Based in Donegal

Jill Rodger

It's Nice To Meet You

Hi there, thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I’m Jill and I’m based in Rathmullan, Co. Donegal where I live with my husband, two children and two dogs.

Before becoming a Travel Counsellor, I spent twenty years in the travel industry working for one of the world’s leading international hotel companies, so I’m perfectly placed to understand and meet all your travel needs. I’ve travelled extensively both for business and leisure. I’ve enjoyed everything from water bungalow experiences in the Maldives, to campervan holidays in New Zealand, city breaks to places like New York, Cape Town, Shanghai versus three days trekking the Machu Pichu trail.

So, whether your preference is a luxury trip around the Golden Triangle of India, a Kenyan Safari, an F1 experience in Monaco or family breaks to Florida, Lapland or Sharm El Sheikh, I’d like to think my personal experience can help you make the most of your precious holiday time.

My husband travels for work so I usually end up meeting him at our holiday destination, which means I’ve become somewhat of an expert on travelling solo with small children. I’ve flown to Singapore, Dubai, Florida, LA, Phuket to name but a few with my children at various ages. In fact my son’s first flight was when he was 6 weeks old! I know it can be really daunting, but a bit of forward planning makes the whole thing a breeze. These kinds of experiences are what I can help with that make my personal service unrivalled.

By choosing me as your personal travel agent you get the best of both worlds, my personal touch backed up by Travel Counsellors size and buying power means you get access to market leading rates across all aspects of travel. You can also enjoy the safety and peace of mind that comes from knowing we have a 24-hour duty office and that we are licenced and bonded with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, meaning your money is safe. I will also ensure that you have all the correct entry requirements, testing etc. and assist with all the paperwork involved in travelling during Covid. My business is based purely on referrals so I will do everything in my power to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Knowing the benefits of a well-planned trip and how time consuming it can be to plan this, I’d love if you would let me use my skills and knowledge to build something bespoke to your needs and budget whether it’s a short break, a half term holiday, or the trip of lifetime. That holiday feeling should start from our first conversation where we’ll be planning and finding that perfect fit for you and I’ll take care of you right until you walk back through your front door at home.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.


Contact Me

Whatever your holiday needs I'm here to help you, so simply give me a call or send me an email with your contact details on and I can get things started for you:

Find me on social

My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

Travelling with babies & small children

31 January 2024

Both my children had clocked up about 50,000 air miles by the time they were three and most of those flights were solo as I was piggybacking on my husband's work trips and meeting him at the destination. I learned lots (the hard way) on those various flights so here are my top tips for travelling with your little ones. Before you travel: Pay for allocated seats, remember airlines are only obliged to have one adult together with children so if you’re travelling with your partner, they may be seated somewhere completely different. If you're long haul, reserve the row with the bassinet. Pre order baby food to any Boots airside. Please note this can take up to 5 days. Also think about how much formula you are going to need in resort as it’s not always possible to get your preferred brand. Pack hand luggage as lightly as you can because you are going to have to carry it onto the plane along with a baby or cajoling a toddler etc. That said, you need a full change of clothes for both you and the children. Aeroplanes and turbulence do funny things to little tummies so prepare for the worst. Have over the counter medicines packed in hand luggage. I found the Calpol sachets really useful because who wants to mess with a bottle and spoon or syringe on a plane. Bring lots of snacks, aeroplane food is hit and miss and if you’ve a fussy eater then you need to be prepared. Check your luggage allowances, infants on laps don’t get full allowances, some airlines allow buggies on board, some airlines let you bring a car seat and buy an extra seat for it. Work out what you’ll need and if you need to purchase any extra luggage. Pre-Booking your transfers with the necessary baby/child car seat included saves you having to bring it. If possible, borrow/buy a cheap fold up buggy. Baggage handlers will wreck your expensive buggy and it's heart-breaking. Our bugaboo was never the same after the first flight, so I bought a MacLaren umbrella type buggy, it had a shoulder strap which was useful. A baby carrier is also really useful for keeping your hands free and encourages babies to sleep. If your child has a dummy or favourite toy, consider having a hidden double of these. Security: You can bring as much food as it's reasonable for the length of flight, but you will be asked to taste some or all of it. I thought I was smart one trip with the premixed formula cartons, and I had to open them all at security and ended up with milk I couldn’t use so old fashioned powder is probably your friend here. Footwear is very important as a lot of airports still expect you to take shoes off, this is tricky when you are holding babies. Most security will ask you to fold your buggy and put it through the scanner so ensure you've got everything out of the basket before you get that far. Boarding: Most airlines let you take your buggy right up to the boarding gate and then it’s taken from you there but you most likely won’t see it again till baggage retrieval. I found some airlines will allow you to take a travel buggy on board, and they’ll store it in the Business/First class coat store. Another reason to have one! Do you take advantage of priority boarding? Two trains of thought on this one, if you are travelling with a baby then I’d say 100% yes but if you have a toddler then in my opinion, I would let them burn as much steam as possible in the departure lounge and board last. Up to you. If you are on a night flight then I’d have little ones in pj’s and teeth brushed before boarding and have had the conversation that it's bedtime once we get on board. On the flight: I have a friend who never let her toddler’s feet touch the ground of an aeroplane until they were old enough to understand that they can’t run up and down the aisles. That’s hardcore, I was never that committed and spent many an hour wandering up and down aeroplanes! If the cabin crew offer to take your baby for a few minutes, take them up on that offer, don’t be a martyr. Depends on the crew and the child but my son was taken on loads of adventure with the crew of an Emirates plane, even into the cockpit. The dreaded cabin pressure and children’s ears: I’m no expert but cabin pressure starts to equalise at about 8000 ft which is when the screaming will start. Babies don’t know to hold their nose and swallow so you must have a bottle ready to go (and bear that in mind on previous feed time). Also, don’t peak too soon! If you’re travelling from a really busy airport, taxi time can be longer. I learned the hard way, don’t start feeding the baby until the wheels are off the ground! Changing tables in planes are tiny as you well know so only bring with you what you need otherwise you’ll get yourself in a total tangle! If you're unfortunate enough to be flying with a crew who like to keep the seat belts signs on all the time then use your call bell and ask them if you can use the changing facility. Also, most cabin crews are really helpful at heating up bottles etc, but it is the old-fashioned way with boiling water so make sure you ask with enough time. Keeping toddlers entertained – download enough (insert favourite cartoon) onto a tablet and invest in a good set of children’s headphones. Nothing will annoy fellow passengers more than having to listen to Peppa pig on repeat for 9 hours. Personally, that sounds like SAS style torture to me! Also, aeroplanes are noisy so it will help keep little one’s attention. Also practise with them at home so the child is used to them.

