Based in Cousland

Kirstie Thompson

Available for new enquiries

It's Nice To Meet You

Hello, I'm Kirstie. Thanks for taking the time to visit my webpage.

If you are hoping to create lifelong memories without the stress of planning, you have come to the right place. I have a wealth of experience in the travel industry and can use my own professional expertise, along with my extensive personal travel experience to personally tailormake your perfect trip or holiday and I will also take care of every little detail along the way to ensure everything goes smoothly for you from start to finish.

I am lucky enough to live just outside of the beautiful city of Edinburgh with my four youngest children, our family dogs and pet cat. I am perhaps even more lucky to truly love my job and what I do, helping my clients acheive their dream holidays and making it easy and stress free for them and I feel especially lucky when clients share their beautiful trips with me. As well as my passion for travel, I am dedicated to customer service, so it really does fill me with joy to know just how much clients have enjoyed their trips and knowing they have made memories that will last forever.

My office is in my home, as I work flexible hours to suit my clients, including evenings and weekends. I am truly independent and have access to all of the very best suppliers worldwide, so I can help personally tailor your next trip. I am available, personally, along with the dedicated 24/7 Travel Counsellors Duty Office, so a real person who cares is always there if you need someone or have any question at all at any time, including whilst you are away. I will always go the extra mile for any of my clients.

Could your next trip be a beautiful beach holiday, a totally unique off the beaten track adventure, a city break, cruise, honeymoon, retirement trip or even a group or extended family trip? I'd be delighted to help you. Why not get in touch today and we can start planning?


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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:

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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.

Snorkelling The Silfra Fissure

23 February 2023

I have wanted to snorkel in The Silfra FIssure, the only place in the world where you can snorkel between two continents and touch them both at once, ever since I knew it existed. I'm not a particular fan of snorkelling (and definitely not a fan of getting cold!) but have done a few resort dives and snorkels over the years and something about the photos I had seen of Silfra had drawn me in. It looked mesmerising. Silfra is also listed as one of the top ten dive sites in the world by Padi and as one of the most adventurous experiences around the world by Conde Nast Traveller. I was in from the get-go! Being 'in' though, doesn't mean I didn't have any reservations of course and even once we had booked our recent hosted small group tour to Iceland, including the Silfra Snorkel, I wasn't totally convinced I would be able to actually get in. The water that is. We had already visited Thingvellir National Park the day before and so I knew what the surrounding area looked like. Snowy. I had read a few blogs about the snorkel and all mentioned that it was a physically uncomfortable activity and COLD. I had also seen mention of tight straps around the neck potentially being needed to keep you, well, dry, inside your dry suit. I have to admit, I had reservations about most of this and so did the majority of our group of ten people who had chosen this optional activity. Regardless of any reservations, we were all still excited as we were picked up in the minibus by the dive company and driven the forty-five minutes or so from Reykjavik to the car park in which we would get changed. Yes, a car park. Thingvellir is a Unesco World Heritage site and as such is a protected area. We had all known to wear thermal base layers, so no one's dignity had to be tarnished luckily... I actually wore two sets of thermal tops and leggings and two pairs of socks. I'm not sure if I mentioned, but I do hate being cold... We were all handed a thin, padded thermal all in one suit to put on and then began the fight (for me anyway) to get into our dry suits. Or halfway in. We then all had a safety talk, completed by dive team member Jake, who was especially entertaining and at least some of our nerves about the talk of tight neck straps vanished when he came out with the tag line 'better to be choked than soaked', which was followed by raucous laughter and a much more relaxed vibe amongst us. I had been really worried about perhaps feeling claustrophobic when the neck (and wrist) straps went on, but actually, the guides were brilliant, and it didn't feel any more comfortable than the dry suit already did and we all felt ok once furnished with semi dry neoprene hoods and gloves. We were split into two groups of six (with two fantastic Americans who were great helping us get photos of the whole group, looking our absolute best in our get ups!) and it was the walk of around 100m to get to the entry point. This went without event and on the steps the guides helped us with our snorkels and fins and before we knew it, we were about to get in! The air temperature was in the minus degrees, Silfra stays a cool 2C all year round, but I was still very surprised to notice that the water didn't actually feel cold on entry. Or not to me at least. Except my face was exposed and when that hit the water it took my breath away with such a sting I did consider just getting out. (This is the only chance to get out. Once you are in, you are in, you can't get out halfway, which is one of the reasons safety is so strict) Then our guide, GC, called out that the cold feeling would subside after a few minutes, so after another short safety brief in the water, checking we all knew the 'safe' position, we were on our way! It's incredibly hard to describe the feeling of being in the water. You glide along at what seems like a great height. The visibility is so very clear at up to 100m because this glacier water had been filtered through volcanic rock for up to 100 years. I have no idea if it was adrenaline, but I genuinely didn't notice the cold. Snorkelling has always felt serene to me, but this was something else. In a world that is so fast paced, to just drift along being carried by the current, looking down through all the clear blue water felt like indescribable. It was totally different to any snorkel or dive I have done before and not least as there are no fish. I now understood what people mean when they say it feels like you are flying. The time seemed to pass so quickly. Before we knew it, we were at the sand bank where we had been told we needed to swim left against the current into the small lagoon where we would exit. This was so sandy compared to the rocky fissure we had just come through and pretty. It turned out getting out was possible the biggest challenge of the day, I found it impossible to right myself in a dry suit, but it seemed the guide wasn’t new to this scenario and he helped us all get out onto the steps. The mood was high! We had all ticked off a huge bucket list challenge, even those of us who had been nervous. There is no doubt that being in a group like this helped us get in. Everyone supported everyone else and the guides made the entire experience feel safe. They made us feel safe. Once we were back at the car park, what tasted like the best hot chocolate ever was handed out, along with biscuits. I, along with our clients, felt that perhaps this was a one-off experience, that didn’t need repeating. It was slightly physically uncomfortable and emotionally exhausting. However, the entire hosted small group trip to Iceland was so successful, we are planning a variation on it for next year that will again feature an optional Silfra Snorkel and yes, I am absolutely in!

