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Testimonials, past adventures…
A mid-pacific stop in Hawaii to see the humpback whales; a picnic among the stone heads on Easter Island; taking a float plane out to watch Alaska’s bears catch salmon; snorkelling off the Galapagos Islands and getting buzzed by the seals; experience the sunset over Iguassu Falls with a caipirinha in your hand while sat on the steps of the classic Hotel das Cataratas; coordinating flights to cross the International Date Line so your child get two birthdays that year; stay in a Japanese Ryokan; see the sunrise over Macchu Picchu; stay in a yurt at Yosemite; or a covere wagon at Zion, or watch the Hollywood stars while having brunch overlooking Santa Monica Beach.

South America Tour – single traveller and COVID19…

One of our most valued clients was celebrating a significant birthday with a spectacular trip around South America, which had taken about a year to perfect. She was travelling without her partner on this occasion, so the trip had been constructed in a specific way. Our local agents in each country taking care with private transfers, but also with shared city tours and evening events with other tourists from around the world. This gave her the opportunity to enjoy the company and laughter of many others in Rio, Iguassu Falls, Buenos Aires and Cartagena. Added to this, in the middle of the three week trip was a week arranged with a UK based singles specialist tour operator. We selected an escorted small group tour of Peru, seeing Cuzco, Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. This added another element and a different way of enjoying this amazing country in company of others.

Having left the UK at the start of March, the coronavirus had not yet been declared a pandemic and had barely touched South America at this point. During her stay in Rio and Iguassu the situation began to become more serious and was clearly nipping at her heals as she moved down the continent. On arrival in Buenos Aires the escorted tour was cancelled which was due to start in two day’s time. We liaised with our local agents in Argentine, Peru and Columbia and it was apparent that hotels would not accept her as they were unsure of what future local government restrictions would be put in place, so there clearly was no way forward for her to the next countries on her trip. Argentina announced the same day they would be shutting their border after the weekend and anyone who had come from Europe less than two weeks ago, would have to go into a 14 day quarantine, our client fell into that category. An added worry was the Buenos Aires hotels who were not willing to let her continue to stay on that basis too, so it was clearly time to head home ASAP.

We made some provisional flight bookings, but due to government restrictions, the normal options via the USA and Spain had become unavailable and the BA flights home had only the odd seat left. While our client was outside Evita’s Tomb, she agreed to head home on the flights we had booked in two day’s time, just before the Argentine restrictions came into place. We re-issued her trans-Atlantic ticket and confirmed all the new arrangements while she still travelled around on her city tour. She returned home successfully. The UK then went into lock-down the following Sunday. We then spent the next two months liaising with our agents and the tour operator for refunds, as well as offering help and advice by preparing spread sheets and documentation for our client’s very complex insurance claim, which was ultimately successful. We have one very happy client that made it home just in time, it’s useful to have friends on your side in tight situations like these.

Easter Island & Atacama Desert – COVID19…
A valued client had recently booked as a special birthday present for his partner, a super trip for them to The Atacama Desert in Chile and then heading out over the Pacific to Easter Island, for the big day itself. The trip was staying in some smashing boutique hotels and included private tours to see the impressive scenery and unique culture.

In the day it took them to travel and on arrival in The Atacama, it was apparent that the situation around the world was rapidly changing. On their first day’s tour of the desert sights, their guide was told that these places would be shut off to any visitors the following day. This was our first inkling of things changing in Chile. Our local agent was able to ascertain that same day, that the airbridge to Easter Island from Santiago was also to stop and on the same day we have them booked, the passenger flights would instead be cargo services and then the island would be quarantined with no arrivals or departures for at least a month. Our client felt it was important to leave the Atacama and not be stuck here, so the following day they return as booked to Santiago. In the meantime, our local agent put together an itinerary based out of the city to the foot hills of the Andes and the Pacific Coast. The clients having found the original city centre hotel uncooperative to them as vegetarians, we found a more suitable place and moved them. Some of the tourist sites were possible, some later closed, but they return home on their original flights into London on the day of the UK’s lock down. Despite going into lock- down themselves (before the UK) our local agents continued to assist our clients far and above what would normally have been expected and in very difficult circumstances. It’s useful to have friends on your side in tight situations like these.

