Alison Beattie 20 June 2018
Every year we create uniquely personal travel experiences for hundreds of thousands of people - generating lots of news stories, testimonials and recommendations along the way. Take a look at what's happening right now in and around Travel Counsellors!
Alison Beattie 20 June 2018
Laura has been absolutely amazing in dealing with my booking and my dad's who is in another country. She has been so fast in answering any and all queries that I have had. I will be recommending Laura to everyone. Regards Alison Beattie
Sandra Whitehill 19 June 2018
We live in Sydney and our friends recommended Nadine to us for this trip. She was very friendly and most helpful. Nothing was too much of a problem. We would definitely recommend her to all of our friends.
Sheryn Deetlefs 19 June 2018
Quick, easy, efficient, and detailed. Nadine always responded immediately, super impressed.
Michael Breach 19 June 2018
Hi Amy, thank you for you amazing help in booking our up coming cruise to Hong Kong. Your experience and expertise is second to none and we have told all our friends (who all travel a lot) about you and your travel knowledge. We will be in touch again shortly.
Jade Delaney 19 June 2018
We have booked multiple trips with Nadine. She takes care of everything and responds to all my (demanding) requests efficiently and professionally. I can't recommend her highly enough.
Maraea Drummond 18 June 2018
Susan has done booking for me previously. She knows her stuff. Made it easier for me as there were multiple countries, she made sure I got the best out of my flights without losing days or many hours waiting between flights. Love her work.
Jade Shannon 18 June 2018
With Deb's skills, knowledge, her friendly communication and commitment to make sure that we are happy and have the right information that’s required is 100/100%. We recommend Deb to anyone.
Kris Flegg 17 June 2018
Not only is Karen a pleasure to deal with, she is also super efficient and found some great deals. A great experience.
Michelle Thomsen 15 June 2018
Richard was amazing, so helpful, available and knowledgeable. Will always use him for future travel needs! Brilliant customer service
Howard Gatley 15 June 2018
We have used Ryan previously when he was UK based for a major bespoke travel company. We have since used his services even though he is now Australia based for arranging flights and holidays, including cruises,all over the world. He is very thorough and nothing is too much trouble! He is very polite and phones when he says he will (always to suit UK times). Wouldn’t use anybody else!! Keep up the great work Ryan.
Richelle Enright 14 June 2018
She was great! Dehlia made every wish come true for our honeymoon.
Linlee Jordan 14 June 2018
Dehlia has been ever so patient with the multitude of little problems and changes-of-mind that are inevitable when you are dealing with a group of people planning a trip. It made our seminar in Bali go more smoothly in this heavenly but sometimes frustrating place (if you are the organiser). Three words; actually awesome and amazing.
Rowena Vice 14 June 2018
I like the personal touch and friendliness and I'm very satisfied, thank you.
Deborah Karalus 14 June 2018
Dehlia was absolutely amazing. She listened to everything I rambled on with and managed to propose the perfect holiday back to me. I couldn't be happier with the service and knowledge provided to me.
Fraser Cargill 14 June 2018
Dee is just wonderful - she is always available - looks for the best options to suit your travel style, be it work or pleasure, and makes my travel life so much easier.
Travel Counsellors on 12 January 2016
When it comes to travel it’s so important to know you are booking with someone you can trust, someone you can always rely on and someone who knows exactly what you need each and every time. In fact, a recent survey* revealed that trust is the single most important factor when booking a holiday. Those of us wanting to holiday this year look forward to it all year round which is why it is essential that you get the service you deserve.
71% of people said that first-hand knowledge and reviews on destinations and hotels is more influential than online ratings*. Here, we provide a simple solution to eradicate all the potential stresses and dangers of booking a holiday, providing you with your perfect getaway. At Travel Counsellors we make it our business to ensure ‘trust’ is at the centre of everything we do. Here’s how…
YOU’RE PROTECTED… sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what is and isn’t financially protected when booking your trip. We make it easy. When you book with Travel Counsellors you can rest assured your money is 100% safe, no ifs, no buts. We care that you are comfortable and confident in your booking with us which is why we offer the best possible protection for your money.
WE’RE ALWAYS HERE… something happens when you’re away from home and there’s no-one to turn to. It’s comforting to know when you book with Travel Counsellors this would never be the case. We have a 24/7 duty office that utilises our global presence in seven countries and time zones to ensure that you are supported around the clock, whenever you need it.
YOU’LL HEAR IT FIRST HAND… it’s always great to hear first-hand feedback about somewhere you are thinking of travelling to. We have a global family of over 1,500 travel experts who can provide just that. And what’s more we have our own in-house review system with thousands of personal insights and reviews directly from our agents and their customers, so you know its advice you can trust.
IT’S PERSONAL… our Travel Counsellors take the time to get to know their customers because they genuinely care. They are passionate about delivering a service that goes above and beyond, exceeding expectations and making sure their customers know they are booking with someone they can trust. That’s why a world leading 96% of our customers would recommend their Travel Counsellor to family and friends.
WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU… it pays to be independent. Whilst many travel companies sell the product that’s right for them, we make a promise to only sell what is right for you. We have access to thousands of suppliers and products globally, and have developed our own cutting-edge booking system that enables our Travel Counsellors to tailor-make the perfect trip for each customer at the most competitive prices.
To find out more about booking your dream break by getting in touch with your local Travel Counsellor please use the search bar in the top right of the page. We guarantee that this level of personalised service cannot be found anywhere else simply because our Travel Counsellors and their approach is completely unique to you.
*Travel Counsellors survey completed by 335 consumers in January 2016
Travel Counsellors on 01 December 2015
This year has been Travel Counsellors best yet, not just in terms of the company as a whole but for individual business owners too. We’ve had a staggering 21% increase in the number of Travel Counsellors reaching the £1m sales mark. Our head office is now more equipped and better able to help Travel Counsellors build their businesses than ever before. 2016 will see even more fantastic opportunities and amazing events across the world of Travel Counsellors. In this blog we take a quick look at some of our highlights of the year!
