Based in Gloucester

Stephanie Chipping

It's Nice To Meet You

It's safe to say that travel is my greatest passion. Having missed out on foreign travel as a child and taking my first trip to India at the age of 15, I think I've been making up for lost time ever since! Since starting my journey in high street travel at the age of 17 and moving onto luxury tailor made trips, private islands and villas, I have gained a wealth of knowledge over the past 13 years. The concierge services I have arranged for villa clients varied from booking transfers and chefs to coordinating weekly schedules of cooking classes, dance and yoga lessons, language tutors and musicians. There is always something unique to everyone's holiday which I get the privilege to organise, how exciting!

Working as a Travel Counsellor enables me to provide a highly personalised and bespoke service, allowing me to give as much care and attention into planning your holiday as I would my own. I aim to make your trip special by taking charge of the finer details and making your booking process hassle-free. Being truly independent, with a diverse choice of suppliers to hand, helps to turn your travel dreams into reality and find that unique trip that is just right for you. I'm based in Gloucester and can be available at a time to suit you, so for those little travel queries I am only a call or text away.

Working with luxury villas has taken me across Europe, however, I do love to travel long haul and have been lucky enough to experience places like Bali, Thailand, Hong Kong and South Africa, to name some highlights. I try to always visit somewhere new and keep saying I've been to Las Vegas enough times, yet I still end up going back! My most recent adventure to Australia was a trip of a lifetime - a boat on Sydney harbour for New Year's Eve, surfing Bondi beach and exploring Fraser Island - now that will be a tough trip to beat!

From the UK to Australia and everywhere between, no trip is too big or too small and I look forward to hearing from you. Life is about the journey... Where will your travels take you next?

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Luxury Thailand Adventure

1/9/2022

Having spent several months here, across four separate trips, I can safely say Thailand has my heart. Get in touch for help creating your bespoke trip.

Trusted Travel

5/9/2021

Trusted travel is more important than ever. Be in the know and looked after by me and Travel Counsellors.

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.

Post Lockdown UK Travel Bucket List

21 June 2020

Has lockdown opened your eyes to some of the hidden gems you can visit on your doorstep? I don’t know about you, but with travel paused for so long now I feel like part of me is missing so I’m definitely ready for some adventure. You don’t always have to travel far and wide for epic experiences. The UK is home to picturesque lakes, historic castles, iconic mountains, spectacular ruins and beautiful beaches. With eight more months left of 2021 I’ve come up with eight bucket list-worthy weekends away for when restrictions ease: ~ May ~ Stargazing in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Rock up to one of the designated Dark Sky Discovery sites. Whilst you’re so close, nip over to Lake Windermere for the day and take a boat out for the afternoon or try out stand up paddle boarding. Stay: Brownber Hall. A modern country guesthouse, deep in the Cumbrian countryside, surrounded by miles of fields and rolling hills, within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. ~ June ~ Meander along the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Wye Valley AONB can be a fun-filled adventure or a back-to-nature escape. You’ll find caves, nature trails, kayaking and bike trails to name a few. The wildlife, scenery and serene countryside is there when you want it, plus everything is right on your doorstep without the need to travel far for your next adventure. What more could you want? It’s just incredible. Stay: A cosy, rural cottage. The privacy of your own cosy home to retreat to after a busy day will make the perfect recipe for this countryside holiday. ~ July ~ Dolphin spotting, whale watching & Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Search for mysterious nessy, the famous monster who is said to dwell in the depths of Loch Ness. You might have more luck spotting the dolphins and whales though. Best chances for whales are between May-Sept. Stay: Inverlochy Castle Hotel. Scotland's finest luxury hotel and restaurant uniquely located amongst the glens, lochs and mountains of the West Highlands of Scotland. ~ August ~ Hiking in Snowdonia National Park. Standing tall at 1,085 metres, Choose from six different paths to conquer the biggest mountain in Wales. With many waterfalls to explore too you can really make an adventure out of this weekend away. Stay: The Grapes Hotel. One of the oldest coaching inns and a charming and comfortable stay which is also one of the most popular venues for eating & drinking in Snowdonia. ~ September ~ Walks and waterfalls in Brecon, South Wales. Brecon Beacons National Park contains some of the finest walking country in Europe, but there’s far more to the Brecon Beacons than that. Lakes, castles, rivers, characterful market towns and waterfall trails. This really is a nature lovers trip. Not to mention there's also an epic chance for stargazing here too with the Milky Way visible on a clear night. Stay: There are plenty of idyllic cottages to choose from close to nearby towns or secluded deep into the national park. ~ October ~ Visit the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Durdle door is one of my personal favourites. In October you’ll enjoy less crowded beaches and walks along the UNESCO world heritage site stretching 95 miles from Devon to Dorset. Stay: The Pig on the Beach. In a hamlet so ridiculously picturesque it was the inspiration for Noddy’s Toytown, and overlooking the lake-still expanse of Studland Bay, The Pig on the Beach hotel in Dorset has a winning location. A revived and extended 16th-century manor house with a kitchen-garden menu. ~ November ~ Discover Giant's causeway, Northern Ireland. An epic sight of thousands of hexagonal stepping stones dating back millions of years. Stay a few nights in Belfast with it’s narrow cobbled streets, great bars and restaurants, as well as plenty of history. Stay: The Titanic Hotel Belfast. Situated at the heart of Titanic Quarter is the world's most authentic Titanic hotel – an attraction in itself. ~ December ~ Soak in Bath’s thermal waters. A wellbeing destination since Roman times and home to the UK's only natural thermal hot springs in Britain you can bathe in. As well as some of the finest independent shops, museums, galleries and restaurants; making it the perfect weekend escape. Stay: The Gainsborough Bath Spa. A luxury hotel in the heart of a UNESCO world heritage site. Tapping into the original thermal springs, Spa Village Bath offers a contemporary perspective on the city's thermal water heritage and guests can "take the waters" in luxury at the Bath House, visiting a circuit of natural thermal pools, saunas & ice alcove. Travel is soon destined to open up again, at least locally to begin with. Why not take some inspiration from these ideas or perhaps even start your own bucket-list adventure list. I'm still available to take on new enquiries so get in touch when you're ready to make some exciting plans. Take care, Stephanie

