With us... it's personal

At Travel Counsellors we believe your travel plans are truly personal so it is impossible to plan your trip completely online. Instead, our Travel Counsellors will get to know you to understand your preferences. We can help you book a trip to any location across the globe but we wanted to give you a snapshot of a few of our favourite places. We’ve put together a small selection of destinations for you to look through. Don’t forget these locations are just suggestions to give you some inspiration.

Top destinations...

The viewing platform at the Rockefeller Center might be a few metres lower than the Empire State but the views are even more spectacular.

New York

How do you make sense of a place that is pure sensory overload? From skyscrapers to museums and department stores, New York is the city that does it bigger, louder and faster than any other. It can overwhelm even the most blasé traveller.

But coming down to earth to New York is easy. Just hop on a bus on Broadway and sit alongside the native New Yorkers and watch as, block by block, the bus turns from leafy Central Park, through the neon-lit theatre district to the heart of downtown trendiness. There are few better ways of finding out how compact and user-friendly Manhattan is.

CentralPark.jpgNew York is a city best experienced at ground level where you can balance museums and sight-seeing with visits to pretzel carts and watching a neighbourhood basketball game.

At the other end of Manhattan, but still only half an hour by subway, is the Lower East Side. This was where most European immigrants ended up living. Across the water from Brooklyn, it nurtured such talents as the Marx Brothers and the Gershwins in its slum tenement housing.

MetMuseum.jpgToday, it is home to one of New York's most enjoyable museums, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, where the history of those who lived in the apartments has been researched and recreated. You'll have to book ahead but it's an unforgettable visit. The other people on the tour will generally be Americans. Afterwards all ages will enjoy Economy Candy on Rivington Street. True to the spirit of New York, it’s a pile'em high, sell'em cheap temple to tooth decay run by the same family since 1937. As much as the Empire State Building or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is the true New York. And their $15 t-shirts make great souvenirs.

The Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square has a good revolving restaurant with amazing views. Try the revolving bar rather than the restaurant for the same view at half the price.

Top Tips...


Sightseeing
If you are planning major sightseeing, think about buying a CityPass. It costs a fair amount but offers savings and minimises queuing at the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, the Empire State Building and the Guggenheim. 


Free on Friday
If you want to gain entry to New York's pricier museums without paying an entrance fee, keep Friday evening clear. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney offer free entry on Friday evenings. 


Tipping
Tipping is a way of life. Double the tax part of your restaurant bill to know the amount you ought to leave. Tip a dollar a drink in a bar. Have a stash of dollar bills at hand to tip doormen, taxi drivers and chambermaids.

Restaurant bookings
Many restaurants won't take bookings for groups of less than six people. If you're dining a deux, you're probably best off going in off the street - usually you won't have to wait long.

Like New York? How About...


Shanghai6
A Blade Runner city for China's new super-rich who party long, hard and at extreme altitude. Shanghai is not the place to go for designer bargains - prices are twice those of New York - but there are fakes galore at the daily market at Xiangyang. Go there to haggle over fake Prada and Gucci. 


Dubai5Head to Deira City shopping mall for fashion, cameras and other electronic bargains. Karama market in Bur Dubai is best for ‘quality’ fake watches and bags. The gold souk is another must. Anything you want to buy will be weighed and a mark-up added for workmanship. 

Hiring a campervan is a good way to travel long distances and surprisingly tourist-friendly.

Australia

There really is nothing like taking a holiday in your own backyard. Across the country you’ll enjoy a warm welcome from the friendly locals, meet weird and wonderful wildlife and get to experience a truly laidback lifestyle.


In the mythical outback, vibrant cities and on sun-kissed beaches you’ll find yourself trying new things and enjoying new adventures. Travelling between places is half the fun with great drives, iconic train journeys, coastal cruises and walking tours taking in some of Australia’s most stunning landscapes.

australiaright.jpgSouth Australia has a real Mediterranean twist, enjoying beautiful long summers and mild winters. The country’s seafood and wine capital, you can sample the café culture in the 700 or so restaurants in the state capital Adelaide, and head out on wine tasting tours into the Barossa and Clare Valley vineyards.  Lose yourself in Adelaide’s sprawling green parklands and visit the picturesque German village of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.


