Based in Stamford

Sandra Killick

It's Nice To Meet You

Hello and thank you for visiting my webpage. My name is Sandra and I live in Stamford, a stunningly beautiful and vibrant market town in south Lincolnshire.

As a Travel Counsellor I’m here to take away the stress of organising your holiday. I’ve never been a 9 to 5 person so feel free to contact me when it suits you - I’ll work with you to fully understand what you want from your trip and take care of every detail from start to finish, so that you can focus on the other important things in your life and start your holiday relaxed.

Travel has been my life, from my early days working on a campsite in France, through living and working in Spain, Greece, Malta, India and Cuba to finally being UK based, travelling frequently and focusing on giving customers the best holiday ever in places as diverse as Las Vegas, Bali and Kenya, as well as the more familiar European holiday resorts.

Over the years I’ve organised some fantastic bespoke getaways for myself and others including celebratory weekends in the English countryside for 20+ people, exploring the whole length of Vietnam and a once in a lifetime private tour around Namibia. It was therefore a logical step to become a Travel Counsellor and to share my knowledge and experience to help others have holidays that are just as amazing.

The hardest question for me is ‘what’s my favourite destination?’ as I’ve visited over 60 countries and each has its own special charms. You can read more in my blogs but some of the most memorable moments of my travels have been microlighting over the Victoria Falls, swimming with whale sharks in Mexico, floating past turquoise icebergs in Argentina and seeing the stars in the vastness of the Kalahari.

You can trust me to find the trip that’s right for you, whether that’s a multi generational family holiday, a luxury cruise, a romantic city break to pop the question, the ultimate honeymoon or a blow the budget round the world trip. Let me know your bucket list destinations and I’ll find the best way to realise those dreams. And if all you want is to chill on the beach then I can arrange that too.

In the words of St Augustine, ‘the world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page’. Get in touch and let me plan your next travel chapter!

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Contact Me

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 Videos

Introducing....Me!

10/26/2021

Take a look at this short video to find out more about me and Travel Counsellors

Postcards

4/8/2021

A special film from Travel Counsellors about our desire to travel again and make more happy memories

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.

Life's Too Short To Stuff A Lemongrass....But maybe not on holiday?

29 May 2020

Strange things have been happening during lockdown. Busy friends who normally only cook at weekends are proudly producing plump sourdough loaves midweek and friends who don’t usually see the need to cook as long as M&S ready meals exist are sharing pictures of their culinary triumphs on social media. I love cooking but some things take time and effort, so I don’t do enough when I’m busy, but one luxury I do allow myself is to take time out on holiday to join a class where I can learn how to cook the local food. If you’re a busy parent who needs to put food on the table you probably think I’m mad to spend valuable holiday time cooking but please bear with me.... Joining a cookery class on holiday is a great way to meet other like-minded people and to learn how to cook typical local dishes, but it’s also an important means of engaging with the community and contributing to the local economy as most businesses offering cookery classes are locally owned. Watch out for classes that welcome youngsters too as it’s a great activity to do as a family! My first venture into learning to cook on holiday was in Laos, of all places. I had been to other Asian countries but I had no idea what to expect from the local food. I’d read that there was a trend in serving food with Thai flavours as many foreigners had travelled there before and so it was ‘familiar’ but what I wanted was to get an understanding of the real Laos specialities. I can’t say that I would ever recreate at home the dried deer stew we made (must be an acquired taste!) but otherwise the food we made and then devoured at lunch was sublime. Who knew you could stuff a lemongrass? Not only that, we did it in the most amazingly tranquil surroundings, deep in the countryside beside a pond peppered with water lilies, not far from Luang Prabang. After that I was hooked… Visiting a local market is often an integral part of the experience of a cookery class overseas. Typically a guide will take the novice chefs around the market to explain more about the ingredients and how they are used. Very often you will be cooking what is bought right there and then, as fresh as you can get! Again, this is a great way to connect with the local people and less daunting than stepping into a busy working market on your own in some far flung places. One of my most memorable cooking experiences was in Vietnam where we hopped on a boat, laden with our purchases from the market, and took a leisurely float down the river to the cookery school, set in its own garden growing organic herbs and spices. It really did feel like we were getting two excursions for the price of one! As well as learning what local ingredients are used and what they look like, a cookery class is also brilliant for picking up some new techniques. My favourite one was learning how to make ‘brik’ in Morroco. This is a kind of small pasty with a savoury filling which is shaped like a samosa and made of filo pastry. It’s not as easy as it looks to get a good neat triangular shape but once you master the technique you are set up for life in terms of making more brik, samosas or even individual Greek spinach pies. Of course, having done the class, what follows next is a strong desire to go back to the market and stock up on ingredients you can’t find at home. You won’t be able to bring back fresh fruit and vegetables but generally spices, including ready-mixed local blends, and any dried or tinned ingredients are usually good buys. Then there’s the equipment - I’m now the proud owner of a long, thin bamboo spatula that’s for making rice paper wrappers on a stretched cloth over a steaming pan of water, as well as a totally lethal instrument for grating vegetables in decorative ways. My best bit of kit though is a pestle and mortar made of heavy volcanic rock that I lugged all the way back from Bali. I’ve only once actually ground spices on it to make a beef rendang, but it still has pride of place in my kitchen and is perfect for displaying the range of garnishes for my gin tasting evenings and is always a talking point. I’m glad I squeezed time into my life to stuff a lemongrass as it led me to many other culinary adventures in places near and far and hopefully more to come in the future.

