Sent by Alan Ford
Based in Margate
Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here
The best thing about memories is making them.
…that’s why I love working in travel!
I spent many years as a travel agent on the high street before becoming a Travel Counsellor, now with 18 years experience in the industry. Delivering exceptional service is at the heart of my business. I get to know you so I can understand exactly what is important to you. Being independent, I’m not tied to any one tour operator. Instead, I can access over a thousand travel providers, along side using award winning technology to tailor make holidays, this ensures I recommend the right holiday or travel arrangement for you.
Every penny you spend with me is safe thanks to ATOL and our unique Financial Trust. Travel Counsellors are pioneers in consumer financial protection and as a result offer the best protection in the travel industry. You can rest assured that your money is safe when you book with me.
No request is too big or too small and I can help with a city break, a European package holiday, a round the world cruise, tour or even a complicated multi centre trip. I can also arrange flight-only, accommodation only, airport parking, and car hire. If it is travel related then I’ll be able to use my expertise and experience to help.
My passion for travel extends to almost any destination! I have experienced many European destinations including Lapland, as well as Australia, New Zealand, North America, Mexico, the Maldives, Fiji, Brazil and Cuba. I have also been lucky enough to spend time on board a variety of cruise ships. If I haven’t got first-hand knowledge then I can call on the help of over 1200 fellow Travel Counsellors from around the globe.
I work from home in Thanet, so I am free at a time and place to suit you. You can email or ring me any time and I’ll get back to you quickly. You’ll only ever need to deal with me. There are no call centres and you’ll even be able to contact me while you’re away. If there are any problems, I’ll be on hand to help.
Thank you for taking the time to read my profile and I look forward to working with you!
Postcards is a wonderful Poem written by Tony Walsh for Travel Counsellors and made in to this short film for you to enjoy. Let's reminisce!
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.
30 August 2019
Our main summer holiday this year was to St Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies. We were able to explore both islands over a week. Not a destination that you might expect for a family holiday with younger children – but it was perfect! We spent three nights in St Christopher (Kitts). On arrival we took a taxi to the Park Hyatt on Banana Bay. The friendly taxi driver told us lots about the island on the way and stopped at a beautiful viewpoint, looking over both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Arriving at the hotel we received a lovely warm welcome, our bags were whisked away and we were escorted passed the beautiful pools of fish, down to ‘the living room’ or reception to be checked in. We were given a welcome drink and one of the ladies checked us in whilst another chatted to the children. My son (7) was promised that he could come back and feed the fish, which he did several times much to his delight! We were given a tour of the amenities by buggy and taken to our room. The grounds were immaculate, our room was spacious and modern, with a terrace that led out on to Banana Bay. The shelving beach and calm waters were a lovely place for the children to play. I was given a site visit the following morning and able to view all the different room offerings and facilities at the Park Hyatt, before enjoying the extensive and attractive pool area. In the afternoon, we were picked up by a local guide and took a rainforest tour. We were told about the plants and trees, learnt about the fruits and their uses, saw interesting insects and monkeys! The next day we took a tour of the island curtesy of the tourist authority. We visited the Ocean Village Inn, a hotel close to the cruise port, with a great value 4* offering, popular with groups and business travellers. We then called at Romney Manor, the stunning home of Caribelle Batik. The gardens are beautiful and as colourful as the batik clothes and gifts made on site. After a tour and demonstration, we drove up to Brimstone Hill Fortress. It is a popular walk up to the site, but I am glad we had a car! There is a video of the history of the site that you can watch before heading off the explore the grounds – a lovely spot for a picnic. However we headed to Reggae Beach for lunch by the sea! A cruise ship was in port the next day! On St Kitts that means that the Sugar train runs, giving visitors a tour of the island, from the old rails used to transport the sugar cane. The team on board are friendly and informative, they are keen to keep the drinks flowing and with the commentary from ‘Sweet P’ and talented singers visiting each carriage, the atmosphere is fantastic – and as for the views! Time to leave St Kitts, but before we did, my daughter (9) commented on how friendly everyone is on the island, there is a real feeling of community, everyone nodding and waving to visitors – Unlike England, in St Kitts cars only beep to say hello! The crossing over to Nevis was easy – look out for my next blog!