Boasting over 3800kms of coastline, there’s plenty of ocean adventures to be had too from fishing to boating to surfing. Make the most of the breathtaking beaches and swim in clear, turquoise waters which blend brilliantly with dramatic seascapes, where giant southern right whales appear out of the blue. Speaking of water, Australia’s mightiest river, the Murray River, meanders through the landscape, so why not mix lazy days on a houseboat holiday with the rush of high-energy water sports.


There’s wildlife encounters aplenty on the aptly named Kangaroo Island, dubbed a zoo without walls where you can spot sea lions, migrating whales, penguins, wallabies and koalas to name but a few; and kangaroos of course!  And if you’re after outback experiences, the region does not disappoint either. The Flinders Range boasts dramatic gorges, towering canyons and Aboriginal caves that can be discovered on exhilarating bush walks and 4X4 adventures. From historic buildings to pristine islands, it’s safe to say you’ll love South Australia’s rich heritage and spectacular natural attractions.

Visit Western Australia and feed the Dolphins at Monkey Mia, view sharks from Eagles Bluff, snorkel the Ningaloo Reef at Coral Bay and swim with whale sharks from March to June.

Ideal for…


Best for families
Melbourne is a great base for your Australia holidays. The South Bank in Melbourne City which is a cosmopolitan vibrant place, with lots of places to eat and drink. Nearby attractions include the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island, 90 minutes from Melbourne and the famous Puffing Billy steam train. The Dads might enjoy a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.


Best for beach-lovers
Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands is made of pure silicone sand which and a fantastic trip from Hamilton Island.  On Hamilton Island itself no cars are allowed and visitors travel around on golf carts.

Best for a longer stay
Look at a map of Australia and plan a trip down the East Coast. A fantastic itinerary would start in Cairns with a trip to see the Great Barrier Reef followed by a drive down to Brisbane stopping en route at some of the biggest tourist attractions in Queensland and the country’s most stunning beaches. Hiring a campervan is a good way to travel long distances and surprisingly tourist-friendly.

Experience Australia...


Northv7Dubbed Australia’s Real Outback, the Northern Territory is a visit to the Australia of your daydreams think red deserts, outback farms and flying doctors. Take a hot air balloon ride over Alice Springs, see the sunrise over Uluru or tackle the rim walk around Kings Canyon for stunning desert and mountain views. There’s much more to the Northern Territory than desert though. Its gateway city is tropical Darwin where you can enjoy a harbour cruise, shop for Asian street food in the exotic Mindil Beach market or relax at the deckchair cinema.

newsouthIf you’re dreaming of Australian surf culture, you’ll find it here in New South Wales. From Bondi Beach to Byron Bay, there’s almost too many landmark Australian beaches here to choose from. Home to 30 national parks, there’s plenty to do in the hinterland too. Hunter Valley is a must for wine enthusiasts, and the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage area, boasts a wealth of endemic flora and fauna. There’s hustle and bustle too, of course in Sydney arguably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Paris is such a small city that you don’t need to stay on the Champs Elysees to enjoy it. The Marais is a lovely fashionable area with some fabulous boutique hotels and it’s walking distance to all main attractions.

Paris

Paris needs no introduction. It has a reputation as one of the world’s most romantic and beautiful places and it does not disappoint. The beauty of the City of Lights is that it can be whatever you want it to be, whether you’re looking for history, high fashion, haute cuisine or just good old-fashioned romance. This is a city that is fabulous in all seasons and for all reasons.


It’s easy to see why France’s cosmopolitan capital is one of the world’s most popular spots. Not only is it blessed with beauty but like the French themselves, it has a certain je ne sais quoi that gives it such a unique atmosphere.


Franceright copy.jpgNothing can beat sipping a café au lait at one of the many atmospheric street-side cafes and watching stylish Parisians go about their business, or admiring street performers in the Latin Quarter and bartering with hawkers trying to sell their wares. For first-time visitors, legendary landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and The Louvre will always top the must-see list, but there’s much more to Paris than these icons.


