ‘excess’ to ‘existing medical conditions’.

Read: Gemma Clarke for Freely


Scientists have confirmed that a bird not seen for 140 years has been spotted in the wild: the black-naped pheasant-chicken! Documented in 1882, what is likely the most endangered bird in New Guinea was recently caught on a camera trap, which felt like “finding a unicorn” according to the team. The rediscovery highlights the need to conserve Fergusson Island – the bird’s habitat, which is located off the east coast of the mainland.
Nasa official Howard Hu has declared that astronauts will be living and working in “habitats” on the moon by 2030. The announcement comes in the wake of the launch of the 98-metre Artemis rocket – the most powerful in history – which blasted off on Sunday topped with the Orion spacecraft and carrying three fully suited mannequins. “It’s the first step we’re taking to long-term deep-space exploration,” said Hu.
A historic compensation deal has been approved where, for the first time ever, the world’s nations will help pay for the damage that global warming is inflicting on poorer countries, such as climate-worsened floods, heat waves, droughts, storms and famines. However, the marathon climate talks concluded at the COP27 in Egypt on Sunday without anyone further addressing the root cause of all these disasters – the burning of fossil fuels. 🤦🏽♀️

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