Sent by Alison Johnson
Based in St Helens
I provide a highly personal travel service with exceptional attention to detail from start to finish, tailor-making holidays to suit each customer. Travel Counsellors is a world leading, independent company offering 100% financial protection, 24/7 care whilst you are travelling and technology that provides personalised information about all of your bookings in real time on your app.
As I work from home, I can speak to my customers at a time that suits you, even if it is outside normal working hours.
What do you find most stressful about booking your holidays? Let me take away the stress and help you make wonderful memories with your family and friends. I start by learning about you, your family and what your preferences are when it comes to travel experiences, to ensure you get the best value for your money and a perfect holiday. When you are ready to book, I make all of the arrangements for you - all the bookings with airlines, hotels and experiences in your destination.
That's part of the value that I create for you.
It might cost a little bit more, but I'll provide you with a better travel experience than you can find on your own, and I'll get you the best experience for the money you invest. I will be here to proactively support you the whole way.
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.
02 April 2019
If you’re planning a holiday and the unexpected happens, travel insurance cover could protect you from hefty costs and medical bills. No-one wants to be thinking of accidents or incidents while they’re on holiday, but if the worst does happen, the right policy can be indispensable. My own personal experience has recently highlighted how important travel insurance can be, my sister was recently on a trip to the USA when, unfortunately, she had a stroke. Thankfully she had insurance and most important of all had declared all her pre-existing conditions. Had she not had either insurance or declared her conditions there would be no cover for her and we would be facing a bill of over £200,000. Unthinkable! Here are 5 reasons why you should be covered for your holiday, whether it be a staycation or further afield. 1. Cancellation With the best will in the world, circumstances can upset your holiday plans before you even leave for your trip. Falling ill, being prevented from leaving due to unforeseen work circumstances, being posted abroad or even a death in the family can stop your break in its tracks. By ensuring you have a travel insurance policy from the time you book your holiday you will be covered for cancellation for a range of reasons. You may have lost your trip, but you won’t lose your money through no fault of your own. 2. Medical Enjoying your time away, when you have an accident or fall ill and need medical attention. Whilst an EHIC card is useful in Europe, you are still going to require additional assistance and you may have problems securing medical treatment at doctors and hospitals across the world. With a reputable insurance policy, bills for medicines, hospital stays and even being returned to the UK will be covered by your insurer. An air ambulance can cost over £20,000 to bring you home, so it is easy to see how important this cover can be. 3. Lost documents It is bad enough losing your passport or tickets, but to then be hit with bills to obtain a replacement document while you’re abroad really does add insult to injury. 4. Possessions, baggage and money If your bag gets stolen or is lost and you lose your clothes and other possessions, then this cover will make life easier. Travel insurance policies can include cover to enable you to replace items either while you are away or when you return to the UK. Losing cash if you are robbed or have your room broken into will be covered by many policies. 5. Peace of mind The real reason for ensuring you buy a policy that covers your travel needs. You can then relax and enjoy your break.
28 June 2018
For all those thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies out there, Universal Orlando is the place for you. There are three amazing parks to choose from - Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay waterpark. Universal Studios Harry Potter fans will love Diagon Alley, , Escape from Gringotts ride and Hogwarts express - the fabulous train ride that takes you over to Islands of Adventure. They have lots of little amazing shops where you can buy wands, Harry Potter costumes and souvenirs. Kids and adults will love it. You can buy Butterbeer and all the weird and wonderful sweets featured in the movies. There are other rides to try including TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D (I really enjoyed this one, the special effects are amazing. Boys love it), Shrek 4-D, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ (make sure you choose your music and then watch your video when you get off the ride. It's even better in the dark too), Despicable Me Minion Mayhem™ Revenge of the Mummy™ (fast and furious and very scary), Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, The Simpsons Ride™, MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™ and Fast & Furious – Supercharged™ which is now open. And for the little thrill seekers there’s Animal Actors On Location!™, E.T. Adventure™, A Day in the Park with Barney™, Curious George Goes to Town, Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster™ and Fievel's Playground™. Islands of Adventure Here you have even more Harry Potter - the fabulous ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Most people say this is their favourite ride in the park. There’s Skull Island: Reign of Kong™, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, The Incredible Hulk Coaster®, Doctor Doom's Fearfall®, Storm Force Accelatron® (ride with Storm as she faces Magneto) and meet the Marvel Super Heroes! Prepare to get wet! The following water rides are brilliant fun, but you will get very wet so make sure you take some spare dry clothes with you. Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls®. Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges® and Jurassic Park River Adventure™. And for the little thrill seekers there’s Dr Suess Landing, The Cat in the Hat™, Caro-Seuss-el™, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™, If I Ran The Zoo™ and The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™ If you are visiting in October, then make sure you go to Halloween Horror nights. It's one of the best things, hilarious and very scary. I would recommend staying in one of the Universal on-site hotels. I have booked clients to the Cabana Bay, Portofino and the Hard Rock. Cabana Bay is fabulous for families, the pools are amazing, and it's got a real friendly atmosphere. It's right next door to Volcano Bay too. Portofino is very Italian in style, luxurious and stylish. Hard Rock is great for everyone. Rock music theme, cool and trendy vibe. Fabulous clubs for kids and pool area. Benefits of staying at Hard Rock, Portofino and Royal Pacific mean you get unlimited Xpress passes so you can skip the line on most of the rides. This is definitely a bonus and well worth it. Whichever hotel you choose or even if you stay in another Orlando hotel then you will have an amazing holiday.