Each neighbourhood has its own ambience and allure and they are easy to find. Paris is ripe for exploring and is simple to get around – either on the efficient Metro subway system – or on foot. The city is remarkably compact and the River Seine makes it easy for walkers to get their bearings from the trendy Left Bank with its collection of galleries and countless bookstalls, to the Right Bank and the more sophisticated draw of the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and the bohemian Montmartre area with the Cligancourt Flea Market and Sacre-Coeur. Parisleft.jpgAt night, Paris entertains the masses whether it’s the famous can-can shows at the Moulin Rouge or the world-renowned Bluebell Girls who put on a cabaret claimed to be the biggest spectacle this side of Las Vegas. Party animals looking for racier evenings can choose from countless smoky bars, stylish jazz cafes and hip dance clubs. Avoid the obvious touristy spots in the Champs-Elysees and Trocadero unless you want to pay through the nose. Instead, head for Bastille, Marais and the up-and-coming area of Menilmontant.

Chartier is a busy, smoky and not to be missed restaurant. It opened as a soup kitchen in 1896 and today serves up traditional basic French food in an Art Nouveau building.

Ideal for…

Romantics

Paris was made for lovers. It lives and breathes romance with enough atmospheric surroundings, intimate hotels and cosy restaurants to satisfy the most ardent admirers. You can spend the earth to romance in style at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Le Grand Vefour or enjoy the simple pleasures of strolling beside the Seine before sharing a baguette and bottle of wine at a traditional Parisian café.


Culture Vultures
The French take their culture seriously and while some capital cities boast a more cosmopolitan flavour, Paris is unmistakeably French and proud of it. The city’s stunning boulevards and buildings reflect its rich history, bolstered by modern additions such as the Pompidou Centre and the Grande Arche de la Defense. 


Shoppers
Parisians pride themselves on being chic followers of fashion and avid shoppers can choose from an endless choice of haute couture havens on the Rue Faubourg St Honore and Avenue Montaigne. More realistically-priced boutiques selling ready-to-wear collections can be found in the St Germain area. The best-known French department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are on Boulevard Haussmann, but bargain-hunters looking for something a little different should head for the city’s flea markets. The most famous is at Porte de Clignancourt and known by everyone as Les Puces (the fleas). 

Like Paris? How about...

Milanv6It may be Italy’s second-largest city, but – like Paris – it is the economic and fashion capital of the country. Like its French cousin, Milan is a vibrant and modern metropolis but with some of the world’s greatest art treasures. It is famous for the magnificent Duomo, a gothic masterpiece and one of the world’s largest cathedrals.

Amsterdamv6


It’s easy to get around this small and compact city. Amsterdam’s historic and modern attractions blend together well. You’ll find plenty of character with cobbled streets, tree-lined canals and pretty gabled houses. There’s a strong artistic heritage, colourful café culture and lively nightlife.

Colorado is cowboy country where you can have a real Wild West experience at one of the state’s many Dude Ranches.

Colorado

Four national parks, 26 ski resorts, six national monuments, world class cities and 300 days of sunshine… you don’t need to be a mathematician to know that these impressive figures equate to one extraordinary travel experience.


And with four very distinct and equally alluring seasons in which to explore the stunning US state of Colorado, travel at any time is certain to have you spellbound by the charms of the Centennial State.


This amiable state in America’s west has been welcoming visitors for hundreds of years and is well equipped for every kind of traveller. Denver, the gateway to Colorado, makes reaching the region easy and is a city known for its diversity, energy and vigour, and is not to be missed.


Follow our brief season-by-season guide to Colorado to make sure you tick off the items on your ideal holiday wish list.


Colorado Springs
A taste of the Old West can be savoured in the vibrant and attractive city of Colorado Springs, where a small town ambiance and a big welcome await travellers. Just 60 miles from state capital Denver, Colorado Springs attracts holidaymakers looking to live it up in one of the first ever resorts to pop up in America’s west.

The years have not corroded the charms of this former Victorian spa resort, to which folks would flock in order to lap up the “healing” properties of the nearby spring waters. Why not explore the Garden of the Gods, the term ‘garden’ is perhaps a little misleading, as the virtues of this attractive park sprawl across an impressive 1,323 acres. Within this huge swathe of Colorado countryside you can see rock formations of the most vivid red hues striking out of the lush landscape, like fingers punching through a bed of greenery. Rock climbing and Segway tours take you further into the picture.

