Sent by Victoria Pritchard
Based in Hove
Hi, I’m Martin. I live in Hove on the south coast with my young family.
My passion for travel began in the mid ‘90s with a round-the-world trip and working holiday in Australia. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled extensively worldwide, visiting over 50 countries along the way. My travels have taken me to places such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, Borneo, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, the USA, New Zealand, Fiji, Kenya and a number of European countries too. More recently, I’ve been discovering destinations a little closer to home, such as the Canary Islands, that work very well for family holidays.
Over the years, I’ve had some wonderful experiences that include watching cheetahs as the sun sets over the Masai Mara, sky-diving at the Whitsundays in Australia, taking a helicopter ride into the Grand Canyon and travelling on the tea country train through the tea plantations in Sri Lanka.
Through work trips, I have first-hand experience of staying in some of the world’s finest hotels (and some more run-of-the-mill ones too!) and can pass on some great tips to ensure you get the most from your hotel choices. I have extensive flight cabin knowledge. Business or Premium Economy Class isn’t always as expensive as you may think and makes long haul travel far more enjoyable.
Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, my career evolved from working in London for a ‘flights specialist’ and managing a team of 20+, to helping build a small travel ‘start-up’ into a successful travel business and more recently working for an award-winning luxury tailor-made tour operator creating privately guided tours throughout Asia. All these roles have required exceptional service levels and a very keen eye for detail.
With over 20 years’ experience as a dedicated travel professional, I can offer impartial, tailored advice for your trip and great prices too! Your leisure time is very precious and I realise just how important holidays are. I take pride in providing inspirational ideas for your trip, something which will save you hours of online research. Planning a bespoke holiday itinerary can be a daunting and sometimes time-consuming experience. Leave the detail to me and I’ll ensure a stress-free, smooth running trip, and you’ll return home with amazing memories that will last a lifetime.
For a no obligation quote (or just an initial chat about your holiday plans), please feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’ll be very happy to help…
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.
28 August 2019
When planning a trip to the Maldives, there’s quite a lot to consider… With 1,192 coral islands (only 200 of which are inhabited) and over 140 resorts to choose from, where do you start? The Maldives is the lowest and flattest nation in the world. Its beaches are pristine and the shimmering azure blue ocean is a haven for marine life. If you’re planning a trip, you’ll probably already know the type of holiday to expect. Most are looking for an idyllic setting with nice beach, good quality accommodation, maybe some snorkelling or diving, and decent food and drink at a reasonable price. Not too much to ask for then? The first thing to consider is the climate. Is there a good time to visit or is it really a year-round destination? The Maldives Tourist Board will suggest the latter of course. But in reality, dry season runs from December to March / April, and wet season from May to November. Wet season tends to bring short downpours (usually in the afternoons) and the rest of the time the sun will shine and the temperature will be in the late 20s. It’s worth noting that visibility is not at its best when diving during the wet season. In terms of pricing when in the resorts, food and drinks can be quite expensive. Expect to pay at least on a par to London prices. A five-star resort can charge £20 for a burger and £7 for a pint of beer. This can start to run up a large bill, so my advice would be to opt for ‘All Inclusive’ so that you’ve budgeted in advance and can then simply enjoy your holiday without the worry of looking at the menu (with a gulp) each time you fancy a tipple. Your international flight will fly into Male, the capital. Male itself has little to offer so it’s best to head straight to your chosen resort. This can be done in one of three ways. Access to each resort will differ – it will either be by speedboat, domestic flight and speedboat, or by seaplane. The cost for this will be incorporated into the initial price of your holiday. Accommodation choices within the resorts are wide and varied. You may be looking for a beachfront villa, an overwater bungalow or something somewhere in between. Thankfully, all the options are low-rise and although the quality will vary depending on price, the standards are usually very good wherever you choose. On the subject of price, it’s usually a good idea to have some idea of budget and what you have available to spend on your trip. The difference in cost between the resorts can quite literally be thousands of pounds per night. So, where’s the best place to stay? Of course, this comes down to individual choice and your particular requirements. It’s also where I come in as I have first-hand knowledge of a number of resorts (not all 140 though!) and can help choose the perfect one for you at a price that fits your budget. I have quick access to all available options at discounted rates and by working together I can create a tailor-made Maldives holiday to suit. You may even be tempted to add-on a trip to see Sri Lanka at the same time..!
01 July 2019
One of my first impressions of Sri Lanka was how warm the welcome is. 'Ayu Bowan' ('may you live longer') is both the greeting and farewell, and is always accompanied with a genuine smile. The second thing I noticed was how different the country is to India. Its close proximity means that of course there are similarities, but - having spent time in India - I was pleasantly surprised by how easy-going it is in comparison. My first visit involved the difficulty, upon arrival at Colombo airport, of choosing a driver/guide from the many who vie for business outside the terminal building. More recent visits have involved a far better and smoother arrival, with the guaranteed knowledge that my pre-arranged guide would be both friendly and knowledgeable (and insured!) Heading inland to the Cultural Triangle to see the huge ancient rock fortress of Sigiriya and the former ancient capital of Polonnaruwa seemed like the right thing to do. I wasn't disappointed; the rewarding views from the top of Sigiriya were a sight to behold. Journey times can be quite long when travelling in a vehicle around the island, but one way to break this up a little is to include a journey by train. Travelling by train through the tea plantations is a 'must-do' adventure for any trip to Sri Lanka and has certainly been a highlight for me on a number of occasions. While it's certainly not the Orient Express, the Tea Country train offers ‘travel with charm’ and a truly authentic experience. It’s not a tourist train - locals occupy the majority of the (comfortable) bench seats in second class. The warm breeze that drifts through the open windows (and doors!) adds to the enjoyment, as do the vendors offering cold drinks and spicy snacks. With sixteen National Parks to choose from, narrowing this down tends to be dependent on personal preference. Trying to spot the elusive leopards of Yala National Park continues to be a popular option. However, a three-hour safari without a sighting can be disappointing - unless of course you spot a sloth bear bouncing across the road in front of you just as you’re exiting the park, as I did on my last visit. Elephants are another of Sri Lanka's more popular creatures, and if you want guarantees, you should head to Uda Walawe NP, with the added bonus of a visit to the Elephant Transit Home, which rehabilitates orphans back into the wild. A well-balanced holiday experience is what I look for when I travel to Asia, and without doubt Sri Lanka offers this and more. It has history and culture, amazing scenery, fantastic wildlife and great beaches. Throw into the mix some of the best curry dishes - not only full of colour and flavour but also served with a smile - and I realised I had stumbled on a country that I knew I’d be returning to…
Tunbridge Wells 26/04/2022
Thames Ditton 07/01/2020
East Sussex 29/10/2019