Hi, I’m John - Welcome!
Based on the West Coast of Scotland, I joined Travel Counsellors in 2006 and have built a solid business established on the foundation of looking after and caring for my clients, most of whom have become friends.
Over the years, I’ve gained an extensive worldwide travel knowledge, especially in Australia, working with Tourism Australia and my details can be found on the Australia.com website. I also travel to Australia regularly to keep my knowledge and contacts up to date. However, I don’t just sell Australia and New Zealand! I take pride in creating the perfect itinerary for my customers no matter where they want to travel to, whether it is a Mediterranean beach or cruise, a walking holiday, road trip, sporting holiday or anything else. The majority of clients come back regularly and use me for all types of travel, and then go onto recommend me to others. It is something I am very proud of.
With 19 years’ experience, I specialise in tailor made holidays, but I am also fully experienced in Corporate travel and look after my business clients to the same level as I do my leisure ones. I am able to offer exclusive negotiated airfares and hotels worldwide as well as everything from meetings and events to incentives. Please click on my corporate website for more information.
The arrival of COVID in early 2020 has made it a very difficult year for everyone, not least the Travel Industry. Throughout the year I have been open for business, looking after my clients and some of my testimonials reflect this. I strongly believe we will all travel safely again in 2021 and that now is the time to dream of those trips that we will take.
My clients/friends are at the heart of everything I do. My sole purpose is to create fantastic lifelong memories that you will carry with you as the years pass and hopefully I can help you add to them as you go.
Travel broadens the mind – it makes us better people and is good for our wellbeing. This remarkable world is our stage, so no matter how you do it, go out and experience it.
Douglas Ivester said: “Never let your Memories be Greater than your Dreams!”
Please feel free to get in touch at any time and it will be my pleasure to help.
Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:-
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.
05 August 2019
It was early morning when I stepped off the direct BA overnight service from London to Durban and felt fine, partially due to the 1-hour time difference, and I was looking forward to spending 10 days exploring KwaZulu Natal. I was there courtesy of South African Tourism and along with the other agents the first thing we did was meet out guide Thoko, who turned out to be one of the nicest people I have ever met and one of the 2 best guides I have ever travelled with. Due to the early arrival we couldn’t check in yet so...
06 May 2013
Not having been on holiday for over a year, my wife Karen and I were looking forward to getting away to the sunshine and to the luxurious Sani Beach Resort, in Halkidiki, Greece. It was a simple Easyjet flight from Manchester to Thessaloniki, landing around lunchtime and once we cleared immigration our transfer was waiting to take us the 50 minutes down the coast to the resort. Upon arrival our room wasn’t ready so we sat on the terrace with a glass of bubbly and relaxed until we could get in. It is a big self-contained resort consisting of four different hotels...
05 June 2010
I was in Australia to attend the Australian Tourism Exchange, held in Adelaide this year and after 90+ meetings in 4 days and several functions, I was ready to get into the outback. The flight from Adelaide took about 2 hours and landed at Alice Springs just before lunchtime. I hadn’t visited The Red Centre for 19 years and I was very keen to see if it was as I remembered. The first thing that challenged my memory was the location of my hotel, The Chifley Alice Springs. It was further out of the town centre than I thought, still a...
25 June 2008
My reason for going to Montenegro was twofold; to take a relaxing break out of the office and to have a look at what promises to be a new and exciting European holiday destination. My wife, Karen and I flew into Dubrovnik where we had hired a car. We left the airport and within 30 minutes, we were through the border and into Montenegro, heading for Kotor. To get there we had to go through Herceg Novi, the largest town in the area, before taking a 10 minute ferry ride to Lepetani. Once off the ferry it was...
05 May 2008
I arrived in Broken Hill after an 11 hour train journey from The Blue Mountains, just outside Sydney. The train is a great way to move long distances and we were greeted with a fantastic sunset over the horizon as we approached Broken Hill. Once we had deposited our bags in the motel, it was off to sample the local hospitality along with my travelling companions, who were with 5 other travel agents on a 10 day tour around New South Wales and Victoria using the Australian Rail Network. The West Darling Hotel is the oldest licensed hotel...
