Hello, welcome to my website, and thank you for taking the time to visit.
As an independent Travel Counsellor I can help with any luxury tailor made travel plans you have including beach, ski, family, adventure, round the world, sailing, skiing, Lapland, flights, cruise, city break, scuba diving, tailor-made, wedding, honeymoon, safari or UK breaks.
I can save you lots of time and hassle by searching for your next holiday so you don’t have to. I provide a trustworthy, friendly personal service and everything you book with me is 100% financially protected for peace of mind.
I will plan your holiday using my extensive knowledge from years of working in the travel industry, and my own journeys to over 40 countries worldwide, to make great suggestions and offer hotels and destinations that really suit you.
Please read the testimonials my clients have left below, and read about my previous travel adventures in my blogs.
I am a specialist in the complexities of large groups bookings including multi-generation family groups, sport tours, choral, corporate and university groups.
Please call or email me with your requirements and I will respond immediately, I really look forward to hearing from you!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so please either fill in and send the form below or simply give me a call and I can get things started for you:-
Sent in by L Fuller
Banbury, 23 May 2019
I'd recommend TC to anyone all day long. Jo is absolutely fab and makes the whole process of finding your dream holiday easy!
Sent in by J Grenfell
Bristol, 14 May 2019
I just found Jo sensitive to work with. Jo did her absolute best to deliver a trip for me that met my needs. I really appreciated all her hard work, her knowledge and her lovely warm manner.
Sent in by J Giles
Richmond, 14 May 2019
Jo has been super helpful, I would not hesitate to recommend her to all my friends and family
Sent in by M Spillane
Brackley, 10 May 2019
Jo has provided us with an exceptional service throughout our contact with her, from our initial query to finally booking our holiday. We will not hesitate to use Jo's services again and have recommended her to our friends also for this trip and future bookings.
Sent in by S Procter
Croydon, 23 April 2019
I would recommend Jo to all my friends. She is quick to respond to a request, helpful, understanding and goes the extra mile to get my trip plans exactly right.
Sent in by Zoe Day
Buckingham, 11 April 2019
Jo has found the perfect holiday for me and my son. She couldn’t have been more helpful.
Sent in by Zoe Breakwell
Southam, 11 April 2019
Jo is superb, nothing is too much trouble and she is always our first port of call when booking holidays - thanks again Jo!
Sent in by A Cork
Buckingham, 15 March 2019
Jo is so knowledgeable on travel and I always trust her to find the perfect trip for me and my teenage son. She is helpful, professional, organised and goes above and beyond to ensure you are 100% happy. She always has time for you and the whole experience is a joy and a massive weight off my shoulders as I know I’m going to get the most fantastic holiday.
Sent in by J Buckerfield
Penarth, 04 March 2019
Once again, amazing attention to detail and care with the holiday we were looking for as a family. Thank you!
Sent in by J Grenfell
Bristol, 11 February 2019
Jo has just been excellent in organising my trip. She has been warm friendly and so helpful with suggestions for the trip, listening to what I wanted and has given me a trip that has been a lifetime interest and I am so delighted with what I have.
Sent in by T Cambridge
Woking, 04 December 2018
Jo is a terrific Travel Counsellor and I do recommend her to all of my friends. It's just the friendly service you are looking for when you are trying to navigate making complex travel arrangements, and it's great to have her there if things need amending, or you need support while you're abroad.
Sent in by Giulia Maury
Betchat, 30 November 2018
Jo was very friendly and helpful and listened to what I told her I was looking for. She responded promptly to my questions despite being very busy, gave me various options to choose from and made adjustments when I asked. It made a time consuming and confusing process quick and easy, I already have someone in mind to recommend her services to.
Sent in by Dawn White
Banbury, 15 November 2018
This is the second time we have asked Jo for help with our holiday. She is always very knowledgable, prompt and understanding of our requirements. I have recommended her and the services of travel counsellors to many and will definitely be asking Jo for help again.