Pittsburgh, ice hockey, uncooperative skis and Vancouver…
A father and his grown-up son’s bonding trip to Pittsburgh for a few days together at various sporting events before partings. The son heading off to his job as a ski instructor at Whistler and dad returning to London. The multiple ski sets however could have been a cumbersome irritation, so Mark at our partners AmWorld assisted with their shipping.
Ski shipment -It was received Mark so thanks for such an incredible service – top class from start to finish! Best – Danny
Back from our epic trip and everything went brilliantly, Andrew. Thanks for all your help. Best – Danny

Oman, tour operator goes bust, White Knight to the rescue….
A two-week long family holiday to Oman over Christmas and New Year, a treat to celebrate Mum’s two-year fight over her serious illness and a thank you for the support shown by her family over this critical time. The complex itinerary was put together and booked directly with Chameleon/ Families Worldwide. Sadly they went bust in November just a month before the trip. Although ATOL would be refunding the amount they had paid, the real problem was salvaging the holiday. At this late stage finding availability was an issue, especially hard over Christmas and New Year, let alone at a price that was even remotely near what had already paid 8 months previously. We were asked for help, so pulled out the stops and contacted and discussed the case with many tour operators and local DMC’s. We were able to find a specialist operator to that region, that not only assisted us beyond the call of duty to find availability but also agreed to reduce their margin to enable us to fit within the previous budget. Later we provided some advice regarding the ATOL refund and the CAA, which helped wrap up this stressful episode for them.

Hi Andrew. Happy New Year, I hope all is well with you and your family. I hope the pictures show that our Arabian adventure was a great success – many many thanks for all your help in making it happen. Look forward to seeing you soon. Best wishes Neil, Julia and the boys.

Florida, summer holiday with young children…
I wanted to thank you for helping put together a memorable holiday for us. The whole trip was great, hotel choice very suitable etc., you can definitely pick the right place to match your clients needs. Feel free to publish the feedback, you deserve the credit! Many thanks,  John Docherty

Australia & New Zealand, despite the bush fires….
Just to say that we got back safely from Australia/NZ a couple of hours ago, after a wonderful holiday. Everything went exactly according to plan, which given that we had 10 flights, 11 different accommodations and 3 separate car hires is saying something! Thank you once again for all your help in organising it for us. Best regards Kevin & Jenny

A two-month long family sabbatical…
We assisted a family of four in the planning and booking of an impressive two month round the world trip, including: extensive tours of both Australia and a New Zealand; Tahiti; Bora Bora; Easter Island and Galapagos Islands.

Anne-Marie and I would like to thank you very much for all your help in planning and arranging our big trip. Your suggestions were very helpful to us and the organisation and administration of our trip was superb- I really don’t think we could have done it without you. It was also a great reassurance to us to know that you were back in London to help us sort out issues that arose during the trip. It was wonderful when we were in some far flung corner of the world and something cropped up to say ‘let’s send an email to Andrew’ and then know 100% that we could stop worrying and it would all be sorted out- thank you -very best wishes. Nigel and family 

Testimonials, previous successes…

Georgia Country inn and desert island experience…
A couple came asking for something unique and relaxing prior to the birth of their first child. They stayed on a Georgia barrier island in a country inn and then a top-quality Caribbean beach hideaway in Mexico. A snippet from her extensive two-page review of their trip….
It was lovely………The whole trip was fantastic and memorable, like the honeymoon we felt we saw a lot of stuff but are also re-energised, rested, and have lost the grey London pallor. Thanks to you and the team for creating such a unique bespoke experience. We look forward to the next one. Claire and Francois  

Testimonials, previous great adventures…

Olympic National Park and the Pacific Northwest, family adventure….
A good start, dead trendy Seattle; then west to the coast at Moclips; a couple of days circling the beautiful Olympic National Park; ferry across to Victoria on Vancouver Island; then up country to the rugged Pacific coast at Tofino, bear watching and lots of adventure; back across the island and the ferry to just north of  Vancouver; took The Sea to Sky Highway; Whistler Resort for a few days R&R by the pool, riding the ski lifts and charging downhill on Mountain bikes; a day peddling around Vancouver; cross the border then an hour and a half open-mouthed on the Boeing Factory tour, plus some outlet shopping before home.