Cape Town - The Mother City

30 May 2023

The Mother City - The Ultimate 5-day Cape Town Itinerary I first visited Cape Town in December 2019 and its was one of our last holidays before the dreaded lock downs and my memories helped me through. I returned in January 2023 for a flying visit, and it is now firmly my favourite city in the world. Cape Town has something for everyone, magnificent scenery, world class beaches, weather, history, food and adventure. I flew from Heathrow on a direct flight to Cape Town with British Airways to meet my husband who was there for work. It is approximately 11-hour flight but there is very little time difference, so you don’t get jet lag. I flew in one of BA’s club suites as I was there for a short time, and I hit the ground running on arrival. We stayed in the Victoria and Albert Waterfront Complex. There are lots of fantastic areas to stay but this made a great central location from which to explore everything. Most parts of the city are safe in daylight hours, but caution is needed after dark in certain parts. I felt safe for the duration of my stay. We hired a car, and it is easy to get around, the following are a list of my favourite things: - Cable car up Table Mountain. The feat of engineering is astounding, and the views are incredible and then we drove to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens - Do a day touring – Take in Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glencairn, Simons Town and Boulder Beach, this is where the African Penguins are, and you can walk on the beach right beside them. We travelled from there down the Cape of Good Hope where the oceans met. - Oranjezicht City Farm Market is open on Saturdays & Sunday Mornings and Wednesday nights. It is a covered market right by the sea and has a chilled vibe. - Camps Bay is a gorgeous costal town just 10 mins out of Cape Town and a lovely place to catch the sunset and chill in one of the many bars and restaurants that line the beach front. - Robben Island is a humbling experience. The prison is now a museum, and you will be guided by a former prisoner. It is a 7km boat ride from Cape Town. Things to note: - The city is suffering from an energy crisis so they do something called load shedding which means electricity can be turned off for several hours every day. Make sure you bring a charging pack. Also means that food can be compromised so be careful eating sushi etc. - When you park, there will usually be a local person in a high vis jacket helping you whether you want it or not. We were not hassled by these people but did offer them a small tip and they will ‘mind your car.’ - Bring converter plugs, SA has a very unusual plug and is not part of the standard kit you buy. - Download an app called DinePlan for making restaurant reservations. - It gets chilly in the evenings, even in their summer and especially if you are higher parts like Table Mountain so pack some layers. If South Africa is on your bucket list, please get in touch. I would love to help you make it happen!