Sent in by Tim Looseley
Edinburgh, 13 November 2018
Jo has been fantastic throughout our booking. Taking a sports team of 18 from all over the UK to Las Vegas for a week is no easy task, but with her superb help, we nailed it. We had several changes to our booking but Jo was flexible and accommodating throughout. We wouldn’t hesitate in using Jo again for future bookings and in fact, we would probably ask her to organise the entire event for us!
Sent in by Sandra Procter
Croydon, 26 September 2018
This is my second rather complicated trip which Jo has organised quickly, efficiently and great friendliness. Thank you!
Sent in by Hannah Freeman
Pontypridd, 26 September 2018
Very fast, friendly and experienced service! Created our dream honeymoon, can’t wait for it!
Sent in by Amy Adams
Cardiff, 26 September 2018
Incredibly professional, friendly, quick to respond; Jo has been so helpful and would certainly be our first port of call for future holidays.....thanks Jo!
Sent in by Andrew Ogden
Buckingham, 26 September 2018
Jo has been really helpful - we were booking our first cruise and she had lots of useful information that gave us more confidence in going through this process.
Sent in by Joanna Buckerfield
Llantwit Major, 06 September 2018
Amazing and friendly service. Very patient with making suggestions for our big family catering for 3 families with different criteria. Thank you for all your help Jo,Ii am already recommending you to friends and will undoubtedly be booking with you for our family holiday next year. Thank you
Sent in by Anthony Jones
Penarth, 03 September 2018
It was a last minute decision to go on holiday to Montenegro, a place that we had never visited before, so we needed expert help from someone with knowledge of the area and able to respond quickly. Jo Baldwin who is very personable immediately understood our requirements, and within a few days had put together an attractively packaged itinerary to fit our budget. Everything on our holiday went to plan - planes, transfers and hotel - which was due in part to Jo's contribution. We had a wonderful time and will soon be returning to either Montenegro or Croatia with Jo's help.
Sent in by Cheryl Insley
Wokingham, 18 July 2018
Jo was fantastic from start to finish, a perfect mix of professional, knowledgable and friendly. As this time away was for our honeymoon, we had been struggling more than usual to identify the best location for us at a particular time of year. Jo guided us through several options, providing the perfect amount of contact to allow us to reflect on information she provided but to also help steer us along! We ended up with exactly what we wanted and she helped make the experience even more special. We will definitely look to use her again!
Sent in by Alice Baynham
Penarth, 13 July 2018
We had a fantastic family holiday thanks to Jo's recommendations - she totally got what we wanted, took away all of the time and stress that goes along with booking a holiday, and was on hand throughout to answer questions and to give advice and reassurance. I would recommend Jo without hesitation and we'll definitely use her services again in the future. Thank you Jo!
Sent in by R Burgess
Penarth, 10 July 2018
We've just come back from our third holiday Jo booked and organised for us - and once again it was amazin! We can't wait to book our fourth holiday with Jo soon!
Sent in by Bryan Arnold
Coleford, Somerset, 28 June 2018
Saga Douro River cruise June 2018. Only one couple joined the cruise from Bristol; us! Jo sorted the flight whilst others on the trip had to fly from Gatwick. OK it was rather early, but we had an extra day in Oporto and the Gatwick flight was delayed. I am afraid we did gloat. The flight home was equally good and Saga looked after us very well. If things go wrong or things get complicated Jo knows exactly who to ask(or tell). We are going to Malta in September and Jo already has our trip sorted. Thank you Jo
Sent in by J Barrons
Brackley, 27 June 2018
I always recommend Jo to everyone. She has planned so many holidays for us and we are always thrilled to bits with her choice and perfect planning!
Sent in by Maxine Mcmahon-Brown
Brackley, 16 June 2018
We have used Jo to book family holidays and also special weekends away. Each time she has been efficient and found us a selection of holidays to choose from, which fulfil our requirements. Jo is very helpful and answers queries quickly. She understands holiday requirements for different groups and thinks about the things you forget, which makes booking a holiday through Jo very easy. I would definitely recommend Jo.
