Sent by Alison Borrman
Based in Debenham
Sustainable Travel Expert
We all travel for different reasons; perhaps to lose ourselves on a sun drenched beach, or to find ourselves in a far off land. Some travel to walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before, whilst others to blaze new trails. Travel provides us with those meaningful moments that last a lifetime.
I will craft your holiday with all the care and attention you deserve, using first hand experience. Having worked as a tour leader of overlanding tours all over Africa, Asia and the Americas, I appreciate the finer details of what makes a trip memorable and have plenty of insights to share. I've camped in the Okavango delta, danced at Rio Carnival, hiked the Himalayas and cycled in Europe. I've driven from Beijing to Istanbul, sailed a felluca on the Nile, paddled the Amazon and slept in the Serengeti. Travel is my greatest passion, and I'd love nothing more than to share this with you.
I specialise in active adventures, safaris, family holidays and bespoke, tailor-made experiences in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Because I'm independent and not tied to any particular operator, I work with local suppliers from all over the world. Whatever your aspirations for your holiday, I will work with you to plan your perfect trip.
I'm passionate about sustainable travel and was selected as one of TTG's Sustainable Travel Ambassadors in 2023, completing a programme of training to build my knowledge to support eco-conscious traveller. I have teamed up with Trees 4 Travel and plant a tree for every client who travels with me, this is matched by the project, to grow our impact even further. I have most recently completed the Sustainable Travel Masterclass with Kiwano and have joined their community of ambassadors.
I know how important it is to feel confident your travel plans are in safe hands, which is why at Travel Counsellors we offer full financial protection on every element of your booking through our financial trust and ATOL bond. We are always here when you need us, with 24/7 support for you whilst on your travels. We have a 5-star Trust Pilot score, award winning customer service and were named Money Saving Expert's number one travel company for looking after customers during the pandemic.
I am always excited to talk travel, whether you know exactly what you're looking for, or you need some inspiration. I am available at a time to suit you whether that be in the evenings or over the weekend, so let's get planning your dream holiday.
I look forward to working with you.
Here are my top tips for planning your safari trip in Africa.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
03 November 2023
I'm a passionate advocate for the environment and committed to embedding sustainability into my life and business. It's important to recognise the impact of travel on the planet, but also that tourism has an incredible role to play in contributing to worldwide sustainable development. I want to proactively offer holidays which are good for people and planet through my business and as an individual I recognise the need to be more mindful and transparent in my personal travel planning. This is my Sustainable Travel Pledge... SLOW TRAVEL To travel slower and overland as far as I can, to make the most of the adventure. COMMUNITY To seek out opportunities to learn about local life, and support local economies by eating and staying in locally owned establishments. I will promote activity which serves communities first and which has a positive impact on the environment. PLASTICS and WASTE I will avoid plastics by carrying reusable bags and water bottles. I will be mindful of food waste within the tourism industry and promote hotels and suppliers which are actively reducing waste. WILDLIFE I will not visit, promote or sell unethical wildlife attractions. I will be an advocate for animals by sharing neutral advice with my clients and promoting a world free from animal exploitation. LOCAL PRODUCE I will eat locally sourced produce as far as possible & enjoy the local cuisine when I travel. CARBON I will plan my travel and activity more mindfully, looking for the most sustainable travel options and keeping a record of my travel carbon footprint, so that I can seek to reduce it year on year.