Happy 1st Birthday to Stephanie Chipping Travel

20 May 2020

My little dream is one year old today. And I’d just like to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has supported my dream. This includes everyone who has liked and shared my page and discussed it with friends, family and colleagues - even passed business cards their way! Plus, not to forget the biggest thanks to those who put their trust in me to cultivate their perfectly designed trips. Your feedback has shown me that I’m doing what I do best and that I’ve gained some great new friends from this too. I have to also mention that the Travel Counsellor support is second to none. Head office are available around the clock. It’s like you’re adopted into this new family who always have your back and there’s always someone by your side. Now… I can’t say that I planned for a global virus to upturn our world as we know it, but it’s definitely been a first year in business that I won’t forget in a hurry. And do you know what? Has it taught me more in a few months than what a small business would expect to learn in a lifetime? Indeed, it has. Think of it as a crash course in problem solving, crisis management and how to bake the perfect banana bread - all at once! It’s made me more driven than ever. Year one still brought many fantastic events and I’ve met so many incredible people along the way. I’ve been to destination-themed events across the region, sailed on a fantastic cruise, took a luxury trip to Thailand with an unforgettable group of fellow Travel Counsellors and then celebrated our achievements at the most incredible 25th anniversary star-struck conference in Manchester. I’ve sent people to India, Oman, Australia and Bali. I’ve organised road trips across the USA, city breaks, family getaways, luxury trips to Dubai and the Caribbean and surprise trips to anniversary trips. I’ve even been involved in a rescue mission to get people home during the crisis. I’ve worked long hours, night and day - who knew you actually work more when you work for yourself!? But it’s been a lot of fun. Sadly, some of you are postponed and are still waiting for your fun to begin. But when it does happen, I’ll make sure it’s perfect for you! So, what’s next? Well, coming up is a virtual wedding fayre with the wonderful Glenfall House. The previous event was a great success so I’m very much looking forward to this. Honeymoon planning is my absolute favourite! I’m already helping many of you with trips for 2021 which is keeping me busy during lockdown. However, my trips to Spain and Cornwall were both cancelled in April so these will be the first ports of call. The next big trip is also in the planning stage! Business is going to be baby steps for a little while, ensuring that everyone who is booked is looked after and can return safely to travelling. I’m looking to the end of this year and into 2021 for flexible trips where I am able to amend reservations without penalties. I’m also continuing to increase my destination knowledge - but this task will be never-ending! Once restrictions allow, I think my diary will be backlogged full of coffee dates. I miss you all and I know some of you are eager to discuss your travel plans over a quality flat white! Stay safe and keep dreaming. We will get back to travel soon. Until then… Stephanie