Sent in by Steven Rickett
Penarth, 14 June 2018
Jo was very helpful with all aspects of our cruise to Iceland and offered nice little touches which enhanced the experience, such as a bon voyage note before we left and a welcome home message upon our return. A good benefit was the opportunity to select the position of our cabin on the ship, which is not generally available for you book direct with the cruise line, as they will only offer an "ocean guarantee" for an outside cabin. Payment for the holiday couldn't have been simpler using the Travel Counsellors payment portal, with a reasonable deposit payable on booking and the final payment due eight weeks before departure. Jo thenposted the finalised travel documents through our door personally. We would have no hesitation in using Jo's services again in the future.
Sent in by L Cataldo
Brackley, 13 June 2018
I have no hesitation in recommending Jo Baldwin to my friends and family. She has so much patience and really understands your requirements. You don't need to worry if you change your mind about the destination she will happily look at other options for you.
Sent in by A Clark
Sanderstead, 11 June 2018
Jo has been really helpful and has taken a lot of care and attention to help us plan a special break. Many thanks. Will definitely recommend.
Sent in by Roy Hann
Kingsbridge, 11 June 2018
We have just returned from a memorable tour of USA with a 55 strong group visiting Washington, New York also Lancaster and Harrisburg Pa. Jo organised the flights and transportation whilst in the USA for this period and everything went according to plan. Some of the party extended their holiday and all of this was taken care of by Jo in a very efficient and professional manner. She was always available to deal with any query for any member of the party prior to the tour and on hand to deal with any queries whilst on tour. We would thoroughly recommend her to anyone thinking of booking a group tour anywhere in the world.
With independent access to thousands of travel suppliers around the world, I've got an eye for added value. Take a look through my latest selections below. But even if nothing particularly catches your eye - don't worry! Let's chat and I'll take the hassle away from tailoring a perfectly personalised holiday just for you.
Contact me on 02920 003530
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.
16 November 2018
Mark Twain is famously quoted as having said that “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” Never were a truer word said. When you’re on the island of Mauritius the rest of the world suddenly seems irrelevant and quite unnecessary. It is pure paradise, in the truest sense of the word. Located in the vast Indian Ocean just east of Madagascar this small island (28 miles by 40 miles) offers travellers the chance to experience their own version of heaven. Be prepared to cry when it’s time to leave. Don’t believe the misconception...
21 September 2018
On my latest trip to Croatia I returned to the small medieval town of Trogir where I was based as a tour guide working in the early noughties. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been back here, and it’s testament to how enduring Trogir’s charm is. I’m not usually one to return again and again to the same place on holiday but I’d happily spend every summer here. It’s a popular place to start and end Dalmatian Island Cruises and its close proximity to Split airport makes it a great place to spend a night or two...
21 September 2018
Continued from Part 1... From Trogir it’s easy to take a day trip into the nearby city of Split, half an hour away. Split is home to the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace and the ruins are nestled within the pedestrianised old town. The Riva here is equally beautiful and away from the old town Croatia’s second largest city has an urban feel. Klis fortress is nearby and rewards visitors that climb up the steep hill with views that stretch for miles giving you a bird’s eye view all the way to the coast. If you love nature and the...
19 September 2018
When the winter gloom in the Northern Hemisphere gets too bleak and a long-haul holiday isn't an option there are some amazing European Festivals of Light to bring some sparkle back into those winter months! Prague This riverside city rivals Paris for its architectural beauty, art museums and public spaces. The maze of jumbled streets and hidden courtyards are a wanderer’s dream. Czech microbreweries offer a wide range of ales and the city boasts funky cafes and eateries tucked away in narrow streets. Prague is also a great match for the budget-conscious, offering superb value for money. The stunningly beautiful Signal Light...