And if that isn’t enough in the way of outdoor adventures, know that Colorado Springs offers up a tantalising menu of activities including jeep tours, horse riding, whizzing through Royal Gorge on zip lines, or taking to the river and indulging in the thoroughly exhilarating sport of white water rafting. Colorado Springs features a huge range of things to do and see, and there is a variety of accommodation to choose from, whether you’re looking for plush five-star hotels or quaint B&Bs, which trade on the charms of the Colorado Springs of old.

The years have not corroded the charms of the former Victorian spa resort Colorado Springs, to which folks still flock in order to lap up the “healing” properties of the nearby spring waters.

Spring
Don walking boots and explore the stunning terrain up close, or rent mountain bikes and zip along trails that reveal glorious vistas of towering mountains and deep fertile valleys. Head to the rivers for Kayaking, rafting and fishing for excellent spring activities. Sound like too much effort? Try a dip in one of the state’s many natural hot spring pools! Average temperatures can peak at 15C in spring depending on altitude and the area of the state.

Summer
Hop aboard a train that delivers you into the mining towns of the Old West and sets the imagination off to chase dreams of finding Gold in them there hills. Visit the History of Colorado museum in Denver to learn all about its colourful western heritage. Colorado is cowboy country and visitors can have a real Wild West experience at one of the state’s many Dude Ranches.

Autumn
As the temperature cools and the forest landscapes become a mosaic of rich reds, burnt oranges and mellow yellows, the great outdoors is calling. Autumn sees food, wine and beer festivals held throughout the state and don’t forget Colorado’s achingly hip cities too.

Winter
Some would say we have saved the best until last with winter, as Colorado is famed for world-class skiing. Aspen, Vail, Telluride and 23 other resorts are scattered among the Rocky Mountains and offer some of the planet’s best opportunities to ski, snowboard and have endless amounts of fun on, and off, the slopes.

Like Colorado? How about...


Californiav6If you like Colorado, try California. You’ll find theme parks, including Knott’s Berry Farm which is ten minutes from Disneyland Park. After the parks, you could perhaps relax by the beach in San Diego and then maybe even take in Las Vegas.


 

Dubai5Head to Deira City shopping mall for fashion, cameras and other electronic bargains. Karama market in Bur Dubai is best for ‘quality’ fake watches and bags. The gold souk is another must. Anything you want to buy will be weighed and a mark-up added for workmanship.

Along the coast particularly on the French side around Hendaye and St Jean de Luz you’ll find hundreds of campsites with mobile homes and space for tents.

Northern Spain & South West France

If you leave the Basque country and you haven’t eaten well you’ve missed the point. Local culture revolves around eating and drinking which makes for relaxed and sociable holidays. The Basque country stretches from around Bayonne in South West France over the border to Bilbao in Northern Spain and across to Pamplona. The area has held onto its unique culture and identity and you’ll find green, mountainous landscape and stretches of long sandy beaches. This is not the Spain or France of fast food and overdeveloped tourism.


pint.jpgOn the Spanish side, the Basques have their own version of tapas, known as ‘pinchos’ and how you order and eat them sums up the relaxed way of life. Locals help themselves from the cold selection on the bar or order from a menu of hot pinchos. Pinchos cost from 1.15 euros, while a portion -una racion is enough for two or three people to nibble and costs from 3 euros. 


The idea is to stroll from bar to bar having a glass of wine or beer and a pincho such as fish or ham croquettes, a slice of the juiciest tortilla de patata (potato omelette) or chorizo cooked in cider. There is no ceremony involved and often no cutlery just cocktail sticks and paper napkins which you throw on the floor when you’re finished. There is also an unspoken trust not to pay until the end. People keep a tally and let the bartender know what they’ve had. Eating is a way of life in the Basque region but there is more to do and see. San Sebastian, the former summer residence of the kings, combines beach, shopping in the streets off the main tree-lined Hiribidea, good nightlife and culture.