18 June 2018
Only a seven-hour flight from the UK, this emirate makes for a unique and thrilling holiday destination with kids. Pick from world-class theme parks, activity parks and water parks, desert excursions and incredible wildlife sightings – all in a setting of near-constant sun shining down on pristine beaches. We’ve shared our top picks for the best activities to do during your family holiday in Abu Dhabi. • Head out on a desert safari. Abu Dhabi’s surrounding dunes were one of the main filming locations for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Options vary by age but can include quad-biking, camel trekking and camel farm visits, dune-bashing, sandboarding and even spending the night in a Bedouin tent. • Ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, at Ferrari World theme park. After hurtling along at a speed of up to 240km/h (150mph), you can also experience the world’s highest rollercoaster loop courtesy of the Flying Aces ride. • With younger kids in tow, head for long-established Hili Fun City with its old-school rides including dodgems, mini-trains and a carousel. • Go wild at Wadi Adventure, a man-made white-water rafting, kayaking, wakeboarding surfing venue worthy of a day’s fun. Also, on-site is a giant swing, a high-ropes course and a climbing wall. • Cool off at Yas Waterworld, where more than 40 rides, slides and attractions, from a tots’ aqua playground to drop slides, mean fun for all ages. You can even surf and bodyboard here. For an alternative with younger kids, try Murjan Splash Park. • Go wildlife-spotting on the nature reserve of Sir Bani Yas Island, where the Arabian Wildlife Park breeds and rehabilitates animals at risk of extinction, including hyrax, ostrich, oryx, giraffes and hyenas. Guided nature and wildlife drives and walks, horse-riding and mountain-biking are all good ways to discover this spot. • Visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, a veterinary facility where you can see birds being treated, tour a museum and watch free-flight displays, all giving you an insight into the traditional Emirate sport of falconry. • Take a guided tour of the mighty Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Even kids can’t fail to be impressed by its 82 domes, 1,048 columns and chandeliers gilded by 24-carat gold. • Shop ’til you drop in Yas Mall, or head for the kids’ attractions. There’s Fun Works with its adventure rides, soft play, toddler playgrounds, Softair Battlezone and Lego: Pop-in and Play. •Go for a bike ride along the Corniche. This 8km stretch of waterfront includes a beach park with play areas and plenty of cafés and restaurants at which to refuel.
31 January 2018
It was time to arrange my own family holiday! Having promised the youngest one she would be able to meet Ariel and all her favourite princesses, I set about planning the perfect family trip. What did everyone want from this trip? For me it was about spending time with my baby sister and her family as they were holidaying there at the same time as us. For our two eldest it was about shopping, shopping and more shopping. I wanted Casey to experience 'Disney Magic'. Flights were booked with Thomas Cook Airlines and car, villa and theme park tickets booked. I also added on a trip out to Wild Florida for a bit of adrenaline on an airboat. The final thing was Meet & Greet car parking at Manchester Airport. I then set about trying to plan all the necessary Fast Passes - this is a must in Disney as the most popular rides can be very busy and beating the line is the best feeling ever. Growing up, Casey had always wanted to be a 'princess' (if not a unicorn) so I opted to book her a Bibbity Bobbity Makeover session. I managed to get her into Cinderella's Castle, although they also offer it at Disney Village. There are lots of different packages to choose from. The time came for our family adventure. We decided to do the Sunset Check In – a great idea, so no need to worry the next day. We had seats down the back of the aircraft which was OK, but we were the last off the aircraft and last in the queue for Immigration. The entertainment upgrade was worth it to keep the children happy. The moral of that one is go for seats nearer the front next time. We picked up our rental monster from Alamo. It's an easy process, just make sure you have a good sat nav and some dollars for any toll roads. Our villa was allocated on arrival, so we had to collect instructions from a local office, finally arriving at the villa, all very tired. Can you guess the first place the children went? Yes, the pool, which I might add wasn't heated, but it didn't worry them. Let's go find a Walmart, mum! The first day with that magical moment walking into Magic Kingdom with a very excited girl made everything worthwhile. I was so glad we had the Magic Passes as it meant we didn't need to carry cameras around all day and you can easily use the various Disney Apps. Drinks and food are expensive in the parks, so