Elephant Hills Adventure

15 October 2019

The land of smiles welcomed us to paradise, first stop Koh Lanta. We landed into Phuket airport and travelled down by luxury minivan and public ferry. As we pulled into the entrance to The Layana Resort & Spa we were greeted with flower garlands and a refreshing hibiscus juice which was a welcome treat after our long journey. We had time for a quick dip in one of the two adults only pools before sunset cocktails and dinner at the beachfront restaurant. During sunset the hotel put on complimentary popcorn for guests to enjoy – I went for chocolate and chilli sprinkles but perhaps should have stuck with sugar! For breakfast the next morning we were blown away by the choice on offer from an array of juices and tropical fruit to eggs on demand and a rather tempting hot selection. Naturally, we had to try everything! With sea views from our table and such delicious food it was hard to leave but it was time to look around the resort. The Layana Resort and Spa is adults only which is perfect for couples and honeymooners to relax and the grounds are perfectly manicured with flowers and palms. We travelled in early October which is still green season but we had fantastic weather – visibility over to Phi Phi island and crystal clear sea. After a dip in the sea it was time to test out the spa - are you even in Thailand if you don’t have a traditional Thai massage? It was then time to take a scenic sunset cruise. The Layana put out tasty nibbles and drinks for us to enjoy whilst we cruised through the mangroves, spotting monkeys jumping into the water and finishing up at Saladan, where we went for local seafood and a dab of shopping. Our two nights here were up and the next destination for us was the magnificent Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National park. As soon as we arrived they efficiently kitted us out with our refillable water flask and got us ready for the first experience – kayaking down the Sok river. We experienced the smells and sounds of the leafy jungle for the first time as we passed through slowly by kayak; a rumble of monkeys, trickling water falling and tropical bird song; I even saw a stunning kingfisher swoop past! It was interesting to find out the naming of this camp is due to the hills being shaped like elephants – and they really are! This was our transport to reach the elephants… and there they stood, all majestic. The afternoon was spent interacting with these gracious creatures. First we learnt about how they came to be at Elephant Hills. These elephants were once used in the logging industry which when became banned in 1989 and they were left unemployed. Though, by this point they could not survive in the wild and left these poor animals to be exploited in the tourism industry so have been rescued and live peacefully in the national park at Elephant Hills, which receives 100% rating for its animal welfare, as well as the World Legacy Award for Sustainable Tourism. There’s no riding the elephants here – it’s ethical and respectful towards them instead. So the next task was to prepare their food and feed them. One elly was blind and you had to stroke her trunk first to let her know you were ready and she really melted my heart. Then for the wet part – bath time! I’m not sure who got wetter, me or my elephant! It was such a magical experience and our elephant began to dance with me as I washed her trunk. I could have stayed here all week but back at the camp our evening entertainment was waiting for us. The resort founded the Elephant Hills Children’s project and welcomes children from local schools to perform Thai dancing for guests. It supports young children by improving their English and gives them a little extra income to support their studies. The group introduced themselves in English and we were lucky to have our photograph taken with them at the end. We stayed for three nights, had a day floating around mangroves and lake swimming followed by a visit to the Elephant hills rainforest floating camp, which when staying on the 2 night safari you get to sleep overnight on floating tents. It was remarkable to learn the species of wildlife they have living wild in this national park. As well as being an eco friendly resort, Elephant hills also have a wildlife monitoring project where motion triggered cameras hidden in the jungle to help the nearby wildlife sanctuary. When staying at the floating camp you will be staying in close proximity to threatened and endangered classified species like wild Asian Elephants, Malayan Sun Bears, Gaurs, Asiatic Black Bears, Clouded Leopards or Malayan Tapirs. We had an unforgettable experience and left educated on the wildlife surrounding us in the jungle of Khao Sok. To reach our final stop we took a luxury minivan an hour west to Khao Lak and reached the blissful resort of the Devasom. The name of the resort “Devasom” is derived from two Sanskrit words – “Deva” meaning angels and “Ashram” meaning residence. Sitting between the lagoon and the sea, this was certainly a residence suitable for angels. Each room with a sea view, some with jacuzzi balconies and others with private pools, there is something to suit everybody. As I entered my room I could not believe my eyes; the penthouse, Sky Suite, on top of the hotel with two bedrooms each with jacuzzi and a 17m private infinity pool overlooking the Andaman sea. It would have been tempting to spend all the time in the suite but we had a long stretch of sandy beach to explore, complimentary stand up paddle boards and a double-infinity pool at the beachfront. It was time to fuel up after an action-packed few days and the food here did not disappoint. Even the hotels signature cocktail was exceptional; made from butterfly-pea flower creating this purple-blue potion! Close-by was the night market, Bang Niang. It’s your typical Thai affair, full of interesting smells from the street food, colourful attire and trinkets perfect for souvenirs and only a short tuk-tuk home to the luxury of our suite. The resort was welcoming for couple and families and is a place I felt I could stay for a extended length of time and truly unwind. However, after a week of luxury with our travel counsellors family, it was time to head home to our own families and share our passion for this wonderful country with them. At London Heathrow it was time to bid farewell to an absolutely amazing group of ladies who it was a delight to experience this trip with but it won’t be long until we are reunited again.