On the French side, life is more about surfing, shopping and chocolate. Biarritz offers all three with its surfing championships, shops like Galeries Lafayette and a chocolate museum with tours, tastings, a special programme for children and the all-important shop.

The Basque country has a concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants like nowhere else making it a prime area for foodie holidaymakers.

Ideal for...


Families
You’ll find long stretches of sandy beaches and children are welcome everywhere.

Specialist holidays
The Basque country has a concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants like nowhere else making it a prime area for foodie holidaymakers. It is also popular with hikers because the region stretches across the Pyrenees.

Camping and self-catering
Along the coast particularly on the French side around Hendaye and St Jean de Luz you’ll find hundreds of campsites with mobile homes and space for tents.

Surfers
Biarritz established itself as a famous surfing location years ago and Zarautz on the Spanish side is also popular.

Like The Basque Country? How about…

Francev6The Brittany region of France has fantastic beaches and is easy to get to by plane or ferry. Instead of tapas, try savoury crepes such as ham, egg and cheese and a bowl of cider or freshly caught shellfish.

Irelandv7
The West Coast of Ireland for its unspoilt beaches, proud but friendly people and totally unpredictable weather. When you walk into a pub people take an immediate interest and want to know all about you in a nice way.

Try some tai chi. This graceful martial art is practiced by most Chinese people and many hotels offer tai chi practice: ask your concierge.

China

Most visitors will take in Beijing's big hitting sights, and top among them is Tiananmen Square, epicentre of the People's Republic.

On one side of the square is the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, where the embalmed leader still lies. On the other is the Forbidden City: one of the most astounding historical sites in the world, and where generations of rulers lived until 1924 when Pu Yi, 'The Last Emperor', left.

It's called 'Forbidden' because once commoners weren't allowed. Now it is full of tourists. But the site is so big that it absorbs the crowds and, amid the courtyards, palaces, gates and frescoed colonnades, you'll find places to fan away the muggy air.

The early emperors went to Beijing’s Summer Palace for respite. Here the imperial architecture is more leisurely, arranged around hills, gardens and the glorious Kunming Lake, where dragon-shaped boats glide past pagodas. Blissful. But if there's only time for one monument, then it should be the Great Wall. Your heart will leap at the first sight of it from the road. Like the pyramids, this remarkable monument, which tracks a mountainous 5,000km route, doesn't fail to elicit a gasp from the most cynical of travellers.


At teeming Badaling, a small town serving Great Wall tourism, the visitor runs the gauntlet of hawkers selling kites, silk, puppets. It's fun, but when you see the Great Wall's castellations snake into the distance, shopping seems a waste of time. 


Most visitors to China take in Beijing and Xian for the Terracotta Warriors - possibly a cruise on the Yangtze - and then conclude a culture-focussed trip. But increasing numbers are now going to this beach resort to find a new, resort-based China. It takes four hours to get from Beijing to Hainan's Yalong Beach's growing strip of hotels, including a Sheraton and a Marriott. Hainan's nickname is 'China's Hawaii', and after all that history, you deserve a tropical lounge.

Climbing the Great Wall is a must - but it is a climb. So wear appropriate shoes and allow yourself plenty of time.

Ideal for…

Full-on fascinating culture
China offers a complete immersion into a fascinating and ancient culture. Experience Beijing by cycle rickshaw through the Hutongs: Beijing's ancient narrow streets, with low-eaved houses and photogenic alleyways. Some date back 700 years - and if it helps, the finest Hutong district is close to some great bars overlooking Shishahai Lake.

Buddha by the beach
Also in Hainan is the phenomenal Nanshan Buddhism Cultural Park where you can see the new Hainan Buddha, currently the biggest statue in the world at 108 metres high.

Like China? How About….

Baliv6Bali has had its troubles in the last few years but the Indonesian island shouldn't be forgotten. It's a potent and memorable mixture of culture and natural beauty with rainforest, emerald rice fields, sandy beaches and the hypnotic gongs of the Gamelan orchestras.

Japanv6Japan is often thought of as expensive, and certainly it's possible to pay a lot to eat and stay there. But like its old adversary China, it has a food culture and etiquette that is fascinating - if sometimes baffling - and the hot springs at Hakone, near Tokyo, are worth a few days of anyone's time.