03 May 2008
On arrival in Sydney, although a bit bleary eyed after a long flight, the sun was shining and it felt good to be back in the Land of Oz. I was with some other Travel Agents and we were about to undertake a 10 day tour around New South Wales and Victoria using the Australian Rail Network. We only had 1 day in Sydney so it was jam packed with places to go and sites to see. Once we had checked into our hotel and had a quick change of clothes, we were off to explore, starting...
Sent in by Susan Grant
Helensburgh, 01 December 2020
I asked John to help me book a special holiday for my husbands birthday. I'm so glad I did, not only did he have the knowledge to make sure our trip would be amazing, helping with advice on shows, extra trips/visas etc, and he was on the phone straight away offering assistance and reassurance when the trip had to be put on hold due to COVID. We haven't yet rebooked as we are awaiting for the right time. We have felt no pressure to rebook and have been offered a refund if that is the best option for us. I wouldn't hesitate to highly recommend John to be your Travel Consultant.
Sent in by Robert McCall
Helensburgh, 30 November 2020
I was due to travel to Sri Lanka on 14 March 2020 to take part in an escorted tour of the country and I was getting ready to leave for the airport when just before 9am, my Travel Counsellor John rang to say that overnight the Tour company had cancelled the tour, due to an increase in COVID numbers. The flight was still going ahead but there was no point in me taking it and thanks to John’s swift action I was saved a lot of unnecessary travel. John updated me in early May with details of the credit for my cancelled trip. However, although I had been advised I would receive a credit voucher, I did not get this until late November, despite me contacting John weekly from mid-October to chase it and it was a frustrating wait. John advised the delay was due to a combination of an admin issue with the Tour Company and a delay at Travel Counsellors Head Office in processing the voucher, partly due to COVID related staffing issues. This is the first time in many years that I have had any issues with Travel Counsellors, and I have to say that on this occasion they have fallen a little short of their extremely high standards. Going forward Travel Counsellors and John Spy will always be my first contact for any future travel arrangements I still highly recommend John to anyone looking to book a holiday.
Sent in by Stephen Malloy
Glasgow, 30 November 2020
The arrival of COVID created a massive disappointment for many people who had holidays planned. For us, 2020 was to be the “big one” and John had worked tirelessly to make it happen. As events unfolded, John kept us abreast of the changing situation right up to the point where we all had to accept it was off. The disappointment was immense, but John was quick to outline the options – refunds, credits and so forth – and was also keen to understand if we wanted to re-plan our holiday for 2021. We agreed that we really wanted to retry for 2021, and John never let up on his efforts to elicit the best possible deals he could from the various companies involved in the trip. His regular emails kept us up to date on options, decisions to be made, recommendations and suggested changes so that we never felt out of the loop. Fingers crossed, we will have our holiday in 2021 and it will be both better and better value and that’s down to John’s unstinting efforts. We can’t thank him enough.
Sent in by Rhian Thomas
Swansea, 30 November 2020
After much running around by John to find the perfect last minute booking for a Greek island trip ( I was being very picky as to the island, airport, accommodation etc) the perfect package was put together. Payment was made and within a day or so the particular island was removed from the travel corridor, making the holiday non viable as we couldn’t self isolate on return. I was concerned that I would only be offered a credit note and a full refund would be unlikely. Also, bearing in mind what I have heard of the difficulties people are having with COVID related holiday cancellations and the number of thwarted travel plans TC were dealing with, the whole process would take some time. I was delighted to say that John kept in regular touch with us throughout, providing status updates and the FULL REFUND was made within a couple of weeks! I was delighted and am looking forward to when John can take care of our travel plans in future. Exceptional service – as usual.
Sent in by Anne Skinner
Falkirk, 22 July 2019
I would never go anywhere else to arrange any trip for business or leisure. John Spy is my only choice and I always recommend John to friends and business contacts.
Sent in by Brendan Lynch
Bahrain and Durban, 22 July 2019
Always a pleasure to deal with John. Reliable, knowledgeable and committed.
Sent in by Maryse McCormick
Motherwell, 22 July 2019
We love having the personal service provided by John at Travel Counsellors and the ease of booking our holiday. The service is second to none!