Five reasons the Algarve should be next on your travel list

02 July 2019

The hidden gem which is the Algarve, enjoys over 300 days of sun per year, it’s only a two hour flight from the UK and there is no time difference. It’s a destination which can be touristy if you’re not wised-up but I’ve been lucky enough to explore this area enough to know where to go to find it’s true beauty. That’s already three reason’s to travel right there but I hope to share with you my love for this area with my top five reasons to visit: 1. Beaches Of course, it had to be the beaches! Notable for it’s picturesque limestone caves and golden sands, the coastline here stretches for over 150km! There are many expansive stretches of sand to enjoy, but the real beauty here is the endless choice of coves with the Algarve’s iconic rock formations. The most renowned being Praia da Marinha, but there are many others to discover. I also seem to get lucky with sunsets here, with a more impressive sky each time I visit. I love being down by the waves at Sunset, but the cliff top bar at Pine Cliffs Resort is an unbeatable location for a sundowner. Top Tip: Hire a car. You’ll thank me later, after you’ve stumbled across that perfect cove all to yourself, your perfect slice of golden heaven. Another tip, because I’m feeling generous – if you travel during low or mid-season then not only will you be more likely to find a section of beach to yourself but the car rental is also cheaper too. You’re welcome. 2. Surfing Yes, that’s right. Situated on the Atlantic ocean, the Algarve offers guaranteed, consistent waves, making it a top European surf destination. The best areas for some surf action are Sagres and Lagos, however, even Gale (near Albufeira) even has some decent smaller waves if you don’t have time to travel as far west as Sagres. Although there are no world class spots here, you will find uncrowded breaks. It's also worth noting that in summer it can be pretty flat so again, the best time to travel is out of season, although don't forget your wetsuit - it is the Atlantic after all! Top Tip: If surfing is a bit too adventurous for you then there are lots of other water sport options including kayaking tours around the caves! 3. Food (and Wine) The cuisine here is mouth-watering. Naturally, in this location, seafood plays a major part, however, the proximity to Northern Africa brings a twist of spices, olives and cheeses. Food here is very well priced and I would always choose bed and breakfast or even self catering to allow for the delicious meals out in the evening. If wine is your thing (if it isn’t, then it should be!) you can find some excellent wines produced in this region and there is even an Algarve wine route. Top Tip: You must try Cataplana de Marisco – this seafood dish is a regional favourite, cooked in a pot similar to a tagine. If you have a sweet tooth (like me) then I challenge you to beat my record of how many ‘Pastel de Nata’ you can scoff in a week! 4. Hiking You’ll find walking trails aplenty here and the views are simply breath-taking. Personally, my favourite walk is along the clifftops at Falesia beach as I really love the ever-changing colours of the cliffs and the views stretch as far as the eye can see. There are more challenging hikes along the coastline, however, I never seem to get very far anyway because I end up taking so many photos of the scenery. Top Tip: Stay at the Pine Cliffs Resort and witness these fascinating orange cliffs from the comfort of your hotel. I’ve stayed here several times and I’m always happy to recommend this hotel for it’s excellent facilities, restaurants and perfect location. 5. Quaint Old Towns If you crave more than just beautiful beaches, head out (with your car) and explore the Venice of the Algarve – Tavira. This historic town – just 25km west of the Spanish border – is filled with Moorish plazas, cobbled streets, bridges and waterways. Other towns include Quarteira with it’s gypsy markets – then after the market head to Vilamoura marina for a refreshing drink and to gaze at the expensive yachts bobbing out to sea. Head further inland to Silves. This former capital of the Algarve is packed with culture and ruins. The Silves Castle and Cathedral are popular sights but you could spend a day here wandering the historic cobbled streets. Top Tip: When planning a visit to Tavira, allow a full day as there is also Tavira island and beach, as well as a nearby nature reserve. If this has sparked up an interest to visit the Algarve then please do get in touch and I’d be happy to discuss further. Depending on your interests, I would recommend an area perfect for you. Whether it be a villa holiday or a relaxing break in a hotel, I look forward to helping you plan your visit.

