Sent by Mark and Paula Baxter
Melton Mowbray 11/13/2018 12:00:00 AM
Based in Melton Mowbray
Looking for help with your business travel? Find out how I can help here
Hello, I’m Sally and I love my job designing bespoke travel plans for my leisure and business clients.
Why use a Travel Counsellor?
Are you trying to avoid the standard ‘package deals’ and create your own special holiday experience? But you’re too busy to spend precious hours searching comparison sites, only to end up even more confused by all the deals on offer.
Using a Travel Counsellor is the sensible option if you prefer to benefit from the expertise and experience that working with an accomplished professional brings.
Planning your holiday should be full of excitement – not a stressful slog – and that’s why I’m here.
What you get
You don’t have the time to research, negotiate and finalise all the different elements of your travel arrangements. I simplify the process for you and manage the entire journey; from actively listening to your unique requirements, to handing over your finalised travel pack. I save you the time and stress, so you can enjoy the anticipation of your trip knowing that everything’s taken care of.
Everything is bespoke
It’s your holiday, your business trip, so your priorities and preferences are our starting point. Perhaps you know precisely what you want, or maybe you have a more general idea of ‘something different’ and would like some inspiration and guidance to the specifics. I combine my 20 years’ industry experience, the latest technology and access to over 400 global suppliers to design your perfect holiday or business trip.
Every little detail makes a big difference
Seamless, stress free travelling is the result of efficient organisation and meticulous attention to detail. My flexible holiday and business travel services are truly personal and I am the only point of contact you need. I adapt my schedule to suit yours. If you need to speak to me at the end of your working day, or at the weekend, I will do my utmost to be available.
From airport transfers and visas, to sharing Foreign Office advice and booking attraction tickets, and everything in between – I really do take care of every little detail.
Every kind of experience is possible
Whether you’d like my help planning a coast-to-coast adventure, boutique luxury experience, island hopping action holiday or a round the world trip of a lifetime, I’d be delighted to tailor make your journey for you. People’s journeys are often driven by similar reasons – wedding, honeymoon, family holiday, ‘big’ birthday or anniversary celebrations – but everyone’s experience is unique.
I specialise in more complex travel arrangements, including; long haul, long duration holidays (over two weeks), trips requiring different modes of transport and ‘split components’ when clients stay at multiple destinations during the same holiday.
Good to know…
• No fee
You do not pay any extra fee for my extensive services.
• Impartial advice
I give independent, impartial advice. I am not under contract to any one tour operator and I do not have any sales targets to meet.
• Your money is protected
All reservations made with me are covered either by ATOL, or by our unique financial trust. Every aspect of your booking is 100% financially protected - a guarantee you will not find anywhere else.
• 24/7 backup from Travel Counsellors
Although I work independently, I have the back-up of the award winning Travel Counsellors organisation. This means that there is always someone on the end of the phone to help you, no matter what time zone you are in. The helpline is based in the UK and is staffed by trained professionals who support clients in a variety of situations. So you don’t have to wait until I wake up to get the help you need.
If you’re a SME and are interested in my Business Travel Services, you can find full details by clicking on the link above.
If it sounds like I’m the Travel Counsellor for you, drop me an email or a call and we can grab a coffee, phone or skype, and see what amazing adventure we can create together.
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.
