Proud of our Unique Community


Travel Counsellors is an independently owned company with a strong family ethos. We work hard to make everyone feel welcome, involved and appreciated as part of the Travel Counsellors community. And it's this personal approach and caring attitude that we believe has created something quite special.

From our head office teams to our 1,400 Travel Counsellors across the world, everybody is encouraged to be an active member of our unique community. Sharing ideas, stories, knowledge and product information, but also getting involved in their local communities and help to make a positive difference.

Our Travel Counsellors also benefit from their own personal Business Development Manager who is always on hand for professional support, advice and training. But we go much further than that to make our Travel Counsellors feels valued, from offering professional in-house counselling, to expert financial advice, to a packed social calendar throughout the year. And if the worst happens and a Travel Counsellor falls ill, they can trust our private healthcare scheme and TC Business Buddy programme to make the best possible care and support available.

 

TC Kids


At Travel Counsellors, we truly understand the value of a good work/life balance. The support given through TC Kids means that for our agents, the choice between career and family is one that they don't need to make.

We run dedicated summer programmes, giving Travel Counsellors the freedom and flexibility to continue running their own travel businesses while school's out. There’s even a calendar of TC Family Days - a great opportunity for all ages to get together and have fun outside of work. To find out more head to our blogs section! 

 

TC Partner


Being a Travel Counsellor is a big commitment, so we make sure to recognise the contribution of partners and spouses in helping our Travel Counsellors make a success of their own travel businesses.

It's why we invite partners and spouses to attend training days at Head Office, so they can see how we work, and what the Travel Counsellors family is about. And when they get home, they know exactly how to support their partner to build the best business they can.

 

Be Inspired

Not sure where you want to go, or what you want to do? You’re not alone. Plenty of people are looking for a little inspiration when it comes to their ideal getaway. Our brochure is packed full of ideas and inspiration for your next holiday, all split into themes to make it easy to digest! You’ll find ideas to help you Relax, Indulge, Play, Reconnect, and there’s even some fine gourmet experiences waiting to be savoured. Then, once you've had a look, get in touch with your own personal Travel Counsellor who'll tailor your perfectly personalised trip.

Read here

Father's Day Book

To celebrate Father’s Day we asked our TC kids why they loved their dad being a Travel Counsellor. What we received made us laugh and cry, and we couldn’t resist sharing them with you! As a TC dad, you’ll be proud of your achievements – but as you can see, not half as proud as your children!

Read here

What's happening in Our World?


Every year we create uniquely personal travel experiences for hundreds of thousands of people - generating lots of news stories, blogs, social posts and testimonials along the way. Take a look at what's happening right now in and around Travel Counsellors!

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Liz Standley

Karen Byrne 18 February 2018

This is our second time booking a holiday via Liz! She listens to what you require gives you several options and even though I changed my mind a few times regarding the itinerary it was never a problem she went out of her way to make it perfect for our needs. Travelling far away but knowing there is someone you can contact who knows exactly what should be happening and knowing exactly where you are is extremely reassuring for me. The attention to detail is very personal and reassuring before, during and after the holiday. All the stress of checking in online is also taken care of! Without hesitation We would definitely recommend Liz to our family and friends!

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Sam Buckley

Diane Hart 18 February 2018

I would highly recommend Sam to people. Nothing is too much trouble. Very helpful. Good advice. Very pleasant and conscientious. Will always book our holidays with her.

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Karina Bawler

Tania Trivedy 18 February 2018

After being recommended to us by a friend who had used Karina, I got in touch with her about using her ourselves. We cannot thank Karina enough for taking the stress out of booking our family holiday. We were so pleased with her service from the very start. What a fab experience - one we will definitely be doing again in the future! We are all so excited for our family holiday in July! We have already recommended Karina to another family and won't hesitate to do so again! Thanks Karina!

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Anjie Naughton

Philip Corfield 18 February 2018

Always a pleasure to deal with Anjie our agent. Nothing is too much trouble for her and it makes booking our holidays a pleasure.

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Kerry Cansdale

John Westwood 17 February 2018

Kerry was extremely helpful, making my overall booking experience really good.

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Tricia Anderton

EMMA NORMINTON 17 February 2018

Extremely helpful! I will definitely be booking my next holiday with Tricia.

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Helen Davis

Andrea Wood 17 February 2018

Helen is out first stop when thinking of travelling and holidays, she provides five star customer service nothing is too much trouble and the support continues even whilst you are away (as we experienced recently with our New York holiday). We wouldn’t hesitate in recommending her to friends and family and we value her service so much she’s arranged our upcoming wedding in 2018. Fabulous, friendly efficient and thorough Helen has got all your travel wishes and needs covered an excellent representative for independent Travel Counsellors.

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Jan Ledger

Sara Bennett 17 February 2018

Jan is the consummate professional travel advisor. I would have no hesitation in recommending her to family and friends.

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Kerry Vidler

Eileen Barnard 17 February 2018

The best travel service I have ever used.

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James Wilson

Alex Wolf 17 February 2018

I thought James was really superb. Very good understanding of our requirements. Quick turnaround. and highly responsive, combined with very professional and friendly approach. Would certainly recommend.

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Frankie Lomas

Robert & Margaret Powell 17 February 2018

I have been booking my holidays with Frankie for many many years and wouldn't dream of going with anyone else, she is so knowledgeable about places and always goes above and beyond to make sure everything is perfect, if we have ever encountered a problem one text to Frankie and it is sorted. I highly recommend her.

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Anne Mara

Suzanne Wood 17 February 2018

Anne recently arranged a trip to New York for my husband and I. She was so helpful suggesting possible places to stay. She also found us a competitive price based on our requirements. Even after we had booked, Anne was always in close contact if we had any questions and nothing was too much trouble for her. I would highly recommend Anne when booking a holiday or short break.

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Neil Copeland

Pauline Cross 16 February 2018

Neil is friendly, patient, thouough, very knowledgable, and has proved an enormous help in preparing our holiday.

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Neil Copeland

Stephanie Leibbrandt 16 February 2018

Neil offers a comprehensive effective and fast service. He listens to what you want and endeavours to meet your requirements as closely as possible. Will definitely use him again.

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David Bishop

Mark Farquharson 16 February 2018

I would like to say a huge thank you for sorting our honeymoon. Your choice of hotels was fantastic and just the sort of places we were looking for. We definitely couldn't have found anywhere nearly as good on our own. Lois and I couldn't be happier, we will definitely recommend you to everyone we know.

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Travellers Taking Longer to Decide Their Holiday Destination

28 December 2016

A new survey has revealed that UK travellers are taking longer to decide where to go on holiday, and fewer trust online review sites than six months ago.

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#TravelMum’s Top Family Tips For 2017

27 December 2016

Well, it’s almost the end of 2016! And I thought a recap of the most notable family holiday experiences would be worth looking at… It’s certainly been a year of experiences for holidays and family holidays as well.

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Chester travel agent wins award

08 December 2016

A travel agent who works from his Chester home is celebrating after winning an accolade at the annual Travel Counsellors conference.

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Manchester’s Travel Counsellors announces £21m investment plan for 2017

06 December 2016

Travel Counsellors, the Manchester-based independent travel firm, will invest £21m in business operations next year to support its network of agents and boost its digital infrastructure.

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The perks of a happy homeworker

29 November 2016

There’s more to looking after your staff than just paying their monthly wage. Travel Counsellors’ operations director Karen Morris shares 10 additional benefits that the company offers to ensure happy, healthy homeworkers.