Why not have a wedding abroad on a white sandy Fijian beach or an Italian wedding of gondolas and gastronomy. Or perhaps enjoy your ceremony as the skies dance with the enigmatic Northern Lights or maybe relax with a sunset service in the exotic Maldives, overlooking the shimmering Indian Ocean.

Wedding & Honeymoons

Begin your happy ever after with a helping hand from Travel Counsellors. We know that planning your wedding day is the most exciting, and also one of the most stressful, times of your life. From grand arrangements, such as the venue, marriage licenses, and gorgeous fresh flowers, to the finer details that make your wedding unique, like fun favours or distinctive entertainment, there is a lot to organise to ensure that you get hitched without any hitches. wedding.jpgAdd all of those arrangements to travelling abroad and getting married in a foreign destination, where language and culture can prove to be formidable barriers, and you have the recipe for a big-day big headache.

When you call on the talented and experienced Travel Counsellors, you can breathe a sigh of relief and simply sashay into your overseas nuptials in style. We take care of all the boring bits, such as legalities (which could send you linguistically loopy) and travel documentation, and can lend a guiding hand when it comes to the fun stuff, such as the cake and music. 


Picture your big day. Do you see yourselves tying the knot with sand between your toes, a backdrop of azure seas and cloudless skies adding a magical element to your wedding album? Or are you both more about the bright lights and glitz of Las Vegas, and getting hitched in a charming little chapel? Maybe a snowy scene fills your mind when you dream about getting married to your soul mate, or do you fantasise about saying your vows and then celebrating with friends and family in a rustic Italian farmhouse? Our offering doesn’t stop there. Via our fantastic global partners, we can arrange weddings in a variety of wonderful and wildly romantic locations, and we ensure that your day is as unique as the two of you. geecewedding.jpgImagine crisp white linen, sparkling crystal wine glasses, and gleaming cutlery at your wedding breakfast, with the sea in the background and the sound of lapping waves accompanying the laughter and joy of your day. Candlelight takes you into the evening, with entertainment to suit you and your wedding guests. On the beach, plump cushions and lanterns wait for those seeking a moment to truly chill out as your wedding day draws to a close.Embark on your journey towards marital bliss and contact your Travel Counsellor today.

Your special day will be perfectly tailored to suit you and with over 120 destinations to choose from, there are an array of options available to suit your requirements and budget.

Bridal Registry
If you already have enough bed linen and kitchen gadgets, why not put your Honeymoon on your wedding gift list instead?

Our Honeymoon Gift Registry service works much like the usual department store list except that guests of your special day contribute monetary amounts towards your Honeymoon plans, allowing them to participate in the excitement of one of the most important holidays of your lives.

When it comes to the very best wedding present possible, we’ll arrange everything for you. All we would like from you is a small fee to set-up your account. As part of this unique service you will receive a beautiful Keepsake Pack and cards. These are specially designed to send out with your invites to let your guests know how they can contribute towards your dream honeymoon. You can also request Thank You cards to send to your guests that have contributed. Please ask us for more details.

Your guests can contribute by credit/debit card either online or by telephone. To view contributions that have been made, you’ll be given a unique log in which will take you through to your personal page where you can also view messages from your guests. You’ll receive the honeymoon of your dreams to the total value of contributions made plus any extra amount you may wish to add.


Please click here for full terms and conditions.

Dream Honeymoon Destinations


Mauritius HoneymoonIf you are still deciding where to go on your honeymoon, let us take the pressure off by offering advice on the most luxurious and relaxing honeymoon destinations in the world. Playground of the rich and famous, Mauritius has long been a top class destination, for honeymooners in particular. Stunning beaches, luxury resorts, deep blue lagoons…the list is endless. A tropical paradise sitting afloat in the sea, this island will delight newlyweds the world over.


Honeymoon SeychellesWith decadent top class resorts offering sumptuous honeymoon suites, you can rest assured you will be in the lap of luxury in the Seychelles. Catering toward the romance of the newly married, the privacy and seclusion of the islands’ many hotels ensures total rest and relaxation, as well as the endless possibilities of dining on the beach or indulging in a spot of pampering at the spa.