Andrew, Phoebe, just wanted to say a massive thank you for organising such a great trip! We arrived back this morning wrestling with jet lag but still buzzing about the trip.  The itinerary was perfect, the highlight for me was Tofino – if only the water was a bit warmer…  Somehow I managed to take over 200 videos and 1600 photos..!  Think some editing is in order…The cogs are whirring now for the next trip..! Best Andy & Julia

South America, post-retirement a two-month celebration…
Into Buenos Aires; with a quick dash around Uruguay; then to the continent’s southern tip, with a luxury  ‘Discover Patagonia’ cruise from Usuaia to Punta Arenas; an expedition trek into Torre del Paine Nat Pk, Chile; then roughing it a bit on the scenic Navimag ferry up the Pacific Coast from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, Chile;  a few days on Castro/Chiloe Island; a self-drive tour of the famous Carreterra Austral Highway; hop north to The Atacama Desert; Bolivia’s Uyunu Salt Flats; cross the Andies by coach to Salta in Argentina; the scenic railroad Tren A las Nubes; a spot of wine tasting in Mendoza with the last tango in Buenos Aires.

Many thanks for your welcome home message.  We have arrived home safely this morning after a wonderful trip.  I am giving some feedback below, in case it is of use to your future clients.  If any of your clients would like a more detailed assessment, then do shout.  Nigel may well give his own feedback, but this is mine! All of the arrangements that you made worked without a hitch.  So thank you so much for that.  Everything went smoothly, all our bookings were expecting us, and everything went to plan as you had arranged.  Thank you! Annie-Marie and Nigel

Great Ocean Road, Australia…
The Great Ocean Road was built by the returning ANZAC troops after the Great War. It should not be compared to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, as it’s nearer South Africa’s Garden Route in character. It links varying scenery; National Parks; charming seaside towns and ports; a bit of history; shipwrecks, wildlife and for the finale, plenty of wineries around Adelaide. This client took four days/ three nights for a relaxed trip, plus a few extra days with relatives on Kangaroo Island.

Hi Andrew, Happy to report that everything went well – so thanks to Liana and yourself for organising it all. Overall a real success for us and we would certainly go back when we have a month or two to do the job properly, but probably to a different part. If you have any questions about anything in particular, please ask! Best wishes Margaret

Alaska and The Yukon, a monster of a trip…
A two-month long family trip as part of a client’s summer sabbatical. Starting in Juneau then taking The Alaska Marine Highway up the Lynd Canal to the Historic Skagway and staying in Alice’s Room, at a former Victorian brothel. Scenic railroad winding its way up the White Pass to Whitehorse. A few days in a remote cabin near Haines Junction with a daylong guided trek and scenic air tour over Mount Logan and the St Elias Icefields, which included a glacier landing. Northwards on the Alaska and Taylor Highways via Tok and Chicken to the Canadian border, then onwards via a gravel road to Dawson City. A few days to explore the hub of Klondike Gold Rush, visiting a dredge, a spot of gold panning and the Day’s of 98 music hall. Then the long slog west back via Tok for Copper Center and Citinia. A side trip by light aircraft to Kennicot, to see the copper mines and a guided trek including camping on the Root Glacier overnight. Then to Valdez for the very scenic ferry across Prince William sound to Whittier and Wasilla. A day trip then on a bear viewing air tour. Finally flying out of Alaska for British Columbia, with a few days in Vancouver. Another ferry crossing, this time to Vancouver Island for the rugged Pacific Coast at Tofino. Returning back to the mainland and up the ‘Sea to Sky Highway’ for Whistler. A full six days here, much of it charging downhill on mountain bikes for some of the party and relaxing pool side for the rest.

The trip was really great.  Thanks for looking at my Blog and commenting.  I still need to finish off with a Mauritius post.  As for the Alaska/Yukon leg that really worked well.  I would definitely recommend doing it that way round . The scenery just gets more and more spectacular as one travels from Skagway to Whitehorse then Dawson etc.  Skagway is a bit “Disney” with hindsight with every other shop being a jeweller, apparently owned by the Cruise companies.  The Yukon Canadians were quite disparaging about Skagway.  But of course when we arrived there at the start of our Alaska/Yukon tour we thought it was great. We really enjoyed staying at Kathleen Lake even though the accommodation was a little basic, or maybe because it was basic.  We really enjoyed Haines Junction; salmon barbeque and live music at the Pantry on Friday evening and all the walks we did in Kluane with Brent.  Highlights? Very difficult to say, because it was such a spectrum of experiences, but if pushed I would have to say the hike on the glacier and over-night camp at Kennicott. What would I have done differently?  With hindsight I would have stayed longer at Tofino.  We really loved Whistler and had a great time; that is my sort of playground.  Thank you again for your help.  We are looking forward to our next adventure.  Best regards, Jonathan

Better than the Inca Trail, plus Lake Titicaca, Peru & Bolivia…
Peru, but rather than the usual crowded and very restricted Inca Trail, our clients being keen walkers elected instead to do The Salkantay Trek from The Scared Valley to Machu Picchu. Being reasonably near, we persuaded them to also visit Lake Titicaca and stay on one of Bolivia’s islands. There was also a stop-over in South Beach Miami on the way home.