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Travel Counsellors Global Conference kicks off in Manchester

18 November 2016

U.K. Based Travel Counsellors kick off their annual Global Conference tomorrow in Manchester, England and KarryOn will exclusively be there to get all the news.

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Travel Counsellors – Your Fantasy Holiday Minus The Stress

15 November 2016

The countdown for the next holiday always seems to begin as soon as another one ends, but the fun of organising a trip away can often be lost thanks to a hectic schedule and a pile of pressing work that never seems to shrink. This is where a travel counsellor may well be your saving grace.

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Luxurious Lapland

06 November 2016

We’ve made a list and checked it twice with Adele Engelbrecht from Travel Counsellors to find you some super snowy holiday ideas.

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With love from Ireland

18 October 2016

Since joining Travel Counsellors in 2014 I have been really impressed by the truly unique ethos and values we have as a company. We are like one big family, always willing to help one another and genuinely caring about each other, both personally and professionally. Never more so was this evident to me than during my trip to Ireland this summer.

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Holiday boost for Travel Counsellors

17 October 2016

Independent travel management company Travel Counsellors has received a major boost from a significant uplift in the number of people booking up for 2017 holidays.

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The idyllic Ibiza wedding

09 October 2016

We always book our holidays with Travel Counsellors, so we turned to them to arrange our perfect honeymoon, too. We chose the Miami Edition Hotel and Sandals Antigua for our destinations. While in Miami, we attended a glamorous pool party at the W Hotel on South Beach, cycled along Ocean Drive and visited the must-see art deco district. In Antique we relaxed, taking a boat trip around the island, stopping at beautiful beaches and swimming with sting rays at Sting Ray City. We also went sea kayaking. Sandals was a fun and luxurious hotel and the food, drink and staff were all perfect!

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Travel Counsellors craft holidays with care

04 October 2016

‘Not just good, but brilliant’ customer service and the adoption of the latest technology is helping Manchester-based Travel Counsellors remain at the forefront of the industry.

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Travel Counsellors craft holidays with care

04 October 2016

‘Not just good, but brilliant’ customer service and the adoption of the latest technology is helping Manchester-based Travel Counsellors remain at the forefront of the industry.

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TOP 5 WINTER BREAKS WITH TRAVEL COUNSELLORS’ IAN HUGHES

30 September 2016

As summer draws to a close and the icy chill of winter creeps up on us with those dark Monday mornings, we thought we’d give you a few ideas of where to go this winter if you fancy getting away. In this article we talk to Ian Hughes of the Liverpool branch of Travel Counsellors.

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#TravelMum’s in Barcelona! #TheTicket

27 September 2016

Andrea Bailey (@beyondavisit) joins The Ticket every Tuesday to share her stories about being a keen traveller, author, travel counsellor and mum-of-three.

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Best City Breaks of 2016

Travel Counsellors on 25 May 2016

Christmas is over, January is bearing down upon us, let’s face it- this time of year can be a little depressing. The perfect way to beat those January blues is to start thinking about what you have to look forward to in 2016. Why not book a cheeky city break somewhere and experience some new sights and culture, a cost effective way to get your new year off to a fantastic start. City and beach breaks are the most popular types of holiday that we just can’t get enough of this year so if you’re struggling to decide where you’d like to visit, this blog is sure to help.

We have put together a list of some fantastic cities you might want to try out for your city break, whether you are a group of friends, couple or family there will be the perfect spot for a bit of relaxation and exploration. According to the ABTA report, almost a quarter of people say they will try out a new city they have never visited before in 2016, here are just some gems to consider.

Amsterdam

The Dutch capital is a fantastic place to explore a wealth of history, picturesque canals and parks plus some lively, contemporary bars. This fantastic hotspot is home to some of the world’s best museums and art galleries. Immerse yourself in the stunning pieces from the Van Gough Museum or take in the stories from the Ann Frank House. However you choose to spend your Amsterdam break, you will not be short of places to explore and sights to see. This really is a fantastic location for a city break, especially for the younger generation of travellers.

Athens

If you love Greek philosophy, architecture and culture then Athens is the place for you. 3,400 years of Greek life lives on in this amazing city where you can explore on tour buses or cycle with locals to make the most of the amazing ancient structures.  Not only is this place rich in culture and history it also has an electric nightlife catering to all music tastes from rock to pop.

Budapest

The capital of Hungary has the perfect mix of influences from the East and West making it an elegant and truly stunning city break destination. With a thriving nightlife and a booming business scenes a short city break here is sure to impress.

Madrid

The pinnacle of Spanish culture this diverse and varied region hosts a wealth of amazing food, music and history. Carolyne Larkin, Head Office recently visited Madrid and said “the museums and history of this place are astounding, it’s definitely worth taking bus tour so you get chance to appreciate the scenery. It’s easy to do a lot of walking without really noticing so I’d recommend taking a comfy pair of shoes!”

London

A bustling city with almost eight million inhabitants, this fantastic city has tonnes of amazing attractions as well as secret pockets to explore. It can seem like an overwhelming place but if you break it down you will find some spectacular sights and opportunities. An influx of people from around the globe means that there are cultural delights from everywhere imaginable, something to suit everyone!

Rome

This modern metropolis has so much to offer in terms of restaurants, nightlife and entertainment but the main reason people swarm to Rome is for the history. The stunning ancient ruins and history behind this city is something which has kept it alive for thousands of years. The Vatican Museum, Colosseum, Altare della Patria are all bursting with history and breath-taking views. This one really is a winner for a city break with a blend of nightlife and culture unlike anywhere else in the world.

Here are just a few cities to consider for a short break this year if you want to expand your horizons and explore some new cultures. If any of these destinations jump out at you then please get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor who will take care of everything for you. You could have your next trip to look forward to sooner than you think!

 

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Head of Cruise, Janet Whittingham wins Shining Star Award

Travel Counsellors on 08 February 2016

Head of Cruise at Travel Counsellors, Janet Whittingham is celebrating after winning the Shining Star Award at The UK Cruise Awards 2016, held in London on January 28th. Janet told us all about her fantastic experience…

During my 33 years in travel, my relationship with P&O and Cunard has always been a close one.  Cruise is my passion and it has been so special to rekindle relationships with friends and partners in the cruise sector since joining Travel Counsellors 5 years ago.  The time spent in the last 18 months as Head of Cruise working alongside our wonderful partners at Princess, Carnival, Holland America, Seabourn, P&O and Cunard has truly been a pleasure.

It’s always an honour to be invited to any prestigious travel event, but there is something special about the UK Cruise Awards with Carnival UK.  They are an excellent opportunity for all the brands to recognise companies and individuals in areas such as innovation, success, interaction with the brands, and any other exceptional attributes of the cruise agents they work alongside.

It was so special to be sat on one of the top tables for the evening with key people from the cruise companies and a host of celebrities including swimmer Mark Foster, travel show legend Judith Chalmers, Strictly Come Dancing star Ian Waite, and pastry chef Eric Lanlard.  I just thought I was on the top table to fill in for our Commercial Director who couldn’t make the event – I had no idea I’d won an award!

We were having a fabulous evening and then the awards ceremony began.  Each of the brands were congratulating key cruise agents with awards throughout the evening with Mark Durden-Smith hosting with his usual quick wit and charm. 

The final award of the evening was a new award for the Carnival UK: Shining Star of 2016, voted for by all the 6 brands.  Mark began to read out several comments on why this person had been voted for and that a unanimous decision had been made.  I had absolutely no idea who he was referring to, not even when he jokingly said, “And I can see she has no idea even now that I am talking about her!”  Even when he mentioned ‘Head of Cruise’ I knew we had several of those in the room so nothing clicked.  As you can imagine then, to hear my name announced was such a shock, I could hardly believe it.  Lucy Huxley Editor in Chief of Travel Weekly, Paul Ludlow President of P&O & Cunard were all encouraging me to go and claim my award, and then I realised it must be true! 

