About viptraveluk

A mum of a toddler who already loves to travel - selling travel, buying travel, loving to travel. Married to a world traveller..... get the idea? The best thing about being a mum ? You no longer get jet lag because you forget what sleep is!

More than just a Travel Agent

When I tell people that I own my own Travel Agency or that I am a Travel Agent you would be surprised by the number of people who ask “oh do you book flights too”.

I know. I don’t understand either.

Rather than launch into a (badly) rehearsed sales pitch about all the fabulous extras I can provide, I usually just reply politely with “yes”.

I don’t have a huge shop front or a neon flashing sign above my door screaming “VIPTRAVELUK” , in fact I shouldn’t be surprised that people don’t really know what I do. I always assumed everyone knew Travel Agents booked flights (and holidays).

Flights-from-UK-to-the-Maldives Yes I can book these!

 

I was severely let down by one company who I booked with in particular. When things went wrong they failed miserably.

This experience is always where I return to when dealing with any customers or business clients. I want to ensure from start to finish that they have the best and easiest time booking their holidays (or business flights) with me.

So, why am I more than just a Travel Agent?

Well, I am the call centre too!! This was where I had the worst part of customer service and so I feel that if while you are away you have ANY  requests , complaints or emergencies you should call me. After all I’m the one who booked it for you. Yes, its true I will even give you my mobile number and drop everything (except my two year old) and attend to your need.

I am the Excursion / Events coordinator – Before you leave I will arrange all the tickets to the shows, parks, experiences you require and if you are extra lucky or pressed for time I will do your itinerary for you (which of course you can change / ignore) complete with addresses for those sat navs in your hired car (which I booked and remembered to request a child seat for you) .

I will even be your travel buddy and come with you just to make sure you get there safe and sound (you’re paying of course 😉 )

If you are time pressed, loath internet searches and just want a human to talk things over with – I’m here.

I book many repeat business flights / accommodation for some very busy clients who simply email me their dates and destinations and leave the rest to me. I plan , book and confirm everything and save not only money but valuable time spent on the ground waiting for necessary connecting flights. If you check out our Linkedin profile you will see how happy one of our clients is.

Some of you may or may not know what ABTA / ATOL is – if you don’t, have a Google as I don’t want to bore you further. But when you have, you just need to know that as well as being a very good travel buff, always giving you top class service no matter the time of day – I’ve also got you covered if things do go wrong. Which sometimes, they will. But you don’t need to worry about that you just need to tell me where you want to go next !!

travelfunny

 

 

 

Passengers Removed for Non-Compliance: A Pilot’s View.

With many groups heading off together in the summer, maybe educating them on the WHY’s before they board could save this happening as often!

The JetHead Blog

You probably read the headline, which made the news more because of the students’ baseless allegation that they we’re removed from their flight because they were Jewish. (Read the story: click here)

But let’s go beyond that smokescreen and look at the real issue from a pilot’s viewpoint–because it was a pilot’s responsibility to have them removed for non-compliance with crewmember instructions.

There are two issues here: electronic interference from handheld devices in flight, and equally important, compliance with federal regulations and flight crew instructions. First, let’s look at electronic devices and their possible effect on a flight.

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Let’s go to the heart of the matter: landings. Why? Because this is the phase of flight during which the instrument guidance is arguably to most vital: you’re dealing with limited or practically speaking, no visibility as you attempt to land (versus taking off, when you’re climbing away from the…

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Vacation Vs Staycation

On the 1st of June 5 adults and 3 children boarded a ferry and set sail to… the Isle of Wight!

Wightlink2

Being a world traveller I had never vacationed in the UK. Until I had my daughter.

Packing, Airports, Flying with an energetic 2 year old – It just doesn’t set my travelling senses alight as it once did. Perhaps mostly because I don’t want her to be bored.

As much as laying on the beach / by the pool all day appeals to me , I somehow don’t get the feeling she would be so thrilled. I have travelled with her (Europe and Florida) but that was before she knew she had a mind of her own !