Vegas, baby!

07 June 2019

Las Vegas. Sin City. Where do I begin? Before visiting Las Vegas the first time, I was sceptical and really had no desire to travel here. “What’s all the fuss about”, I thought! It turns out, it’s one of those places you’ll never forget! Finding myself in Vegas the first time, thanks to my Dad’s wedding - well, actually two weddings that week in fact -my whole perspective of the city changed. There really was something for everyone from young to old. It’s a pretty crazy place, don’t get me wrong. I mean, where else would you join a bride (in her wedding dress) to board a roller coaster through and around a hotel. The weddings were fantastic, from a unique chapel at the Luxor to a little white chapel on the strip and the receptions afterwards, including a dueling piano bar, will never be forgotten! Having been back only a few months, I was saving for my next visit the following summer. This trip was all about SHOPPING (and sightseeing)! It was August, 40 degrees - just how I like it. So the air conditioned casinos drew us in but a few lucky slots later and we walked back out into the sunshine with our cash prize to the nearest margarita bar! There are miles and miles of shops to help you empty your pockets here, or designer outlet malls to help your money stretch further. I just about made it home with just the one suitcase... honestly, I know you don’t believe me! One of the highlights of this trip was hiring a Ford Mustang and driving out to the hoover dam, which I’d highly recommend! The shows in Las Vegas are also second to none. The Lion King... did I cry? Yes, okay I did! Now the third trip was a once in a lifetime VIP trip with my good friend Becky. We lived it up. We had to outdo all previous trips. This was the big one! We arrived into Las Vegas international airport, limousine waiting to escort us to Caesars Palace. Now are you even in Vegas if you don’t quote The Hangover when checking into Caesars “You probably get this a lot. This isn't real Caesars Palace. is it?” It’s August again (a sucker for the heat) and so we made a beeline for the pool - one of the best in the city - and began to plan out our week. The pool party at Wet Republic to see Steve Aoki, check. A helicopter through the Grand Canyon, check. Old town Fremont Street casinos, check. Let’s go get photos at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, check. Then which shopping malls have we got time to visit, which nightclubs shall we do and more importantly where do we stuff our hungry (read: hungover) faces with food. We couldn’t have planned it better if we tried. It’s still always a hard trip to beat and I’d say to anyone to give Vegas a try just once. Who knows what could happen. Well, anything really but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! Now someone fetch me my limo... ;) To book a holiday that you’ll never forget, please get in touch and I’d be delighted to help.

My customer stories

Sent by Sue Cooper

Steph went above and beyond what we expected of her. Not only did she book our flights and accommodation, but also checked which hotels were suitable for vegetarians and their payments measures. In addition, she demonstrated an in-depth knowledge and enthusiasm for the location.

Sent by Stuart Lee

Steph was amazing. We had a vague idea of what we wanted from Oman and she gave us more options we didn't know about, with a range of prices to suit our budget. She is professional, courteous and I would definitely use Steph's services again to book our holidays. The communication was forthcoming and she got back to us immediately with availability and costings. Highly recommended.

Sent by Sarah Gilkes

Stephanie was an absolute star whilst organising our trip. She researched hotels and areas that she felt would be of interest to us. I will definitely use her again and have already recommended her to family and friends. Thanks Steph

Sent by Gemma Gore

Stephanie was really helpful and nothing was too much trouble even when I changed my mind to a completely different place. I loved that she was attentive and seemed to genuinely care about finding the perfect place. I also liked the small gesture of putting stickers in the pack for my 4 year old. Nice little touches make a difference. Thank you Stephanie

Sent by Mary Gough

Steph was amazing! I find holiday booking quite stressful, but she made the whole experience easy and exciting, she gave us everything we asked for and more, cant praise her enough, well done Steph!