Mark Durden-Smith gave me a big hug as he could see how nervous and over-whelmed I was – I was shaking!  It takes a lot to leave me speechless but this certainly did.  Mark Foster handed me the award and gave me a hug of reassurance and congratulations.

I found my feet on stage and managed to thank everyone, reminding the audience that this award was for the whole team at Travel Counsellors, a few of whom were in the room to share the glory.  We are one team, one family.  It is a special award reflecting all the hard work that everyone at Head Office, Directors, and Travel Counsellors alike has put in over the year.  I thanked our cruise partners at Carnival UK for their beautiful words and votes.  I made it clear that at Travel Counsellors we are all about relationships which has helped to build a brilliant collaboration between us and the cruise brands in the last 12 months - they have all been a pleasure to work with. 

I was treated like royalty for the rest of the evening and whisked away for travel press interviews!  From the moment I posted my Facebook post to say how proud I was to receive the award, I have been inundated with such fabulous comment and messages from family, friends, colleagues, industry partners and friends.  It’s such a special feeling.  One very special remark from my son, Jack, brought tears to my eyes: “So proud of you mum - you are the perfect role model, persistence & honesty, well deserved!”  How cute.

Cruise in 2015 was an exciting year for the industry and I look forward to sharing another great year in 2016, wishing everyone success!

 

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Top five destinations for Foodies

Travel Counsellors on 01 February 2016

Travel Counsellors know better than most that one of the best things about travelling is the chance to sample the local cuisine. Whether it’s the fresh, aromatic flavours of Vietnamese, a delicious selection of Spanish tapas or the aromatic spices of a Moroccan tagine, there’s something to suit all palates.
With so many destinations and a world of exciting flavours to tempt your taste buds, it’s difficult to decide just where to start. Luckily our travel experts are on hand to provide some culinary inspiration. So join us as we discover some of our favourite foodie destinations.

1. Granada, Spain
There’s no such thing as a free lunch? Travel Counsellors begs to differ! We love finding our customer’s the best bargains and travel tips and this one is no exception. Granada is renowned for its wonderful tapas and it’s one of the few places left in Spain where you can sample it for free. Order a drink at one of Granada’s many bars or bodegas and you’ll be given free tapas for each drink that you buy.

Travel Counsellor Top Pick:
Sample a full range of delicious small plates such as marinated anchovies, delicious Portuguese style salt cod, goats cheese with honey or hummus with toasted sesame seeds.

2. Vietnam
Fancy an adventurous long-haul break? Then why not book your holiday to Vietnam with Travel Counsellors this year? Perennially popular and rightly so, Vietnam is a diverse and beautiful country. Its cuisine is nothing short of incredible thanks to the use of fresh ingredients and colonial influence as found in the delicious Vietnamese ‘Banh Mi’ baguettes.

Travel Counsellor Top Pick:
No trip to Vietnam would be complete without sampling the national dish ‘Pho’. This delicious noodle soup consists of light beef or chicken broth flavoured with fresh ginger, spring onions, flat rice noodles and delicate slivers of chicken, pork or beef. 

3. Cape Town, South Africa
With a world class dining scene and a strong pound, South Africa is an exotic and affordable destination. Not only will you discover some of the world’s tastiest food but you can also sample some of the finest wines on a tour of the expansive winelands which surround the city. You’ll find dishes influenced by the indigenous population, theDutch, French, Indians and Malaysians in a range of vibrant cuisine that’s guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

Travel Counsellor Top Pick:

Biltong is a thinly sliced, air dried meat snack usually made from beef or game such as springbok. It is cured in a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugars and spices and goes great with an ice cold beer. Fancy something sweet? Then check out Malva Pudding, a sweet and sticky baked sponge pudding made with apricot jam and smothered with a hot cream sauce.

4. Morocco
Morocco’s diverse and distinct cuisine embraces meaty tagines, light, fluffy couscous, sweet honey coated pastries and deliciously refreshing mint teas. These complex and intriguing flavours are a winning combination which can be sampled throughout Morocco whether you’re trekking in the Atlas Mountains or enjoying a weekend city break. With a superb range of luxury accommodation to suit all budgets, why not book your foodie break with Travel Counsellors today.

Travel Counsellor Top Pick:
Tagine: Named after the conical clay cooking pot in which it is cooked, tagines are a delicious stew of tender meat and local vegetables, sometimes with the addition of olives or preserved fruit and always served with fresh bread for mopping up all those tasty juices.

5. Japan
One of the healthiest cuisines in the world, Japanese cuisine combines the delicate flavours of raw vegetables with rice, raw fish and the piquant flavours of wasabi, ginger and soy. A country of gastronomical delights, restaurants range from mobile food stands to century’s old ryotei and beautiful terraces overlooking rivers. Japanese cuisine boasts a large variety of dishes and regional specialities including sushi, tempura, tofu, rice, ramen, curry and pickles.

Travel Counsellor Top Pick:
Sushi is the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan and no trip would be complete without sampling the delicious range of fresh sushi and sashimi right where it all began. Using only the freshest, quality raw fish and incredible skill, sushi chefs create beautifully crafted bite size parcels of fresh fish, shellfish, fried egg, vegetables, seaweed and rice served with dipping soy, pickled ginger and a piquant wasabi sauce.

That wraps up our top five destinations for foodies and if all this talk of food has got your taste buds tingling, then why not give Travel Counsellors a call today to discuss your next tailor made foodie break and discover some fantastic deals to these destinations.

Our dedicated team of travel experts thrive on finding you the best deals to some of the world’s most exciting destinations with a full range of package holidays and bespoke trips to suit your needs and budget.

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Blog Entry

The best places around the globe for health and fitness breaks

Travel Counsellors on 25 January 2016

Get fit and boost your well being on holiday with Travel Counsellors range of hand-picked destinations. Our team of travel experts can help you tailor make the ideal holiday whether you’re looking to de-stress, increase your fitness levels or seek spiritual tranquillity, we have the perfect package. Whether you fancy a beachside spa break, a detoxifying retreat or an active adventure holiday, we can tailor make the ideal holiday for you. Join our travel experts as we discover some of the best health and fitness breaks for 2016 and beyond.

Detox in the Philippines

Kick start 2016 with a luxury, wellness retreat in the Philippines. With soothing tropical temperatures, you can enjoy a range of activities such as yoga, reflexology, aqua aerobics and volcano tours in beautiful surroundings. Stay in some of the finest hotels, boost your wellbeing with a range of luxury spa treatments and dine on fresh organic produce in award winning restaurants. Whatever your idea of the perfect getaway, our travel experts are on hand to tailor make the ideal holiday to suit your personal needs.

Travel Counsellor, Andrea Bailey

"The Philippines is proving to be a popular destination for visitors from around the world. The three main island clusters consist of the northern Luzon, the central Visayas and the southern Mindanao regions. From adventure sports to beautiful beaches, tropical fruits to fresh seafood, the Philippines has plenty to offer.

The city of Davao is located in the Mindanao region and is one of the largest cities in terms of land area. Colourful Jeepneys or elongated jeeps are the most common mode of transport seating 12-15 passengers. The fare depends on the distance. Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the country, is accessible from this city. It is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1620. Davao is the eco adventure capital of the Philippines. The water in the city is said to be extremely pure due to the volcanic base of the soil. The four icons of Davao city are the Durian fruit, the Waling Waling Orchid, Mount Apo and the Philippine Eagle. Though most of the Philippines were under Spanish rule for 333 years, Davao was only for 51 years."