28 June 2018
Going to the Caribbean was always my dream when I was younger- it had the allure of clear azure seas, tropical paradise, swaying palms and underwater Technicolor. To have been able to visit this part of the world with my job has literally been a dream come true, and I would love to take my family there on holiday as a special treat. If you haven’t been then all the superlatives are true- and photos don’t do it justice. If you’ve been before then you’ll know what I mean- but there are so many places to visit- how do you...
27 June 2018
Travelling isn’t about ticking countries off a list, it’s all about experiences. Here are 30 of my favourite travel experiences whether it is food, people, sounds, sights or smells. These are the things that we remember from our travels, and they’re what make us go back for more. 1. Spain: The smell of sweet jasmine and the sound of delicate flamenco guitar in Seville. 2. Iceland: Floating in the steamy warm waters of the Blue Lagoon as snow falls. 3. China: Wandering ‘The Bund’ (waterfront in Shanghai) at night when the city is lit up and everyone promenades with...
14 June 2018
Here are some of my top travel hacks when visiting Croatia- enjoy! • Croatia has a host of culinary delights in store for visitors. There are gelato shops on every corner, stone baked Italian style pizzerias, fresh seafood and lots of local specialities. Try tangy cheese from Pag Island, truffles from Istria, fresh strudel from the local bakers, and don’t miss the signature dish of Croatia’s Dalmatia Region, a ‘peka’, which is a mix of meat and vegetables drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with herbs, and then baked to perfection under a bell-like dome. • In Dubrovnik follow signs for ‘cold drinks’...
05 June 2018
Ask me where my favourite place in the world is and I’ll answer you in a heartbeat: Croatia. I’m smitten with the crystal clear sapphire sea, the endless beautiful islands and the delicious seafood, wine and gelato. I dream of the summery background hum of cicada tree crickets and the smell of hot crunchy pine needles and sea salt carried on a warm breeze. I admire the humour and warmth of the infinitely welcoming Croatian people. The 1,100-mile stretch of coast and more than 1000 islands means there are a surprising variety of places to choose from when planning a...
31 May 2018
Written by Steve Rickett, 29th May 2018 In May we boarded the Cruise and Maritime vessel Marco Polo for an 11-day Icelandic adventure. After a prompt departure we made stately progress through the lock and entered the Bristol Channel, choosing to miss dinner to witness the familiar landmarks of Penarth, seen from the top deck rather than from dry land. The Marco Polo is a classic ship built by the Russians as an ice breaker in 1965 and it looks like what you’d expect a ship to look like, rather than a floating multi-storey hotel. Being small and perfectly formed, it does...
11 April 2018
Travelling with children can be a daunting prospect, no matter if it’s your first or fifth child! When you book a family holiday with me I take care of all the little details, from pre-booked seating on the flights to arranging for a cot or kids bed in your room or car seats on the transfers/car hire to top family hotel and destination recommendations. Just call me to find out more. Here are my top 20 travel tips based on personal experience. 1. Bring a change of clothes for your little one – and for you! Take warm clothes for...
02 August 2017
As anyone who’s ever talked to me about travel knows, Croatia is my favourite place on earth and I never grow tired of going back there on holiday. This time I revisited Dubrovnik, where I worked as a tour leader 10 years ago for Explore Worldwide. I was excited to go back and see how things had changed and visit some of my favourite hotels in the area. We went for a week, staying in a two-bedroom apartment Villa Curic located in Lapad, about 10 minutes bus ride from the old town overlooking Gruz Port. The apartments were excellent...
29 June 2017
Club Med were our delightful hosts in Marrakesh, staying at the Club Med Marrakech La Palmeraie Hotel only ten minutes from the city centre. This was my first visit to a Club Med property, and I was delighted to be greeted in the impressive high ceilinged reception area with a cold towel and a drink and most importantly lots of smiling welcomes! The hotel is set within Morocco's oldest palm grove and is built in traditional Moroccan style which includes lots of shaded walkways leading to impressive, mature gardens with calming, cooling water features. My room was warmly decorated...