13 November 2018
Your business travel needs to be straightforward and stress free so that you can focus on what’s really important – your business. That’s exactly what you get with my business travel service. Based on their feedback, these are the three things my client’s value most about my business travel service. 1. It’s all about you Every business is different, so ‘one size fits all’ travel packages are not appropriate. As your out-of-house travel department I work with you to create your bespoke travel service. I don’t work for suppliers, meeting your needs is my only priority. Companies all require different levels of support and I adapt my service offering to find the best travel solutions for you. Your only point of contact is me. You won’t get passed around a call centre to get the answer to your question. Through Travel Counsellors, I am backed up by a 24/7 support line. This is based in the UK and staffed by trained travel counsellors. They provide emergency help to all my clients, wherever they are in the world. Extra peace of mind for you and I know everyone’s taken care of when I go to bed. There are no ‘out of office hours’ charges for this, it is simply part of our excellent customer care. Many clients have commented on how well I fit in to their business. It is important to take the time to understand businesses’ aims, culture and philosophy in order to truly personalise my travel service. Building long lasting working relationships increases my efficiency by strengthening our communication. 2. Time efficient My point of contact is usually you or your personal assistant. Obviously, with their high level of organisational skills they will eventually put together workable travel arrangements for you. But how much of their, or your, valuable time is wasted on this because they don’t have the expert knowledge of a travel professional? And what else could be more usefully done with that time? My vast industry experiences enable me produce tailored travel plans at speed and with precision. And you don’t lose hours of precious PA time. My range of business travel services, include: • Rail: including Eurostar • Air: including low cost carriers, scheduled flights and chartered planes • Car hire: global suppliers • Airport parking • Transfers between the same and different modes of transport • Accommodation: hotel bookings • Visa and passport service: including the very popular online check-in • Account management and reports If you need something that is not on this list, just ask. My business travel service includes domestic and global travel arrangements, and I specialise in ‘split component’ journeys. That is the trickier type of journey where a client is spending time in multiple locations and using different modes of transport. This is very common for business travellers and I love the challenge every time. 3. Cost effective I will make the best use of your travel budget, based on your initial preferences. Anyone can stick to a budget. But knowing where to get you the best value is a special part of my business travel service. I actively look for ways to make the most of your money by looking for a similar service level for a better price. I am not promising ‘better than the internet’ prices. ‘Cheap’ is not a substitute for reliability or quality. I do know where to look for reputable alternatives that are better value. As I’m sure you know, you only gain this type of insight after many years working in an industry. You can use mine to your advantage. You have the security of knowing that all bookings are ATOL protected and have the added protection of also being under Travel Counsellors financial cover plan. Anything goes wrong and you get a refund. Business travel is, by definition, a means to an end. It’s not the start of an exciting escape to a well-earned holiday. Many people consider it a ‘necessary evil’. I consider it my job to make your business trips as positive a travel experience as possible. Corporate travel does not have to be fraught with annoying complications and mis-timed connections. Hiring a professional to organise your journeys comes from the same sensible mindset as turning to any expert. It saves you the time, money and hassle of doing it yourself. Using my business travel service gives you the peace of mind that every detail is taken care of and you will arrive at your destination calmly, on time and ready to work.
21 June 2016