Content with open spaces, a bucket and spade and the company of her cousins this year we decided that a week in the UK would be our holiday.

I discovered places I never knew existed. Learnt to use my imagination again. No thrill seeking rollercoasters to awaken my senses – but a fantasy land by the name of Blackgang Chine.

www.blackgangchine.com

for the grand total of £22.50 you were given a 7 day freedom ticket to return as often as you liked, and on top of this also granted access to another adventure park by the name of Robin Hill

www.robin-hill.com

Educational, Fun and full of open spaces.

Probably not appealing to those over the age of 10 but as the children we had were 2, 6 and 9 I can say for sure it would suit the unders.

We visited beaches, drove across the island (one side to the other took us under 1.5 hours!!) , Visited Carisbrooke Castle and of course The Needles. ( I say of course as though I had ever heard about it before!)

theneedles-img

We stayed in a hidden cottage , surrounded by woodland with enough space to lose all 3 children if you tried hard enough 😉 . It wasn’t 5* and personally I would say it needed some updating but it was clean and very well equipped and lets be honest – kids dont care about that sort of thing.

Bourne-Cottage-Fishbourne-nr-Ryde-Isle-of-Wight-Isle-Of-Wight-large

One of the best things about our week away was the weather. We came back with tans as though we had been to the Med, no less than 22 degrees each day and rarely a cloud in the sky. Yet we were only 3.5 hours from home. We were still in the UK.

971494_10152873192570713_1927220074_n As happy with a bat and ball as she would be seeing Mickey Mouse again !

It got me wondering where else in the UK we should go next.

I’m not a fan of holiday parks , I like my own space.

Being a Travel Agent of course I have access to properties all over the world and I can advise people on the greatest of well kept secrets in fawaway countires. But I know next to nothing about the very country I have spent my entire life.

Please – Share with me your Staycation ideas, educate and give me some inspiration for my next discovery!

Fear not – I will be headed for Bulgaria in 2014 but for now Staycationing is winning for me.

Florida – The Parks and other places

Florida seems to be popular for VIPTRAVELUK at this time of year with everyone booking their summer 2013 holidays and are keen to know which parks are the best and where is good to stay.

Whilst I think that the Disney hotels are outstanding and you can grab some amazing deals such as free dining and free money (yes FREE $$) they aren’t for me. I am an International Drive junkie. I will stay at the basic, yet well equipped hotels and save my money for the array of other things there are to do out there.

For us we went in February this year with our almost 1 year old. We visited Sea World, Island of Adventures, Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios …… you know THE PARKS!

But being strapped in a pushchair or carried all day is no fun for a little person so we sought out other places she could crawl / almost walk around

Hidden among the shopping malls and the bright lights of the parks are some great places to let the kids run and play without costing too much.

Firstly, Chuck E Cheese.

My American friends who have children cringe at the sound of it , they will tell you it is the worst place in the world… why? Because there are kids having a ridiculous amount of fun and its loud! But that is the whole point – To have fun !

 Games for all ages!

For more noise and madness (and lots of fun for the little ones 12 years and under) there is Monkey Joe’s which is located in the Festival Mall. Monkey Joe’s is a good place for kids to run, bounce, slide and simply burn off pent-up energy. Snacks can be purchased at the concession stand. The facility is open for walk-in play time seven days a week. This is a good option to keep in mind for a rainy day or to couple up with a day reserved for hitting the shops!

Along International Drive and impossible to miss is Wonder Works.  It’s in the upside-down building on I-Drive. Kids of all ages will enjoy the many hands-on activities within the amusement/science centre facility. The hurricane ride (65mph winds), the earthquake ride (5.2 magnitude), the virtual coaster and the bed of nails are just a few of the popular features to be found. There were many interactive arcade-like science stations located throughout the exhibits. Also at Wonderworks is the nightly Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show…a mix of high-energy comedy, improvisation, magic and audience participation….suitable for the whole family.