Well – what an amazing trip!  The Salkantay Trek in Peru was absolutely breathtaking, we had a brilliant guide and a great group.  It was certainly a challenge but an incredible 5 days which we will remember for a long time.  It was good advice to acclimatise for 3 days in Cusco first because Helen had some mild altitude sickness, just a bad headache really, on days 2-3.  But we were both fit and well in time for the trek! We enjoyed seeing the lake and surroundings, certainly a very special place.  Think we just had bad luck with the guide! Miami was very hot indeed and we enjoyed a couple of brilliant bars and a great dinner when we arrived and did the typical British thing of staying on the beach too long the next day and got rather sunburnt!! Thank you again for your huge help in organising this trip for us.  Without your advice, we wouldn’t have known where to start!  It was a truly incredible trip – we didn’t want to return to the UK! Greg & Helen

Australia & New Zealand, despite the bush fires…
Just to say that we got back safely from Australia/NZ a couple of hours ago, after a wonderful holiday. Everything went exactly according to plan, which given that we had 10 flights, 11 different accommodations and 3 separate car hires is saying something! Thank you once again for all your help in organising it for us. Best regards Kevin & Jenny

Ash clouds, Bariloche Airport closures…
We had clients on a remote and wild walking holiday, visiting Torres del Paine National Park and other parts of Patagonia and the Chilean Lake District. Their exit airport was Bariloche, which had closed due to volcanic ash and a refurbishment that seemed to be without an end. There were over half a dozen changes and re-issues required with services in total flux, they having been routed to both Neuquen and Esquel at differing times. We were sporadically in contact with the clients, reissuing their tickets, keeping them informing of the numerous alterations and advising on how to get to the new departure airports.

The trip was excellent and all the flights worked well. Thanks for all your help. It will likely be New Zealand or Tasmania next year. Best wishes Nigel.

Earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand – Feb 11
We had clients on a campervan tour of New Zealand, who were due to drop the van off at a depot in Christchurch, but fortunately, they were a day away when the quake hit. We were able to liaise with the depot and also advise the client on this and the airport’s temporary closure.

Thanks for all your help – it is great that you have kept an eye on things during the night shift. Thinks getting back to normal here now- so we can get internet access, etc and there’s more info about roads being open or closed etc. We are now only an hour from the Kea office and it looks like pretty certain our flights will be OK. Thanks again – and yes, the holiday has been absolutely fantastic. Best regards Sue and Tim 

New Zealand…
We had a superb time in Hong Kong and New Zealand, everything you organised worked like a dream. Thank you so very much. We thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but now we want to go back. We can highly recommend Blanket Bay and Kauri Cliffs-they were amazing! Best wishes Helen and James

Testimonials previous adventures-

Vietnam & Cambodia- Aug 18
A two and a half week family holiday and a great introduction to the Far East. Into Hanoi; the charming Hoi An for some R&R; then to Cambodia for Angkor, and finally Phnom Pehn to experience The Holocaust Museum and Killing Fields.

Hi Andrew. We’re having a fabulous time here in Vietnam. Hanoi and its surroundings were fascinating and Hoi An where we are now is delightful. Thanks very much!Avi

Belize and Guatemala- May 16
Started in Belize with a short drive inland to San Ignacia almost on the Guatemala border. A few days as a base, archaeological ruins nearby, a volcano peak, but a horseback ride or trek to the ATM caves is the highlight and a nice way to cool off from the jungle heat. Rather than any Belize ruins, we suggested Tikal just across the border in Guatemala, the Manhattan of the Mayan civilization. Then back to the Belize coast for some R&R and top snorkelling in a resort on the barrier reef that extends the full length of the country, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Dear Andrew, Just a short note to say we had a great time in Belize and Guatemala – the itinerary worked well, the accommodation was good and the guides and drivers provided by your local agent were excellent. Thanks for organising this for us. Best wishes. Margaret

Sun, Sea and something to do – Dec 11
We had a client looking for an interesting place to take his family in combination with a visit to relatives in Atlanta. We suggested the Mayan Riviera on the Caribbean, it is a great area for a beach holiday, but packed with things to see and do, such as the historic Mayan ruins and eco theme parks.

Just to let you know we really enjoyed the Tucan and Playa del Carmen. Fantastic value and a great suggestion to combine with Atlanta. Best wishes, Chris