Spa and Yoga in Thailand

Enjoy a luxurious break and reconnect with nature on a relaxing escape to Thailand. A dream destination for any luxury spa holiday, this beautiful country offers everything you need for ultimate relaxation and well being of mind and body. Discover absolute bliss with a traditional Thai massage, invigorate the senses with a reviving body scrub and rejuvenate with yoga and Pilates classes. Luxurious accommodation, world class food, pristine beaches, exciting cities and local culture, Thailand has it all.

Get Active in the Dolomite Mountains

For those looking to tone up and increase their levels of fitness, the Dolomites offer a fantastic terrain in which to do so. There are so many activities to enjoy such as hiking, biking, climbing and skiing. Alternatively, why not join a group fitness trip and enjoy an active holiday under the guidance of an experienced personal trainer? Whatever your idea of the ultimate active holiday, our team of travel experts can help to tailor make the ideal holiday. Whether you fancy a self guided hiking trip, a luxurious mountain retreat or would rather join a group, we can arrange every aspect of your trip.

Trail Running, Skiing or Hiking in the Alps

You might think that the words ‘running’ and ‘holiday’ should not be used in the same sentence but trail running, hiking or skiing in the Alps is a unique way to combine exhilarating exercise with the stunning beauty of the French Alps. Enjoy delicious French cuisine and stay in some of Europe’s most beautiful hotels in this beautiful corner of the world. Whatever activity you prefer, Travel Counsellors will tailor make your holiday to be exactly as you want it to be.

Ayurveda in India

Imagine your only deadline is to get to your massage session three or four times a day. Imagine two therapists who work in perfect harmony to soothe the mind and body whilst you relax in beautiful surroundings. Ayurveda treatments are the ultimate in pampering and relaxation and there is no more spiritual a place to enjoy it than in India. Practised for over 2,000 years this ancient healing treatment is tailor made to your personal needs for the ultimate in well being, peace and harmony. Whether you’d like a no frills rustic retreat or a luxurious Indian hideaway, Travel Counsellors can find you the ideal holiday for you and your budget.

That’s just a small selection of some of the exciting holidays and well being retreats that Travel Counsellors can offer. We hope you’ve been inspired. Whether you’re interested in finding out more about any of the holidays we’ve covered or you have some ideas of your own, we can work with you to find the perfect getaway tailored to your needs.

 

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Blog Entry

Our top five picks for your perfect summer escape

Travel Counsellors on 20 January 2016

 

  1. Spain

Spain is a fantastic family hotspot full of vibrant culture, amazing food and epic landscapes. Music and positivity ripple through this country and make it perfect for your summer break. Tenerife is one of the top spots within Spain where tourists can relax, unwind and enjoy their well earnt break. Bahia Del Duque is just one of the luxury resorts in Tenerife which boasts direct beach access, first class service and a fantastic range of added extras! Marbella is also one of the most popular areas here, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and mountains the sophisticated Meliá Marbella Banús 4* hotel is always a winner. Enjoy fiestas and Flamenco by truly embracing all that is the remarkable Spanish culture.

  1. Greece

Greece is a land of culture, history and remarkable beauty. Explore spectacular golden beaches and sun-soaked islands. Dine at cosy tavernas and discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a land suitably fit for the gods. One of the true joys of a Greek holiday – as over 13 million tourists a year know full well – is that there’s an island for every kind of escape. If you’re searching for a blissful slice of paradise, you’ll be well served by Kefalonia or Halkidiki on the mainland. Head to Kos or Zante for nightlife, or Crete to explore thousands of years of history. One Greek gem is Marbella Corfu which has stunning Mediterranean architecture, a private beach, luxurious and spacious accommodation paired with beautiful views. If you are looking for balconies with sea views, elegant restaurants, a private beach and spa with 5* luxury then head to Daios Cove in Crete. To find out more about Greece including some handy tips and guides follow the link below:

http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Greece">http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Greece

  1. Portugal 

Portugal has been a firm fixture on the European holiday scene for generations, with that hallowed trinity of great beaches, great scenery and great food. If that’s not all, the island of Madeira is a botanical paradise a thousand kilometres into the Atlantic! Millions flock to the Portuguese coastline each and every year to enjoy one of the most diverse coastlines Europe has to offer. You’ll find sleepy fishing villages and majestic cliff-faces, sand-swept coves and lush Championship golf courses – Portugal has an endearing love affair with the Atlantic, and why wouldn’t it? The Algarve in particular has magnetic appeal, with Faro, Albufeira and Lagos basking in year-round sunshine.

While mainland Portugal is stunning from virtually every angle, the Portuguese islands offer another dimension. Madeira is a jewel of the Atlantic, its abundant gardens coating the island in a kaleidoscope of colour. One of the perfect locations in Portugal is Pine Cliffs Hotel which is a splendid cliff top retreat with seven pools to choose from, a fantastic kid’s area and stunning cuisine. Surrounded by lush gardens in luxury Moorish-style the Vila Vita Parc Resort and Spa is a great choice in this area. For more handy information on Portugal please follow the link below:

http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Portugal">http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Portugal

  1. Malta 

Valletta, the capital city of Malta, has grown into a position among the most popular of European cities, leaving behind its reputation as a delightful day trip for Malta’s beachgoers and emerging as a fantastic destination in its own right. Valletta is the European Capital of Culture for 2018 – and the city is already celebrating!

Soaked in sunshine and with glittering views over the azure Mediterranean, Malta enjoys a privileged backdrop which plays no small part in creating its famously laidback ambience. Valletta shows that a city doesn't have to bustle along at a mile a minute. And less than a square kilometre in size, it makes for a wonderful leisurely city break if you love plenty to see and do but also the peace to hear yourself think. The Corinthia Hotel showcases palatial luxury, stylish rooms with great technology all with 7 restaurants and 5 pools! Or if you fancy chic 5* luxury within a close distance to Malta airport then the Hilton offers amazing dining experiences and beautiful accommodation. For more information on Malta and some top tips please use the link below:

http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Malta">http://www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/gb/leisure/plan-your-trip/destinations/R-Malta

  1. Croatia 

If you dream of Mediterranean holidays with stunning azure waters by the side of ancient walled villages, then Croatia is the place for you. There is a rich cultural history here unlike anywhere else in the world, this is reflected in its beautiful and diverse architecture. Roman columns, Viennese mansions mixed with a vibrant buzz of tourism. The natural beauty here is breath-taking, it’s perfect in the summer time for exploration, outdoor activities and water sports. Hvar is a picturesque city on the island of Hvar, part of the Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia. Here you can find upscale, contemporary resorts like the Amfora. Only a short walk from the ferry terminal and some stunning architectural hotspots this hotel has all the luxury and service you need whilst also being convenient. Adriana also offers convenience and accessibility around the area with contemporary styled rooms, whirlpool tubs and a fantastic spa facility so you can completely unwind.

To find out more about these fantastic summer picks please contact your local Travel Counsellor by using the search bar (top right). They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your exact requirements and throw in some extra special touches! 

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Trusted Travel -We're Always Here

20 January 2016

With Travel Counsellors, we are always here for you. Whatever the time.

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Why so blue? This Blue Monday we check out the world’s happiest destinations!

Travel Counsellors on 15 January 2016

January 18th is allegedly the saddest day of the year due to a combination of unpleasant things like colder weather, debt and lack of motivation. But we say, why should it be? Yes it’s a little colder but we like to be cosy and wrap up, the New Year is the perfect chance for us to wipe the slate clean and power into 2016 making the impact that we want to make. We’ve put together a list of the top five happiest places to be which are sure to get rid of Blue Monday woes. Make your Blue Monday all about the blue of these stunning oceans and enjoy some quirky facts.

