Based in Helensburgh

John Spy

Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here

It's Nice To Meet You

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 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. Being a proud Scot, I am also happy to tailor make itineraries for clients looking to come and experience the majesty of this fantastic country, from the cities to the highlands and islands, the beauty is incredible. 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 all the years of 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.

COVID made life very difficult for everyone, especially those of us in the travel industry, which is why, now we are hopefully out the other side, people can travel again and make up for lost time. Throughout 2020 and 2021 I remained open for Business and kept looking after my clients and some of my testimonials reflect this. While we have not yet fully returned to the simplicity of pre Covid travel it is possible to get away and tick off those bucket list adventures and now we are all travelling safely again it is the time to dream and plan of those trips that we can now 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.


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My Blog

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.

Fun in Durban and KwaZulu Natal

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 after a quick freshen up we headed into Durban city centre, specifically the Moses Machida stadium, where some of the more insane members of our group were going to do the ‘Big Swing’ and jump off one of the huge curved struts that goes over the stadium. It was inspiring to watch, and I truly wish I could have done it but knew that it wasn’t for me. Next I found myself whizzing along Durban’s promenade on a Segway. Having been on one before it is always fun and I saw many people swimming and surfing in the water, bearing in mind it’s Africa’s winter. We went down one of the piers and it was fun to watch the kids jumping off the pier into the waves before swimming to shore to do it again. That evening I found myself in the fabulous Oyster box Hotel in Umhlanga, where along with my colleagues we had a brief tour of the property before experiencing their famous Indian buffet dinner. The following day was spent touring around Durban, and I was lucky enough to go out to a township not far from the city centre. There we met some kids who were playing in the street and myself and a Scottish colleague took about 20 of these kids on in an impromptu game of footy: Scotland vs South Africa. Needless to say we lost, but a great time was had by all, especially the kids! After a couple of days in Durban, it was time to head inland for the Midlands region. En route to our hotel we stopped at Nelson Mandela’s capture site which was incredible! It comes complete with a museum and a unique sculpture made up of 50 metal rods individually placed into the ground vertically. As you walk down the hill towards the sculpture there is a point where, from nowhere, Mandela’s face is displayed on the sculpture. It is very clever! We overnighted at the beautiful Fordoun Hotel and Spa and visited an English style pub and brewery where they also distilled gin. I always find it a privilege to be able to chat with the brewers themselves and find out snippets of information about what they do. After breakfast the next day we continued west up to the top of the Drakensberg Mountains and spent 2 nights at Lodge located at approx. 2448m above sea level. It was a quiet evening as the next day I was doing something I had never done before. The group was split with some going on a mountain trek and the rest of us doing a horse trek very close to the border with Lesotho. In fact, we crossed the border and it was great to see shepherds and their dogs wandering the hills looking after their flocks. They live a very lonely and simple life but in today’s busy world that sort of existence can be appealing. This was the first time I had ever been on a horse and was slightly concerned about it, although I had no need to be It was quite comfortable, and I didn’t fall off which can only be seen as a bonus! By the time we returned to our lodge, the clouds had moved in and we spent the rest of the night inside a cloud, which was both different and interesting. It was a beautiful morning when I rose the next day and was pleased not to experience any sore muscles following my sting in the saddle. Back in the minibus we headed for one of the places I was most looking forward to. Very shortly after arriving at our accommodation we headed off to Rorke’s Drift, the battle of which was made famous by the film ‘Zulu’ starring Michael Cain and was where a British garrison of only about 150 successful defended the area against 3000 – 4000 thousand Zulu warriors. One of the family who owned our accommodation, Douglas Rattray, explained the story of the battle in great and very interesting detail and why there were 11 Victoria Crosses won by the British in that battle, more so than in any other battle ever. Not too far away from Rorke’s Drift is the scene of the battle of Isandlwana, which happened earlier in the day of the Rorke’s Drift battle, but sadly with a different outcome. Here, a force of about 20,000 Zulus wiped out more than 1300 British soldiers and being given the story of the battle on the actual site of it was incredible, surrounded by many cairns of white stones that mark some of the graves of those who fell. This tour was told by another great storyteller, a Zulu, who was related to those who fought in the battle of Isandlwana. Before coming to KwaZulu Natal, I was not aware that it had any game reserves, not least that it could offer sightings of the Big5. However, it can, and it does. We were very fortunate enough to spend 2 nights at Nambiti Plains Game Reserve and although we didn’t see any leopards, we did see 4 of the Big 5 along with many other animals including cheetah, serval and an incredible moonlight viewing of hippos out of the water eating. That doesn’t happen every day! This lodge is brilliant as it has a water hole right in front of it and there are plenty of options to see wildlife without even leaving the lodge. I have been fortunate to have been on safari before and absolutely love it and would love to have stayed a bit longer but unfortunately my time in KwaZulu Natal was running out. The last stop was back at the coast in a beautiful seaside town called Ballito, north of Durban. Our time here was limited but the feel for the upmarket town and the nearby area of Umbloti where we had lunch was great. They are upmarket areas that are beautiful and buoyant with good facilities and great golden beaches and being close to the airport makes them perfect for a relaxing break before heading home. The only thing about having a great trip like this is that you have to come home, and we had an early morning departure back to London and after which I had another flight up to Scotland. However, I absolutely had a ball in Durban and KZN and would definitely like to visit again and it is a fantastic winter destination!