Our new home, Venus
This multi-million pound investment in not only the move but also in our staff, creates a state-of-the-art and highly bespoke office environment. All within a location that reflects where we are going as a brand and provides all the necessary requirements and facilities our staff rightly deserve.
The move to Venus means we as a company are better equipped and more able to provide unparalleled service to our customers. Our new home allows for betting training facilities for Travel Counsellors, more involvement from sponsors and in general allows us to continue to grow and move in the right direction. We are now in the best possible position to provide support to our Travel Counsellors and their clients across the globe and ensure a fantastic experience each and every time.
Travel Counsellor, Naeem Patelia, announced that he had been awarded the coveted CrescentRating Accreditation. CrescentRating is the world’s leading authority on Halal travel, and this status puts the leading, independent travel company firmly on the Muslim travel map.
We were named ‘Ones to Watch’ by Sunday Times Top Track 250
The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 Ones to Watch league table ranks Britain's mid-market growth private companies with the biggest sales. This is the first time we have been recognised on this prestigious list, and we were so thrilled to be acknowledged for their impressive and continued growth in sales.
Our famous conference this year did not disappoint. With a star studded line up and the most Travel Counsellors in attendance than ever before we couldn’t have been happier with how the weekend went. Mark Hulme, Head of Sales, shared with everyone that our sales are up 12% with individual Travel Counsellors earning more than ever before in 2015. The success of the last 12 months has been possible because of the hard work and time we invest in our in-house booking system Phenix and our constant focus on building lasting customer relationships.
Our sales are at an all-time high right now and average Travel Counsellor earnings are up by over 9% as a result, and there is a stronger focus on customer relationships than ever before to ensure satisfaction scores remain the best in the world. That is a powerful combination! We are also proud to have a record 183 Gold Travel Counsellors worldwide which shows just how fantastic this year has been for us!
Golden Weekend in Mexico
We congratulated our top performing Gold Travel Counsellors with an exclusive 'Gold Weekend' in Mexico in recognition of their hard work and dedication over the past 12 months. Agents were treated to a stay at the at the exclusive Secrets The Vine Cancun to celebrate their incredible business success, with highlights including a fabulous Gala Dinner!
Here are just some of the amazing highlights of our year, this is just a snapshot of how the company and our service is evolving and developing. We are learning and growing every step of the way and keeping our customer focus central has enabled us to do this. We can’t wait for a fantastic 2016 whether we are helping you book your dream break or welcoming you to our Travel Counsellor family!
Travel Counsellors on 27 November 2015
The New Year is fast approaching and we wanted to take a minute to reflect on the fantastic experiences Travel Counsellors have had. We asked our Travel Counsellors what some of their highlights have been, whether it’s in their personal travel adventures or booking something amazing for a client.
The highlight of my year was my Honeymoon in The Maldives, and then booking a customer to the same resort on his 30th Wedding anniversary. It makes all the difference having first-hand knowledge of a destination. I was able to give recommendations to enhance my customer’s experience, such as a private romantic sunset dinner on the beach!
Working with our amazing dedicated wedding team, I work on a number of weddings abroad each year. From weddings in Cyprus, Aruba and even a very bespoke tailor made one in Dubai this year, each one is very different but all perfect for each bride and groom. I also booked a little trip out to Cyprus to plan my own wedding this summer but also viewed a few hotels for clients whilst there too!
I have to say this was the best trip ever and I'm excited to be going back in June for my own, very bespoke tailored wedding at Aphrodite hills resort!! We have everything booked from private villas, a beautiful chapel, golf course for the men, fab entertainment and florist to make it all look amazing and our very own secret garden for our reception!!!
Weddings abroad are exciting, weather I'm planning my own or one for my lovely couples, I enjoy every minute and make sure it's perfect for my new Mr and Mrs!
Last week, one of my customers was struggling to get his wife’s 50th birthday celebrations booked. He phoned me asking for my help and within the hour I had sent him an itinerary for his wife’s dream short break to the Ice Hotel in Sweden with Husky and Snowmobile rides.
The following day he called to confirm and although not the most expensive holiday I have booked it was one of the most satisfying because the customer was so pleased with the service.
Since becoming a Travel Counsellor I have loved the variety that you get in the way of enquiries. I have put together a multi stop trip through Asia and a Trip around Australia which have been my favourites so far. I am currently working on a wedding in Canada and a group trip to Dublin and a 2 week break to the Canary Islands. It is lovely waking up each day and never knowing what you will get next. It could be a railway holiday, a river cruise, an adventure tour or a round the world trip. At Travel Counsellors we really can book everything.
One of my most memorable times from backpacking around the world was camping in the Red Centre in a swag bag. I got to see the sunset and rise over Uluru (Ayers Rock) which was beautiful. The sky is so clear away from city lights and laying on my back looking up at some of the star formations that can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere with my belly full from eating Kangaroo Steak around a fire is something I will never forget.
We have two year old twins and were looking for a holiday where we could relax, spend time with the children but have some time together too. We usually stay in a villa with a swimming pool but felt that it was hard work for us and that although we had a great time, it wasn’t really that relaxing for us. Cruising had been recommended to me by one of my customers with younger children, after going on a taster cruise for a few nights without the children, we decided it would be a great experience for our family. We had an absolutely amazing holiday experience. We felt that the standard of childcare provided by the children’s clubs on-board was outstanding, we were never concerned and they even helped us finish potty training one of the children and they were very good at changing nappies for the other child. They put on special late afternoon meals for the children and we could take them to the children’s club in the evening until late at night so we were able to have a relaxing meal together without them too! We took them to Pisa, beautiful beaches in Corsica and Cadiz in addition to lots of parks and sightseeing! The children were always so excited to go to the children’s club that we were never worried about leaving them, and we left the cruise with a huge pack of items that the girls had made, from pirates hats to prizes they had won. They never leave the children’s area after you have signed them in until you sign them out. Cruising from Southampton meant that we could take as much luggage as we needed without having to worry about weight restrictions, no flying to think about, just a short walk to board the ship. We had such a great time, we’ve booked again for next year!