My Big Five Safari Destinations

28 May 2020

You hear a lot about the ‘Big Five’ in terms of safaris, where the ‘Holy Grail’ is to see lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino and leopard. Whilst its technically possible to see all of those on one safari, there are of course many other animals that are exciting to see in the wild like zebra, giraffes, hippos, wildebeest and when considering a safari holiday there’s lots of things to think about, especially if it’s your first time. To help you out, I thought I’d share my own experiences of five different African destinations. Kenya The Masai Mara is a great park to visit if you’ve never been on a safari before as you really are guaranteed to see lots of animals, especially big cats. There’s a range of accommodation available to suit different budgets and I would personally advise you to try to stay in a couple of different places, in different areas of the park – that way you get to see more variety of animals. Whilst it’s possible to fly into Nairobi, do a safari and fly out again, many people head to Mombasa on the coast for some beach chill time afterwards which is a perfect combination. Tanzania This destination offers a world of possibilities and in fact the Ngorogoro Crater is said to be the African continent in miniature, with its different landscapes including a soda lake which is home to flocks of dazzling pink flamingos. When it comes to animal migrations, Tanzania is the place to be as the animals are on the move all year round in this country and there is the possibility to follow that migration in a Bush Rover vehicle where your tent appears on the roof at night (yes, really!) There’s the possibility here to combine the wildlife parks with beach on the mainland or hop over to Zanzibar for some chill time. Botswana The big draw for me when choosing Botswana was the opportunity to experience three different environments in one holiday. This ranged from the Chobe River where we got up close with hippos on the river, to the Okavango with its maze of waterways where we stayed in a tented camp and were able to do a walking safari, to the Kalahari where the wildlife is generally smaller and more elusive but where the highlight was a night safari looking for brown hyenas. Accommodation here tends to be mainly higher end so potentially more suitable once you’ve got a safari or two under your belt. South Africa Whilst you have a high chance of seeing the ‘Big Five’ in the famous Kruger National Park and there is a massive choice of accommodation, I opted to do my first South African safari in Shamwari, near Port Elizabeth at the end of a holiday driving down the Garden Route from Cape Town. The beauty of a private reserve is that there are less crowds and so the whole experience feels much more personal. At Shamwari there are several accommodation options and some excellent guides – if you ever saw the BBC2 programme Safari School, where various celebrities learnt how to be park rangers, it was shot here. Namibia Namibia is somehow off the radar for most people in the UK but I don’t understand why as it's just fabulous, however you do need to invest some time on the road to enjoy it to the full as everything is very spread out. For example, the main wildlife park, Etosha, is around 4 hours drive from the capital, Windhoek, so it makes sense to plan to do a tour here and experience the fascinating and dramatic landscapes as well. My best experience here was tracking leopard at Okonjima. It might sound a bit too easy to go out to find animals when they are fitted with a radio collar but believe me when I say that there is nothing to compare to the thrill of sitting in a vehicle with the radio antenna bleeping furiously, knowing that a leopard is close by…except of course the moment when you spot her peeping through the bushes and then she emerges in all her glory. I hope that has whetted your appetite a bit. The experiences you can have on a safari are many and varied and no two trips are the same so for more information please do get in touch!