03 November 2023
My vision is that all animals encountered on a holiday booked with me are free from exploitation, neglect and cruelty. I support an end to the capture of animals from the wild for the purposes of entertainment, and encourage the conservation of natural habitats and their wildlife. I will not promote, sell, nor endorse any attractions that have animals in captivity, or where animals are kept for the sole purpose of entertainment. This does not include ‘protected areas’ such as national parks or reserves where animals are free to roam and express natural behaviours. Our customers will be encouraged to report bad practice where any of the guidelines outlined below are not adhered to. The Five Freedoms Animal attractions and wildlife excursions will be measured against the Five Freedoms outlined in ABTA’s Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. 1. Feeding: There is an absence of prolonged hunger or thirst in all animals. 2. Housing: All animals are kept in sufficient housing where they have access to comfort while resting, thermal comfort, and ease of movement. 3. Health: There is absence of injury, disease, or pain induced by inappropriate housing or management. 4. Behaviour: Animals are able to express natural behaviours, including social behaviours, in a positive emotional state, with positive human-animal relationship. Non-natural behaviours are not encouraged nor induced. 5. Protection from Fear: There is an absence of general fear or distress, and animals are able to seek privacy or refuge. There is an absence of surgical or physical modification other than for genuine medical reasons, and animals are regularly checked by specialised veterinarians. Protection of Endangered Animals Animal attractions and wildlife excursions must comply with CITES requirements (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which is legally binding. 1. Trade of elephants (live or dead) and elephant parts is illegal 2. Trade of tigers (live or dead) and tiger parts is illegal 3. Trade of primates (live or dead) and primate parts is illegal 4. Trade of marine animals (live or dead) and marine animal parts is illegal Unless there is a conservation breeding program in place, elephants, tigers, primates and marine mammals should not be acquired from the wild. Animals in the Wild Animal viewing and wildlife excursions where animals are in their natural environment or a protected area, will be measured against the following practices. 1. Rules and guidelines are in place to protect vulnerable ecosystems e.g. waste management. 2. A safe distance should be kept, with disturbing sounds kept to a minimum 3. For marine wildlife, a vessel distance of minimum 100m to any whale and 50m to any dolphin must be maintained 4. Feeding should be limited, encouraging animals to practice natural feeding behaviours e.g. hunting and foraging 5. Free-roaming animals in wild should never be touched or picked up Working Animals in Tourism Working animals in tourism can include: • Equine including horses, donkeys and ponies, used to pull/carry loads or people • Camels, used to transport goods or people • Sled dogs, used to transport goods or people The promotion of practices involving working animals will be measured by animal welfare in relation to the principles of the Five Freedoms, in addition to: 1. Animals should have regular rest periods of at least 1 hour between working periods 2. Animals should only work within their physical capabilities (loads are not in excess of 15% of their body weight) 3. Equipment should be well maintained, fit appropriately, and removed during rest periods 4. Tethering is discouraged and should be limited to a few hours a day. Animals should be able to exercise movement without putting tension on the tether, and reach basic resources such as food, water and shade 5. Young, pregnant, ill or injured animals should not be ridden or required to carry loads We recognise that many working animals in tourism provide the sole income for their owner and their families, and that this has been a long tradition within their communities. We support the training and education of communities to ensure a sustainable livelihood whilst providing appropriate care and management of healthy, working animals. Unacceptable Practices We consider the following practices as unacceptable, both in captive environments and in the wild. 1. Animal performances based on non-natural behaviour e.g. elephant parades 2. Animals used as photographic props involving bad practice e.g. tiger declawing 3. Animals used for begging e.g. dancing bears, snake charming 4. Animal breeding for commercial trade 5. Trophy hunting 6. Unlicensed zoos Ultimately, I believe that wildlife should be free from exploitation and disturbance. I will always offer neutral information and advice about ethical wildlife viewing to help protect and care for animals. I want to ensure that travellers are able to enjoy their holidays and that tourism is a force for good. Our Animal Welfare Policy has been established on guidance taken from The Travel Foundation, ABTA, CITES and the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
02 July 2023