Abu Dhabi

04 January 2022

So I’ve been to Dubai at least once every year for the last 20 years and I haven’t been to Abu Dhabi since 2001 so I convinced the family that we should give it a go for the October school holidays, and It didn’t disappoint. We flew directly with Etihad from Dublin to Abu Dhabi. It would be remiss of me to say that the entry requirements are simple – they are not but once you get your head around it, its fairly plain sailing. If this somewhere you would like to go and are not comfortable with booking, or finding it difficult to understand the travel requirements that’s where I come in as I look after all of that and make sure you have everything you need. We did a ‘twin centre’ so that I could sample a couple of different hotels. The first hotel was Rotana Saadiyat Island. Outstanding hotel, we had a one bedroom suite with an interconnecting double room for the children. The hotel has exterior double doors that can either stay open and both rooms are sold separately or they can be closed and its becomes one large room. See photo attached to make more sense! The beach at Saadiyat could rival any location in the world. It’s a protected area as turtles hatch there and there are dolphins spotted quite often. We then moved to the Rotana Beach hotel. Completely different property. City Centre location and attached to the Abu Dhabi Mall. Great location but the outstanding memory from the hotel is the food and beverage offering. We were on half board dine around which meant we could eat in all of the al a carte options including Teppanyaki. There is a great pool and a small beach. We stayed in a family room which was huge and they offer to put the sofa bed away every day but there really was no need. There are loads of things to do in Abu Dhabi, we went to the Yas Island Water Park, big hit with the kids. We did Ferrari World which I’m reliably informed has the fastest roller coaster and highest loop in the world. My feet stayed firmly on the ground! Alistair and Alfie played golf in three different courses and loved it. We visited the Louvre, the Grand Mosque and Abu Dhabi Palace. The biggest hit with the family was cycling and walking the Yas Marina F1 track. It’s a big city and its spread out but the traffic is light and taxis are cheap and plentiful. I also did site inspections of the following hotels Ritz Carlton Shangri La Emirates Palace St. Regis Fairmont We packed a lot into 8 nights but we all loved it. If you’ve ‘done’ Dubai and fancy somewhere different, Abu Dhabi has lots to offer. Please get in touch and I can provide with further assistance.

NCL Cruise

04 January 2022

You can imagine my excitement when I got an invitation to join NCL on their ship EPIC on its inaugural cruise from Barcelona to Sardinia and back. The main objective was to test their Covid-19 protocols and I have to say they did a fantastic job We flew from Belfast to Barcelona the day before to avoid a very early start. The airport was easy to manage and the flight wasn’t busy. Easy journey with my Covid Cert and my Spanish Health form completed. I had everything uploaded onto the MyTC app which makes life much more efficient. We stayed at an NH hotel which was perfectly located for a wander and some tapas and an early night before our early start to the Port. We took a taxi and arrived at the Port in about 20 minutes. First thing was our Antigen test and we needed to wait for the results. Whole thing took about 20 mins and was super-efficient. Given that this was their first time boarding any members of the public, the staff were fantastic. We stopped by our State room – a balcony Stateroom on deck 12 to have a quick gander before we went to explore the ship. The room had the most amazingly comfortable bed and a powerful shower. The balcony was a must for me as I was really worried about feeling queasy. I needed have worried, forgot all about it 2 minutes of being on board. The facilities on board are amazing – climbing walls, water slides, Ice bar, casinos, shopping and traditional shows including Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The ship really comes alive in the evening and there is even and outdoor nightclub at the back of the ship – Ibiza inspired Spice H2O With over 20 bars and restaurants on board, its impossible to get bored with the offerings. There is also a Haven section on the ship where you can enjoy a exclusive pool area and personal services including concierge and a butler. In terms of Covid-19 protocols: All guests need to be double vaccinated All crew members are double vaccinated and tested three times a week The ship is spotless and there are hand sanitation stations EVERYWHERE Buffets are still available, but they are no longer self service If you follow the protocol and test positive at embarkation, NCL will pay for your quarantine and onward travel If you would like any more information on this or any other cruise or indeed land holiday, please get in touch

A Week in Cyprus (during a pandemic)