Sensational Sani Beach Resort

08 June 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 and a marina. Each of the hotels is different, with their own atmosphere. We were staying in the main hotel which is the biggest and has a lovely freeform pool and 2 beaches to choose from. One of the highlights for us was the staff as they couldn’t be faulted. They are without doubt the resort’s biggest feature. Everyone is keen to chat with you and is happy to do as much or as little as you want. The following day we took the five minute walk from the hotel to the marina. As we strolled through the gardens I was struck by how well kept they were, with colourful flowers and fresh herbs growing throughout. The marina is beautiful and has some expensive yachts and motor boats tied up. We strolled past the shops, cafes and restaurants, and there was a sense of calm throughout, making it a lovely place to sit, have a coffee or a glass of local wine and people watch. During our stay we ate at quite a few of the restaurants here and didn’t have a bad meal. Everything was fresh, simple and tasty and I highly recommend the lasagne at the Macaroni Trattatoria. We made use of the resort’s dine-around program, which encompasses 17 restaurants, and on occasion when we didn’t use the dine-around; we were still able to get the cost of our meal charged back to the room. In our second week, we celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary and went on a sunset cruise before having a lovely celebratory dinner at the Porto Sani Village Hotel. The staff had heard about our anniversary and had made a beautiful chocolate cake for us, which they brought out at the end of our meal. Whilst in the resort I was lucky enough to have a look at all the hotels. The exclusive Asterias Suites are located on the marina and beach and have some lovely beach front rooms. The Porto Sani Village, directly behind the marina has a beautiful pool and bar area and I think that when we go back this is where we will stay. The Sani Beach Club is at the other end of the bay from the main hotel. There are some lovely junior suites here which have the only ‘private’ pools in the resort and there is a traditional and much photographed Ouzerie restaurant, where we ate on our last night. I am a bit of a night owl and like evening entertainment on holiday. We were at the resort right at the start of the season and things were just starting to happen. There was live music in the hotels, weekly DJ parties at a couple of the beach bars and a show team who perform four live shows a week, so there was always something going on. I can also recommend the Mojito bar in the marina which has different things on, including a wonderful ‘Latin night’. This is a beautiful, relaxing and very family friendly resort, which Karen and I would like to go back to. There is too much information on the resort and the hotels for me to give here, so for some personal experience and recommendations please give me a ring.

