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25 July 2014 03:04

Dubai - First class service

“So, what’s Dubai like?” I asked a colleague before heading out for my first Middle East trip. “It’s hot” he said. “Gee. Thanks”, I replied, “and let me guess, there’s sand too?” Before my facetious remark could settle he was off into a meeting leaving me to ponder why he couldn’t have spared another moment to describe Dubai a bit more.  After spending a week there for business and pleasure I came to understand that he may have needed more than just another moment.

The holiday portion of my trip began after a 3 day conference and I was certainly ready for some R&R. I met my wife at our hotel around 10am expecting to store our bags for a check-in later that afternoon but the hotel staff at The Address, Dubai Marina were well-prepared to accept us and checked us in early. It was great to find that the outstanding local service I had become accustomed to during the conference wasn’t limited to big-spending businesses. Our room had a lovely balcony that looked over Dubai Marina offering a view of the world’s tallest twisted building, Cayan Tower. We were tempted to switch on the “do not disturb” button and rest the day away in the comfort of our spacious room but adventures awaited us elsewhere. 

Before tiredness could creep in we popped our towels and trunks into a bag and headed off to Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, on The Palm. Switching between a leisurely float along the circuitous rapids and the park’s more thrilling rides was a great way to spend a day after the long hours of a conference or, in my wife’s case, a long-haul flight. She did however opt out of the park’s ultimate thrill - Poseidon’s Revenge (check it out on YouTube or, in the words of their own website “step into a capsule and wait for the moment when the floor falls out beneath you and you begin to plummet through a waterslide at speeds of 60 kilometres per hour before the fury of Poseidon’s revenge propels you upside down.”) I thought it was insanely fun! 

For the following 5 days I was inclined to permanently set up at our glorious hotel pool. I knew however that the sun would always be shining and there would be plenty of time to enjoy a swim so we decided to do some exploring. First up was a desert safari.

Our safari guide drove us less than an hour outside of the city in a 4WD where we encountered a land of unending sand dunes. Before the dune-bashing commenced we were treated to a spot of falconry and a photo with a friendly camel. The following journey over the undulating dunes took us to a bedouin camp where a wide array of local foods were on offer along with belly dancing, camel-riding and a shisha under a multitude of stars. This really was something quite different and it was a great experience.

The following day I was determined to show my wife the Burj Khalifa at sunset. Our 20 minute taxi ride from Dubai Marina took us along the main highway which is thronged by sky-scrapers. At this moment I came to really appreciate the ambition embodied by these structures which aren’t just symbols of the emirate’s wealth and recent growth. They are extravagant statements that nothing is impossible, particularly when it comes to modern architecture, and we were headed towards the grandest of them all.   

Arriving in front of the world’s tallest building we were struck by its futuristic curving tiers rising into space against the pink and purple desert sky. For me it was an image of a galactic palace from another world. My wife on the other hand has less of an appreciation for the subtleties of science fiction and summed it up simply with an emphatic “Wow!” This was followed by an “Oooohh!” as the graceful water and light show of The Dubai Fountain began in the foreground. Our night was finished off with dinner at one of the many eateries in the expansive Dubai Mall nearby where we also spent a thoughtful 20 minutes gazing upon the vast population of sea life in the huge aquarium.

 

Amongst our excursions we did plenty of relaxing in the sun and pottering about the many shops but on our final day we made plans to do Friday brunch with friends. Many hotels in Dubai hold these weekly all-you-can-eat-and-drink events and they are particularly popular with expats. I was quick to discover why.

Our chosen venue, the Fairmont Hotel Dubai, is reputed to have been the first hotel to hold a Friday brunch and they have put the intervening years to good use. They offer food from all over the globe and while I am not a fan of buffet style dining, this was one of my most enjoyable eating experiences. From the succulent wagyu beef roast to oysters on the half shell, it was a foodie’s dream and the various cocktails on offer ensured a merry atmosphere. Overall it epitomised the impressive quality of food, drink, and service that I had grown used to during my stay.

With a sigh of satisfaction we returned to our hotel oasis for one final swim and to contemplate our surroundings. I now knew that if my colleague had actually taken the time to try and describe Dubai we may have been standing at the communal urn for some time. It was also clear that any brief description other than “it’s hot” would have been too abstract. Impressive? Extravagant? Different? Unreal? Sure he could have used these words, but without having been there I could not have appreciated what he meant. Dubai is not London or Paris. It’s not Sydney or Hong Kong. Dubai is Dubai. It is impressive, extravagant and different (and hot). It is all these things and more, but to describe it simply in these words really isn’t enough. It must be experienced.
19 July 2014 02:08

Hi Stephanie,

 

I just wanted to thank you for helping us with booking our holiday to Cala D’Or in Majorca this year.