08 October 2021

A week in Paphos (during a pandemic) We were extremely lucky and managed to squeeze in a week long holiday in between lockdowns during half term in October 2020. We chose Cyprus out of necessity to be honest because it was the only place with low enough Covid numbers that we could travel to with a negative PCR test. Cyprus hadn’t really been on my radar but we loved it and would be delighted to go back again. PCR test: We had ours done by Epistem in Manchester. You buy the test kit in advance, they send it to you and you do the test on a specific day. At the time we needed to do it up to 72 hours before; we were travelling on Friday so we did the test on Wednesday for same day results. We had a long nerve wrecking day waiting for the results and then getting them loaded into the Cypriot Government website to get a certificate (this is all part of my service if you book through me). Travelling during Covid: The airport was well set up for social distancing. Seating was cordoned off so that parties could remain two meters apart. You must wear your mask at all times except when eating. There were plenty of options open to grab a quick takeaway. We flew with Jet2 and the flight was 90% full. Everyone was abiding by the mask rule and if they didn’t the crew were hot at getting them to put it back on. The toilets were open for the whole flight and although they discouraged queueing there wasn’t any formal system of having to press the call button etc. Arrival in Paphos: Our flight was pulled for a random test. The whole thing was organised with great efficiency – they tested the entire plane, and we were through to baggage in less than 45 mins. Again the airport was quiet and it was easy to social distance. We chose to hire a car rather than using a transfer. The car hire desks were quiet also and we were processed and on our way within 30 mins. All of the car hire companies have their cars on site so the pickup and drop off process is really simple. Paphos: The airport is only 15 mins away from the town centre and driving is on the left-hand side as it is in Ireland and the UK so it makes driving really easy. Hotel options: We stayed at the Louis Paphos Breeze. It was a decent 4 star hotel, the reviews were great and the hotel lived up to the reviews. The only downside was there was only one restaurant open and no kids activities due to Covid. That said, the buffet had plenty of options and it was reasonable price for our all-inclusive deal so we ate outside the hotel only three times. I viewed some other hotels whilst I was there: Annabelle – Very elegant hotel, beach front, walking distance to Paphos Harbour Almyra – High end sophisticated hotel Elysium - Very polished hotel with great location Olympic Lagoon Resort – great children’s facilities Constantinou Brothers – Athena Beach hotel – great hotel, lots of facilities, perfect for families Aphrodite Hills – villa complex a bit further out of town. Amazing range of activities for children including football camps I would recommend any of those for a family or couples holiday depending on your budget and priorities. Happy to advise you further on your specifics. Things to do in Paphos: Day trip to the Aphrodite Water Park – kids had a ball! Spend some time by the harbour. So much offering amazing food. The Gelato is a must! Take a boat to the Blue Lagoon – various options but a great morning activity Visit Petra Tou Romiou Aphrodite’s Rock Visit the Old Town Hire a car and take a tour up the coast

Nashville and Memphis Road Trip

04 January 2022

Country music is my guilty pleasure and I grew up listening to the likes of Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Kenny Rogers so when it came to organising my 40th birthday road trip….Nashville was the obvious choice. We flew to Atlanta as it was a direct flight. We picked up a car and spent the night at an airport hotel. Then began our first day travelling, it was a 400 mile trip which sounds daunting at first but its highway all the way and we planned a few stops including a fantastic outlet mall approx. half way through. In hindsight, I would have taken a connecting flight. Memphis It didn’t disappoint. We started our day with a trip to Graceland, we booked the tickets in advance and its easy to get to. You get a full tour of the house and garden and access to the planes and cars. It was definitely a bucket list item ticked off. We then headed into the Peabody hotel to see the famous ducks. They come down in the lift at 11am and return at 5pm every day. It’s a sight to behold, various teams of ducks have been doing this since 1940. Top tip is to get there early, its very busy! There are lots of other museums to spend the day exploring – Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Memphis Music Hall of Fame etc. We finished off the day with an evening of food, drinks and music on the iconic Beale Street. On the second day we wandered along the Mississippi and Tom Lee Park and also took a steam boat trip. Nashville The journey from Memphis to Nashville is only approx. 200 miles, just under 3 hours drive so we headed off early and stopped at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, just about half way. If you are a fan this is an absolute must as it was the filming location of Coal Miners Daughter, you will love it. The entry gives you great access and we had a ball. The city itself is amazing, we just chilled on Honky Tonk Highway – Broadway. There is live music in all the bars 365 days of the year and we did a guided tour of the famous Ryman Theatre. For some culture the next day we headed to Andrew Jackson (7th President of the USA). The American’s do these things so well and I would really recommend this tour. On our final night, we had booked tickets for the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a little bit out of town so we stayed in the Gaylord Opryland Resort which meant we could walk to the concert. You can google who is going to be playing in advance but as we had no choice it was do or die but we struck gold as Little Big Town were playing. Nashville to Atlanta This was a 4 hour journey, broken up at Chattanooga – we had a long walk around Rock City Gardens. Well worth it with waterfalls, enchanted walks, lookouts etc. It was a lovely way to end our holiday and set us up for the night flight home. If you want any information on this or any other US road trip ideas please get in touch.