Touring the Red Centre

29 July 2011

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 simple 10 minute stroll though, crossing the dried up River Todd into Todd Mall, the heart of the town. The rest of the day was spent exploring and getting used to the heat. In the evening I tried to get some cash from a bank without any joy – it pays to tell your bank where you're going. After a call home everything was sorted and it just proves that even Travel Counsellors can get caught out! I had arranged a tour through APT and the next day I was collected by the bus and hit the road. Mid-morning we stopped at a camel farm where there was an excellent breakfast and great cup of tea and some passengers took the chance to ride a camel. Back on the bus we headed off along the Red Centre Way. My home for tonight was Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge and I got dropped off at a roadside junction where my transfer to the lodge was waiting. On arrival at the lodge the first thing I saw was a huge bank of solar panels that tracked the sun and powered the camp. The ‘cabins’ were excellent – air conditioned, lots of space and really comfortable beds. In the afternoon I explored the base of Kings Canyon and while many people opt for the climb and walk around the rim, the base walk offers an equally great experience. Dinner that evening was around the camp fire and a chance to meet some of my fellow guests. Stories were told, beer was drunk and the 3 course dinner was fantastic. After breakfast the following morning there was a tour of the grounds with some ancient aboriginal rock engravings and some great views. Back at the lodge I made my goodbyes and promised to return before heading off to meet the bus to take me into Yulara, which is a purpose built resort at the red centre. Arriving at lunchtime and I got dropped off at The Desert Garden Hotel and was lucky as my room had a great view of Ayer’s Rock, or Uluru as it is more properly known. After settling in I met with someone from the resort that was showing me around the different hotels on offer. Unfortunately my planned “Sounds of Silence” dinner was missed as the afternoon tour of the resort hotels took longer than expected, but I did see a great sunset and took some fantastic photos. Later I was lucky enough to have dinner with the resort manager and a couple of drinks before heading to bed after a long day. Bright and early the following morning I got picked up by the coach and taken to the viewing platform for sunrise over Uluru. When the sunrise came it was simply stunning! This huge monolith simply changes colour with the sun and despite actually being grey it has the ability to turn several shades of orange. I was grateful that I had an electronic camera so I couldn’t run out of film. Once the sun was up we toured the circumference of the rock stopping to learn about the cultural significance of Uluru and also visited the cultural centre where we learned about the dreamtime and saw some original artwork. Next we travelled to Kata Tjuta, otherwise known as The Olgas, and walked into one of the gorges. This remarkable formation of 36 domes has some sheer walls that flank you and some of the plants are so rare they can only be found here. After the walk it was time to head back to the resort, settle up and head to the airport. As I looked out at Uluru and Kata Tjuta from the plane I was sorry to be leaving this incredible place, but very glad that I came back and vowed I would not leave it so long till I returned again.

Magnificent Montenegro

18 July 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 a short drive on a very narrow road before arriving at the village of Muo, by Kotor, where our apartment was. Being almost single track in places, this was an exciting way to end our journey, passing through lots of villages with people just sitting by the water’s edge in the evening heat. We opened the doors to the apartment about 90 minutes after arriving in Dubrovnik. I rose first in the morning and opened the French doors from the lounge out onto the terrace. I was first knocked back by the heat and then by the stunning view that greeted me, which simply took my breath away. Directly in front lay the beautiful Kotor Fjord with the old town being dwarfed by a large mountain on the other side, about half a mile away. Kotor’s old town is like a smaller version of Dubrovnik, containing plazas, churches, narrow cobbled streets and intimate shops. Outside the main gate is the harbour where there are some beautiful yachts and motor boats tied up and an area dedicated to a daily market. Close by is a beach which is small, and quite stony with a bar to one side from where you can dive straight into the warm water. There are also some water polo courts, sun beds and parasols for rent. The locals use this beach a lot and come out in force late in the afternoon. There are many adolescents and families, which is indicative of this whole region. Family seems to be important as most things are done as a family unit. After a couple of days acclimatising, we headed for the main tourist town of Budva. This was an easy drive of about 30 minutes and on arrival we found it very commercialised and geared up for tourism. It has beach bars, open-air nightclubs, restaurants, market stalls, playgrounds and many water sports. As it was very busy, we moved off further down the coast heading for the Sveti Stefan peninsula. When we arrived at ‘Sweaty Stefan’ as we called it (apologies to the Montenegrins), it was lovely with two quiet beaches and only a couple of bars/restaurants. This small peninsula is one of the most recognised photos in Montenegro and is located at the bottom of a windy hill. At the top of the hill there are some apartments, shops and a couple of hotels. As this was such a nice place, we stayed here in the sun for a few hours before heading slightly further back along the coast to Przno/Sveti Stefan Beach that we had found by error, earlier in the day. At the waters edge there are two small beaches with some beach bars and restaurants and slightly further back there are a few shops and some more restaurants. This area was very pretty and quite upmarket. The water was crystal clear and as it was late afternoon, the beaches were busy. We had a lovely dinner here of pizza and chicken in a restaurant where we could almost dangle our feet in the water. When we go back to Montenegro, I think we will base ourselves here, in Przno/Sveti Stefan, as it has character, is beautiful and was more intimate and less manic than Budva. Montenegro has lots to offer with beautiful scenery, beautiful buildings and beautiful people, with a cost of living that is slightly cheaper than the UK, although that may change. In the week we were there, we hardly heard anyone speaking English. My advice would be to visit it soon……but don’t tell anyone about it!