 

Right from identifying a location (travel-wise), to finding a suitably star-rated hotel and advising me over the telephone when time was getting really tight with our passport applications. You were such a patient support throughout.

 

We all enjoyed our week away so much. I do hope you liked the resort too, as I recall that was where you were intending to holiday also.

 

We will definitely come back to Carrick Travel in the future for such genuinely interested and friendly assistance. 5 stars from us!

 

Best Wishes

 

Suzanne Roberts
30 June 2014 04:03
I have just returned from a driving holiday around Granada, Toledo, Madrid and Javea. I have detailed some points about my stay.  If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on 02476 502650 or email donnahill@carricktravel.com and I will be more than happy to help.




Granada
Granada is a great low key city to visit.  Full of cobbled streets, beautiful architecture and lovely food all within easy reach.  The Cathedral is compacted into the city and is stunning. One place to make sure you visit is Alhambra Palace (must be pre booked in peak times as it gets very busy) I did a guided tour which was very good and helpful as there is a lot of history around the Alhambra and it is great to understand it's past.  Granada is easy enough to walk round as everything is quite close to each other.  I stayed on the Gran Via road which is very central in Granada and a great location to explore.  The Suite Gran Via 44 is an excellent hotel to stay in.  You only need 2 or 3 nights to experience everything Granada has to offer.




Toledo
Wow, what more can I say.  Out of the whole trip, Toledo took my breath away from the moment we drove into Toledo.  You only need 2 nights in Toledo as it is a small place, all within the city walls.  Again, cobbled streets, beautiful scenery and a must see. I recommend getting on the Red Train excursion that takes you round the main sights and stops off for you to take panoramic photo's of Toledo.




Madrid
Madrid is a large city very spread out.  I would suggest 3 or 4 nights to see the city comfortably.  I stayed on the Atocha Road which is in a great location.  The Bernabeu Stadium and the Bull Ring are the furthest places out to visit but is a definite trip to do.  There is two open top bus tours you can get that link with one another which go round the whole city which is good way to get around Madrid.  The Plaza Mayor is nice place to eat with some lovely restaurants.  Madrid has a massive park area, a bit like Central Park in New York, but on a smaller scale which has a lake in the centre where you can hire a boat and paddle around. The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family in Madrid, is only used for state ceremonies but another great excursion to do.


Javea/Xabia
Javea is a lovely beach resort with all the water sports you can think of, loads of restaurants on the promenade with plenty of shops.  The promenade is busy in the day time and electric at night. Is has many places nearby like Denia which has a lovely drive to get to, all through the winding roads around the mountains.  It is great for families and couples and it is very affordable to eat out.  There is a hotel next to the Arenal Promenade called Parador which is a very nice hotel and fab location.


My whole holiday experience is one I will never forget, it was wonderful and saw so many beautiful sights.  Look out for pictures on our Facebook page Carrick Travel Coventry.
24 June 2014 06:31

Holidaying at Home

With all its charm and diversity it amazes me that British people are so quick to get out of the UK and book overseas holidays when it comes to taking a break. I personally know several people who have travelled as far as Australia and yet have never eaten an ice cream on a beach in Brighton, walked through the Yorkshire Dales or tried to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness monster.

Something that surprised me when I read it just a few months ago is that there is a beach in Britain that has been voted as one of the top ten in the world! Rhossili Beach in Wales is worthy of its title as you would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a beach on the Mediterranean with its stunning blue sea and miles of sandy shoreline. In true British style there is also a pub (Worms Head) which overlooks the stunning bay. Granted it is much more pleasant when the sun is shining but even on a cloudy day this beach is breath-taking. The beauty of Britain is that there really is something for everyone. For those who prefer a livelier, albeit less picturesque beach, where the focus is on the nightlife and activities, Brighton is a must see. With its pier and rows of bars and restaurants it is a hub for the younger generation as well as family days out. I enjoy walking through The Lanes in Brighton where I am always spoilt for choice between the boutique shops, quirky restaurants and jazz bars that thrive in this area.