it's a great idea to take a water bottle to fill up at the various water stations. Fill up at breakfast - a favourite of our family was Golden Corral - everything you could ever want and more. We did eat at one of the food areas in Harry Potter world, an authentic Hogwarts experience with huge turkey legs. Pricy but memorable. The day had come for Casey's adventure at Bibbity Bobbity for her makeover. I highly recommend what they do for the little ones. Her Fairy Godmother Mizzy made her feel so special. We did spend a day away with my sister at Wild Florida which I’d never been before, but it was amazing. A little bit of a drive out of Orlando but well worth it. You can spend time walking around the sanctuary interacting with all the Florida residents. My worst nightmare was the alligators, but you can even have an encounter with a sloth and hold an alligator. The airboat ride was out of this world. The water level was down a little but the thrill of speeding through the rushes, swallowing flies, was amazing. We spent another day at Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark. We arrived a little later in the day and it was quite difficult to find sunbeds/chairs, great fun for the kids though. There are so many amazing restaurants in Orlando, our family favourites were Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Five Guys and Chick-Fil A amongst others. Orlando Premium Outlet Malls were some of the best shopping areas with great bargains. Maybe not current season but still good value. You just needed to be careful not to go over the baggage allowance! All in all - a wonderful tiring trip. My Recommendations: - Book Premium Seats on the flight - Try and take a credit card (car deposit) - Don't over pack - Use Fast Pass pre-booking - Plan, plan, plan - Don't go when Ant & Dec are recording a show!
01 December 2016
Recently I came across a box of old postcards and it made me think its years since I received one or even sent one myself. Many years ago my dad used to travel the world whilst working for B.U.A. He always made a point of sending me and my sister a postcard from wherever he was. I still say that was what helped me into my life in travel. My favourite cards were from the Far East, I remember one particular one from Hong Kong showing the Floating Restaurant in the harbour. Many years later I was lucky enough to visit Hong Kong on a few occasions and on my last trip there we managed to visit that exact restaurant, bringing that postcard to life. It seems now though it’s not the norm anymore which I think is a shame as everything is now all about social media. Don't get me wrong, it’s a great way to share your experiences and it captures peoples imagination about what there is to see out in the big wide world. I came across a social media post from someone from my travel life that helped me get to where I am now, a lovely man called Bob Atkinson (yes the one off the TV!) It was asking if anyone wanted to receive a postcard from him whilst he was away on a big world trip. Well, I couldn't resist, what an ideal opportunity for my daughter to experience what I had felt. A card came from Dominica, describing it as "totally unspoiled bliss". My daughter then wanted to know all about Dominica and we spent quality time learning together about this wonderful place. I am certainly going to encourage my friends and clients to share their experiences by sending a postcard.
20 October 2015
'Experience Day' at Sandybrook Country Park with 10 lovely Travel Counsellors! As always it was lovely to meet up with some of the TC family, catch up and share ideas over morning coffee. Having only ever experienced Butlins many years ago I was looking forward to seeing what a Lodge break could be like. Sandybrook Country Park is part of Hoseasons Go Active Breaks Collection and is close to the picturesque market town of Ashbourne on the southern fringe of the Peak District. The park is located in the former grounds of a 19th Century manor house with a historic Pinetum and bluebell wood. The overall feel of the park was relaxing, set in a lovely location. Having only seen an 'old style' Butlins accommodation I was very impressed with the pine clad lodges which are very clean and comfortable. I could just imagine the log burner making the cabin feel so cosy. As this is a Go Active Park there are lots of activities for all ages including Body Zorbs, outdoor play area and mini golf amongst others. We tried crossbow and archery with a great instructor who was very patient! Some activities are not included in the cost of the stay, however they are really reasonable, with archery for a 90 minute session being just £12. There are facilities for the little ones as well, with a soft play room. The onsite Coach House bar and restaurant offers tasty home cooked style food with a friendly service. It has a lovely relaxing environment. If you would like to know more about Lodge Breaks, either give me a call or drop me a message.