I flew on the A380 to Dubai and Hong Kong as I find flying boring I wasn’t looking towards spending hours on a plane. The A380 blew me away, superb, comfortable, fantastic video entertainment, fab menu with real cutlery and proper glasses! The staff there were extremely friendly, nothing was too much trouble and I would now consider flying to Australia but only on the A380!
Here are just some of the fantastic experiences our global network of Travel Counsellors have shared this year! For more information on booking your next dream holiday get in touch with your local Travel Counsellor or browse our destination guides!
Travel Counsellors on 26 November 2015
Last year around 4 million Brits travelled overseas during the Christmas period. While some may have gone looking for winter paradises, many of those travellers were in search of something a little warmer.
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but many have found a winter sun holiday takes the stress out of the holiday season. Instead of getting up early to prepare a Roast, you can sunbathe to your hearts content, then grab a Christmas dinner at a local restaurant.
So, if you’re one of those who prefers a beach to a ski slope, a cocktail to mulled wine, and would rather build sandcastles than snowmen – then check out these 6 great locations for a sunny Christmas…
Canary Islands, Spain
With an average temperature of 20ºC in the winter, the Canary Islands is the perfect location to host your Christmas abroad.
Made up of seven different islands including Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, the Canary Islands offer miles of tranquil beaches and clear waters.
You can go whale watching, windsurfing, kitesurfing, or go on a boat trip to explore the shores off the Canary Islands.
Bangkok averages 26ºC in December, making it one of the hottest holiday destinations for a winter holiday.
Although Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country, there are still signs of Christmas around the capital.
Visitors will be able to enjoy Christmas dinners, decorations, and there’s even a chance for the little ones to see Santa at various events throughout the city.
So, for soaring temperatures, a wonderfully unique city and a sprinkling of Christmas – choose Bangkok for your winter holiday.
Dubai’s December temperatures average around the mid-20 degrees, making it a popular festive holiday spot amongst Brits.
Despite the high temperatures, you may be surprised to learn that last year Dubai enjoyed a White Christmas. Well, sort of.
In 2014 fake snow was brought in so that locals and tourists alike could feel a little more Christmassy.
Indeed, the Dubai Winter Festival aims to bring the spirit of Christmas to the city with ice skating, Santa’s Grotto and a Winter Market, all on offer to visitors.
If you head to South Africa this winter you’ll find yourself on a summer holiday, as the country is in the Southern Hemisphere.
Temperatures in the summer can reach as high as 28ºC, so if you’re looking to escape the winter chill – South Africa is ideal.
South Africa offers unique adventures you can’t experience anywhere else in the world. For example you could treat your family to a Christmas safari to see some incredible wildlife.
As far as Christmas presents go, a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa has to be up there with the best of them.
If you’re looking for a winter holiday which combines warm weather and loads of festive cheer, then look no further than the Sunshine State.
December temperatures will reach as high as 24ºC in Florida, and there’s no shortage of things to do either.
Not only do you have Disney World, Universal Orlando, the Everglades and hundreds of miles of beaches, but there’s a host of Christmas events too.
Indeed, just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the holiday spirit.
Christmas day dining, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas, and the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights are just a few of the festive events to choose from.
With temperatures averaging around 22ºC, and the sea water at 20 ºC, Perth provides the perfect setting to unwind and relax this Christmas.
Enjoy the Perth City Festival of Christmas, Christmas Carnival, Christmas Markets and much more.
And, most importantly, with a range of restaurants offering Christmas Day dinners, you can still enjoy a Turkey.
Travel Counsellors on 25 November 2015
The Duty Office service utilises the company’s global presence in seven countries and time zones to ensure that the international community of 1,500 Travel Counsellors are supported around the clock, whenever they need it.
Operations Manager, Sandie Fisher said; “As the leaders in customer service, we have always put people at the heart of everything we do, and we want to be there to support and assist you and your customers whenever you need us, no ifs, no buts. This service enables us to draw on our global presence to ensure this is possible, as well as recruiting a team of experienced Duty Office advisors to support you. The feedback so far has been really positive.”
Lisa Hillyard, Gold Travel Counsellor, commented on her recent experience: “Having a 24/7 Duty Office means that while I’m in bed, one of my colleagues is sitting at a desk analysing information that is coming in from around the world, enabling us to be proactive rather than reactive if a situation arises. I woke up at 7am one morning and saw a Duty Office email about high winds at Heathrow. One of my customers was due to fly out to Mexico that day so I contacted him about the situation – he left earlier as a result and caught his flight without delay. The Duty Office makes a huge difference to me and my customers”.
One of our Travel Counsellors Rachael Quinton had clients flying to Sharm el-Sheikh earlier this month. These clients always book with her rather than doing it themselves as they have faith in their Travel Counsellor. Rachael worked hard to resolve the issue causing minimal stress for her customer; “I had emailed her at 1am to tell her she wouldn’t be going as we had just heard from the Foreign office and I would be onto it in the morning. We had flights, accommodation, transfers and airport hotels all booked and sorted. By 11am she was rebooked to Fuerteventura, refunded the difference in price and accommodation cancellation charges all covered by us. I was so proud of the outcome and she didn’t even have to pick up the phone or feel any stress what-so-ever. That’s what we are good at!” Rachael also had a young client who was afraid to travel alone but had to go to Nice. A fellow Travel Counsellor stepped in and offered to fly back with her and escort her through. This is the extent that Travel Counsellors will go to ensure customers get the very best service and experience every time.