Planning a honeymoon is an exciting and memorable experience. As your personal travel advisor, I'm here to help you make the most of this special journey. Here are five tips to consider when planning your dream honeymoon: 1. Choosing your Destination: A honeymoon is your opportunity to take that trip of a lifetime, so it’s important to consider the weather and travel season before setting the date for your big day. Are you looking for a relaxing beach getaway, a cultural adventure, or an adrenaline-packed honeymoon? Discuss your options and narrow down destinations that cater to your desires. 2. Start Early: Begin the planning process as early as possible. Honeymoons are popular, and the best accommodations and flights tend to book up quickly. By starting early, you'll have a better chance of securing your preferred destinations, hotels, and activities. 3. Set a Realistic Budget: Determine your honeymoon budget upfront. It's essential to have a clear idea of how much you're willing to spend on accommodations, transportation, meals, and activities. With a budget in mind, you can make informed decisions and prioritise what's most important to you. 4. Consider a Honeymoon Gift Registry: A registry allows your friends and family to contribute towards the cost of your honeymoon. This ensures that you don’t end up with too many toasters, and your loved ones know they’re contributing to a trip of a lifetime. 5. Plan for Some Downtime: While it's tempting to fill your itinerary with non-stop activities, you will no doubt appreciate some time to relax after your big day. 6. Personalise Your Experience: Add special touches to make your honeymoon truly unforgettable. Remember, your honeymoon is all about celebrating your love and starting your journey together as a married couple. With careful planning and attention to detail, your dream honeymoon will become a cherished memory that will last a lifetime. I am here to take all the hassle away from your honeymoon planning, so please give me a call any time to discuss it.
21 June 2023
Here are some fantastic reasons why you should choose to travel with Helen Bateman Travel. 1. Personalised attention: As your trusted travel advisor, I'll take the time to understand your preferences, needs, and budget, ensuring your holiday is tailor-made just for you. 2. Expert guidance: With my extensive knowledge and experience in the travel industry, I can provide you with insider tips, hidden gems, and recommendations for the best destinations, accommodations, and activities. 3. Stress-free planning: Let's face it, planning a holiday can be overwhelming. But worry not! I'll handle all the nitty-gritty details, from flights and accommodations to transfers, insurance and excursions, saving you time & energy, so you can relax & look forward to your trip. 4. Exclusive deals and discounts: As a UK-based travel agent & tour operator, I have access to a wide network of trusted suppliers and partnerships, allowing me to secure fantastic deals and discounts that you won't find elsewhere. 5. Safety and security: Your well-being is my top priority. I'll ensure that all the accommodations, airlines, and tour operators I recommend uphold the highest standards of safety. By operating through Travel Counsellors, I ensure all your bookings are secure and protected, so you can focus on making lasting memories. 6. Ongoing support: From the moment you book until you return home, I'm just a phone call or email away. Whether you have a question, need assistance, or encounter any unexpected issues, I'll be there to support you every step of the way. 7. The MyTC app makes managing your travel plans effortless. Allowing for secure payments, keeping all your documents in one place, live flight updates – MyTC puts everything you need right at your fingertips. 8. Responsible Travel: I have recently joined TTG's Sustainable Travel Ambassador programme, involving a whole range of training to improve my own knowledge of sustainable tourism to ensure that the tours I recommend make a positive impact in the countries they visit. So, why wait? Let's start planning your dream holiday together.
21 June 2023
I believe that travel can be a force for good in the world, and when done well, can offer many benefits, such as supporting local businesses, supporting wildlife, environment and habitat conservation, preserving cultural heritage & contributing to long-term economic stability. As travellers, we have a chance to learn about different cultures, customs and perspectives and engage in meaningful interactions with local communities and their lands. Here are some ideas for travelling more sustainably; 1. Pack light - bringing fewer things means less weight for transportation, which in turn reduces carbon emissions. Plus, it's easier to get around without lugging around a ton of stuff! 2. Ditch the plastic - bring a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever you can. You can use a water-to-go bottle which filters any water you choose to use. Take a cotton bag with you on trips to markets and shops. 3. Slow down - consider taking a train or a bus to travel overland where possible. You'll get to see the scenery and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you won't have to deal with all the airport hassle. 4. Stay local, support small businesses - opt for local accommodations, shops, tours and restaurants. Not only will you experience authentic hospitality, but you'll also be supporting the local economy. 5. Explore on foot or bike - a fantastic way to discover hidden gems and connect with the local culture. 6. Choose eco-friendly activities - seek out tours and experiences that prioritise sustainability and respect for nature. Whether it's hiking, wildlife watching, or visiting eco-friendly attractions, you'll be making memories while leaving a minimal impact on the environment. 7. Respect the local environment and culture - treat the places you visit as if they were your own home. Take away any rubbish you take into national parks, stay on designated paths, and be mindful of local customs and traditions.