Cappadocia, Turkey

27 March 2021

I hadn't actually heard of Cappadocia until I began working at Travel Counsellors. It came up during some training and I was immediately in awe of this unique and special place. The lunar-like landscapes you can see there are formed by years of erosion and extreme weather conditions. (Cappadocia is beautifully hot in Summer, but usually sees snow in winter!) I've never been a fan of heights, but the sight of all the hot air balloons that float silently over the landcapes had me desperate to give it a go and see the fairy chinmeys dotted about from above. We arrived in the early hours of the morning, so it was dark and were shown to our room at our hotel, Argos in Cappadocia. The hotel is sympathetically and traditionally built into the side of Pigeon Valley, so named because of the many pigeon homes carved into the rocks at the sides of the valley. I was woken the next morning by a call to prayer given by the Mosque a little further down the valley outside our room and decided to peel the curtain back to glimpse outside. I won't pretend I didn't let out an excited squeal and then with absolutely no shame at all, I popped on my flip flops and rushed straight outside in my pyjamas! I'm sat in my home office right now, like so many of us and as I look out at the beautiful sunny Scottish morning I'm reminded of stepping from our cool room into the sun that day, how it felt with the warm Turkish air on my skin, the sounds of the call to prayer and how I felt when I saw the view from our terrace. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me that we would be staying right in amongst all the rock formations and fairy chinmeys that make up the landscapes, but they were everywhere! It was like absolutely nothing I had seen before! I most definitely had a tear in my eye. The entire UK had been in total lockdown in the middle of a global pandemic not long before and I'd spent a summer rearranging trips for clients, feeling heartbroken for everyone missing their holidays, special trips and honeymoons. This was a glimmer of hope. Travel was possible and here I was in a destination I could have only dreamt about months before. Just as I had experienced on the plane and at the airport, things had had to change a little at the hotel to ensure everyone was safe. The hotel buffet breakfast had been replaced by table service and ramekins full of what can only be described as tiny delights adorned the table. Staff wore masks and we also were asked to wear masks unless seated and eating or drinking. I'm sure we are all well used to mask wearing by now, but I still hadn't really been used to it back then and I had worried about how I would find it, but I didn't feel it changed the atmosphere of the place at all. I felt safe and comfortable and we mostly ate in the beautiful open air with views over the Unesco World Heritage site that was once a castle at the edge of the hotel grounds. It felt like a luxury to sit and enjoy a leisurely breakfast, chatting with a friend about the afternoon ahead, as we had booked a jeep safari. Our jeep safari was a bumpy, open topped adventure through the valleys and hills. We visited churches and castles built into the rock formations that even years ago would have been unrecognisable as these buildings to us. There were several viewing spots where we could see for miles around, everywhere we went. Just turning around presented a totally different view of this otherworldy place and I felt immersed within it. The next morning's hot air ballon ride (the one I was actually worried I could do, because I am terrified of heights!) was in complete contrast. Total silence except for the sound of the burner warming the air as we drifted, mostly low down, across the Goreme National Park. The journey we took determined by the air currents and the skill of our pilot. There were around forty other balloons up that day, I can only imagine what it looks like when you are amongst hundreds of other ballons, all equally silent, sailing through the sky. It's most definitely something I want to do again and there are so many fantastic places you can experience a hot air balloon ride now, but I would love to go back to Cappadocia and see those same sights when snow lays on the ground in winter. We had wanted the balance of spending time seeing things and taking time to relax, so we didn't get to take in many of the things Cappadocia has to offer. Goreme town has an Open Air Museum which was one of the first two Unesco World Heritage sites in Turkey. Here you can see how the town was literally carved into the rock formations and there are stunning churches with wall paintings and relics of the roman times during which they were carved. There are also an incredible thirty six underground cities in Cappadocia, of which Kaymakli is the largest, made up of housing, cellars, storage areas and even stables built off the nearly one hundred tunnels going down to eight floors below ground. Some of the areas are still used by local people today. I was perhaps surpised to learn about the number of vineyards in the area and there are many wine tasting experiences to be had. Our hotel has it's own Vineyards and produces several wines and it was great to try those with local cheeses and the quite unique candied pumpkin, which is a staple food in the area and very tasty too! There were cooking classes available, but instead we chose to partake in long, leisurely dinners after time spent relaxing with a cocktail by the pool taking in the views. For the more active, there are numerous hiking or walking tours throughout the area, including full moon walks and I can only be left imagining just what the valleys might look like under a celestial glow. During our trip we only stayed at Cappadocia, but it's perfect to pair with Istanbul or a beach resort, or if you like more adventure, you could even journey on along the Silk Road. Whilst we wait for the world to open up once again, as it did last year, we can dream about the experiences that await us. Where's next for you?