Trevor Smith, Travel Counsellor, came to the rescue for his clients when they required six rooms for a group booking and the supplier had only requested two to the hotel. Within 90 minutes the clients were relocated to a better hotel, with bigger rooms in a better location! All achieved whilst the customers enjoyed four rounds of drinks on a stag party!
Travel Counsellor, Claire Branson, said “As soon as I saw the news, I called one of my clients who is travelling soon to reassure them I am here to help, to save them worrying about everything. As I can work all hours and do not close like the high street travel agents, I am here to help my clients at any time and they can get in touch with me straight away."
Maxine Staniland booked a young couple on their holiday to Bangkok. They were later stranded there during some political unrest back in 2009. Flights were being cancelled including their return journey home. Maxine stated “They had no money left and their parents were worried and contacted me. I spoke to head office and we escalated the problem to Steve Byrne who made the decision to pay for them to stay in Bangkok until we could get them home. It worked out to be approximately 10 extra nights and we then also paid to get them back with another airline so we could get them home faster. We could have moved them to cheaper accommodation as they were staying in a 4 star hotel but we thought they would feel safer staying where they were. No thoughts of money ever came into it – it was all about the customer and keeping them safe and happy.”
These fantastic examples show the diversity and responsiveness of the Travel Counsellor family. As soon as information reaches head office or a Travel Counsellor we translate that into action to ensure minimal disruption to our customers at all times. There is always someone there at the end of the phone to take your call, answer your questions and assure you that problems are being resolved as quickly as possible. As we are a global network we can share information, options and resolve issues faster and more efficiently. Booking with us doesn’t just provide you with financial protection, it’s so much more than that. You will have your own go-to person to help you deal with any crisis and problems you encounter to keep you safe and happy.
Travel Counsellors on 24 November 2015
With the winter season fast approaching, we decided to take a look at some of the most popular ski resorts in Europe.
In no particular order we’ve picked out five exceptional ski resorts across Europe…
St Anton am Arlberg, Austria
Often referred to as the ‘cradle of alpine skiing’ Arlberg delivers a combination of reliable snow, immeasurable beauty and well-conditioned slopes.
Arlberg boasts 350 kilometres of marked ski runs, 200 km of off-piste slopes, deep-snow ski runs, snowboard fun parks, carving areas, racing circuits and more.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there is something here for you.
Moreover, with nearly 100 cable cars, and reusable ski passes which automatically open entrances, Arlberg is pioneering in both technology and comfort.
Arlberg has seen some of the very best grace its slopes in the past, which has cemented its place as one of Europe’s most iconic and memorable ski resorts.
Explore 360km of snow topped pistes at one of Europe’s very best ski resorts – Zermatt.
Overlooked by the famous Matterhorn Mountain, Zermatt is nestled in an idyllic location. With breathtaking surroundings and a peaceful atmosphere, the car free village allows you to fully embrace the slopes.
For those who want to have a go at something a little different, you can choose from paragliding or off-piste heli-skiing (with an experienced guide).
There’s no shortage of bars, cafes or restaurants either, so once you’ve worked up a sweat on the slopes, you can enjoy nothing but relaxation in the evenings.
Val Gardena, Italy
Val Gardena is a valley settled in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. This resort caters for all abilities. For the advanced there’s the challenge of mastering World Cup runs, and hair-raising downhill slopes. While beginners and children can find their feet on easier runs.
With recent renovations bringing a state-of-the-art chairlift, and brand new black run – you can be one of the first to experience the newly improved slopes this winter.
Val Gardena has a rich culture too. With traces of its two thousand year history on show, you’re getting a lot more than a standard ski holiday.
Val d’Isere, France
Val d'Isere, is found in the Savoie area of France. Regarded as one of the world’s very best ski resorts it is immensely popular amongst winter sports enthusiasts.
During peak season locals find themselves outnumbered 15 to one by guests, all looking to experience the legendary slopes of Val d’Isere. In fact, Val d’Isere is the most popular winter sports location amongst British travellers.
The resort is able to handle the demand though, with around 100 lifts able to shift more than 135,000 skies every hour, the queues are as smooth as the slopes themselves.
The medieval town of Kitzbühel offers 170km of piste, and is widely considered to be one of the best ski resorts in the world.
The town plays host to one of the most demanding downhill races on the World Cup circuit – the Hahnenkamm. A race where anyone who ‘gets down in one piece’ is considered a winner, according to Austrian skier Franz Klammer.
Despite the World Cup connection, this resorts is suitable for all abilities with a wide range of runs. There are also 59 huts and restaurants to keep you fuelled on the slopes, as well as an 8-seater chairlift fitted with heated leather seats and pull-down hoods new for this winter.
Travel Counsellors on 12 November 2015
Over the past few months, the Company has grown and prepared to move from our old office in Bolton to a brand new, state of the art home in Trafford City. Immersed in the centre of Manchester this fantastic location gives our staff access to the best possible facilities. Not only will our UK staff benefit from the move but our international employees will now have a brilliant office to visit and great hotel facilities.
As we grow and we continue to build on the very special brand we have created at Travel Counsellors, now is the right phase of the business to move to a location more suited to the company and most importantly, the needs of our staff and Travel Counsellors. We enjoyed our 15 years at Travel House, but this was the perfect time to move which now gives us the space and flexibility we need for the future of the company.
This multi-million pound investment in not only the move but also in our staff, creates a state-of-the-art and highly bespoke office environment. All within a location that reflects where we are going as a brand and provides all the necessary requirements and facilities our staff rightly deserve.
The global benefits of Venus include a number of well-established transport links, with the office being just a 12 minute drive from Manchester International Airport and 4 minutes from City Heliport. This will prove extremely beneficial for our global colleagues when visiting head office and showcases our commitment to being a truly international company.