Jamaica

“Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright!” this iconic mantra echoes through the community of Jamaica and promotes positivity worldwide. We all can’t help but sing along to this classic from Bob Marley which forms part of the fantastic culture within Jamaica. The cuisine here features spices from around the world but its jerk dishes and street food are truly inspired. Here, there is always a reason to sing and dance which makes it such a positive and happy environment to be in. This really is the island of happy days and vibrant nights where you can make your adventure here whatever you want it to be. Get back to nature, embrace the stunning views of the Blue Mountains and immerse yourself in the friendliness and enthusiasm of the locals.

Costa Rica

One of the happiest countries on Earth, army-free with an abundance of natural beauty from every angle. Everything from pristine beaches, stunning rainforests and striking volcanoes, this landscape invites you to explore it. “Pura Vida” loosely translates as “Life is good” which is a common saying amongst locals here, surrounded by these views, we agree life would be good. According to the most recent Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica is the most satisfying place to live! This index aims to measure things like high life expectancy, lack of armed forces plus a rich variety of national parks and beaches.

Bhutan

A Buddhist kingdom located on the eastern edge of the Himalayas. This dramatic landscape ranges from subtropical plains to steep mountains and stunning valleys. It’s so picturesque it seems impossible to be unhappy in this amazing environment. A prime spot for adventures and nature lovers alike, Bhutan provides rugged terrain and breath-taking sights unlike anywhere in the world. The very best thing about Bhutan? There is not a single traffic light in the entire country.

Melbourne

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “liveability” study which looks at things like crime levels, quality of medical care, temperature, schools and transport rated Melbourne one of the best cities in the world to live. Encompassing everything that is both stylish and arty, this dynamic city takes pride of place as Australia’s cultural capital. It’s edgy street art, wild architecture and top museums make it one of the most vibrant and positive cities in the world. Sport makes up part of the fabric of Melbourne paired with its chic bars and laneway eateries of course.

Denmark

Seen as one of the world’s most contented countries, Denmark tops the happiness studies. Summer houses on the beach here are the norm so it’s hard not to be happy! Winding cycle paths, beautiful forests and some gourmet treats really put Denmark on the map. Open air festivals and some of northern Europe’s freshest food are a winning combination for anyone. Old fashioned charm embraces forward thinking design whilst maintaining classic gems for visitors, Denmark really is like a fairy tale. If you do pay a visit to this little gem, make sure sure you try out Noma. The third best restaurant in the entire world where Scandinavian flavours and culinary excellence make for a dramatic effect. 

If any of these great destinations have peaked your interest then please do get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor so you can chat about your options. Whether you want a bespoke month trip or a small city break, your Travel Counsellor will be able to arrange every detail for you.

 

 

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Treat yourself to some Spanish luxury

Travel Counsellors on 13 January 2016

Spain is stereotypically home to the good life, great food, music, sights and culture, the real thing won’t disappoint either! The fabric of this country is everything that we long for in a holiday which makes it a perfect holiday spot for families, couples and groups of all ages. The three main sections of Spain all cater to different aspects of your holiday. The Canaries, closer to Africa, are reasonably priced, slightly warmer than the mainland and are more volcanic in their landscape. The Balearic’s like Majorca and Ibiza are ideal for the party goer with a vivid nightlife scene and stunning beaches. Mainland Spain itself is the cultural epicentre of all three where you will find the classic Spanish charm and character you’d expect from this destination.

Discover the island of fire at the Seaside Los Jameos Playa, a truly unforgettable holiday for all the family. Huge pools, fantastic restaurants and a plethora of entertainment options mean this is one of our top picks for families. Another perfect spot for families is the Princesa Yaiza, a stunning paradise where you can all unwind, relax and have fun.

For an extra touch of luxury the stunning, contemporary Bohemia Suites and Spa has the wow factor. Fine cuisine, beautiful décor and bold colours combined with the stunning scenery of the surrounding landscape will really make your holiday magical. The Ritz-Carlton, Abama boasts chic rooms, seven outdoor pools, a golf course, kids club and gourmet dining. Here, you can indulge in the ultimate luxurious break and spend some quality time with your loved ones.

With mainland Spain so close and so many airlines flying there, it’s the perfect place for a city break in the sun. Barcelona and it’s rich culture has been a favourite for years but why not consider somewhere a little less thought of – maybe Madrid or Seville which have a personality just their own. Even just a short break in the sun soaking up some culture and sights will give you a pick me up and some fantastic memories.

Prepare yourself for a gastronomic indulgence with traditional Spanish recipes which truly are impeccable. Whether you want to explore a Michelin-starred high end restaurant or a cosy tapas bar, you are sure to find rich, aromatic flavours unlike anywhere else in the world.

It’s not only the food which will take your breath away. The scenery here is simply beautiful, everything from rugged outdoor landscapes to poignant Roman ruins. Islamic architecture sweeps the land and shows where old civilisations have risen and fallen over the centuries. Grand monuments coexist here amongst more contemporary buildings which are paving the way for the future of Spain.

Spain is a hikers dream with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada and sun-baked expanses of Andalucía. You can explore the tropical Mediterranean coves along the stunning cliffs and take time to explore the little villages amongst the coastline. The locals will welcome you with open arms which is just another one of Spain’s most charming attributes.

If you are heading to this part of the world then the Canary Islands will also offer you the stunning views, relaxation and cultural experience of a lifetime. With looming volcanoes and prehistoric sights you can explore lands that personify ancient history. The Canaries boasts the best outdoor landscape for you to immerse yourself in. Set off down stunning signposted footpaths, head off on a mountain trek or try out scuba diving in the warm azure waters. The stunning seas here are home to over 350 species of fish so if you’re not busy gazing at the wildlife then you can also try windsurfing and surfing!

For the perfect combination of relaxation and exploration, you can’t go wrong with the Canaries. You will be spoilt for choice on which beach to try out and which bar, enjoy a refreshing cocktail in the heat and watch the sunset over the ocean. There are also lots of luxurious spas which offer a range of fantastic relaxing and invigorating treatments.

To find out more about booking your break to Spain then get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor today to chat through your dream holiday

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Find your dream city break with Lufthansa

Travel Counsellors on 12 January 2016

It’s the start of a new year which means new and exciting places are waiting for you to explore. Beat the January blues by booking a short city break where you can immerse yourself in a new culture and tick off some of those fantastic sights on your bucket list. This is the perfect opportunity for you to take advantage of Lufthansa’s low-priced flights which keeps your city break costs down. There are so many amazing destinations across Europe at affordable prices that there really is no reason to miss out! Lufthansa is a company you can trust and they will ensure you reach your dream destination in a comfortable and stylish way.

Low cost fares with Lufthansa do not mean you have to compromise on quality or luxury during your travels. Great quality in-flight entertainment guarantees your journey is enjoyable, there is also a huge range of culinary delights for you to choose from. Whether you are flying First Class, Business Class or Economy, you can expect a fantastic service from Lufthansa. Here are just some of the dreamy destinations that could be in your calendar this year!

Vienna

The stunning capital of Austria is situated on the country’s east on the Danube River. An eclectic mix of artistic wonders and intellectual legacy’s make this a popular point of interest. There are some fantastic sights to see here including contemporary architecture, museums and a tonne of artistic treasures that are truly unmissable. The baroque palaces, grand concert halls are nestled amongst wonderful coffee shops and beautiful restaurants. Exploring Vienna is easy and stunning whether you choose to go on foot or take a tram ride around the twists and turns of the city.