In February 2016, and with a lot of excitement, we embarked on our first winter holiday. From a cold and cloudy Birmingham, we flew to Cinnamon Dhonveli in the Maldives via Dubai. The flight time from Birmingham to Dubai is seven hours, and we waited a further three hours in Dubai for our connecting flight to Male. However, by the time we had disembarked, gone through security and walked to our departure gate, the time had flown by. After a four hour night flight from Dubai to Male, we arrived at around 7.30am local time. As we walked across the tarmac wearing the same clothes we had left the UK in, the heat and humidity hit us - even at such an early time of day! After some time, we cleared immigration and eagerly awaited our suitcases which arrived within a reasonable time. After clearing customs, we walked into the main arrivals hall which could be best described as a Maldivian Piccadilly Circus! We found our travel representative who directed us to a transfer waiting area. As our resort was approximately 10 miles from Male, our transfer would be via speedboat from the waterside boat taxi rank. If you are being transferred by sea plane, you travel in a small bus from the airport terminal to the sea plane terminal (10 minute journey). Our transfer boat arrived and we embarked, leaving our suitcases on the quayside for the crew to load onto the boat. The boat ride was a bit on the choppy side, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable. Both my husband and I are both unhappy mariners but neither of us felt seasick. I would recommend staying close to the back of the boat for a more comfortable ride. A poor couple who boarded the boat last, sat right up front with the Captain and they appeared to have a rougher passage than us and we were only a few feet behind! Upon arrival at Cinnamon Dhonveli, you are greeted by a cool flannel and fresh juice at reception where you are given your room key and information on restaurants and island amenities. Cinnamon Dhonveli is part of the North Male Atoll islands. Not huge by any stretch, you can walk around the island in 15 minutes, but there are enough facilities to keep even the most active happy. There’s a full range of daily excursions – night fishing, swimming with turtles, dolphin safaris, as well as trips to the capital and island-hopping tours. What’s more, there’s a swimming pool, gym, tennis court, badminton court, beach volleyball, a diving centre (which also offers jet skiing, pedalo, water ski and paragliding) and a surf club! If you want to gently unwind, there is a spa offering relaxing massages and treatments. Otherwise, just sit back and relax on your room patio or on one of the many beachside loungers. There are a number of different standards of accommodation on Dhonveli, but one factor always remained the same – places were clean, tidy, airy and comfortable, and you are looked after very well. Our accommodation for the next 10 nights was an over water villa on the North West side of the island. Upon arrival, our room was not quite ready, so we were given another room and decided to have a scout around the island and have lunch. We were allocated a table in the Rehendi Restaurant but we could have visited any of the other two buffet style restaurants on the island. Each restaurant served food from around the world with daily lunchtime “specials” serving snack food. During our stay we sampled Indian, Maldivian, Mongolian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, British and German food. If you love your curry, you can eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner! If you were still hungry or missed a meal, mid-morning and afternoon tea was available. We took advantage of afternoon tea on a couple of occasions, and there was always one hot item and a variety of sandwiches. Our room was spotless, the bed was comfortable and the bathroom was light, spacious and with a Jacuzzi bath! All of the villas are identical and have an outside decking area with steps down into the sea. It is advisable to bring beach shoes as the sea bed is quite rocky with broken coral (a result of the tsunami in 2004). This island is a snorkelling paradise. Within a few metres of our villa, we swam towards a vast array of fish. Dolphins had been spotted early one morning, plus a few small sharks and even a couple of manta rays. We spent most mornings on our villa decking and most afternoons on the beach, swimming and snorkelling. The sea was shallow for a few metres until you reached a deep patch (approx. 20m) after which the water was a couple of metres in depth. The further you went out, the better the view of the fish, so it was well worth the effort. The nightlife was good with something happening every night; live music to suit all tastes, from rock and roll to jazz, and a weekly beach party serving cocktails (small charge). If you’re not a night owl, you can retire to your room without being disturbed. After dinner, you would find fresh towels and your bed would be turned down, ready for you to retire. After dinner, the lit up restaurant decking area often allowed us to see a shark or manta ray and assorted tropical fish, swimming by on their “evening strolls”! The view of the star-filled sky will stay with us for the rest of our lives – we could see stars not visible at home. We went on a three hour snorkelling trip with turtles, travelling to a coral reef just off Makundoo Island (approx. 40 mins by speed boat each way). As our group were not strong swimmers, our crew ensured we were safe; life-rings were always available. On the return journey, we had a short stop on a desert island where we spotted a large manta ray. It was an unexpected treat that made our day. If you stay on Makundoo, you can also go by boat and have a meal. Before we knew it, our 10 days in paradise was over and it was time to move on. With a water taxi ride back to Male, we started our return home via Dubai for two nights.