All in all, the move to Venus means we as a company are better equipped and more able to provide unparalleled service to our customers. Our new home allows for betting training facilities for Travel Counsellors, more involvement from sponsors and in general allows us to continue to grow and move in the right direction. We are now in the best possible position to provide support to our Travel Counsellors and their clients across the globe and ensure a fantastic experience each and every time.
Travel Counsellors on 11 November 2015
David Griffin, Gold Travel Counsellor, wanted to share his story of amazing service with others to show the lengths that we will go for our customers. Whilst on the Gold Trip in Tenerife David received a panicked call from one of his clients.
Whilst staying in Dubai, David’s client had left her wedding ring in the hotel safe. When she called David she had just landed in Australia! Luckily the hotel had found the ring and kept it secure in their lost property department. Now there was just the issue of how to get the ring back to the client.,,
David tried everything to arrange a courier but it just wasn’t happening! The ring was the client’s mother’s wedding ring and was hugely sentimental to her, David persevered and tried to pursue other means of getting the ring back.
Finally, a call to the United Arab Emirates Travel Counsellors head office gave David the perfect solution. Carla McLellan, Operations and Training Executive, came to the rescue and collected the ring from the hotel. Carla now has the ring kept safe and will be bringing it over to the UK for our annual Travel Counsellors conference. The ring will have an express delivery back from Dubai to its rightful owner who is now a very happy, relieved client.
A fantastic international effort with a great result. Well done to Carla and David!
Travel Counsellors on 10 November 2015
New York is undoubtedly one of the most iconic cities in the world. With over 50 million people journeying there each year, the city is regarded as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. New York certainly packs a punch, not many cities can boast the same mix of culture, entertainment, art, food and history delivered in such a hair-raising setting.
Even if you haven’t been to the ‘Big Apple’ you probably already know about the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, but here are a few things you might not know about New York City…
#1: New York has been the setting for over 20,000 films
As you meander through the bustling streets of New York you’re likely to experience a lot of déjà vu. Having played host to thousands of movies, it’ll feel as if you’re stepping onto the set of some of your favourite films.
Certainly, if you’re a film buff you’ll be in your element as you explore the backdrop to countless Hollywood blockbusters from King Kong to Ghostbusters to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
#2: New York has over 20,000 street vendors
If you’re a foodie then New York is for you. Between thousands of incredible restaurants the streets are lined with fantastic street vendors. The range of food on offer is staggering, you can grab pretty much anything you can think of including lobster, gelato, crepes and mouth-watering sandwiches.
However, the most popular snack on the streets of New York is most likely the hot dog. To give you an idea of just how popular, one hot dog stand owner near Central Park Zoo pays $289,500 a year for the right to sell from that spot…
#3: New York subway musicians go through a meticulous selection process
You don’t need to go to a concert to see talented musicians in New York, you can spot them at the subway. The subway musicians are selected from hundreds of applicants each year as part of the Music Under New York program.
The program, which has been running since 1985, gives the musicians a chance for a bit of cash, and more crucially, exposure. Each year 20 or so applicants are selected to join the pool of musicians, who are then distributed amongst New York’s subway system.
Currently there are 350 soloists and groups playing thousands of performances each year. Make sure you take the time to watch a couple of performances, as you never know if you might be seeing a future star!
#4: The Phantom of the Opera is currently the longest running show in Broadway history, having been performed for close to 28 years
The Phantom of the Opera may have its roots planted in the UK, but Andrew Lloyd Webbers’ musical has enjoyed huge success in New York. In 2012 the musical celebrated its 10,000th Broadway performance, becoming the first ever production to do so.
Every year millions of people attend Broadway, which spans across 40 theatres throughout the city. Upcoming shows include a musical adaption of American Psycho (2016) and Groundhog Day (2017).
#5: On a clear day you can see five different states from the Empire State Building Observatory
On a clear day you can spot as many as five states from the Empire State Building Observatory: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Make sure you consider the weather, clearer days will have bigger queues but are well worth the wait. Officially the most photographed building in the world, the Empire State Building is a stunning example of architecture and a must-see for visitors.
Travel Counsellors on 04 September 2015
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All the latest from our experts and top tips on the incredible deals on offer. Learn about all the latest news and prices in cruise and discover all the information you need for your voyage of a lifetime. We work with many of the best cruise lines in the world to bring you the very best travel opportunities. Our partnerships ensure we have access to competitive prices and coupled with a personal service, your cruise holiday will be just as you want it.
Cruising is more than just a holiday. It’s an indulgent getaway. A gourmet dining experience. Action-packed family fun. An opportunity to learn. Your excuse to dance the night away. When you choose to cruise you choose to explore the world’s latest technologies, indulge in sumptuous luxury and embrace new sights and cultures.
True luxury should permeate every aspect of your holiday and that is something which cruise does perfectly. From the moment you start to plan your cruise with Travel Counsellors to the moment you arrive home, your every whim is catered for. Phenomenal ships, indulgent dining and world class spa facilities are all things you can expect as part of your personal cruise package.
Ocean cruising offers incredible choices for your holiday. Not only is the range of destinations on a global scale but the magnitude of the ships has to be seen to be believed. Luxurious spas, rock climbing walls, award winning dining, Broadway shows, stunning destinations and cookery schools. You name it, it’s all there with cruise lines!
River cruising is one of the most diverse types of cruising available. Intimate river cruising and interesting niche options make your cruise choice even wider- your Travel Counsellor can help you navigate all these choices and find you something that suits you perfectly. Smaller ships make for a more personal environment between guests and staff and you are also able to dock in the heart of cities. With ever-changing views and tonnes to see and do, river cruising could be exactly what you are looking for.