Namibia dream holiday

27 January 2021

My holiday to Namibia was somehow 20 years in the making, but it was certainly well worth the wait! Having been on my first safari to Tanzania, I was hooked on the idea of seeing elsewhere in Africa and started to look around. Namibia jumped out as being somewhere quite unique, with wildlife, yes, but paired with dramatic and often otherworldly landscapes. Long story short, we planned a couple of trips over the years and Namibia was often mentioned as a ‘one day’ place to go but the plans never quite came to fruition. Finally, out of the blue, a friend said ‘we’re thinking of going to Namibia, do you fancy coming?’ and from that moment, there was no looking back. That’s how, in April 2019, I found myself sitting at Heathrow with 7 friends and map poring over the adventure we were about to have. How to get there? There are currently no direct flights from the UK, but flying from Heathrow to Windhoek, the Namibian capital, via Johannesburg was hardly an inconvenience. In fact, in my book, a stop in Jo’burg airport is a positive advantage as there’s plenty of retail opportunities and so on the way out you can check out the things you fancy so you can do a trolley dash on the way home. When to go? We’d chosen to travel at the end of the wet season, so outside of the peak months of June to September when it’s bone dry with not a cloud in the sky. However 2019 was a year of drought when barely a drop ran in many riverbeds and so there was plentiful wildlife at the water holes. How do we get around? There are many ways to see Nambia – you can join a tour or drive yourself; you can fly into some of the remoter areas and if you’re not of a nervous disposition you can even camp on the roof of your vehicle. This is not, however, a ‘fly and flop’ or even a twin centre type of holiday; in Namibia, if you want to get to see stuff you have to put in the miles as what this country has in abundance is vast open spaces. This is one of the easiest places to drive in Africa, with good roads connecting the main places of interest and relatively little traffic, but be aware that you will also encounter some unmade roads and because of distances it’s as well to have more than one designated driver. Being a small group we decided to have the best of both worlds and hire a minibus with a driver guide, so we could all sit back and enjoy the views. For our group this was definitely the ‘right answer’ although if I had my time there again I’d opt to do the same tour in a specially adapted 4WD all-terrain truck. Where to stay? Touring Namibia you’ll be staying most of the time in lodges in out of the way places and will have breakfast and evening meal included but in Windhoek, and Swakopmund I’d definitely recommend bed and breakfast so that you can choose where you go to eat. On our first night in Windhoek we hit Joe’s Beerhouse – do the same and you’ll definitely feel more like you’re on holiday than you would having dinner in a large soulless tour hotel. We chose to mix it up a bit with accommodation, staying in more budget options in some places and splashing out in others. One place was like something from the Wild West – I fully expected to open my door and see a gunfight going on in the open space between my room and reception. Another place had the most stunning panoramic views and quirky wood-fired boilers to heat the water. Then there was the tented camp at Mushara. It’s definitely worth at least a night or two under canvas to fall asleep with the sounds of the African bush around you. My absolute favourite place to stay though was Okonjima, home of the Africat Foundation whose mission is the conservation of Nambia's carnivores in their natural habitat. I’d dreamed of this place from the moment Namibia caught my eye and one of the highlights of the whole trip was tracking leopard in the bush and actually seeing one hunting. We stayed in the luxurious Bush Camp and the memory of a silver backed jackal taking a drink at my very own waterhole and the springboks duelling before my eyes from my open sided lounge will also remain with me forever. Trip Highlights Sossusvlei is perhaps one of the most iconic locations in Namibia – it’s where you’ll find massive red dunes and white salt pans. It’s possible to climb some of the dunes and we opted for ‘Big Daddy’, the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area, overlooking Deadvlei with its eerie landscape of salt pan punctuated by fossilised trees. Make sure you have plenty of water and take your time – it’s quite hard work climbing up sand in the heat of the day! Swakopmund, on the coast, has a cooler climate than the desert areas, but don’t let that put you off - for much of your Namibia trip you’re likely to be out in the wilds, so it’s a refreshing change to be in a town, especially when one like Swakopmund that has a variety of shops selling art works and hand crafted items, many from local co-operatives. The food was excellent here too, with local fish being the main speciality. One absolute highlight of Swakopmund was sea kayaking near a seal colony. My expectation was to view the seals on land from our kayaks, which was exciting enough, but soon we were surrounded by these curious creatures and we got the odd surprise passenger on our canoes! Etosha is Namibia’s foremost game park and a great place to see the ‘big beasts’ such as elephants, giraffe, zebra, lions and rhino, plus plenty of smaller creatures like porcupines and birds like hornbills to surprise and delight. To enjoy Etosha at its best I recommend staying in a couple of different lodges on either side of the park; this way you will see a wider variety of animals in different settings. The great beauty of it is that the transfer from your first lodge to the second can be through to park so that’s a game drive in itself! Must Dos Be brave and try the game meats like zebra and oryx which are the cornerstone of the local cuisine. Get a photo at the Tropic of Capricorn sign. Climb a dune! Or even better, fly over the dunes in a balloon. Factor in lots of game drives - every day is different in the animal world. Do that sea canoeing trip in Swakopmund – it’s something else! I could seriously go on forever about Namibia. Even with 20 years of expectation it didn’t disappoint and I would recommend it to anyone with a spirit of adventure looking for a holiday that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

My customer stories

Sent by Richard Bailey

Sandra quickly established the details of our requirements so was able to come back to us with a more reasoned short list of choice. Her long experience working as a manager with Thomas Cook coupled with extensive personal travels gave us confidence with her suggestions.