Without a doubt visit the parks… after all that’s why people choose Orlando but I would highly recommend that people take a stroll around I-Drive and jump on and off the I-Ride Trolley ($10 for a week pass and you can ride as much as you like) and discover the places they don’t advertise on the high street.

Places we discovered but did not get the chance to see this time were : Fun Spot and Gator Golf (You can buy a small tub of hotdogs and feed the baby alligators out front without having to play inside) but we will certainly get around to that next time!

 

 

 

 

Around the World on the QE2

I came across a trunk full of treasures belonging to my partner who had told me many tales of her time working on board the QE2 in the 80s. The usual “collectibles” “memorabilia” and “must haves” – but what I loved the most was a poem she wrote about each adventure she encountered. I asked nicely if I could share this with you all so sit back, grab a cocktail and come around the world with us in 5 minutes:

“I saw the World and Sailed the Sea”

Andrea House

I saw the world and sailed the sea while working hard , as busy as a bee,

Sailing on the Queen Elizabeth 2, What a thing for me to do,

I saw the whores in Manila dance, I ate the bread I brought in France

In the Caribbean , the waters I swam,

And in China? Adventurously I tried the Clam

When in Tahiti I rode in a Jeep and snorkelled for corals I wanted to keep

On safari in Mombasa I did trek (and ended up a nervous wreck!!)

Was chased by elephants and a Lion I saw, as King of the Jungle he is Law,

In Tokyo I went to Disneyland , saw Mickey Mouse and shook his hand

In Hawaii I went in a submarine, the underwater world is something to be seen!

In New York from the East Side is where I took a helicopter ride

Then I went up the Empire State – the view from there I really did rate!!

And up the World Trade Centre I did go, to have lunch (and get vertigo)

In Sydney I visited the Opera House, which was so big I felt like a mouse

From New Zealand to Aussie I cruised Milford Sand , Rain and Sun is what I found

In Oz I cruised the Barrier Reef, floating on the wind just like a leaf

In Bombay I saw poor people beg, when they are born they break their leg 😦

In San Diego we had some fun – In Sea World and under the sun

Another great feat to you I can tell….

Is the day I passed through the Panama Canal

With the old traditional mules now made of steel , pulled along mechanically with the cogs of a wheel

In Rio to Copa Cabana I did stray and under that sun I did lay

And when the sun was setting in the sky, Up the Statue Of Christ I went with Guy

Below the sun , above the hue, Up Sugar Loaf Mountain I went for the view

The funny shaped Llamas in Chile walked lopsided and looked so silly !

In Lanzarote I saw Fire Mountain and saw some camels there who sat there pouting

Singapore, the place of the “Singapore Sling” in Raffles Hotel (Or the Mandarin)

In Acapulco I went for a parachute ride and brought some things made from animal hide

In Salvador I brought a car plate for Ally – the people were rough, I didn’t dare tally !

In Kingston, Jamaica I got sunburnt – It hurt so much , my lesson I learnt

In Gibraltar I ventured up the Rock and from the Apes I got a shock

In Madeira where the weather is fine , I tasted the Port (and got drunk on wine…)

In Newport Rhode Island all this took place (I dressed up in frills, buttons & lace!!)

Had my picture taken in the old style fashion and had lunch in the old White Horse Tavern

In Copenhagen sat on a rock by the sea is a mermaid alone, for all to see

And in the Fjords with mountains so tall from the side of a cliff I saw a water fall

In Thailand things were so cheap – prostitutes so young it would make you weep

Though you would get a shock if beside one you awoke only to discover

that she….. was a bloke!!

In Hong Kong the mothers were begging for babies milk , while others stood by to select their silk..

All these places around the world I have been, Yet there is so much more I have not seen

Like the Rolling Stones at the Tokyo Dome, Or the old ruins in Ancient Rome

All of this could bring a tear to your cheek

But life to the full is what I seek

Take these words, listen and heed

I will give this all up when I find what I need.