Seven Incredible National Parks Across The USA

28 May 2020

Whether you want to go hiking, discovering wildlife, just take in the dramatic scenery or even take the perfect selfie in one of your bucket list travel spots, the USA's National Parks have something for everyone and are perfect for adult only trips or families alike. 1. Big Bend National Park Texas Big Bend is a hidden gem around four hours south of El Paso in Texas. The winding drive to get there will absolutely feel worth it when you see what this expansive park has to offer. It features some of the starriest skies in North America and wildlife including black bears, roadrunners, jackrabbits and even mountain lions, although you'd be lucky to spot one of the later, secretive, animals. You can hike routes such as The Lost Mine Trail, raft on the famous Rio Grande, visit the Hot Springs Trail, or gaze in awe at the imposing walls of the Santa Elena Canyon. 2. Badlands National Park, South Dakota South Dakota is well know for Mount Rushmore, but the Badlands National park is another of it's sights to behold. Made up of striking rock formations and acres of prarie, you won't be hard pushed to find a place to take the perfect holiday snap or selfie. The stunning striped rocks contain fossils of many ancient species that once roamed here, including sabre toothed cats, three toed ancient horses and even rhinos. On today's praries you'll find bison, bighorned sheep, prarie dogs and even black footed ferrets, an endagered species the park works hard to protect. In the skies are eagles, harriers and short eared owls, among many other birds. This is definitely a place for wildlife spotting. 3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Wyoming is home to several National Parks and reserves, but Yellowstone is perhaps the most famous. It helped to inspire 'Jellystone' Park in Yogi bear and you will definitely have the chance of seeing bears in Yellowstone, with both black bears and grizzly bears living here. Yellowstone is also home to 'Old Faithful', perhaps one of the most famus geysers, as well as hundreds of hot springs and pools, including The Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, which is larger than a football field! If you want to truly (or even literally!) immerse yourself into the dramatic scenery there are many white water rafting trips available for the novice or experienced. 4. Death Valley National Park, Nevada/California Straddling both California and Nevada, Death Valley is within easy reach of great cities such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles and has not only a rich pioneering history but was a successful mining area for decades, with gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, antimony, and borax all having been mined here. The park covers well over three million acres amd is made up of expansive sand dunes, sandstone canyons, salt flats and even 'singing' rocks. It is also the hottest and driest place in North America with temperatures reaching an incredible 49C and only around two inches of rain every year. 5. White Sands National Park, New Mexico White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and only redesignated as a National Park in 2019. Set in the Tularosa Basin, the park's 275 square miles of Gypsum sand make up the largest Gypsum dunefield on earth. As you'd expect of the desert, the park can be blisteringly hot during the day and shockingly cold at night. Despite this it is home to many wildlife species which have evolved to adapt to life in the desert. Many of them have white or off white colouration and around forty five species are only found in this location, over forty of which are moths. 6. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska A visit to Glacier bay inserts you into true Alaskan Wilderness. This UNESCO world heritage site is part of Alaska's Inside Passage and home to some stunning views, including the truly beautiful Margerie Glacier, a tidewater glacier at an awe inspiring 34km long. The wild coastlines feature rugged mountains and deep fjords. A popular way to visit is to experience it from the comfort of a cruise ships, but you can stay in a rustic cabin, historical hotel or even camp if you're brave enough. You can kayak or take small boat trips and ranger organised discovery days if you are travelling with children. 7. Everglades National Park, Florida When people think of Florida, man made parks often spring to mind before the expansive wetlands that make up the Everglades National Park. Yet this area is home to and protects endangered species such as the manatee, American crocodile and the elusive Florida panther, which is actually a subspecies of cougar that has evolved to live in the Florida climate. You can also spot alligators, turtles and even dolphins here and the waterways are expansive enough for a week long canoe trip if you really want to get away from it all. If you prefer to keep your feet on drier land, there are tram tours which still offer excellent wildlife viewing.