30 August 2019
After 3 nights in St Kitts is was time to cross the Narrows and explore Nevis! The crossing over to Nevis is very easy. The water taxi, leaves from Reggae Beach or the Park Hyatt and takes just a few minutes. A very short taxi ride took us up to the Mount Nevis hotel. We had a lovely warm welcome and were shown are room. This is a very different style of hotel to the Hyatt, but fantastic! In blocks or villas, we had a full kitchen and a spacious room. The view from the balcony was breath-taking, looking across to St Kitts. The restaurant on site is fantastic! Indian food mostly, great quality and service. The team at the hotel went above and beyond to enable us to get the very best from our stay. On our first morning we took a jeep tour of the island, for four of us with Andy driving, taking in the best beaches and historical sites. It was a great fun way to explore, whilst following a guide so we didn’t miss any of the best bits! We were able to visit some of the beautiful plantation hotels before a fantastic lunch at the yachtsman on the beach. Nevis has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I would recommend hiring a car to explore the island at your own pace. It is easy to hop between the natural and secluded beaches, snorkelling from the shore at Nesbit beach or take a boat trip from Oualie, and exploring the different sugar plantations, now converted to beautiful restaurants and hotels. The food is fantastic, Creole and West Indian Seafood specialities, rids are also popular as are Indian and Chinese options! That evening as a family we experienced something that we will all remember forever! We are all interested in wildlife conservation. The Tourism Authority had suggested we get in touch with Lemuel Pemberton from the Nevis Turtle Group whilst on the island. Jewella at the Mount Nevis spoke to him and drove us out to meet him on the beach. There is an issue on the island with fire ants attacking the turtle nests and getting to the hatchlings before they can leave for the sea. We drove around and walked a few beaches, following trails, until he expertly found a nest to check. There were three hatchlings left in the nest. One had already been lost to the ants, but two others were still alive. The children were able to hold and warm them before taking them away from the ants and closer to the sea to release them. It was magical and made all the better by the fantastic people on Nevis. The next morning was spent with Black Rig Fishing Charters. We spend 4 hours trolling for Barracuda, it was a fantastic trip – separate blog to follow! We had dinner at Oualie Beach Resort, chatting with some locals whilst the children made friends and played together on the beach. We all had a fantastic time on St Kitts and Nevis. I had never stayed in the Caribbean on a bed and breakfast basis before, but I would certainly recommend it!
04 November 2019
My husband is a keen angler and was excited to experience fishing in the Caribbean. Whilst he enjoys fishing from the beach along the Kent coast, he was keen to catch a new species – our son was keen to fish too and my daughter and I were happy to have a day on the sea with an amazing view! Our skipper, a well-known champion fisherman on St Kitts & Nevis, Captain Clivin Christmas was very knowledgeable. The Islands host a popular boat fishing tournament each and he is very well known due to his successes in this competition. The tournament starts in November and it is a international tournament with boats coming from all over the Caribbean. We all set off around 8am from the hotel and took the short drive down to Oualie Beach. We were met by Clivin and his first mate Dave, and both made us very welcome. We headed out to deeper waters in the Caribbean Sea, it was a rolling a little but calmer on the way back in. The Boat 32ft Black Fin boat had plenty of room, a toilet and seating with the option of cover from the sun and a supply of soft and alcoholic beverages. All equipment was supplied along with bait. We just brought snacks for the children. 5 Rods were in use along with Penn boat reels, wirer traces and lures with fish bait, some lures were weighted. To see the beautiful views of both the Islands as we travelled out to deeper waters was amazing and added to the experience. We had views of Martinique too… Plus lots of flying fish! We spent 4 hours fishing and in that time, Andy caught 3 barracuda which gave a great fight and added new species to Andy’s list. My son, age 7 had the opportunity to fish and caught 2 barracuda and a rainbow runner. Of course, there was a HUGE bite that got away… All fishermen have that tale! Clivin thought it was a Wahu Wahu – it was a big fish but slipped the line before it could be landed. Smaller fish are caught and released in St Kitts and Nevis, large specimens of eating fish are kept by the crew and sold to local restaurants – there are charters that offer, catch, fillet and clean for you to take and cook yourself. We spent four hours out at sea, getting back just before lunch. Black Fin Charters were great, both Clivin and Dave were friendly, helpful and happy to chat with the children, and to answer all their questions, (with my 7-year-old always has plenty!). They talked passionately about the area and the fishing and made the morning a great family experience. No 500lb sea monsters this time, but there was that one that got away… If you are interested in Big Game fishing, not only in the Caribbean, but all over the world, then do not hesitate to get in touch on 01843 807910
11 January 2019
This morning I had the fantastic experience of joining Chris West on Academy FM! As a member of Thanet Premier Business Group, I was invited to visit the station that operates out of The Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate, broadcasting to Thanet and beyond. It was an exciting opportunity that I couldn’t miss! Of course, I was very nervous, but equally excited be interviewed live on air. I was given a warm and friendly welcome and ushered straight in to the studio after meeting some of the team. ‘After this song, we will introduce you…’ Gosh! This was happening now! Chris started by introducing me as a Travel Counsellors and asking me what I offer my clients. I described the unique and personal service that I provide, how I run my business from home meaning that I can be available at a time to suit them and have the time and flexibility to invest in finding the right options for their holiday. We went on to talk about Travel Counsellors and the benefits of the financial protection, buying power and choice that they provide. The conversation, and it felt more of a conversation than an interview which was lovely, turned to booking trends. Chris asked how the current climate was affecting people’s travel plans. In my experience people are still booking their hard earned and well-deserved holidays! People are looking for better value, better experiences and a service that goes above and beyond. Travellers need to be better informed of the choices available to them and their agent or tour operator needs to have a solid understanding of their needs. It was a lovely experience and I am very grateful to be invited on to the station, I hope those of you that heard the interview enjoyed it? I would love to hear you feedback or if there were any questions that you would have liked to ask!