21 June 2016
After a four hour flight from Male to Dubai, we landed around 2.30pm. We were both struck by the vastness of the Emirates airport terminal. Our stand was near the end of the terminal so after a good 15 minute walk, including several powered walkways, we arrived at immigration and baggage reclaim – another vast area. Thankfully, the immigration process was quick and we were soon at the carousel collecting our luggage. Leaving the baggage reclaim and walking through customs was remarkably stress free. Met immediately by our travel representative, we were directed to a waiting car which took us to the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah resort (approx. 35 minutes away). In Dubai, Friday is a weekend day and it was Thursday afternoon, so traffic was heavier than normal. Emirates citizens tend to meet up on a Thursday night with friends or family. We checked into our hotel and decided to view the facilities and the beach. What really struck us having come from the heat and humidity of the Maldives was the difference in air temperature. It was still a comfortable 24 degrees but it felt a lot cooler. The Hilton is situated right on the edge of the beach with rows and rows of loungers available: enough for the entire hotel should everyone decide to descend onto the beach. When we visited (March 2016), there were building works next door to the hotel as well as out to sea where a new resort is in the process of being constructed. After retreating to the Wavebreaker beachside bar, we enjoyed a couple of drinks and soaked up the atmosphere of our new vista. Dubai is becoming a party destination, but make sure you take plenty of spending money – a large beer and a medium glass of wine came to nearly £20 (March 2016 exchange rates). As we were staying on a half board basis, the first evening we decided to eat in the buffet style Oceana restaurant. Each night there is a different theme and Thursday was Steak Night. You could eat as much steak as you could manage, cooked right in front of you to your liking. The range of dishes was absolutely amazing – even the fussiest eater would have been spoilt for choice! After a long day travelling, we decided we would retire for the evening in preparation for the following day’s exploration of Dubai. We awoke early and after a good breakfast at Oceana, we headed for Dubai using the metro. This relatively new transport system is all over ground on a raised platform. After a 15 minute walk from our hotel to the nearest station at Jumeirah Lakes Towers, we travelled fairly cheaply down to Burj Khalifa Metro station via Mall of the Emirates. Our first impression of the Mall of the Emirates was that whilst you were quite clearly not in a shopping centre in the UK, it had the same feel. Many chains present in the UK have a store in malls within the city. One highlight was Ski Dubai – seeing people with hats, scarves and thick coats, when the outside temperature was in the region of 30 degrees, was quite surreal. After numerous shops, we made our way to the Dubai Mall ready for our trip to the top of the Burj Khalifa (well, the 124th floor anyway). After a snack at the food court, we took a look at the Dubai fountains – a 30 acre man-made lake which has the famous dancing fountains and our first proper close up view of the Burj Khalifa. The lake is surrounded by cafés and restaurants as well as the Souk Al Bahar, which we did not visit due to being short of time. It is possible to witness two sunsets in a matter of minutes, so we purposely booked a sunset visit to the Burj Khalifa. Please be warned - with security and interest in visiting this building you must allow plenty of time before your allotted visiting slot. I would also recommend upgrading to a “queue buster” ticket to save time on going up and down the tower minimising any delay. After a staggeringly short elevator ride (approx. 70 seconds from the ground to the 124th floor), you are greeted by wondrous, breath-taking views out to sea. The tour allows you to walk all the way round the tower to get a true bird’s eye view of Dubai and the surrounding area. Despite the impressive view, you are still quite a way from the very top of the tower and can upgrade to ascend a further 23 floors (additional charge). After our descent of the tower, we headed home via the fountains to watch one of the regular evening shows. Rather fittingly, the song was “Time to say goodbye” - a perfect end to a perfect holiday!
21 July 2013
My husband and I have recently returned from our 8th visit to Skala, Kefalonia. This Island is set in the Ionian Sea, between Zante to the South West, the small Island of Ithaka to the East and Lefkas to the North. We have always stayed in the village of Skala which is on the southern tip of the Island. The original village was destroyed by an earthquake in 1953 and in the past few years a number of villas have been built, boasting splendid views and most have infinity pools. The modern village of Skala is perfect for those looking for a quiet setting but at the same time some low-key night life. There are a number of travernas in the village – some on the beach which are lovely. The beach of Skala is a mixture of coarse sand and shale but do not let that put you off. There are lots of beaches within a short drive that could rival the Caribbean – they are simply stunning! A few must see places on the island are:- Argostoli – The Islands Capital, boasting a pleasant shopping area with designer boutique shops as well as a lovely harbour where you can watch the yachts and cruise ships sail by as you enjoy a coffee. The harbour is also a great place to go turtle spotting. Fiskardo – Located on the most northern tip of the Island is a pretty village with a lovely view of the neighbouring islands of Ithaka and Lefkas. A great place to visit and watch the world go by. For those seeking a deserted beach not accessible by car, hire a boat and guide to take you to one of the many in the area – some were actually used in the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’. Assos – a beautiful little village roughly half way between Fiskardo and Argostoli. It is well worth a visit and a perfect place to go for a swim and cool down! Myrtos Beach – The most famous and arguably the prettiest on the Island. Again used in the feature film it has a lovely beach taverna to visit after a swim in the azure blue sea. Castle of St Gerassimos – This castle is a lovely vantage point to have a really good look at the central part of the Island. Entrance is free but you are best to check which days it is open. Visit the Castle taverna at the entrance for coffee and cake - it is out of this world! Mount Ainos – It is hard not to spot the mountain as you arrive. In recent years a road has been constructed to the top where you can take a 30 minute stroll through the forest of and sign the visitor’s book! Around half way up the mountain there is a pleasant picnic and play area. Other resorts to stay on the Island include Lassi for those who are looking for a real 24/7 party atmosphere but without the 18 to 30’s, Lourdas and Katelios for those who crave sandy beaches and a laid back low key setting. If you need any more information please let me know and I will be happy to put a complete package together.