Holidaying With A Child With Additional Needs

12 May 2020

I have a now sixteen year old son with additional needs. He has Down's Syndrome. Naturally, because of this and because he attends a school for pupils who have additional needs, I speak to lots of other parents whose children also have additional needs and it has really made me realise over the years how different this situation is for each parent and how the needs of our children vary. How for some their daily lives aren't affected much at all, whilst for others, what seems the simplest of tasks for others, is a virtual impossibility to them. I also speak to many parents for whom the thought of being able to take their child on holiday seems overwhelming. I'm probably luckier than many. I have two younger children (as well as two older than my sixteen year old) and that has meant to some extent I've had to 'just get on with it' because I have to consider the needs of all my children. My son can have behavioural problems, which isn't something that people who haven't experienced Down's Syndrome always know can be a problem, but it is. Luckily, unlike many children with additional needs he is much easier at home and seems more settled in that environment than school and I know that for a lot of children, behaviour masking happens at school and then they let everything out once at home when they are with their ever trusted and safe parent, which obviously leaves that parent to cope. So what about holidays or travel? It's definitely something a lot of parents, even of young children with no additional needs find daunting. Luckily, it's also something that companies and resorts are becoming aware of and it's definitely something that I am aware of. Over the years I've learned what works and doesn't work for my family but I know only too well that that for another family the challenges will be entirely different and it can be exhausting spending hours trawling the internet to find a family holiday that fits your needs. My own family have become big fans of Disneyland Paris because it is a short flight from the UK, offers discounts for those who need a carer and also has a great access system in place and there are also, perhaps surprisingly, good ways to do a trip like this if you need access to quieter areas to have a break without having to be stuck in your room for half the day. If a beach holiday, a cruise or even discovering another country is more your style, then there are ways to do these too. If even a UK break seems too much to deal with, I'm more than happy to help with that. One of the things I really wanted to do as a Travel Counsellor was to help other parents whose children have additional needs and who want to travel to be able to. I've made sure I'm as up to date as I can be on more accessible travel options and perhaps just as importantly, I am willing to take the time to listen to exactly what is is you want and need and how I can make things that little bit easier for you.

Never Considered Berlin? Here's Why I Love It...