Expedition cruising allows you to really explore and immerse yourself in a destination and everything it’s about. This type of cruise is more land based and lead by a professional team which gives you a taste of exploration and adventure. Whether you are a couple or a family cruises offer the ideal environment in which you can relax, explore, choose from a huge range of activities and explore a range of places.
This broadcast will give you all the info you need and a taster into what cruising can offer you. Choose your broadcast and get involved!
7.30pm Wednesday 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th September.
Travel Counsellors on 31 July 2015
Dubai has transformed from a sleepy fishing village fifty years ago to one of the world’s hottest destinations. If you love sun, sand and shopping malls look no further than this stunning pocket of paradise. Dubai is a city of extreme scale: towering buildings, huge malls and the world’s first series of 250 man-made islands shaped to represent a map of the globe. Perfectly situated between the desert and the warm blue waters of the southern Gulf it is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE (United Arab Emirates). It is the most populated and second largest emirate after the renowned Abu Dhabi.
This city is fast pace in every aspect; day to day, diversity, future planning and development. Its history contrasts brilliantly with its new reputation in spectacular growth. Those who wish to taste the ‘other’ Dubai can visit the creek; a natural inlet from the Gulf that divides the city in two. The eastern is known as the Deira, western is Dubai. This artery acts as the main inlet through the city and leads to the historic waterfront at the mouth of the creek. Traditional cargo boats are often spotted along these waters amongst taxis crammed with both locals and tourists crossing from one side of the city to the other.
Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry but revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% if the emirate’s revenues. It is the innovative, adventurous and contemporary real estate projects that set Dubai apart from the world. Tourists flock to Dubai to see the many spectacular sights, some of which include; Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Palm Islands and the Grand Mosque. Many tourists visit the Aquaventure Water Park, a remarkable state of the art water park that attracts thrill seekers in abundance. Situated in 12 acres and featuring over 30 adrenalin fuelled rides as well as many relaxed family friendly activities it is one of the most advanced parks ever designed. A great day out for all the family! One of the more recent additions to the plethora of attractions is a fully equipped indoor ski resort suitable for both experts and beginners.
Dubai’s diversity infuses every ideal type of holiday together in one truly remarkable city. In a single day tourists can experience everything from rugged mountains to sandy beaches and dunes followed by lush green parks and luxurious residential districts.
Food & Drink
Dubai has a contemporary and vibrant dining scene that caters for the most discerning of palates. The choice is almost endless with speciality restaurants catering for every occasion and budget. The local flavour is taken from Lebanese, Indian and Iranian influences and this is often combined with the delicate tastes from Western Europe. Chain restaurants are best found in the many shopping malls around the city whilst for a more luxurious dining experience head for the many upmarket hotels. There are some high street restaurants in and around Dubai and recommendations from locals and hotel concierge staff will ensure you choose the right one.
Getting there and arrival
Dubai has its own international airport with three terminals located 3 miles (4kms) from the city centre. On arrival passengers need to collect the original visa permit at the airport and can do so at the specially designated desks at the end of the arrivals tunnel before taking the escalators to passport control desks. Visitors to Dubai need a valid passport that is valid for 3 months from date of entry, or 6 months if their intended stay is longer than 90 days. UK visitors will be granted a 60 day visa on arrival that can be extended for a further 30 days.
Upon arriving in Dubai there is a one stop passenger service desk where you can book hotels, airline tickets, private transfers and excursion packages. Taxis at the airport are readily available and public transport is very efficient all around Dubai. There is a frequent bus service that is available to tourists from the airport to the city and stations are located opposite both terminals. The journey is 15 minutes and it costs around 3 dirhams.
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate with blue skies and sunshine year round. The hottest months are between June and September, when temperatures can reach 113°F (45°C) and humidity levels are very high. Even the sea temperature touches on 104°F (40°C) during the summer months, and swimming pools at hotels are usually cooled to be refreshing. Temperatures are more moderate the rest of the year, the coolest time being between December and March when the temperature averages 75°F (24°C). There is very little rainfall in Dubai, but when showers do fall it is mainly in the cooler months.
The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the Dirham (AED), which is divided into 100 fils. There are no currency regulations in the UAE and all major currencies are readily exchanged at banks and large hotels. The Dirham is fixed against the US Dollar. The best exchange rates are found at private moneychangers who operate throughout the territory, particularly in the more popular souks (markets) and shopping centres. Most major credit cards are accepted, as are travellers’ cheques (best carried in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling). ATMs are common throughout the UAE. Banking hours are generally Saturday to Thursday from 8am to 1pm, but some are also open between 4pm and 8.30pm.
Here is what some of our TC’s think;
Jane Zollo- “What I love about Dubai is the fact that 5 star really means 5 star – I mean this in terms of hotels, attractions, food and service! Dubai offers something for everyone – from a couples retreat in a One and Only Hotel to a family stay in Atlantis or Jumeirah Beach or for honeymooners a swim out room at Anantara. A year round experience – perfect weather and fun activities for all. I personally love visiting the water parks with my family and there is nothing better than sitting in the lazy river in the sunshine and then topping off the day with a fantastic meal.”
David Griffin- “A lot of the hotels in Dubai at certain times of year have complimentary Half Board offers on, these are well worth it and at some hotel chains, you are not just restricted to one hotel, you can eat in several of the hotel chains restaurants. This shows that even in Dubai there is great value and a range of wonderful dining choices to experience. When you visit Dubai, Marina yachts are docked by the creek and it’s really nice to go here in the evenings for a walk, or to have dinner, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. If you visit during the evening time as well, the surrounding sky scrapers are lit up and you will probably be reaching for your camera a lot, it’s well worth a visit and it’s a fantastic walk.