25 February 2023
My parents have been jetting off to the Canary islands almost every winter since their retirement, and for good reason. The island is bathed in gentle sunshine for much of the winter, enjoying longer hours of daylight and offers the ideal escape from our icy paths and chilly winds. Luckily for me, my parents had once again booked a spacious villa with extra bedrooms, allowing me to join them for a week of fun in the sun. We stayed in the south of Gran Canaria in Puerto Pico, which sits in a small valley leading to a golden beach, lined with laid-back cafes. Swimming in the sea is a delight, if a little fresh, due to being in a semi-enclosed bay. From the harbour it’s possible to head out on all manner of boat trips; dolphin watching, canoeing, jet-skiing, glass bottom boats and sailing. We took the hourly ferry across to the pretty fishing village of Puerto de Mogán. With its small sheltered beach, canals and painted villas, it is affectionately known as ‘little Venice’ and offers a selection of cafes and restaurants around its marina. It’s easy to lose a couple of hours with a glass or two of sangria and tapas of Canarian potatoes, Padron peppers and fried cheese. For families, you’ll no doubt be drawn to the Angry Birds play park, where the kids can be blasted with foam, splash about, clamber across elaborate climbing frames and generally have a great time. The restaurants all have the typical offering of tasty food, but some of the standouts for me were along the marina view area; Rhodos Palace featuring a Greek menu (be sure to book ahead) and next door Restaurant Grill J&J, offering pizzas, steak and BBQ. For breakfast or lunch, the Golden Beach offers friendly service, good food and is right on the beach. So as I head back to Suffolk, as if playing holiday tag, my brother and his family head out from Newcastle for their turn. Right after them groups of my parent’s friends gather, switching golf and spa days in the north east, for cocktails and sunbathing in GC. Gran Canaria would seem to have become a home from home for the Batemans. Can I help you plan your trip to Gran Canaria? Please get in touch to talk through some of the options available on the island. #travel #GranCanaria #GreatDestination #puertorico #puertomogan #wintersun #makingmemories #helenbatemantravel
20 April 2023
Staying in the Castello area of Venice meant we could escape the tourist hubbub and enjoy a more laid-back vibe. Space to sip our Aperol Spritz overlooking the water, wander the quiet green Giardini (gardens) and streets around the Arsenale di Venezia. We could buy fruit and veg from boats that pulled up in the canal, a pleasant change from the 'Amazon by boat' deliveries. We loved just getting lost in Venice. We didn’t make a lot of plans, simply followed our noses along the maze of cobbled stoned streets and alleys, over bridges and into grander squares, marvelling at the incredible feat of Venetian architecture. Just being amongst the tall, imposing buildings is an inspiring experience and on every corner there’s a café waiting to serve you a coffee and tasty snack. When in Venice, its customary to go for an apertivo at a local bar to enjoy drinks and 'cicchetti'. As we had our fair share of rain, we were happy to partake. Across most of the tables in Venice you'll note the drink of choice is generally orange; a trademark Aperol spritz. The cicchetti served are a range of small snacks such as meatballs, crostini, sandwiches and pickled or baked seafood or vegetables. Cichetti is eaten at any time of the day and it will only set you back a few euros. Getting around in Venice is easy on foot, though there are many bridges and cobblestones, the vaporetto (water bus) is convenient, you can also catch water taxis or take a trip in a gondola, though be prepared for the eye watering prices. If you're interested in art, then you shouldn't miss a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood, which displays 20th Century European and American art. I would recommend taking a boat around the lagoon to the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello, to see the brightly coloured houses, wonderful architecture and maybe go to a Murano glass workshop & wander the lace shops. Another highlight of a trip to