Being a born and bred Londoner I am probably biased when I speak about how incredible the city is. From the punks and famous Stables Market in Camden to the designer shops and upmarket restaurants in Chelsea and Kensington, the diversity in this city is endless. A favourite hotspot of mine is Shoreditch, it never ceases to amaze me as I can be walking along a fairly nondescript  road and come across a striking piece of graffiti by Banksy himself and the next minute be outside a top London restaurant or bar, a favourite of mine is Beach Blanket Babylon. Aside from all the hidden hotspots London has to offer, there are the obvious main tourist attractions that millions come to visit from across the world such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the countless museums. I personally love to see the famous skyline, especially at night and with so many different places to do this from it is a must see when in London. Whether it is on a rotation of the London Eye, sipping cocktails in the bar at the Shard or having a picnic in Primrose Hill, the views are incredible.

For those who prefer a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, the UK has some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world such as the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District. Popular with hikers, the Peak District was the UK’s first National Park and offers activities for every age; from rock climbing to walking around stately homes and visiting famous film locations. The Yorkshire Dales also offer stunning views for miles on end and I remember after hours in the car as a child on the way to Scotland I would always perk up when we drove through this stunning area of natural beauty. Even back then I was aware of the rolling green hills and quite frankly fascinated by the open space and tranquillity of the area compared to my London home.

Every year for three nights between Christmas and New Year my family would take us to the small village of Dunkeld in Scotland and despite going back time and time again it never got boring as there was so much to do. The hotel (Hilton Dunkeld) offers activities such as clay pigeon shooting and 4x4 driving but outside of the grounds Scotland has so much to offer. We visited Edinburgh several times and this old town combines historic charm with a cosmopolitan vibe to create a truly unique experience.

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a trip to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The castle has a tower which is still intact and offers a great vantage point from which to try and spot the Loch Ness monster. Every time I looked out across the icy Loch as a child I could not help but let my imagination get the better of me and convince myself that I had spotted Nessie in the distance, only to see a bird then fly away. With its deepest point reaching 227 metres I believe my search is far from over and I will continue to keep one eye peeled when I next visit as there is a definite mystical aura around the area. Another reason Scotland is a great alternative to a holiday abroad is because from the northern most points of the country you are sometimes able to see the Northern Lights on a clear day.

While I have visited several places across the world there is nothing like driving through the Highlands of Scotland with the snow-capped mountains above and mist over the Loch below and then having to stop the car to allow a majestic stag to cross in front of us. These memories that were made so close to home will stay with me forever and I hope other families also instil in their children a similar knowledge of and passion for the UK before they flee the nest and head to Magaluf, far too cool to be seen with their parents anymore.

Another country in the UK which is popular with the younger generation is Northern Ireland. Just a one-hour flight from London and you can be in Belfast which is a great starting point from which to explore the region. For me the first stop was Glenarm where we visited Glenarm Castle, set between hills on one side and the sea on the other, it is a stunning location. A must-see when travelling around is the Glenariff National Park. The glens here are magnificent and run right down to the sea providing magnificent views. One of the most famous sites is the Giants Causeway. You are free to clamber all over the causeway which is something the National Trust is proud to offer bearing in mind it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The next stop was Londonderry, a walled city with a lot of history dating back to 1600. The Tower Museum tells the story of this city right up to the present day and you come away with a real sense of hope that Northern Ireland has turned a massive corner on its road to peace. The final stop was Belfast which proved to be a vibrant, safe city for visitors with loads to see and do. A ‘must-do’ here is the city bus tour which is a hop-on hop-off bus that takes in all the main sites and is led by a local, knowledgeable tour guide who helped to bring the history of the city to life. 

Writing this blog has been one of the hardest I have ever had to do, not because I struggled with what to write but rather quite the opposite. The UK has so much to offer that it is hard to know when to stop. Having said that, there are not enough words in the world to convey just how incredible so many destinations in the UK are. While I am not suggesting we all give up our beloved holidays on a beach far away, I do urge you not to forget the wonders that lie right on your doorstep, after all as once mentioned by Hugh Grant in the hit film Love Actually: “We may be a small country, but we’re a great one too.”
22 May 2014 07:51

Hello Cathy

 