Beautiful Broken Hill, Australia

08 October 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 in Broken Hill and is a typical 'Aussie' pub. Being a Monday night it was quite quiet and I think the owners Kevin and Mary were a bit surprised when we arrived. We spent a few hours chatting with the locals and playing pool before heading for bed as we had an early rise the following morning to go out to Mutawintji National Park, 130kms into the outback. It was a dusty drive but an enjoyable one looking at the barren but fascinating landscape. Mutawintji is a special place for Aboriginal people as it used to be a place for large gatherings. On arrival we were met by our Aboriginal guide who took us on a walking tour, explaining the significance of the rock art as we went. We even saw a solitary Kangaroo hopping over the rocks. It is hard to put your finger on it, but there is something special about Mutawintji. You just feel it. There is a beauty, tranquillity and history of the site that combines to work a special kind of magic. On returning to Broken Hill we toured some of it’s many art galleries including the house and artworks that once belonged to the infamous rebel artist Pro Hart, who lived and died in Broken Hill. We were also lucky enough to chat with one of Australia’s greatest living artists, Jack Absalom in his gallery. Although I am quite selective about the art that I like, Jack’s pictures are a joy to look at. He is a fascinating man with many stories to tell, but don’t get him started on cricket or rugby! Broken Hill used to be a mining town. As a result there are many places to buy opals and other gems. One of these is the Silver City Mint & Art centre, which is home to the world’s biggest acrylic painting – Ando’s Big Picture – which is 12 metres high by 100 metres long. You step ‘into the picture’ from the side and it is an incredible jaw dropping experience. It is a 360 degree picture of the Aussie outback and has to be seen to be believed. Every now and then he comes back to add or change something, so you are never quite sure if it is ever finished. After a long day it was back to our hotel so we could get washed and changed before going out for dinner to a fine dining restaurant called Broken Earth, which sits on top of a hill in the middle on the town, offering some great views of the sunset. The next morning we were off once again into the outback – first of all to have a cruise on the Darling River before visiting the town of Silverton, which you will have seen before as it has appeared in many films, TV series and adverts such as Mad Max II and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It really is the quintessential outback town. Like Broken Hill, it has a few small art galleries, a large reservoir and the incredible Mundi Mundi Look Out, which overlooks the Mundi Mundi plains. These are flatlands that seem to go on forever. It is so flat you can actually see the curve of the earth. We watched the sun go down with a glass of Aussie wine in our hands – just brilliant! En route back into Silverton our minibus got a flat tyre, so we left the guides to fix it and walked off into the darkness heading for the Silverton Hotel, which was about a mile away. Walking through the desert in the pitch darkness is an incredible experience as it is perfectly silent and you can see millions of stars in the night sky. We arrived at the hotel without any mishap and got ourselves ready for “The Challenge”. “The Challenge” at the Silverton Hotel has grown in notoriety throughout Australia and we were advised to try it before arriving in Broken Hill. The details of “The Challenge” are a closely guarded secret, so I can’t say what it consists of, but suffice to say all those that undertook it, passed and are now proud holders of a certificate to prove the successful completion. I would strongly advise anyone visiting the Silverton Area to have a go at “The Challenge” as it is a lot of fun. Once the drivers had fixed our broken minibus we had a great BBQ dinner before returning to Broken Hill as we were departing the following morning. Once again it was a bright and early start to get to the station ready to pick up one of Australia’s most famous trains, The Indian Pacific for our short trip into Adelaide. It arrived on time and we boarded without any fuss. We left Broken Hill with mixed feelings. Sadness, as we were leaving such a vibrant community and we had had a great time there, but also joy, as we were heading back to ‘civilisation’ and another big city.