15 October 2018
I was very lucky to be invited to an exclusive dinner organized by the St Kitts and Nevis Tourism Authority. I was one of 25 travel professionals who were guests for a dinner and presentation in Canterbury. We were honoured that many of those presenting had flown in that day from the Islands, including the Tourism Minister and his wife! He spoke of the islands’ warmth and how they offered the ‘quintessential Caribbean’. The tiny island of St Kitts has a big offering for couples and families wanting a relaxed Caribbean experience. Nevis is only 6 minutes away by speed boat, making for an ideal twin centre holiday. You can easily explore the two friendly islands at your own pace by car or take a trip on the St Kitts Scenic Railway to get a fantastic perspective and guided commentary. When we think of the Caribbean, we think beaches. St Kitts and Nevis offer a beautiful unspoilt and uncrowded coastline to enjoy! In contrast you can explore botanical gardens, zip-line through the rainforest or hike the islands’ volcanic peaks. Sugar, spice, rum, mango, hot sauce, and seafood – the food on the island is a big part of the experience! Staying at your accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis is best. There are many fantastic restaurants that are too good to miss, and Frigate Bay offers a style of nightlife to suit all. The same can be said for the range of accommodation available. If you like large (never huge) hotels with a name you recognize, the Park Hyatt, Marriot and Four Seasons are beautiful and have all the facilities you could want for. If your preference if for smaller family run properties with some history there are stunning resorts in breath-taking locations such as the Mount Nevis and Oualie Beach Resort. St Kitts and Nevis offer a romantic, idyllic Caribbean experience and so, so much more! Come for festivals, sports events and wildlife… goodness! I could go on! Feel free to give me a call to talk about whether St Kitts and Nevis are the perfect destination for your next holiday.
17 December 2017
Well how to begin? Years ago, I was told that if I ever took the children to Lapland, that would be the holiday that they would most fondly remember for the rest of their lives. Having just returned I have no doubt that this is true. We told the children (who are 7 and 5 years old) on the morning before we went and then headed straight for the airport after school - they were so excited to be visiting Father Christmas in Lapland! We were going on a day trip, so with an early flight and a long day, we stayed at the airport the night before. The fun started from check in, there was a real buzz as the children met other families arriving for their adventure! Breakfast was served on the plane along with singing, jokes and games. Five minutes before the plane started its decent in to Finnish Lapland, we all put on our extra layers - coats, scarves, hats and gloves followed before leaving the plane. It was magical to see the snowy landscape below us and the buzz of excitement when we touched down was electric. On landing we walked to the terminal and were given snowsuits and boots to wear. We took our seats in a sled and were covered with blankets before being whisked through the frosty landscape. Weaving through frozen trees as we went. The children had never seen snow like it! It was lunch time but already dusk. As we reached our destination dusk turned to night, the fairy lights and open fires around the site added mystery and warmth. We had our time to visit Santa and were free to explore the activities on offer. First the children rode push sleds, before discovering sledging! The large welcoming cabin offered hot drinks and a three-course buffet lunch - the perfect rest stop. After lunch we took a reindeer ride before driving snowmobiles around a frozen lake - even the children had their own snowmobiles to drive - they loved it! We explored an ice house and took a hot drink, then it was our turn to visit Father Christmas! We were taken on a sled down in to the woods, where we waited by an open fire. We were given a direction to head and we followed twinkling lights down a tree lined path. Soon we saw an elf, dancing and calling to us. The children ran ahead to meet her. We walked over to a small cabin and when she opened the door - there was Father Christmas, in his finest red coat, stood by the fire checking his list. It was a magical moment - straight from the front of a traditional Christmas Card. We were star struck! The children gave him their letters and he read them perfectly, answering any questions they had written. We talked for a while and had the opportunity to take some photos together. It was such a lovely and personal experience. Father Christmas gave them an early Christmas present and discussed promises to go to bed early on Christmas Eve. There was still time for another magical experience, another highlight, although there are so many! Sat snuggled together as a family, covered with blankets, in a wooden sled - the sound of the excited husky dogs chattering as they worked, as we were whisked through the winter wonderland, looking up at the stars is something that I will never forget. It has been really hard to try to sum up this incredible experience, there is so much more I could add. I would love to talk more about it - let me know if I can tell you more!