When you’re in Dubai make sure you visit the Burj Khalifa , the tallest building in the world, centred in downtown Dubai and the views at the top on the observation deck, give you that sort of on top of the world feeling! For something more adventurous do the desert safari and sunset barbeque, which gives you an exhilarating ride over the dunes in the desert, in a 4x4 vehicle, followed then to a visit to a Bedouin camp, for a dinner barbeque, dance with an authentic belly dancer and a ride on a camel! A great trip!”
Dubai is an ideal destination for couples, families and those travelling on business. The ever-growing and evolving landscape caters to every taste and is never short of amazing. There is a stunning contrast of old and new culture here which you’d struggle to find anywhere else in the world. To find out more about Dubai or to look into creating your perfect holiday; find your travel counsellor now.
Travel Counsellors on 06 July 2015
Across the news and the papers, there’s been plenty of recent coverage about the unfolding financial situation in Greece. The insecurity of the Greek economy has led to much speculation about what that could mean for people looking to holiday to the region. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of our most frequently asked questions relating to the current situation in Greece, and what impact it could have if you’re looking to travel there soon.
What should I do to prepare if I am travelling to Greece on holiday soon?
First of all, let us assure you that even if Greece does decide to leave the European single currency, the euro will remain the Greek legal tender for some time to come. But this doesn't mean you shouldn't take other precautions.
We’ve already seen bank closures in Greece, rushes on cash machines and limits on withdrawal amounts for domestic Greek citizens (ie not foreign tourists), so current advice is to avoid over-reliance on credit and debit cards while in Greece. Cash is the best and most reliable form of currency in times of economic and political uncertainty, and this is the case in Greece. As you’ll be carrying more cash around than normal, be sure to make use of hotel safes and deposit boxes to keep your money secure. Bring enough cash to cover your likely expenditure and enough for any emergencies, and you’ll have taken all the sensible precautions.
Be aware that with difficult times comes the potential for civil unrest. While the likelihood of demonstrations in Greece may increase, they are likely to be centred on financial areas of major Greek cities, away from most tourist centres.
Will my flight be affected?
It isn’t expected that international air travel would be affected by the crisis in the Greek economy. Airlines operating from the UK on European routes typically avoid potential disruptions by loading enough fuel for a round trip. Air Traffic Control should not present any issues either – due to Greece’s heavy dependence on tourism, as well as revenue gained from charging airlines to use Greek airspace while flying over.
If Greece defaults on its debt, will my European holiday be affected – even if it isn’t in Greece?
A Greek default would impact all members of the European Union to some extent, but that shouldn’t plunge your holiday into any risk. For added peace of mind, you might want to take plenty of extra cash in euros to cover those expenses and potential emergencies – just remember to keep it safely deposited.
If you have any other questions at all about travelling to Greece in the current financial situation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Travel Counsellor. They’ll have all the latest information and recommendations at their fingertips, and ensure you’ll still be able to enjoy a fantastic holiday!
Tamsin Catto, Travel Counsellor on 18 June 2014
In June 2014, myself, my husband and three children travelled to Phuket and Singapore. The flight over with Singapore Airlines was good but very full. Our two older kids were entertained and very happy. Travelling with children under 3 is definitely challenging!
We were happy to arrive at our hotel in Kamala, Phuket. We stayed at the Sunwing Resort which caters extremely well to families with young children. If you weren't travelling with young children then you wouldn't want to stay here! The Sunprime Resort is for adults only and located next door. Our resort had seven pools (two with waterslides and one with a swim-up bar), a playground and indoor kid's area and was located right on the beach. Only a short walk into town you'll find shops and restaurants. There are also stalls located along the beach. Every day would involve a massage, pedicure or manicure (or all three!) It was very reasonably priced and very relaxing. The food at the restaurant at our hotel was pretty good and with children eating for free, also made it very economical.
We loved Phuket, although preferred the quieter areas of Phuket such as Kamala. We didn't enjoy the hustle and bustle of Patong so much.
After our six night stay in Phuket we travelled back to Singapore and stayed here for a further three nights. We really loved Singapore. It's a fabulous destination with so much to offer. It's very clean, safe and easy to get around. We took the MRT from the airport directly to our hotel, Swissotel the Stamford, which happened to be right next to a MRT stop. Our hotel was also located above a large shopping centre. In Singapore we enjoyed a visit to the zoo (definite must see), a very fun day at Universal Studios and a trip on the Singapore flyer. There are also fabulous gardens, bird parks and Legoland (just across the border) which are great day trips to be enjoyed. We mostly ate where the locals ate which was yummy and cheap!
Such an enjoyable holiday, I would definitely recommend a visit for anyone to Phuket and Singapore.
Claire Phillips, Travel Counsellors on 31 May 2014
Denmark - voted the happiest country in the world 2014. Home of the Vikings, pastries, Lego, Carlsberg and Hans Christian Andersen. These are just a few reasons to visit this wonderful (and happy) country. Copenhagen has much to offer those interested in design, architecture, history, the great outdoors and adventure.
Part of Scandinavia, Denmark is quite different in its landscape from Norway and Sweden. The city of Copenhagen in particular is relatively flat and compact enough to be able to reach all major sights on foot. The other option is public transport; it is clean, efficient and easy to navigate. Many tourists join the locals and hire a GPS equipped bicycle.
Although easy to walk or cycle, another unique way to see Copenhagen is from the waterways. Take an hour long guided cruise through the rivers and the man-made canals to get some lovely photo opportunities and gain some local knowledge at the same time. Your boat will take you past many intriguing areas including Nyhavn, Amalienborg Castle, Copenhagen Opera House and, of course, The Little Mermaid.
Tivoli Gardens is another must do. Opened in 1843, it is the world's second oldest theme park. There are a number of rides - some of which are very hairy! But Tivoli is more than just a theme park. It's a haven of 21 acres of greenery, flower beds, pathways, restaurants and music concerts and is as popular with the Danes as it is with tourists. Be careful though as the gardens are closed between seasons.