30 April 2017
Although I’ve travelled a lot in Central America this was my first time in South America and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am lucky to have friends living in Medellin, the country’s second largest city nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, so this was my first port of call. The city is nestled in a steep sided valley and has worked hard to shake off its history as one of the most dangerous cities on the planet. The cable car across Medellin is a relatively new construction and is one of the many physical signs...
05 September 2016
America’s Deep South is an area drenched in history, musical legends and famed for its Southern hospitality. We set off to attend a friend’s wedding in Tennessee - but not before we’d road tripped from New Orleans to Memphis and Nashville first - 1,600 miles on the road! New Orleans was everything I had expected and so much more. We stayed in the Hyatt in the French Quarter next to Bourbon Street, an area with busy bars and crowds of tourists. We managed to visit much of the city on foot - enjoying the riverside and aquarium as well...
08 August 2016
I’ve had many happy clients go on Neilson holidays so I decided that this summer we’d pack our bags and head to a Neilson resort in Turkey and see what the fuss is all about! With two 8 year old boys in tow we were hoping they’d be kept busy whilst we had time to relax and we were not disappointed. ‘Relax as hard as you want’ is Neilson’s motto and I thought I'd put this to the test! Whilst I experienced the ultimate sunbed and pool relaxation, both boys loved the kids clubs and experienced paddle boarding,...
31 July 2016
Whilst in Saint Lucia I had the opportunity to visit three hotels on the island, all of which had unique personalities and offer very different experiences. I must admit I didn’t want to check out and leave any of them! Rendezvous is a couple’s only, all-inclusive hotel situated on a two mile stretch of Malabar beach. The atmosphere here is laid back and friendly, and the rooms are luxurious and spacious. It’s worth paying to upgrade to a newly renovated Verandah Suite - the comfy daybeds on the terrace and wow factor interior complete with standalone bath and rain...
30 November 2015
One of the most frequent questions I get asked about the Northern Lights is one that’s unfortunately quite difficult to answer: when and where is the best time to travel abroad to see the Northern Lights? It is the $64,000 question as everyone wants to give themselves the best chance of glimpsing the famous Aurora Borealis. The best places to go depend on what you want to do when you get there. For a city break with a twist, Reykjavik in Iceland is hard to beat, although Tromso in Norway is equally popular. For a more remote break it’s...
28 October 2015
Mauritius is best known as a honeymoon destination, and its reputation for classic white palm-fringed sandy beaches and turquoise waters is not misplaced. It is however becoming an increasingly popular destination for families who want a great alternative to Europe for school holidays in summer, or as a contender to the Caribbean in winter. Mauritius also caters for any activity you can name whether it’s scuba diving, horse riding, kite surfing, walking alongside giant tortoises, boat and snorkelling trips, shopping, hiking and mountain biking - to name a few! This is not just a beach destination - there is...
23 June 2015
I have always wanted to visit the Caribbean islands, it’s somewhere that’s been my dream destination since I was small. When I had the opportunity to visit on an educational trip with Virgin holidays I was over the moon, although I was concerned that my extremely high expectations may mean I was disappointed. I am happy to report that I wasn’t- in fact Antigua exceeded my expectations in every way and is literally heaven on earth. This is really my idea of a perfect destination- sunshine, stunning coastline, friendly people, amazing food and loads to see and do. Virgin...
11 May 2015
I must admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I set foot onboard Celebrity’s most popular cruise ship for the UK, Eclipse. I was lucky enough to experience this two night cruise from Southampton to Le Havre, a ‘taster’ of what life at sea has to offer with Celebrity. The ship was at maximum capacity- 2,850 passengers- and has just completed a refurbishment which has left it looking fresh and modern. Celebrity Cruises challenge all previously held conceptions about cruising with their ‘Modern Luxury’ approach and are enticing people who had never considered cruising to give it a try. And...