20 June 2017
Our latest family adventure, took us to Lake Garda in Italy - it was a fantastic week, enjoyed by the adults and children alike. Especially because we made the journey one of the highlights of the holiday! We had decided not to fly, so set off with an early morning ferry to Calais. The French Motorways, or AutoRoutes, are refreshingly different to our roads. There are good quality rest stops very frequently, ranging from those with restaurants and petrol stations to nice places to stretch your legs and use the toilets! The tolls are easy to use, you pick up ticket when you join the AutoRoute and pay when you leave. By the afternoon we were at our first stop at Chateau de l' Eperviere in Burgundy. Our stop en route was a welcome one! Although the drive was pleasant and far more relaxing that I expected, it was very hot! When we arrived we headed straight for the pool, a welcome surprise for the children. The next morning we set off again, this time driving through the impressive Mont Blanc tunnel in to Italy. The views were stunning and the children spent the morning in competition to spot the longest waterfall or highest mountain - who would be the first to see snow? Arriving at Lake Garda, we stayed in the East, near to Bardolino. There are lots of options in great locations and we chose in a chalet in Cisano. The lake was crystal clear, lovely for an early swim, or to sit and watch the sun set behind the mountains in the evening. Many of the hotels/campsites had man made beaches or private gardens offering some shade, and the shores of the lake were shelving and inviting. There are jetties to swim from and lots of fishing spots for Andy! In fact the fish swim around you in the lake, my youngest was hopeful of catching one himself! We chose the location for its great links with the wider area. You can easily visit the different towns and markets by bus or car. With in ten minutes there are many large family parks, Gardaland, Sealife, and a large waterpark too, however we loved its proximity to Verona (ideal if you prefer to fly), and to Romeo and Juliet's Balcony. There is a bus that takes you from the resorts along the east of the lake to Venice or you can take an organised day trip. Our children are young, but the wonder of Venice was certainly not lost on them! As you would expect, it was busy and it was hot, but there were no complaints - only wonder! They were quick to spot what was different about this impressive city, taking a boat transfer on to the island was of course essential but a lovely introduction to the sites. The Gondola ride was family friendly too and a lovely way to see how Venice works, how does the city deal with day to day life without roads? It was fun to spot the different uses for boats and see the stilts supporting buildings. We found a lovely friendly restaurant in the back streets for lunch, choosing from a set menu for 15 Euro. We found a quiet shop where we could see Venetian masks being made and the children were able to try lots on. In contrast to our day in the city, we also travelled up to Malescine. The beautiful cobbled streets are the perfect place for yet another ice cream, but there are lots of lovely shops and eateries too. Then we ventured on to the cable car. Well organised and with incredible views. I have to admit I was relieved.. 'that wasn't so bad' - and then there was the second leg of the journey! Agh! I am not one for heights at all, and they do pack you in to the cable car, but the views were incredible, and with the rotating cabs you get the breathtaking views from all angles. The top of the mountain is a paradise for walkers and cyclists, but is fantastic for the committedly unsporty too! There is a fantastic restaurant where we had a great lunch before heading back down the mountain. After a week of so many fantastic experiences, although sad to say goodbye to Italy, we were excited for our next adventure! For many years I had sold the Motorail trains in Europe. Sadly, now there is just a handful of routes left. We were very lucky to get a cabin, but were able to put our car on to the train in Verona and travel overnight to Dusseldorf. The English speaking guides explained the process well when we arrived to check in and when we boarded the train to find our cabin, the hostesses were fantastic, attentive and not intrusive. We ate a lovely meal in the on board restaurant, again catering really well for the children, and the cabins were surprisingly comfortable for the four of us. Breakfast is served in your cabin and the drive home from Dusseldorf to Calais was a straight forward one. A wonderful destination with so much for everyone. If you would like to hear more, please do get in touch. We loved Italy, and until next time - Arrivederci!