Munich

Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is home to a wealth of history in both architecture and museums. If you fancy a trip to Munich then you might want to coincide your trip with the world famous celebration Oktoberfest. At this truly unique celebration you can indulge in every kind of beer imaginable. This city has become astoundingly popular over recent years especially during the summer thanks to Oktoberfest and so this is great opportunity for you to explore some new culture and immerse yourself in Germany’s unofficial southern capital. Whilst maintaining some small-town features in the many art galleries, museums and royal Bavarian heritage Munich has a modern side to cater to all tastes of tourism.

Berlin

Germany’s capital and centre of culture dates back as far as the 13th century. Berlin has an electric nightlife and art scene and so it’s perfect for couples wanting to explore this rich culture. This vivid party scene has something to cater to everyone’s tastes, budget and age group. Modern architectural delights are scattered all over this city whilst there are also some poignant historic markers if you are interested in in the Holocaust Memorial or the Berlin Wall’s remains.  

Zurich

Zurich lies at the northern end of Lake Zurich in Switzerland. This culturally vibrant and impressive destination is recognised as one of the world’s most liveable cities so it’s definitely worth a short city break! Switzerland is a well-known metropolis for the wealthy and is quickly becoming a hip and stylish oasis for international clientele. Embracing contemporary trends with the conversion of old factories and new developments this city is welcoming tourism and will not let you down for a 2016 city break.

Geneva

Geneva is a Swiss city which lies at the southern tip of the breath-taking Lac Léman (Lake Geneva). This amazing landscape is a blend of cityscape and the stunning natural beauty of the Alps, Jura Mountains and Mont Blanc. As this city attracts so many global visitors it hosts a rich diversity of cultures, languages and culinary treats. The Jet d’Eau is a stunning fountain of record breaking heights, a magnificent sight when lit up in the evenings. Geneva is packed with things to do and see, a two or three day break here is perfect amount of time to sample this amazing city.

Brussels

Belgium's fascinating capital, and remains historic with a hip twist. Organic art-nouveau facades work in sync with 1960s concrete and regal 19th-century mansions contrast with the glass of the EU’s Gotham City. With its beautiful squares, Brussels is a perfect city break for those who enjoy walking and exploring the landscape. Take a picnic, try out a coffee shop and take in some local sights.

To find out more about these fantastic city breaks and how Lufthansa can help you get there please get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor. You could soon have an exciting city break in your diary, perfect to get you through the post-Christmas blues!

 

 

 

 

 

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TRUSTED TRAVEL with Travel Counsellors

Travel Counsellors on 11 January 2016

When it comes to travel it’s so important to know you are booking with someone you can trust, someone you can always rely on and someone who knows exactly what you need each and every time. In fact, a recent survey* revealed that trust is the single most important factor when booking a holiday. 93% of us in the UK plan on going on holiday this year and we look forward to it all year round which is why it is essential that you get the service you deserve.

This survey showed that 71% of people said first-hand knowledge and reviews on destinations and hotels is more influential than online ratings. This research combined with the BBC’s feature on ‘Rip Off Britain’ shows the serious underlying issues which can arise from booking holidays online. Here, we provide a simple solution to eradicate all the potential stresses and dangers of booking a holiday, providing you with your perfect getaway. At Travel Counsellors we make it our business to ensure ‘trust’ is at the centre of everything we do. Here’s how…

YOU’RE PROTECTED… sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what is and isn’t financially protected when booking your trip. We make it easy. When you book with Travel Counsellors you can rest assured your money is 100% safe, no ifs, no buts. We care that you are comfortable and confident in your booking with us which is why we offer the best possible protection for your money.

WE’RE ALWAYS HERE… something happens when you’re away from home and there’s no-one to turn to. It’s comforting to know when you book with Travel Counsellors this would never be the case. We have a 24/7 duty office that utilises our global presence in seven countries and time zones to ensure that you are supported around the clock, whenever you need it.

YOU’LL HEAR IT FIRST HAND… it’s always great to hear first-hand feedback about somewhere you are thinking of travelling to. We have a global family of over 1,500 travel experts who can provide just that. And what’s more we have our own in-house review system with thousands of personal insights and reviews directly from our agents and their customers, so you know its advice you can trust.

IT’S PERSONAL… our Travel Counsellors take the time to get to know their customers because they genuinely care. They are passionate about delivering a service that goes above and beyond, exceeding expectations and making sure their customers know they are booking with someone they can trust. That’s why a world leading 96% of our customers would recommend their Travel Counsellor to family and friends.

WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU… it pays to be independent. Whilst many travel companies sell the product that’s right for them, we make a promise to only sell what is right for you. We have access to thousands of suppliers and products globally, and have developed our own cutting-edge booking system that enables our Travel Counsellors to tailor-make the perfect trip for each customer at the most competitive prices.

To find out more about booking your dream break by getting in touch with your local Travel Counsellor please use the search bar in the top right of the page. We guarantee that this level of personalised service cannot be found anywhere else simply because our Travel Counsellors and their approach is completely unique to you.


*Travel Counsellors survey completed by 335 UK consumers in January 2016

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Watch list 2016

Travel Counsellors on 08 January 2016

In 2015 Majorca, Tenerife, and Algarve topped the table as Britain’s most popular holiday destinations.

And, it’s easy to see why.

Soaring temperatures, endless beaches, and dazzling waters – for many, there’s no better way to relax than a beach holiday.

However, if you fancy a trip to somewhere a little bit different, we’ve got you covered.

Across the world there are a host of countries who are steadily seeing more and more visitors each year.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently released a report which showed where tourism is expected to boom in the next 10 years.

The rankings reveal the countries which are predicted to see the largest increase in their tourism industry from 2015-2025.

So, if you're after some inspiration for up-and-coming holiday destinations, here’s the top 5

Myanmar

Myanmar, commonly referred to as Burma, tops the WTTC table as the fastest growing holiday destination.

It is expected to see an 8.4% increase in the contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP over the next 10 years.

With thousands of temples and golden pagodas to explore, Myanmar is a fascinating holiday destination.

Located in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is bordered by Thailand, India, China, Bangladesh and Laos.

You can take a horse and cart ride through ancient cities, sail through rural Myanmar on the Orient Express boat, and discover authentic local markets.

Zambia

Zambia is expected to see an 8.1% increase in the contribution of travel to the GDP from 2015-2025.

Home to Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, and unforgettable Safaris – it’s easy to see why Zambia is one of the fastest rising tourist destinations in the world.

Certainly not many countries can match Zambia’s offering of natural beauty and incredible wildlife.

The landlocked African country neighbours Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. 

There are over 20 national parks where tourists can witness African wildlife in their element. Interestingly, over 30% of the entire country is reserved for wildlife.

Zambia boasts 18 stunning waterfalls, but if you only see one make sure it is Victoria Falls.

The one hundred metre high waterfall is regarded as one of the greatest natural wonders in the world, and rightly so.

Montenegro

Predicted to see a 7.7% increase in the contribution of tourism to the GDP over the next 10 years, Montenegro’s travel industry is flourishing.

With a coast on the Adriatic Sea, and neighboured by Serbia, Bosnia, Albania and Croatia, Montenegro has a lot to offer holidaymakers.

The Balkan country boasts medieval settlements, coastal monasteries, glacial lakes and colossal mountains.

Whilst the climate varies across the country, the lower areas experience soaring Mediterranean temperatures, perfect for relaxing on the Adriatic coast.                                                                                                          

India

Perhaps the most established destination on this list, India is expected to experience a 7.3% increase in the contribution of travel and tourism to the GDP from 2015-2025.