Thanks for your letter.  We had a lovely holiday at the Hotel Mijas, also known these days as TR Mijas Beach Cultural.    It was very early, cold and misty when we set off for Birmingham Airport on the 29th April!    Our car was collected at the Airport and check-in was easy. We enjoyed the Aspire Airport Lounge-nice and quiet.    The flight was good and we were met at Malaga Airport by local rep Karen Quigley and passed to our driver for the transfer via a winding road to Mijas.     The hotel sits in such a spectacular site with views to the mountains and set in lush gardens.    We had a lovely room with views over the tennis court and garden, looking down to Fuengirola and the Mediterranean Sea!   Karen came to see us the following day to talk about excursions but the pick-up point was in Fuengirola and we would have had to get a local bus at 7am!    Having just had an early start for our flight we decided not to do that.  Karen said not many Classic clients go to the hotel , maybe because it is not Five Star?     We found the staff very friendly and seemed to appreciate our modest attempts at speaking Espanol.

 

We enjoyed relaxing by the pool where we had some nice lunches. The dining room also has spectacular views and we ate there several times in the evening. There was a wide mix of people there from Japan, France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK.     

 

There is lots to see in Mijas with its white houses, narrow streets, all bedecked with flowers. When we walked further from the main areas it became more traditional with elderly ladies talking from their front doors. We got a local bus from just outside the hotel to Fuengirola and then a train to Malaga.   Very interesting city, we went to the Cathedral and the Picasso Museum which is housed in a former palace.-very impressive.

We went again to Fuengirola on the bus and walked along its beach promenade.

 

There is a bullring in Mijas and on the Sunday we went to an evening event there. A mix of dancing and horsemanship-no bulls!  On one side of the bullring, basking in the evening sun, was the bell tower of the parish church, on the other was the white houses and straight ahead was the mountains of the Sierra de Mijas and a blue sky with not a cloud in it!   It was just lovely!

 

All good things come to an end. We had a good journey back home and were able to use our Priority Pass for the Sala lounge at Malaga Airport.

Thank you for booking and organising everything for us we had  really enjoyable time and would certainly recommend  Mijas. I attach a few pics of the hotel and Mijas-there are more!   We will send off the feedback questionnaire to Classic and Felicity has put a review on Trip Advisor.  When we are  next in Leamington we will call in to say hello-which days of the week are you around?

 

Best wishes

 

Bill and Felicity Fleming  
13 May 2014 02:22

Corrine,

 

I would just like to thank you and your team at Stratford and the Carrick Travel at Head Office, for their support following the incident at East Midlands Airport which affected our departure to Malta. I have heard horror stories about such delays, but the support and guidance which Carrick provided was nothing less than outstanding. No wonder you are the only Travel Agent we use. In the event the delay only amounted to 2 hours. Your taxi provider on Gozo, Raymond and his wife, were also excellent throughout our stay and should be highly commended.

 

Thank you again  Mike Ward
28 March 2014 04:56
Hi Helen

Well what can I say, Dubai was fabulous, yes we did the Burj.... twice, day time and evening, went to Atlantis on the Palm, both amazing feats of engineering and vision.  We were lucky enough to fly over tha Palm on our way to Kuwait, albeit being a tad hazy.

The Hotel was truly one of the best we have ever stayed at, and we did speak to various couples who said they'd been going there for between ten - twenty years, and yes they had seen plenty of changes!!!  
Whether it was due to Brian having a Birthday while we were away I don't know, but we got an upgrade to Club, and while we would have liked a view up towards the Palm area I wasnt going to look a gift horse in the mouth, so we settled for some beautiful sunsets and made the most of the afternoon teas and pre-dinner drinks instead....
The staff were all extremely courteous, helpful and friendly, Brian got Birthday pancakes, plus candle at breakfast and we came back to our room in the evening to a Birthday cake and bottle of wine.  Check-in and out was very smooth, in fact I think we were asked by five different staff members if we'd got all our belongings, passports and tickets etc when leaving.  Le Royale Meridien is definitely a hotel we'd both recommend and return to.

The transfers went without a hitch, and we did need the larger vehicle to and from the airport.

We also had a very enjoyable stay with our friends in Kuwait, not a tourist hotspot but some interesting sights, including a huge 'sandcastle' display, I'm sure if you google 'sandcastles' Kuwait you'll see what I mean, these weren't amateurish kiddies beach efforts, they had taken teams from all over the world several months to sculpt.
My friends reaction when she came home to see us sat at her kitchen table was BRILLIANT, she hadn't got a clue that we were coming, and it's all recorded!!