Venice is a tour of St Mark's Basilica, one of the most incredible cathedrals in the world, to witness the marbles and mosaics. It is recommended to book ahead as the queues are enormous! On arrival at the Marco Polo airport, we opted to take the ATVO bus to the Piazzale Roma, which takes around 20 minutes. From there we caught a vaporetto (water bus) around to Castello, giving us a wonderful evening introduction to Venice by night. It's also possible to have an airport transfer arranged, where you'll be taken directly from the airport to the pier to meet a water taxi - taking any hassle out of the journey. Please get in touch if you're thinking of a trip to Venice, I'd love to help you plan it! #Travel #Helenbatemantravel #Italy #Venice
25 February 2023
It is impossible to be disappointed by Kyrgyzstan, with its alpine like valleys, high altitude lakes, mountain ranges, horsemanship and friendly local people. We entered Kyrgyzstan on the eastern edge from China, having setting off on our journey from Kashgar. After lots of border bureaucracy we crossed the 3752m Torugart Pass, which is enough to take your breath away, but remember to keep the camera handy. We spent our first night camping at a yurt camp near the old caravanserei at Tash Rabat. Here we had time to explore the old building and get acclimatised to a complete change of pace from western China. During our trip we stayed in the capital of Bishkek, before heading to the 'gorgeous' Ala Archa gorge to make camp and enjoy the hiking trails. Another breath-taking opportunity came soon after when we took to the white waters at Chong Kemin for rafting, needless to say the 1530m altitude ensured the waters were fresh! Next up was the Jeti Oguz valley for more camping, hiking and horse riding (where we met the lads in the photo) One of the most beautiful hikes takes you to the glacier, or nearer by you can explore the waterfalls. In Kochkor we met one of the famed Eagle hunters, with his beloved golden eagle. The hunters and their eagles have an amazing bond developed over long periods of time. My highlight was the super high (and chilly) Song Kul Lake, which is only accessible in summer due to the snows, so we were lucky to get there. We slept in yurts, all huddled together, making it surprisingly warm! During the day we witnessed some of the traditional Krygyz games which all involved displays of horsemanship. Most impressively, a ring is dropped on the floor and at full gallop the rider has to reach drop to pick it up - now the horses aren't that small - its was brilliant. Also on display was goat polo, the winning team taking home the winnings for dinner, wrestling from horse back and chasing each other around in return for anything from a kiss, to marriage (apparently)! Lower in the valleys we encountered walnut forests in Arslanbob, wild camped near incredible lakes (you can see we even took a dip whilst we waiting for dinner! What a trip - writing this, makes me want to go back as soon as possible!
25 February 2023
We combined a visit to the Serengeti with the Ngorongoro crater for an incredible safari experience. Our first night was spent camping in the Serengeti, the second of the edge of the crater rim. We had sturdy dome tents, perfect for a night in the wild and each camping area had an enclosed cooking area to keep our sausages from being snaffled by a lion! The Ngorongoro crater is a conservation area in northern Tanzania and home Africa's 'big 5' (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino). During our safari we saw herds of wildebeests and zebras grazing the plains, along with elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, hyenas, fox, ostrich and much more. The scenery is dramatic and it feels amazing to be in a basin surrounded by so much wildlife. - Don't forget an extra battery & SD card for the camera. - Wrap up warm for morning safaris - it's pretty chilly! - Wildlife viewing in the crater is excellent all year round - The peak of the wet season is March & April, when it is also colder. The peak visiting time is July to March. - June to October will give you the most sunshine #travel #tanzania #ngorongorocrater #safari #wildlife #wildlifephotography #helenbatemantravel
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