01 January 2015
Firstly, the weather in Seville at the end of September is perfect - warm, sunny, but not too hot and perfect for sitting out on a pavement café in the evening watching the world go by. I was in heaven! The smell of sweet jasmine, the taste of amazing bread, cheese and tapas, the sound of delicate flamenco guitar, the sight of colourful ceramics, brightly painted buildings and palm trees waving - these are all of the things I loved about Seville, plus so much more! There’s so much to see in this amazing city that we ended up hiring...
01 January 2015
I’m a massive fan of the sunshine so when I had the chance to visit Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt in December I jumped at it! This is a fantastic destination for winter sun. We took boat trips to coral fringed islands, rode camels in the desert whilst the sun set, star gazed, watched fire jugglers and snorkelled for hours on end! I wasn’t expecting the scenery at Sharm to be so breath-taking. The jagged mountains rise steeply from the coast giving the whole place a gorgeous backdrop - the mountain’s colours change every minute and a trip out into...
28 March 2014
March is quite early to visit the Balearic Islands and we had mixed weather but it was perfect for sightseeing and we certainly saw a lot in 4 days. The island is popular for biking at this time of year- the empty, winding roads and mild but sunny weather makes perfect conditions for cyclists. There is blossom everywhere in March so the countryside is beautiful. We hired a car and spent the first day driving from our base near Palma to the south coast and the pretty bay of Canyamel, where I spent my holidays as a child....
04 September 2013
Quite simply, my favourite country in the world is Croatia. What I love about it is the crystal clear sapphire sea, the endless beautiful islands, the delicious seafood, wine, ice-cream, the hum of cicadas (tree crickets), the smell of warm pine needles and sea salt carried on a warm breeze, the humour and warmth of the Croatian people and the fact that the country remains unspoilt by tourism. I have previously worked for several seasons in Croatia on Explore Worldwide’s Dalmatian Island Cruise, an 8 day tour of island highlights. I truly believe that one of the...
02 September 2013
To bear witness to one of nature’s most spectacular light shows, the Northern Lights, has always been on my ‘bucket list’. For this trip to Lapland we were based in Karesuando village, deep within the Arctic Circle on the border of Sweden and Finland. Our accommodation was in a quaint little timber cabin nestled amidst several feet of snow. Almost as soon as the sun set there was a knock on my door and a cry of ‘The Lights are out!’ I quickly bundled my son in a duvet and we rushed out into the icy landscape so we could...
08 August 2013
Our latest trip to Croatia was first to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Trogir, a medieval walled town situated on an island a mere ten-minute bus ride from Split airport. This pretty town has a labyrinth-style network of narrow cobbled streets, Venetian stone buildings and shaded courtyards blossoming with flowers. Trogir is a town with soul, and despite the tourist crowds in August, it has a lived-in feel with locals sipping coffee on the Riva (waterfront) alongside visitors from every corner of the globe, adding to the town’s already cosmopolitan air. Large yachts and rugged wooden oldtimer boats...
31 May 2012
Our second visit to Turkey’s Lycian coast was a twin centre holiday. Flying into Dalaman airport, the first half was spent in the seaside town of Fethiye, and the second half at the famous ‘blue lagoon’ in Olu Deniz. Fethiye harbour is a picturesque bay with rows of large and small boats lined up and cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront. It’s a wonderful place to watch the world go by and soak up the atmosphere. Unlike other towns in this area, it does not feel touristy but you will find numerous British people who have...
08 May 2006
I was fortunate as a tour leader to be assigned to a 13 day tour of Kerala, India. I was there for several months from September to April- the best time for visiting although it can get very hot and humid. This small slip of land by the coast in India is known as ‘Gods Own Country’ and it's easy to see why. The coast is lush verdant green with palm trees as far as the eye can see leading down to warm waters and sandy beaches. Kerala is most renowned for the hundreds of miles...