All the flights were without incident, that said I wouldnt put Emirates at the top of my list of favourite airlines, they were professional yes, but the flight home especially left a bit of a sour taste.  Initially I wasn't convinced that my wheelchair would actually be put on the plane, the stewardesses I spoke to appeared completely disinterested.  We did our usual, wait til last bit, once we got to Birmingham and then found that there were more people waiting for wheelchairs than expected.  In similar situations the staff have allowed us to wait on the plane, but not this particular set of crew, who quite obviously wanted to be on their way.  So we had to stand in a breezy and chilly stand.
However as we were in the air at the same time as flight MH370 went missing, this seems a bit of an insignificant whinge.

Overall this was another brilliantly put together package by yourselves, and I'm certain we'll be back to your 'sweetie shop' to see what else you have to offer.

Many Thanks to all concerned


Dawn and Brian McBride
19 March 2014 03:51
We're back from our Africa hols.  It was amazing, up there as one of the best holidays ever.  All went without a hitch so African Pride did their stuff very well.  All the Sanctuary lodges were very different.  Chichele Presidential lodge was our favourite; very colonial and the rooms were quite dated compared to the other lodges.  However the staff were brilliant and the game drives just out of this world so would thoroughly recommend it especially for newbies like us.  
Sussi and Chuma was more modern, highlight was the trip to Victoria Falls...breathtaking and also seeing the white rhino, safely protected by armed guards !  Chobe Chilwero was not so good on the game front but the rooms were  the best.

As for food.....it was non stop, couldn't keep up with it all excellent.  Also the hotel on Jo'burg was lovely but weather was rubbish, like being in England.

Finally, on our last drive at Chichele just before sunset we were driven to Chichele Hill and waiting for us were the staff from the lodge, a set table, with fizz and nibbles and chairs arranged to watch the sunset...brought a tear to my eye it was wonderful.

Thanks for organising everything Helen in your usual faultless fashion !

So, where to next ????  
05 December 2013 01:56
Hi Fiona

I keep meaning to email you to let you know that we had a fabulous holiday in Mauritius. Everything about it was perfect & we would definitely use Four Seasons again.  The teenage kids club was great for Jonty.  

There were a lot more activities included in the price compared to Antigua, and you could do water skiing as many times as you liked for free.  You could also get free tuition on all the free water sports & sailing.  We took a boat out fishing 3 times & it was only £81 for 2 hours & then they cooked the fish for Jonty's lunch.

We would definitely go again.  The service was amazing.  We also had free bikes to get about the resort, and there were also buggies to take you anywhere you fancied.  The restaurants were all fab and there were various special nights as well.

Re Mauritius Airlines we found them to absolutely fine.  A modern plane, and certainly no worse than BA & VIrgin.  The food was better than BA & Virgin & their flight attendants far more helpful.

A new airport opened in Sept and it was amazing.  Air conditioned, really friendly staff and we have never been through Customs so quickly.  The airport transfers were great and the drivers really informative & a lot safer than Caribbean drivers!

Thanks again for organising such a wonderful holiday

Regards


Susan, Phill & Jonty 
11 November 2013 02:26
Dear Carrick,

Thank you for booking our fantastic holiday to Cyprus.  We returned on Monday morning.  The Four Seasons is a fabulous hotel and we would like to return, time and money allowing.

You made booking this holiday seamless, my only gripe would be the time of the return flight from Cyprus, but that's not exactly in your control.

Many thanks,


Jo Bell
08 August 2013 04:26
Dear Paul

thank you for the recommendation to visit Ila D'or in Majorca. We have had  a wonderful 4 days away, brilliant weather and excellent location, so again thank you. 

Just to say, we would not hesitate to use your services again, your help and support has been really valued, given the lack of it in other places. While our next holiday is already planned, we have every intention of coming back to you for future holidays. 

Warm regards


Mr & Mrs P.
17 June 2013 05:20

Dear Sir



I would like to congratulate you on one of your staff members Tracy Lea who works at your Kenilworth Branch.



She really helped us in booking our special Anniversary holiday in Majorca. She was very professional in finding us the exact holiday we wanted. We will be definitely be recommending Carrick Travel to our friends and family and we shall certainly be booking with you again in the future.



Thank you once again for your excellent service.



Kind Regards



Mr and Mrs Barlow

15 April 2013 03:18
Attention of Fiona

‘A lovely holiday in Morocco in a perfect choice of 3 very different locations.