22 February 2020

I had never really considered Berlin for a city break, so when my partner suggested a few nights there in March, I'll admit I searched every other possible city in Europe to try and find somehwere else, but ultimately, Berlin offered great value and he was so keen I found it hard to say no. So, we booked... Where to stay? Berlin has some fantastic hotel, from modest budget offerings to out and out luxury. We chose the Hotel Amano, a contemporary three star, partly for it's modern feel and also it's brilliant location as well as cost. Close enough to walk to some great areas, such as the Hackescher Markt, with it's lively restaurants and bars and near the tube station, so it was really easy to get around. It was next to a nightclub, which meant we had great options for cocktails as the hotel bar was also fabulous. What To Do There? There's a huge amount to do in Berlin, so much so that I will definitely have to go back. In order to make the most of our time, we decided to take a hop on hop off bus tour. This was a brilliant way to take in lots of the famous sights in one day and started at just €22 per person. You can start at any point in the city and choose to use the tour for one or several days. We managed to see The Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag Building, Gendarmenmarkt, Checkpoint Charlie, Kurfürstendamm, the zoo and KaDeWe in one day and we later travelled back to the Bradenburg gate to see it lit up at night and what an amazing sight it was! There are also some great markets around Berlin including a great one every Sumday at Mauerpark, well worth a visit. What Is The Food Like? I'm big on food and I was very pleasantly surprised with what Berlin had to offer. We were lucky to find a gem of a restaurant, Zur Rose, on our first night. It was small and full of locals, but we were lucky enough to be seated immediately. I had a Schnitzel with warm potato and bacon salad and cucumber and dill salad, a dish so amazing I have since tried to recreate it at home. Other dishes offered were traditional sausages and Spaetzel, a kind of german noodle-dumpling, almost like a pasta and meatballs in a stunning cream sauce. We made a visit to KaDeWe, Germany's largest department store, as we had heard about the food hall, but nothing quite prepared me for it. They have over 1,300 cheese alone and it's the perfect place to find a foodie gift to take home. Of course, it would have been rude not to try out the amazing desert and champagne bars... Costs? Berlin offers great value. A package break with flights, transfers and even a luxury hotel costs less than most cities. A currywurst is around €2.50 and a large beer from around €4. A nice meal for two in an average type of restaurant will be from around €30 and portions are large! Undergrund tickets start at around €2.80 and taxi's or Uber aren't too expensive either. Who will like Berlin? I went with my partner as a couple, but I think my children will also love Berlin. It's a very easy city to travel around and also doesn't feel too busy in most areas. I found it surprisingly romantic and it's history is poignant and thought provoking. It has a side that is education for children for that reason, but also has plenty for children to have fun doing, such as the two zoos. Berlin Zoo is one of the few zoos in Europe to house Pandas and Tierpark, a landscape zoo offering other animals you just don't see that often, such as Polar Bears and Manatees. There's also an aqaurium as well as a Sea Life centre, a Planetarium and the amazing Gardens Of The World, with it's maze, cable cars and bobsleigh run. So, it turns out I actually really loved Berlin and the three nights we stayed probably weren't enough. I'd definitely love to go back with the children and catch all the things we didn't get to do last time.

My customer stories

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Kirstie took all pressure and stress away and made the whole process easy and relaxing. I have already recommended Kirstie to friends and will continue to do so

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Kirstie has been very patient with us and our many questions. We were a larger group and Kirstie went out of her way to ensure our requirements were fulfilled. My Mum struggles with breathing and Kirstie ensured our rooms were close to the main hotel complex to reduce the amount of walking for Mum. Kirstie worked late many nights to find us a suitable holiday as we only gave her 1 weeks notice.

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Would highly recommend Kirstie, she was very friendly and helpful and explained everything in detail made sure I was happy with everything. She is easy to contact and has helped me with any questions even after I booked . She truly is amazing and wouldn’t use anyone else now to book future holidays.

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I tell everybody I can that I have the most amazing, helpful, knowledgeable and professional travel agent in Kirstie Thompson……. I wouldn’t ever go anywhere else……

Sent by Pamela W

I tell everybody I can that I have the most amazing, helpful, knowledgeable and professional travel agent in Kirstie Thompson……. I wouldn’t ever go anywhere else……

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Kirstie is professional, knowledgeable and always provides the best customer experience

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Unfortunately I had to cancel my Disneyland trip due to the pandemic. Kirstie understood completely & instantly began the process of issuing me a refund. Less than 24 hours after she said it’s completed the money is back in my account ready for when I can rebook. Thank you Kirstie you have been so incredibly helpful & reassuring during this trying time! Cannot recommend her enough!

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Kirstie was amazing when booking my holiday. She spent time to get me the best deal and kept me informed by telephone and answered any questions I had. I would Definately recommend her to family/friends.

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Very professional and easy to speak too. I feel that I was offered great value for money. Thank you.

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Excellent personal service from Kirstie finding us the perfect holiday within our budget.

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Kirstie has been amazing from the start of my enquiry always keeping me up to date and always making me feel comfortable with any questions I have had Absolutely fantastic!