With such a rich history, natural beauty and diverse wildlife, India offers a holiday experience like no other.

From the Taj Mahal to The Red Fort, you would definitely need more than one trip to see everything India has to offer.

And, of course, we can’t forget the food. India is renowned for its colourful and fragrant curries which have become a favourite in the UK – but, surely nothing beats the real thing from the cuisine’s homeland.

Namibia & Gambia

Both predicted to see a 7.2% increase in the contribution of tourism to the GDP over the next 10 years, Namibia and Gambia are tied fifth in the WTTC list.

Both nations are located in Africa, with Namibia in the South West, and Gambia in the West.

Gambia may be Africa’s smallest country, but it still packs a punch. The tiny country offers glorious beaches, river cruises, and a rich wildlife.

On the other hand, Namibia boasts seemingly endless natural landscapes, and breathtaking safari trips.

So, why not give one of these rising stars a go on your 2016 adventures! 

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Family Adventure with Explore Travel

Travel Counsellors on 08 January 2016

Push your boundaries as far as you and your family desire...........

Sharing your passion for travel with your children is an incredible feeling, experiencing the thrill of conquering a challenge together, safe in the knowledge that your whole family are well looked after. There are so many fascinating places and cultures out there which can provide both kids and parents with an appreciation of the world around them and encourage them to discover more for themselves.

With Exodus Travel you can go on safari with the kids, climb Machu Picchu or see the Great Wall of China. Fully escorted, your guide will be with you all the way. Most hotels have swimming pools and children will be doing and seeing things that they probably wouldn't experience on a mainstream holiday.

The range on offer is huge, the hardest part will be choosing the adventure for you. From educational and cultural, to wildlife and safari holidays, cycling and walking are also on offer. Popular trips include Finnish Winter Adventure, Kenya Family Safari, Pandas and Warriors walk along the Great Wall of China, Puglian Adventure, Tibet and the Himalayas, Portuguese Family Adventure, Borneo family adventure and a summer Pyrenees family holiday to name but a few.

The range of activities are equally diverse with white water rafting, sea kayaking, mountain hiking, cycling, zip-lining, camel riding and even dog-sledding and to seeing the orang-utans in Borneo, trips to elephant orphanages, wilderness camping, surfing, visiting donkey sanctuaries or just relaxing and discover stunning scenery, local villages and amazing sites.All equipment and training is provided, so you need no experience just a can-do attitude. 

An Exodus adventure is a life-changing, invigorating escape from the ordinary. Isn’t it time you saw the world differently? 

Perfect for…. 

  • Inspiring a passion for travel and learning
  • A unique holiday experience – whichever trip you choose
  • New challenges, culture and plenty of fun

Call your Travel Counsellor today to find out more! 

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The Travel Counsellors difference; we genuinely care.

Travel Counsellors on 08 January 2016

As a company whose values are centred around providing the best customer service, on a daily basis, we have some fantastic success stories. We will ensure you get the best possible experience right from the first point of contact because your happiness matters. Our family of Travel Counsellors all share the same DNA, the same passion and the same drive for perfection which is how you know that you can rely on us. Arranging travel can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. As travel experts we can offer impartial advice from our own experiences and draw upon the wealth of knowledge from Travel Counsellors around the world. Every detail of your dream holiday will be carefully looked after at every stage so all you have to do is relax and enjoy your well-earned holiday. Here are some of our favourite examples showing just how Travel Counsellors set the bar higher and offer an unrivalled level of tailored customer service.

Sometimes it’s not just problem solving and attention to detail that wows our customers, Katrina Smith shows just how much of an impact a thoughtful gesture can have!

“I had two different clients both whom booked surprise holidays as Christmas presents. The first client and his family are very keen Baseball fans. I organised their road trip to Florida (unbeknown to the two children and the clients’ wife). I checked all the different Baseball games at the times of their stay and gave an itinerary to the client for all the games he could take in whilst there. I then printed out the logos for each team they were going to see whilst on holiday and put them into a Christmas stocking, along with a fridge magnet from Kennedy Space Centre, a guide book to Florida, a Rubik cube to keep them entertained during the flight. Last of all, I put the gold envelope containing all the details of their holiday into the stocking. I put it right at the bottom so it would be opened last and the family would get the anticipation and wow factor I hoped for. The father of the family, my client, emailed me to say his family were over the moon and he couldn’t believe the time and trouble I had gone to.

The second family I booked for Santa Lapland for December 2016 (the two children had no idea). I bought some hand warmers for the children, put them in a Christmas box with a letter from Santa saying how one of his elves had told him they would be visiting next year, how much he was looking forward to seeing them and that he had sent them some hand warmers because it’s so cold where he lives. The client said – you should have seen the children’s faces when they opened that box!

The great thing is I also got so much out of going the extra mile for my customers!”

Mel Hartley proves booking with a Travel Counsellor as opposed to the high street just might be the difference between a fantastic holiday or missing the flight!

“I had a group of 26 departing from Manchester on the 11.15 flight to Orlando with Virgin, this was my first booking with the group so I wanted to make a great first impression. I have stayed close with them from beginning to end and as the group is mainly adults with learning difficulties I have made time to visit their community centre in Halifax.

I arranged to meet them at the check in desk to reassure them with the extra requests of wheelchair assistance etc. They were due to arrive at 08.00, they texted me to say they were stuck in traffic, no problem I said just let me know when you are closer. At 09.15 they texted again to say they were at a standstill and they were panicking, how long did they have? I reassured them not to panic because I had already checked them in the day before so all they had to do was drop of their bags!

I was beginning to get a little anxious as I knew there was no way I could allow them to miss this flight. It’s not what you know it is who you know, it’s a good job my husband could get me the duty mangers number for Virgin! Andrea explained that they had until 10.15 as the check in desk will automatically close down and then it would be up to the captain to re -open it. Brilliant I thought, if needs be I would have to speak to the captain as there was no way I was turning them away. 09.50 I parked my car and they rang… Mel, Mel we are here… I said I can see you I will be right there. I ran to get trollies with the staff, and we piled the cases high!

I proceeded to the check-in desk to advise they were here, everyone was getting quite stressed, I just started getting the cases off one at a time and putting them on the scale and shouting their names. We were done, I then had them all taking their jackets off and putting them over their arms before they got to security. It was so emotional to see how excited they all were. They just kept saying thank you thank you, are you coming… I wish I was I shouted as I waved them off! It was eventful but what a feeling, I got in my car and said out loud ‘That is why you book with a Travel Counsellor’. If they had booked that on the high-street they would have missed that flight.”

As a whole and as individual Travel Counsellors, we care and we will do everything in our power to make sure you have the best experience both booking and on holiday. Bespoke itineraries, cruising, beach breaks, adventure holidays- you name it. Whatever you have in mind for your holiday, your local Travel Counsellor will show you how much they care by providing an unrivalled personal service.

 

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New Year traditions across the world

Travel Counsellors on 22 December 2015

No matter where you are in the world, almost every country celebrates the New Year.

Whether it’s throwing buckets of water out the window, smashing plates, or munching on grapes – New Year inspires unique traditions from East to West.

Check out these 8 interesting traditions from across the globe…

China: The colour red plays a big part in Chinese New Year traditions. Red packets with money inside are gifted to children to supress evil, keep them healthy and ensure a long life. The house is then decorated with lanterns, paper cuttings, and paint – all of which is in the colour red. Of course, the Chinese New Year is not celebrated on the same date as the western world. The New Year is based on the Chinese calendar – which means it will fall on February 8th in 2016.