Sent in by Rebecca Skinner
Ayr, Scotland, 22 July 2019
John Spy has been wonderful from start till now and no doubt when we get to Florence also. He has put up with our indecision, endless questions and endless calls. He has done everything and more for us. Given we wanted to fly from Glasgow Prestwick not Glasgow International and the wedding we have in the middle made dates and times awkward. He worked around this and worked his best on getting us the specific apartment we needed and wanted. I cannot fault anything. I'd encourage anyone to use him even if its just for peace of mind. Utterly brilliant.
Sent in by Clare Brum
Cobham, 21 March 2016
John is absolutely brilliant and takes time to understand exactly what we need. With small children and demanding jobs we wouldn't ever have time to put in the research that he does. Even when we know where we want to go, having the peace of mind that he will check everything so thoroughly, make any special enquiries on our behalf and get the best price is a godsend.
Sent in by Nigel Fidlan
Woodford Green, Essex, 01 March 2016
We've been availing ourselves of John's services for many years now and he always delivers. Nothing is too much trouble. You can talk to John, you can't to a website. And by the way, he's a very nice man!
Sent in by Graeme McCormick
Motherwell, 26 January 2016
John always does a fantastic job going the extra mile and can be absolutely relied on to make sure that the holiday booked is exactly what you want and always exceeds our expectations. Thanks.
Sent in by Gillian Croan
Glasgow, 26 January 2016
I have recommended John to friends and family - his dedicated service is fast and easy and takes all the hassle out of booking a holiday. Knowing he is there to assist throughout if needed, provides great peace of mind.
Sent in by Malcolm Ross
Helensburgh, 26 January 2016
The Travel Counsellors experience, from my wife and I's point of view, is exemplary. The level of personal service, contact, and thoroughness, is second to none. We simply don't consider going anywhere else for our travel requirements. John Spy is a shining example of this ultimate level of service, and we both unreservedly recommend him to anyone thinking of using Travel Counsellors, whole-heartedly!
Sent in by Nancy Brown
Kent, 26 January 2016
John has been extremely helpful with ensuring our holiday is perfect to what we're looking for.
Sent in by Susan Ross
Helensburgh, 02 June 2015
John always listens to what you're looking for and comes up with great packages. I'm always happy to recommend him to others.
Sent in by Ruairidh and Zara MacDonald
Glasgow, 03 July 2008
We came across Travel Counsellors and John Spy completely by chance at a Wedding Fair. We had never heard of Travel Counsellors, and when we spoke with John, he seemed very knowledgeable and helpful in the advice he was giving us. We planned to get married abroad and had already decided the location would be Langkawi in Malaysia. There was so many things to arrange and we didn't know where to start. We had been to the main travel agents already and although quite helpful, we did not feel that they could arrange many of the personal details that we were wanting. When we spoke to John, he was full of ideas and options that we could choose from. After meeting him at the wedding fair, he called us and listened to what we wanted from our trip. Following on from that he kept in touch by phone and emails, constantly letting us know what our options were and giving us as much information as possible. This was not an easy trip to plan as we had to arrange all the legal requirements to get married in Malaysia and we wanted to visit more than one part of the country, whilst getting married. John's advice regarding the country and the hotels was invaluable. We had already decided on a particular hotel, but then we weren't sure if it was the right choice. John gave us some alternative options and provided some excellent advice. The hotel we chose to get married in, with John's help could not have been better. John also advised us on all the correct legal paperwork that had to be arranged in the UK as well as what we had to do when we got to Malaysia. Without this help, I think we might still be emailing embassies. What really stood out was the personal service that we got from John; we felt that everything was taken care of for us. We were away for over three weeks and on the honeymoon part of our trip, we wanted to see Orang-utan’s in Borneo. John found us a hotel that had its own Orang-utan sanctuary, which was fantastic. It was through John's knowledge and contacts that we managed to have the most memorable trip ever, and a wedding day that we will never forget. We both cannot recommend John enough and will always be very grateful to him.
From the pristine white-sand beaches of Thailand’s idyllic islands to the sprawling wide-open roads of the USA; the historic and breathtakingly beautiful architecture of India to the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Maldives – there’s a world of wonder out there and it’s just waiting to be explored.
Contact me on 01436 897480