Seamless transfers; splendid choice of hotels; delicious food and lovely staff everywhere. Thank you Fiona.’



Really good hols

judy

18 March 2013 03:57
Just got back from our Vietnam tour (16 Feb to 5 March) and wanted to thank you all for a brilliant holiday. Particularly wanted Buffalo to know how much we appreciated the efforts of our 3 guides (and their drivers - not least for keeping us alive!). Nhut (in the south), Phong (in the middle) and especially Tanh (in the north) were so helpful, efficient, courteous and knowledgeable about their country - we learnt so much. They were like walking encyclopaedias! Please let them know how much their input added to our enjoyment of the trip.




As for Buffalo's overall planning of our trip - it was all quite matchless. Great hotels, wonderful lunches, fascinating visits and brilliant destinations all conspired to make it probably our best ever holiday.



Many thanks again



Carol & Mike Parkhouse

31 January 2013 06:40
Carrick Travel are looking for an experienced Travel Consultant for their Travel Agency in Chipping Norton, Worcestershire.


Part Time. An attractive remuneration package is on offer to the right applicant.

If you think that you would make an enthusiastic and reliable addition to our team then call us for a chat

Tracey Carter - 01926 311415 or send your CV to:- Tracey Carter, Carrick Travel, 92 Warwick Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 4UX, email traceycarter@carricktravel.com
20 December 2012 02:25
Dear Julie


You may recall that you helped Maureen and I over our wonderful trip to the States and Canada last month. I'd like to thank you and your colleagues for all you did to make the trip flow seamlessly from one destination to another, just what one wants from a travel agent.



Peter Farnfield

04 December 2012 02:36
Keflada – Akrogiali Villa – Ionian & Aegean Holidays. October 7th -13th


We arranged our holiday through your office and I just wanted to say thanks as we had the perfect time. All the travel arrangements were efficient and on time and the villa was clean and exactly as described in the brochure.

Your agent promised us that our villa would not be overlooked, which was important to us, and it turned out to be the case. The other 3 villas in the group were overlooked.

Once again, thanks. We are already thinking about next year.

Paul Steed
27 November 2012 02:00
Attention of Paul Carter - thank you for your letter enquiring about my Mexico trip.  I was extremely pleased and impressed with all the arrangements you made on my behalf.  Everything worked well and I had a superb room at El Dorado.  I was especially impressed by the H & K representative who met me at the airport on arrival - Katja - who managed to find me in the crowd and escort me to my car.  She gave me details of my pick up for the return to Cancun from my hotel and then also left a note in my room 2 days before to remind me of this.  All in all it was a very enjoyable week with no worries on my part.
Sincere thanks for all your hard work to ensure it all went smoothly.
Fiona Mitchell
27 November 2012 01:58

List of Travel tips

Don’t forget to check the travel adaptor you need for the country you are travelling to!
Book your excursions before you travel to ensure you get the excursion you want on the day you want
Book a lounge pass its a great start to the holiday
Use meet and greet parking take the stress out of the start of your holiday
Always take a couple of copies of your passport – leave one at home with family and friends and take one with you.
Put a coloured ribbon round your luggage as it helps when trying to find your case at the airport.
Put spare underwear/clothes/toothbrush in your hand luggage.
Leave a copy of your travel plans at home.
Carry a coin for the airport trolleys.
If you are lost always ask 2 people the way and if they both give the same directions there is a good chance they are correct.
If you have an early flight consider an airport hotel and parking that way you can relax the night before.
But a local sim card for your phone – its much cheaper to text and phone. If you have smart phones remember to switch off your ‘data roaming’ to avoid running up large bills.
If travelling to tropical climates wear natural fibres like cotton never polyester
Mix your packing up so if a case goes missing every member of the party still has clothes to wear.


Always carry a good book

When flying long haul buy water airside the cabin crew never give you enough water and it helps avoid dehydration.

When car hire is completed always make sure your car is seen and checked by the car hire company before handing over the keys

27 November 2012 01:57
Carol

I just thought I would drop you a line to let you know that Anne & I had a terrific trip.  The arrangements were impeccable and we were able to pack as much as possible into the time we were there. This was due in no small measure to the Travelsphere Rep., Steve Rodaway who was the consummate professional and nothing was too much trouble , he really did go the extra mile to make sure everyone got all they wanted from the trip.  I would be grateful if you would pass these comments to Travelsphere.

My thanks also to you for making the arrangements for what has been a memorable trip.     