28 August 2016
We wanted something different this summer so we packed up the car and set off to Europe for a Glamping experience! Travelling with young children, we took the ferry to spend time out of the car and then broke the journey again in Belgium. We spent the day in the beautiful city of Ghent. Parking in the centre in the Vrigagmarkt was easy and convenient. We came up in the square and were spoilt for choice for a leisurely lunch. The short drive to our safari tent in Holland was then a breeze. Safari tents offer the outdoor experience in comfort. Complete with off the floor beds, a small kitchen and decking, we were very comfortable and it was an adventure for the children. Beekes Bergan is an amazing resort. On our first full day we took the boat across the lake to Speelland, the onsite waterpark. Set on a stunning lake there is something for all ages. The next day we explored the Safari park - up close with the big five, without the long flight! We also ventured in to Tilburg. The atmosphere in this friendly city was so relaxed and welcoming. Fantastic shopping and places to eat and drink, it was a highlight of our trip. It all made for a fantastic family holiday!
03 May 2015
I was so excited to be invited on board Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas for her naming ceremony. She is a very impressive ship and has quite an impact before you even board! I sailed through check-in in just minutes and was given a warm and friendly welcome at every stage. Our Cabin was well appointed, with ample storage and had a really spacious balcony. The ship's public areas, were bright, modern and comfortable. The glass lifts and colourful modern art, make a strong impact and show the attention to detail that has been applied in the design of this ship. After checking out the Flowrider, Skydiving, climbing wall and bumper cars - it was time to head to the Spa! The friendly therapists explained the wide range of treatment on offer. Just time for a cocktail from the fascinating Robotic Bar, before taking our seats for the momentous naming ceremony, officially welcoming The Anthem in to the fleet. The next day I was able to taste from the menus all 18 eateries, my highlights being the Antipasti from Jamie's and the amazing Shrimp Shumai from Silk. The choice was endless, no better way to round off a lunch like that, than with a fresh detox smoothie in the beautiful Solarium. To tear you away from the incredible food and fantastic service, there is some first rate entertainment on offer. I sat down to a quality production of We Will Rock You and on to the Cabaret and choice of music venues for the evening. The Anthem of the Seas is breathtaking, her facilities, detailed design, but most of all the level of service - makes her an excellent choice for your cruise.
29 September 2013
We knew Mexico had everything we were looking for; beautiful beaches, exceptional hotels and friendly people, but we experienced so much more! We pre-booked a tour of the Yucatan Peninsula and learnt so much about the Mayan Culture and saw so many incredible sites. We started with Tulum where the ruin sits right above the while sand beach, visited haunting Coba and saw the light show at Uxmal. Of course we spent the day at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chichen Itza! Another highlight of the tour for me was the City of Merida, where the bunting was out to welcome the Mayor and everyone drives a VW Beetle! After the tour, there was still so much to enjoy! Just down the coast was Xcaret ecological park, where we swam through underground rivers and took a boat out to snorkel on the reef. Later there was a really atmospheric show, including a recreation of the Pre-Hispanic Ball game we heard so much about on the tour! There was one more truly unforgettable experience… swimming with whale sharks! And we still found time to spend a few days sipping cocktails by the pool!
29 September 2013
I arrived in New York from San Francisco, so it took a little while to acclimatise! I left the hotel room and was soon back to put on all of the clothes I had with me! Then I was ready to explore! New York in the snow is magical, it’s just like every American Christmas movie you have ever seen! Walking in to the Rockefeller Centre, and seeing the 70ft tree laden with lights is something you’ll never forget. I was also lucky enough to get a ticket for the Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular! The Rockettes were brilliant and Father Christmas himself even made an appearance! After a quick trip to the TKTS discount booth, I saw Chicago on Broadway... another New York must. Manhattan was so easy to get around and it’s hard to get lost. Central Park, with its bridges and fountains, was so photogenic in the snow. A ride around the park on a horse drawn carriage helps to take it all in. I loved the Metropolitan Museum of Art too. All that, plus the ‘spoilt for choice’ shopping and the must see view from the Empire State Building. There’s a whole lot of people watching to do too!
Herne Bay 04/06/2018
Herne Bay 11/08/2017
Herne Bay 27/06/2015
Herne Bay 22/10/2014
Margate Kent 20/10/2014
Margate Kent 26/08/2014
HERNE BAY 10/03/2014
Herne bay kent 15/10/2013
Margate Kent 13/10/2013