27 June 2013
My husband and I decided to go to Bowness-in-Windermere for the late Bank Holiday in May. We booked ourselves into the Rum Doodle guest house for 2 nights which I can highly recommend. As we are keen motorcyclists and the weather was good we decided that we would travel by motorbike, I sit on the back and the views I got were fantastic as we travelled. We enjoyed a lovely ride across the moors. At the very top the views were so clear you could make out the east coast some 50 or 60 miles away. We arrived for lunch in Holmfirth where for many years the TV series ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ was filmed. We arrived at the Rum Doodle around 5pm. Upon arrival our host Gregor, directed us to the reserved parking space which would be ours in the car park for the duration of our stay. To make space for us he had put his own car on the road which was a very welcomed gesture. We were shown to our room which had only just been re-decorated. It was big and airy. As we were in the eaves of the roof we had 2 velux windows on either roof pitch which allowed a pleasant draft as motorcycling can at times during the summer get very hot! Our room had a roll top bath in the corner of the room with a wash basin and toilet in a separate room. We awoke bright and early the following morning for our breakfast which was perfect. Upon setting out my husband informed me that it would be a day of 4 mountain passes. First was the Kirkstone which passed without event, then the Winlatter pass, where we stopped for a coffee break. This is a Forestry Commission site and great for bird watchers. We then got back on the road and after about an hour or so riding through the very different scenery of West Cumbria – including the Sellafield Nuclear sit, we reached the Hardnott pass that my Husband had always wanted to experience. To say that I was scared would be an understatement! We started our ascent through a small wood, through which the road became increasingly narrow and windy. Corner after corner came and went and most of which could only be done at no more than 5 to 10 miles per hour. With the weight of a pillion and a bike on a road surface that was marginally better than a cobbled road, was no easy feat. Once we had reached the summit, the equally difficult decent greeted us. The final pass of the day was over the Wrynose pass a few miles later which in comparison to the Hardnott was a lot easier. We arrived at our guest house during the middle of the afternoon and decided to go down to the town for a few afternoon drinks and an early evening meal. As the sun was out and it was quite warm went to one of the pubs we had discovered the previous evening. It has a fantastic beer garden so was ideal for such a lovely evening. For our evening meal we ate at Hyltons where you’ll find lovely traditional food. Afterwards, we enjoyed a walk along the lake edge. We found this quite tiring after our day so we took the sensible option of returning to our room for a cup of tea and a soak in the roll top bath - bliss! The following morning we awoke to grey skies and once we had enjoyed our breakfast and said our goodbyes to Gregor and all at Dum Doodle (including the “snag list” he had asked us to keep which was very short as everything was absolutely perfect) the heavens opened and it continued all the way to Kirkby Lonsdale. If the weather had been kinder we would have really liked to have re-visited this very nice market town for a look around the shops. We made good progress on our homeward journey, re-tracing our steps back to Skipton and then heading east to Harrogate where we stopped for tea – sadly not at Betties as the queue as ever was long! I’d love to chat to you about my trip and share all my top tips so just get in touch.
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