Sydney and The Blue Mountains

22 August 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 with The Sydney Aquarium. The giant Shark’s mouth at the entrance makes this a memorable first stop. It has an outdoor section with sea lions, a huge reef with thousands of multicoloured fish of all shapes and sizes and two brilliant walk through tunnels where huge sharks, turtles and stingrays float over your head. Next, we had a lunch date with Captain Cook. Not the real one, but a Harbour Cruise. Once on board we sailed under the Harbour Bridge before picking up other passengers at Circular Quay. We then headed off to explore one of the most beautiful natural harbours in the world, whilst enjoying some wine and a seafood lunch as we went. Although a bit chilly at times with the wind, it was a great way to see the many beaches and bays of Sydney. On our return, we jumped off at Circular Quay as we had an Opera House tour booked. Unfortunately, we missed the start time by about 1 minute, so had to wait until another guide could be arranged for us. It really is a beautiful and multifunctional building and it is no wonder the acoustics are incredible when you see the way it has been built. En route back to the hotel we popped into Sydney Wildlife World at Darling Harbour. This was the perfect opportunity to get a photo taken with a Koala and have a close look at some Kangaroos. Dinner that evening was in the revolving restaurant of the Sydney Tower, which gives incredible views out over the city. The food was gorgeous and the view simply outstanding. On returning to our hotel, tiredness was starting to kick in but I had arranged to meet my brother and sister in law, Ross and Nicky, who had emigrated to Sydney the year before. We met in Darling Harbour and it was great to see them. We chatted for about 1½ hours before they had to head home and by this time I had my second wind, so along with some colleagues we visited a bar with a fantastic live band. It was a bit of a late night! The following morning it was a bright and early start for our trip to the Blue Mountains. We boarded the Dubbo XPT and it was a really comfortable ride out to Katoomba that took only a couple of hours. Once there, we headed for Scenic World, which is a great base from which to explore these stunning mountains. First, we joined the Skyway on its ½-mile journey, 270m above the rainforest. Although a bit scary if you don’t like heights, this is a trip not to be missed. Next, we boarded the world steepest incline railway for the 415m trip down into the rainforest. This journey only takes a few minutes and goes right through the forest. Once on the forest floor a wooden walkway meanders its way through the forest. This walkway though is best explored at night, when no one else is around! To get back out of the forest we took the scenic cableway that proved to be yet another great ride with more incredible views. After a busy morning, we headed into the village of Leura for a spot of lunch at a local café, Josephans, which has won many awards for its chocolate. We had a filling soup before some infamous chocolate to finish up and it is easy to see how the café got its reputation. The chocolate was delicious. For the next few hours, we wandered around Leura before heading for our hotel. That evening we had a private nighttime tour of the forest floor. Except for our footsteps, it was peaceful, silent and pitch black. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any wildlife so headed back to the hotel for an early night, as the following day we had a long journey into the heart of the outback.

My customer stories

Sent by Clare B

Wonderful service from John, as ever.

Sent by Jane Meikle

John is very patient with us when booking our holidays. He gives us several options that fit our remit then helps us to choose the most suitable one. That can take us a while!

Sent by Geoff Salt

Very Informative

Sent by Ibitayo Arikawe

Thank you John, for such quick and efficient service!

Sent by Susan Grant

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 by Robert McCall

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 by Stephen Malloy

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 by Rhian Thomas

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 by Anne Skinner

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 by Brendan Lynch

Always a pleasure to deal with John. Reliable, knowledgeable and committed.

Sent by Maryse McCormick

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 by Rebecca Skinner

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 by Clare Brum

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 by Nigel Fidlan

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 by Graeme McCormick

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 by Gillian Croan

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 by Malcolm Ross

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 by Nancy Brown

John has been extremely helpful with ensuring our holiday is perfect to what we're looking for.

Sent by Susan Ross

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 by Ruairidh and Zara MacDonald

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.