Tailor made and bespoke travel

We have over 40 years of assisting our discerning clients with top quality travel. All arrangements are tailor-made and are generally discussed and then built up in various stages, not fitted into a package. We will usually offer a selection of options for you to choose your priority of cost versus convenience and comfort.

We are well travelled ourselves, added to that the number of clients who have returned with their reports, it has created a valuable pool of knowledge, to enable us to discuss their suitability with you. We are independent and will not try to push you towards a specific supplier, so our recommendations to you will be unbiased.

We work with the UK’s largest travel trade wholesaler, so have access to competitive prices in all classes of air travel and accommodation.

Extended trips and to the more remote and unusual destinations are what we thrive on. In places such as South America, where language and security issues can be a concern to our clients, we have a network of trustworthy local agents that we have been working with for decades. These are usually the most well established in each country, not necessarily the cheapest, but partners that have proven they are worth trusting and have helped out our clients in stressful situations in the past.

Round the world trips and sabbaticals

We are well versed in planning and booking complex long duration trips around the world. These are usually for a full year, or for those with young families, just the summer months. Planning usually involves some considerable discussion on what you want to achieve, the places you want to see and the amount of time available to you. We are happy to offer advice and to inspire you.

Some past priorities-

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 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; get to stroke the white tigers in Thailand, or watch the Hollywood stars while having brunch overlooking Santa Monica Beach.

Feel free to call and chat over your plans, however vague they are.

Examples….

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 by Just You, 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 South America. On arrival in Buenos Aires the Just You 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 days 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. We have one very happy 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.

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 were to 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 vegetarians, were found a more suitable place and moved. Some of the tourist sights 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 parting. The son heading off to his job as a ski instructor at Whistler. His 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 the support shown by her family .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 advise 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 ‘lets 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