Kind regards

Susan Sinclair
27 November 2012 01:56
South Africa January 2012

Carrick Travel recently arranged a trip to South Africa involving a stay in Capetown, a tour of the Garden route and a stay in the Kruger National Park.

 Christine Edgeller was so helpful beforehand – tailoring the holiday to our needs. The holiday was superb and, as we always expect of Carrick, all the arrangements were perfect – flights, transfers, hotels and guides.
The only problem we had – we had to transfer game lodges in the Kruger because of flooding – was sorted out before we knew there was a problem.

This was the 5th long haul holiday that the Carrick Leamington office has arranged for us and we haven’t been able to fault any of them. Everything has been perfect.

Keith and Mary Thompson
27 November 2012 01:16
Hi all,
This is just a quick update on my trip to Greece because half of you have probably already been there but it also serves as a log for me to remember the trip
I travelled with a company called Cosmos because they not only did a pretty diverse trip around Greece but also linked up with a cruise company to do a 5 day trip on the ‘Louis Crystal' that took me around the Greek islands so I got a good overview of Greece. I chose to travel the last two weeks of October because the weather would be cooling down and yet the sea would still be warm.
It was a good choice because the days were hot and sunny and the sea probably at its warmest. Another advantage of going later in the season was that the coach was only half full so there was plenty of room to spread out and on our excursions we could all get a look in. On our 1st full day we had the option to take and island tour for the day, it turned out to be a 10 hour trip taking in the islands of, Hydra, Poros and Aegina. This was a good choice, not only was the weather super but you get the chance to meet other passengers face to face as you relax on deck and there was a group of Australians who were great company and a pleasure to know.
Our travels started with an early morning trip to the Acropolis before all the coaches from the cruise ships arrived and ironically as we were leaving, a party following a ‘Discovery’ lollipop arrived and Discovery coach No2 was parked next to our coach in the car park but I didn’t spot anyone I knew (I know a lot of crew from this ship). Most days were an early start but this was a big advantage, to get to these sites before the other tourist arrive is worth the effort, not only do you get better photo opportunities but it is also cooler, I would hate to make this trip in the height of the season, it was hot enough when we were there and mainland Greece is a very hilly place with a lot of steps to climb.
Our coach trip took us to the, Corinth Canal, Epidaurus (major amphitheatre), Mycenae, Sparta, Mystra, Olympia, Delphi, and Meteora. It was good to stand on the same spot where this years Olympic flame was lit, the same flame that past my house earlier in the year. Travelling between these sites you realise just how mountainous Greece is and I was amazed at how loaded the olive trees were. Mainland Greece is well worth seeing, there is so much history there and the scenery can be quite impressive but not for me in the heat of the high season.
The 5 day cruise was an experience, the passengers were multicultural which made announcements longwinded, the selfishness and disregard for others, from some passengers spoilt the otherwise excellent shows. The dining experience was open sitting and you never knew who you would be next too but the food was acceptable and the service fortunately swift. The itinerary however suited me although our allotted time at each port was limited. We first visited Mykonos said to be a swinging island but we had to leave at 9pm before the party started. Day two took us to Turkey and the ruins of Ancient Ephesus, these ruins of white marble were spectacular, it must of been amazing in its day. The following afternoon we got to visit the beautiful island of Patmos.
Day 3 we had the whole day at Rhodes and I took a trip to Lindos where we were soaked by a thunder storm, the afternoon was spent swimming and visiting the walled city of Rhodes. Our final day took us to Crete and Knossos in the morning and although Crete is said to be a beautiful island, I found Knossos and the queuing back at the port disappointing. Our final stop, late afternoon was to be Santorini we were all hoping the weather would improve for this iconic destination, we were not disappointed. Santorini is much bigger than I expected, it must of been one hell of a bang when that went off, but it is a stunning place that more than matched my expectations. We stayed ashore until dark, which is quite unusual for a cruise ship visit, so we had the added bonus of watching the sunset. It was a perfect end to a most enjoyable trip.
All for now, next trip will be the Amazon in March 2013, - Rich.
13 November 2012 01:25
Hello Helen


Just wanted to let you know that we had a wonderful time in Russia - it far exceeded our expectations so thank you for your help and recommendation.