Sent by Nicola Brown

Fantastic service from beginning to end. Sandra takes the time to find out exactly what I am looking for and goes that extra mile to ensure that I get it.

Sent by Katie Searle

Thank you Sandra for finding us the most perfect place for our honeymoon. We had no idea what we wanted, other than being in Cornwall but you got it spot on! The personal and friendly service you provide is amazing, we won’t be going anywhere without your help now! Thank you so much x

Sent by Matthew Upex

Sandra has recently arranged a trip for us. As someone who is generally quite busy it has been a real pleasure to engage Sandra. Sandra looked in to all of the logistics of the trip and advised on options. It was a large weight taken off my mind. I could have trawled through different websites and tried to do this myself, however I neither have the expertise or patience for this. Sandra is approachable and really wanted to understand the kind of experience the family and I were looking for. Can't recommend highly enough. Thanks Sandra!

Sent by Karen Smith

i highly recommend Sandra for arranging your holiday travel. she is very responsive and takes the time to ascertain your holiday requirements before finding some great options . i’ll definitely be booking with her again.

Sent by Katie Challis

I got in touch with Sandra when we had to re-think our honeymoon plans due to COVID. We knew we wanted to go to Cornwall in the hope of some nice weather, but other than that didn't really know what we wanted. With very little information from me Sandra quickly found us several options of accommodation, and we quickly chose the most amazing looking place! I couldn't recommend Sandra more, she was friendly, knowledgeable and made the whole process of booking our holiday really easy. We will definitely be getting in touch when we can confidently book holidays abroad.

Sent by Tony Stace

Following a short conversation, where we discussed when and roughly where we wanted to go this year, Sandra came back with a detailed itinerary and costing. She had obviously taken great care to listen to what we thought we wanted and has now arranged a holiday that we are really looking forward to, once the Coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Sent by Alice Challis

Sandra listened and knew exactly what we wanted and quickly found several choices for us, one for a weekend away by the sea, another for a large family celebration. Our list of criteria was not easy, Sandra was not daunted, these were booked quickly and efficiently. Sadly because of Covid we haven't been able to take any of the trips booked yet but changing and rebooking has been trouble free with Sandra arranging it for us. I will certainly use Sandra for all future trips and wholeheartedly recommend her services.

Sent by Liz Zaremba

Sandra has helped us twice since lockdown lifted to find amazing self-catering places in the UK for mini-breaks. On both occasions, at relatively short notice (and at a time where there was high demand in the market) Sandra suggested a range of options within our budget and which met our search criteria. The places we chose (one in Rye, one near Southwold) were perfect for our needs. I highly recommend Sandra’s friendly and speedy, knowledgeable service. I will certainly call on her again to assist with planning future trips (hopefully at some point for something more exotic, but for other uk breaks in the meantime!).

Sent by Victoria Barlow

Sandra was great in helping us sort out a much needed summer break for the family. She found a number of different options and was able to add a personal touch to help us choose. I would throughly recommend Sandra to help with your travel needs.

Sent by Simon Lindsay

Sandra supported us in designing a bespoke itinerary for our Honeymoon to Sri Lanka. She used her expert knowledge of the destination as well as ensuring she understood exactly what we wanted from our vacation in terms of quality of hotels, what we wanted to see and do etc, and using this information put together the perfect itinerary. Keeping us fully informed throughout the booking process. We are delighted with the itinerary and are now counting the days until we can fly to Sri Lanka and enjoy the island and the stunning hotels and stops she has planned for us.

Sent by G K

Sandra was great in answering questions any time of the day. We were unsure about number of guests half way through the process but she happily got different quotes so we had some options. Very helpful and knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend and use in future

Sent by Sue Bailey

Sandra's passion & enthusiasm for finding the travel/holiday experience to suit her clients is obvious. From the priorities to the finest details - everything is taken into account & thoroughly researched. A genuine case of booking with confidence.