If you have the time and would like to tick off another country, you could take the train across the Oresund Bridge to Sweden. Being just over 16 kilometres long, it takes just 25 minutes from Copenhagen Central Station to Malmo and is so easy that many Swedes commute daily to work in Copenhagen. The Oresund Bridge is a brilliant feat of engineering carrying 60,000 travellers each day and is a great sight to see when flying into Copenhagen.
If you like history, I can highly recommend the quick 25 minute train ride from Copenhagen Central Station to the charming town of Roskilde. The Viking Ship Museum here is a must see. Housing five 11th century reclaimed Viking ships from the Fjord, artefacts and detailed information, this is a great place to visit if you like anything Viking. But more than just Viking history, Roskilde used to be the most important town in Denmark and it's believed that it had it's beginnings around the year 980. Here you can visit the very impressive Cathedral built in 1170 by the Danish Bishop Absalon. The magnificent building is the burial site for Danish monarchs of the past and is well worth a visit.
My key tip when visiting Copenhagen is to buy a 'Copenhagen Card' which gives you free entry into many attractions around the city, and public transport. Eating out can be expensive but the card provides discounts at some restaurants. I also found my Berlitz guide invaluable in helping me find 'not so expensive' and less touristy places to eat.
I loved Copenhagen and found it a truly wonderful city to spend a few days in.
David Speakman on 23 April 2014
I am honoured to announce the fantastic news that we have won the 2014 Queen’s Award for Enterprise. We are so proud to have won this award for International Trade, which is the UK's most prestigious business award. This is Travel Counsellors second such win, as we were, and still are, the only travel agency ever to have received the award for innovation in 2003.
What a great way to celebrate our landmark 20th anniversary as a company. And it really makes me think about how far we have come. It all started with a book. One by American trend guru Faith Popcorn, called "The Popcorn Report" which predicted a rise in the number of people shopping from home and working from home. I read this in 1993, having already been in the travel industry for 15 years operating a chain of retail travel agents in North West England. It gave me an idea about a new kind of travel agency, one in which personal relationships flourish, where service is at the forefront, where dreams are fulfilled, where customers return time and time again, and one where experienced travel professionals could take control of their own destiny by doing what they most enjoy.
Travel Counsellors would allow the very best travel consultants to create a personal connection with customers whilst being supported by a central head office team, that would provide commercial clout, bespoke IT, compliance with Regulation and create a training and development programme that would adapt to changing customer needs. Individual Travel Counsellors could focus on selling and validating customer choice and delivering customer care and personal service to their customers.
And it worked. We took on our first agent in January 1994 – our first booking was a family of four to Mallorca. Fast forward a year and we had 20 agents running their own businesses and had achieved £1 million in sales. Customers were embracing the unique and highly personal way of booking travel – their own experienced travel professional available to them around the clock and enabling them to book holidays from the comfort of their own home. Equally, travel professionals welcomed the opportunity to shun the paperwork and smaller rewards when working in a traditional high street agency and instead run their own business, focusing on what they love and do best – selling travel, whilst also enjoying the benefits that this brought for their work/life balance.
Twenty years later we now have 1,300 Travel Counsellor franchisees supported by more than 250 staff in eight countries. We have more than 450,000 passengers annually and we have sales in excess of £400 million. It's clichéd to say it’s been hard work, creating anything worth fighting for doesn't come easy, but it's been so enjoyable and fulfilling. As the late Stephen Covey, the business philosopher, said; “live, love, work and leave a legacy”, and not only has the company hopefully achieved these goals, but many hundreds of individual Travel Counsellors have too. We have changed lives, and that more than any monetary reward is certainly something to be proud of.
So what makes us so different? Quite simply, our people. Our strength is in our customer care and the relationships we have and continue to build with our customers. In this electronically connected world with an abundance of choice, personal relationships and trust are not an anathema to this trend but an essential part in ensuring customers feel safe, reassured and cared for. We have championed a trusting relationship with the customer by being the leaders in financial protection, guaranteeing that the customer with never lose their money. Our ethos is based on treating customers as we ourselves would expect to be treated.
But it doesn't end there. We believe this trust is essential to the DNA of the company and has to permeate all our relationships, be it individual Travel Counsellors, our great staff and our customers, all of whom are our best advocates.
We have based our business on the foundations of integrity, care, trust and professionalism and a passionate desire to create a community of the very best in travel, and this fantastic recognition from the Queen’s Award is testament to this.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Travel Counsellors and staff for their hard work and dedication, and of course our customers for their loyalty.
Here’s to another 20 years.
14 October 2013
Travel Counsellors has announced its own consumer protection arrangement where everything booked through the company will be fully protected.
08 October 2013
Travel Counsellors has launched a consumer protection arrangement to shield customers from financial loss from third party default.
03 October 2013
Travel Counsellors yesterday confirmed that it will offer its own financial protection for consumers after claiming the Australian public has grown “wary” following a number of major industry collapses.
03 October 2013
The Melbourne based travel company, Travel Counsellors, have announced a consumer protection arrangement where everything booked through the company will be fully protected from financial loss from third party default.
13 August 2013
Independent travel company, Travel Counsellors Australia, has today revealed that the location for their 2014 annual conference will be Melbourne.
12 July 2013
Travel Counsellors has been named as one of the UK's fastest growing private companies internationally.
28 June 2013
The Australia based office has made the dreams of two of the company's UK customers a reality, by securing tickets for the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour.
11 June 2013
Travel Counsellors has launched a new consumer website after seeing record sales.
24 May 2013
Emotional connections between agents and clients will enable the trade to fight off the threat of the internet.
24 May 2013
Travel Counsellors reports that developments in technology will not spell the end of the travel agent.
22 May 2013
Hear from our new country manager in Australia, Tracy Parkinson
17 May 2013
Leading global independent travel company, Travel Counsellors has launched a new company film.