I'm not sure if you want feedback but it may be useful for any future customers. Our first surprise, when being met at Moscow airport, was to find that our group consisted of a total of four people! At first we thought this might be a bit awkward but in fact it turned out to be ideal as we really did feel as though we were being treated to a personal tour. Apparently the most they ever usually have is about ten or twelve people. We have since heard from an acquaintance, who went with Regent Travel and they had over 30 in their group and were transported everywhere by a coach - nightmare!


Both Damara (Tamara), our guide in Moscow, and Tatiana, in St Petersburg, were brilliant. They both spoke excellent English and were so knowledgeable about Russian history and art. We were never rushed and they had obviously put a lot of thought into all the tours, so that we were never overwhelmed by names and dates but really came away with stories that stayed with you. Our drivers were always prompt and courteous and Tatiana kindly arranged last minute tickets and transport for us to see 'Swan Lake' at the Hermitage - certainly one of the highlights!


The Hotel Budapest was modest, perhaps in need of some refurbishment but we did have use of the facilities of the Peter I next door. Staff were courteous and food was very good and plentiful. The location was excellent and we could easily walk up to Red Square to see the sights and there were a vast array of designer shops and malls nearby (for window shopping only!!)


Red Square was amazing, particularly when all lit up at night, and we were both surprised by how safe and relaxed we felt walking about - something I had perhaps been a little apprehensive about. The Kremlin and Armoury tour was another highlight, along with Damara's wonderful introduction to the history of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery.


The last day in Moscow was perhaps the only day that was lacking. After checking-out from the hotel, we had a visit to the Metro system and we were then taken to the Old Arbart, which we didn't find particularly interesting - unless you wanted more souvenir shopping. So we were then left with a very long afternoon and evening before being collected from the hotel lobby at 10.30pm for our overnight trip on the excellent sleeper train.


The Ambassador, in St Petersburg, was a much better hotel with good facilities and excellent public areas. The buffet breakfasts were really good - the only thing we found a little strange was the lack of choice for our evening meal. It seemed that the 'Intourist group', which had now grown to six, were treated totally differently from other diners, with no choice of menu (although they did find an alternative if, say, you didn't eat fish or whatever). On the last evening the restaurant was being used for a function and we were shown to a table at the back of a side room and offered a choice of spaghetti or spaghetti. Other diners, meanwhile helped themselves to the extensive buffet, which we thought was a bit odd. Still, only a minor blip.


All our tours in St P were excellent. Again, we were given plenty of time and Tatiana was charming and so interesting to talk to, with a real passion for her country. She introduced us to the wonderful pie shops - which became a firm favourite for a lunchtime snack - and took us round beautiful churches and cathedrals and of course the magnificent Catherine's Palace. What a stunning building, made even more impressive by a chill day, with sunshine, blue skies and golden leaves.


The weather, in fact was good throughout. Perhaps one or two grey days with a little rain but a wonderful time to visit. A lack of tourists meant we encountered no queues and had plenty of time and space to wander and take in all the sights.


All in all, a wonderful tour - please do pass on our thanks to Intourist and their wonderful guides.


Add it to your list of places to visit, Helen. You won't be disappointed!



With kind regards



Val and Michael Goldstraw

01 November 2012 06:24
Uzbekistan- October 2012.


We have just returned from a 10 night adventure to this fascinating country organised by Page and Moy (Travelsphere) and we'd just like to thank Carrick Travel for their brilliant recommendation for the more adventurous traveller who would like a totally different experience.

The organisation was brilliant and we can't praise our 2 guides enough. Tami was our UK guide and was efficient, informative and above all extremely caring and attentive. Annait our Uzbek guide was a fount of knowledge and enlightening anecdotes. They bith certainly enhanced our holiday experience.

The country itself is fascinating not least because of its turbulent history. We visited Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand and Tashkent and saw spectacular architecture and amazing desert scenery. We were regaled with tales of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Tamerlaine, Marco Polo and more recently the Uzbek's experience in the Russian and Soviet Empire!

All in all a fabulous experience for history lovers and those who want a holiday with a difference.

The hotel standard and food were also better than anticipated and we can definitely recommend the national dish, Plov!

Finally, a mention of the warm, dignified and very welcoming Uzbek people- wonderful!

Many thanks again to Carrick Travel for a fantastic trip.

Liz and Derek Pierrepont, Nottingham
06 September 2012 02:39
Carrick Travel is one of the most helpful and efficient travel agents I've dealt with.  The price they offer is very competitive as well.  I will be definately booking with them in the future.  Excellent service, would recommend them to anybody.

Mrs J Brough.