Spain: Whilst Americans seek a midnight kiss, and us Brits swig on champagne – the Spanish have quite a different tradition for the New Year’s countdown.  As the clock strikes midnight, many Spaniards munch on 12 grapes for the first 12 seconds of the New Year. The grapes are somewhat of a superstition, symbolising the 12 months ahead. But, for many the grape eating is a light-hearted tradition which marks the start of the New Year.

Puerto Rico: Whilst the colour red dominates Chinese New Year celebrations, it is water that features heavily in Puerto Rico. One tradition involves throwing a bucket or cup of water out of the window to help drive away evil spirits, and another sees people falling back into waves of water at midnight.

German: Germany has a uniqueNew Year’s tradition calledBleigießen. Bleigießen is a longstanding practice which uses molten lead to offer a prediction of the upcoming year. Lead is heated up and then poured into a bowl of water, the pattern then signifies different possibilities for the year ahead. If the lead forms a ball it means luck is coming your way, but if an anchor forms it means help is in need.

Brazil: Whilstthe Spanisheat grapes, the Brazilians turn to lentils for their New Year customs. Lentils signify wealth in Brazilian tradition, so on New Year’s Eve lentil based dishes are served up to all.

Egypt: In Egypt the New Year only truly begins once a crescent moon is visible. The New Year is declared once the moon is visible from a holy mosque in Cairo. Once the message has been passed on, everyone goes on to enjoy the New Year festivities which include feasts, colourful clothes and sweets in the shape of dolls for the little ones.

Scotland: This one is a lot closer to home for us, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less interesting. New Year in Scotland, also known as Hogmanay, involves many customs and superstitions. One custom is known as the “first footing”, which rules that the first guest for the year should be a man bearing gifts such as bread, alcohol and coal for the fire. 

Denmark: If you have any chipped or broken crockery in Denmark come New Year’s Eve, they won’t go to waste. Residents pile up broken dishes outside their home, and then throw them at their friends’ doors to bring in the New Year. The plate smashing signifies friendship, and is not the only New Year’s tradition in Denmark. Many Danes also leap from chairs during the midnight countdown too.

 

 

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How do Travel Counsellors go the extra mile?

Travel Counsellors on 17 December 2015

Travel Counsellors strive to give their customers the best possible service each and every time. We know your holiday is the thing you look forward to all year, it’s a huge part of your family time together and we want to make it special every step of the way. Here are just a few examples of happy customers who have had their trip made by a Travel Counsellor.

Peridot Harrison

One of my lovely customers was really pleased with my service as I was able to get back to her so quickly. I had the time to spend looking and not being interrupted by customers as you are on the high street. They all worked full time so needed to speak to me on an evening which wasn’t a problem for me at all. Here is a quote from her; “Huge thankyou to Peridot for arranging our girlie 3 day break to Reykjavik, we’re very excited. Thank you for providing us with great quotes, advice and options. Fastest turn around ever! If you want impeccable customer service that doesn’t stop at 5.30pm on a Friday night then she’s your lady!”

Wayne Barsby

I recently had a customer in Sharm El Sheik during the recent problems. I gave him daily updates of what was going on and other people who booked elsewhere where coming to him to get news as their own agency was not in touch with any information.  

Also I offered to contact everyone back home for him to let them know that he has been delayed getting home and the reasons why.

Where most people were put in a hotel by the airline which wasn’t always up to scratch I arranged for my customer to stay in the 5 star all-inclusive hotel he was already in and the airline paid for it. With the help of the duty office who were fantastic we even got him the money back for the extra days parking at Gatwick. 

Other things I like to do to go the extra mile is send a thank you for booking card to every single person that books with me and I make up a pack of tea, coffee, sugar, milk and biscuits to be at their house ready for when they return home. I also treat customers booking special trips to a bottle of wine, its touches like that which make all the difference. I will also contact every hotel before the customer arrives to make sure everything is ok and to ask them to look after my customers and leave them a little note in their room from me. I make sure my customers know that I am there for them no matter what they need, at any time. Having one person to contact really lets you just relax and enjoy your break knowing the hard work is done for you.

We want your holiday to start right when you start planning your adventure. Picking where you want to stay and when, making your break tailored to fit you is our specialty so you don’t have to worry about a thing. To get some inspiration for your 2016 holiday please find your local Travel Counsellor using the search bar, if you have no ideas or a thousand- we will ensure you get a bespoke package perfect with every detail.

Blog Entry
Blog Entry

Everything you need to know about Jamaica

Travel Counsellors on 14 December 2015

White sand beaches, blue mountains, tropical rainforests, and natural lagoons home to Bottlenose dolphins - Jamaica is unsurprisingly many people’s idea of paradise.

The Caribbean island is renowned for its flawless sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and soaring temperatures. For an island of less than 3 million people, Jamaica has certainly had a huge cultural impact on music, sports, film and food.

Jamaica boasts the world’s fastest sprinters, is the birthplace of Bob Marley, the Rastafari movement, and reggae.

But, here are a few interesting facts you should know before you hop on a plane to Jamaica…

Jamaica’s famous Blue Mountains are named after the mist that covers them

Shrouded by a mist that gives them their bluish colour, the Blue Mountains are the longest mountain range in Jamaica.

Offering magnificent views of the island, the mountains are a must see if you’re visiting Jamaica. Indeed, on a clear day you can see the outline of Cuba, which lies more than 130 miles away.

The Blue Mountains certainly had an impact on Christopher Columbus who marvelled at them back in the 15th century.

Columbus dubbed Jamaica “the fairest island eyes have beheld; mountainous and the land seems to touch the sky.”

The country has several links to James Bond

Whilst the sandy beaches of Jamaica are just about the opposite of 007’s London headquarters in the film franchise, the Caribbean island has numerous links to James Bond.

Ian Fleming, who lived in Jamaica, frequently used the island as a location in his spy novels, including Doctor No, Live and Let Die, Octopussy, and For Your Eyes Only.

Fleming’s former villa, where all the James Bond novels were written, is available for holiday bookings. The villa boasts a private beach, pool, and tropical garden.

Jamaica is home to the world’s most expensive bottle of rum

You won’t need to take out a small loan to enjoy some rum in Jamaica, but you may need to if you want a 1940s bottle of J. Wray & Nephew. That would set you back around $54,000.

It’s hardly surprising that the most expensive bottle of rum comes from a country that exports over 20 million litres of alcohol each year, with rum being the main export.

Interestingly, Jamaica is the reason rum is associated with the Royal Navy. After the British captured Jamaica in the 17th century, the British fleet swapped their alcohol of choice from brandy to rum.

Jamaica produces some of the best coffee in the world

Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is regarded as one of the best, and most luxurious coffees in the world.

The coffee is a registered trademark, much like Champagne in France, so only coffee produced in the picturesque Blue Mountain region can carry the label.

Interestingly, the coffee has found itself most popular in Japan, where it is revered by coffee connoisseurs.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect holiday souvenir, why not pick up some authentic Jamaican coffee to take home with you.  

Jerk spice is native to Jamaica

You’ve no doubt heard of jerk spice and seasoning, but did you know that it originated in Jamaica?

Jamaican cuisine is colourful, delicious, and full of flavour. The jerk cooking style combines a marinade of pimento, which is more commonly known as allspice, and scotch bonnet peppers.

The spice certainly packs a punch, and is becoming more and more popular in the UK and abroad.

You can find jerk huts dotted around the island, so to experience some authentic Caribbean cooking – make sure you stop by one of them to grab a bite to eat. 

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