24 September 2015
Renee's 'We Act' in India report 17 September 2015 Last year my daughters school launched 'We Act' Group in school. So I thought I would share her trip with you. We Act is an educational programme that empowers young people to become active local, national and global citizens. Renee (my daughter showed an interest. So, Renee and the group attended the National We Act day in London in March, where attendees were invited to apply to be part of a 'Free the Children' working trip to India. Renee was chosen, a remarkable achievement as she was one of only 28 young people chosen to go out of the thousands of applicants. Here is what Renee had to say about her experience over the summer. "I decided to enter (the competition) because I wanted not just to help by giving money, I wanted to physically help, and to see the lives of the people we were giving money to. When I found out that I had been chosen I was so excited! I hadn't travelled since I was little and it was like an adventure! I would be going without my family and I knew it would be life-changing. When we got to India it was night, but the city was still buzzing and from our hotel I could see cows lying at the side of the road! There were also families with children on the roadside as they had nowhere else to sleep. I was shocked, but this was only the start of what I was to witness. Over the summer I got to see the beauty of India, the palaces and the temples, but I also got to see the other side. It was unbelievable to me that a family would drink water from a well with a dead rat floating in it, but the reality was they had no other water to drink. We helped to build the foundation for the kitchen in a new Primary school. We also went to help rebuild a Secondary School by mending the walls and evening out the floor. Whilst we were there, we got to see the super goats which 'Free the Children' had paid for. These are great because they produce more milk than ordinary goats. I learned a lot in my time in India, like anything can happen over the course of your life, and no matter what, we should be happy like the children that I met who had so little but were overjoyed at the smallest good thing. I learned to be happy for what I have and not to take things for granted like my education, the roof over my head, and the food that I put in my mouth. These things are a luxury to people in the third world. Overall I have changed as a person and will be more committed to charity work having seen the need that there is and the good that it does first-hand. I am so much more grateful for what I have.
07 July 2015
How lucky am I? Having received an invite to Cunard's 175th Concert at the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool on the 4th July 2015 held on the anniversary of the first Cunard transatlantic crossing in 1840. The Cathedral was packed to the rafters, with Cunard guests, celebrities and descendants of founder Samuel Cunard. We were taken on Cunard's journey with readings from many recognisable faces, including stars from Coronation Street, John Prescott, David Steel, BBC correspondents Jennie Bond and Michael Buerk, Carol Thatcher, Simon Weston and the great-granddaughters of Carpathia Captain Arthur Rostron. Hearing the wonderful music from The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, with the Cathedral Choir, Band of the Welsh Guards and soloists Laura Wright, Jenny Williams and Jon Christos. Christos bought the journey to life. The highlight of event was a rousing rendition of Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.... some brilliant flag waving...... A brilliant event. Makes me want to be a Cunarder even more....
20 August 2014
I was over the moon to be invited to spend a few hours on board the beautiful Azamara Journey whilst she visited Liverpool recently. I have been lucky enough to spend time on board many ships during my years working in travel but Azamara was a new one to me. My expectations were mixed, I knew it was a great product, but had no idea on the real Azamara experience. The day began with meeting our Azamara guide Dwaine in the temporary cruise terminal. An interesting fact – did you know that Liverpool cruise terminal is a floating structure? This made embarkation an experience on its own! Off we went on a guided tour.....unfortunately for us Journey was at full capacity so we were unable to have a look at the staterooms. However, the public facilities we saw were all beautiful, from the spa and fitness areas to the library. An array of entertainment options! Something that is a great idea is the port-of-call lectures focusing on destination highlights, history and culture, plus tips about lesser-known excursions in each port. All enhance the Azamara experience. There was stunning decoration throughout the ship, the feel to me was creating a home from home. The library area in particular had an amazingly decorated ceiling and a large fireplace with an amazing range of books. It was a nice touch with Atlas's being available around the ship for guests to use. I particularly liked the look and feel of the specialty restaurant Prime C and of course the wine cellar. The morning was topped off by experiencing the cuisine on board, a brilliant 4 course lunch in Aqualina (a great specialty restaurant). A lasting memory from today is the difference between visiting a destination and truly experiencing it and Azamara Club Cruises is the way to experience the world.
Crawley, West Sussex. 29/09/2021
St Helens 04/07/2019
Stockton Heath 28/05/2019
Conwy, Wales 14/11/2018
Crawley, West Sussex. 13/09/2018
Havervill, Mass 31/01/2018
St Helens 29/01/2018
St Helens 28/06/2017
Bury, Lancashire 15/06/2017
St Helens, Merseyside 25/05/2016
Alberquerue, USA 17/01/2016
Gorse Covert 20/04/2015
St Helens 17/02/2015
St Helens 13/01/2015
Newbold, St Helens 03/11/2014
Nantwich, Cheshire 06/05/2014
Warrington, Cheshire 06/05/2014
Warrington, Cheshire 24/12/2013
Stockton Heath 05/11/2013
Thelwall Warrington 17/09/2013
Grappenhall, Warrington 10/06/2013
St Helens 07/02/2013
St Helens 07/02/2013
Reading, Berkshire 04/09/2012