Lapland a Bucket list adventure

08 October 2021

A trip to visit the ‘Man in the Red Suit’ is on many family bucket lists. We loved it so much we did it twice! Once in 2015 when the children were 4 & 6 and in 2018 when they were 7 & 9. Both times were absolutely magical. There are packages to suit most needs, day trips or 2/3/4 night trips available. Holidays go on sale about 18 months before so this is a holiday that you need to book in advance to secure your preferred dates. The magic starts the minute you board the plane, everyone is in the Christmas spirit including all the airline staff. Our captain even announced when we were crossing the artic circle which got massive cheers from all the passengers. Its' approximately a 2.5 hour flight and the excitement starts to build. You are greeted by cheeky Elves causing mayhem at the airport and they are very entertaining for the children, especially whilst waiting for your luggage. The whole thing is wonderfully organised, a Christmas Ranger will show you which coach you are on and there is even a Reindeer which gives you a little taster of what is to come. The first stop is to get kitted out with snow suits and boots. They will provide you with hats and gloves too. The remainder of the first day you can get to know your surroundings and soak up the magical scenery. There are plenty of activities around your hotel including tobogganing. There are sledges readily available and you can use these to pull the children along to your destination, just leave them outside for the next children and pick some more up for your return journey. Depending on how long you stay, your next day will be the big one – The Search for Santa. The whole day evolves around activities that lead up to finding Santa Claus. Husky sledding, snowmobile rides, reindeer rides and lots of fun snow activities. Depending on what package you have booked, you will be provided with either taster activity with an opportunity to add on a longer option or on some trips, these are full hour long activities. Meeting Santa is the highlight of course! The big man will have a copy of your children’s Christmas list (which you have provided to them in secret). There are great photo opportunities and the Elves of course are up to their usually shenigans making it the highlight of the trip. On your final day you have a chance for more fun snow activities, some breakfast and then you say farewell and its off to the airport. A trip to Lapland is one I would recommend to everyone the sheer awe and amazement on my children's faces is something I will treasure for ever and even a ‘bah humbug’ like me got caught up in the magic! Top Tips: Bring your own hats, it’s the only way you will be able to identify your children as everyone is wearing the same snow suits. Also bring finer gloves to go under the gloves that they provide. The only part of you that will ever get cold is your hands. Don’t underestimate the length of time it takes to get kitted out in the suits and boots, bear that in mind when you're getting ready for your coach transfers! All meals except lunch on arrival and departure are included. The airport is basic so best to grab a sandwich before you leave your destination for the first day and same leaving your resort on return. Currency is Euro, bring some cash with you as banking facilities are limited

Maldives - My Tips

08 October 2021

A little bit about the Maldives: Maldives is a series of tiny Islands sprawled across 90,000 Km2 of the Indian Ocean South West off the coast of Sri Lanka. There are over 1200 islands but only 200 are inhabited by locals and 80 of them belong to luxury resorts. No one island is longer than 8km and the average size is 1-2km When is the best time to visit: The best time to visit the Maldives is during the dry season, which is November to April. There is very little rain and the weather is warm however that is when the Maldives is busiest and will the most expensive time to visit. May to October is considered the rainy season. Peak season is December to March so November and April are perfect for skipping the busiest times. I went in March / April time. It rained for a couple of minutes on a few days but very quickly cleared up and beautiful weather resumed. Getting there from the UK: The main airport is on the Island of Male and can be reached in peak season direct from Heathrow Airport with British Airways or indirectly all year round via the Middle East with Turkish, Emirates, Qatar, Etihad or Oman Airlines. This makes it ideal for a twin centre holiday in one of those destinations or in Sri Lanka. We flew via Dubai with Emirates. Its approx.. 12/13 hours flying time whichever way you go. Transfer: There are various options to transfer to your resort from Male. You should take this into consideration when choosing your resort. Some resorts are closer and can be accessed by speedboat which helps keep costs down. Although seaplane is an amazing experience and offers incredible views of all the islands. It's important to note though that seaplanes only operate during daylight hours so you need to ensure your international flight lands at a time to accommodate this or you could end up having to overnight in Male. Choosing the right resort: There is something to suit everyone in the Maldives but you need to choose wisely. Are you looking for adult only or adult focused? Does it need to be child friendly and include kids clubs and activities? Some areas of the Maldives are better for dining than others, is this important to you? Are you looking for unique experiences such as an underwater restaurant or a glass bottomed room which are only available in certain resorts? Room Type: Most islands have over water bungalows and beach villas. Some have private pools, some even have slides from your bungalow straight into the Indian Ocean. Also once you’ve chosen your resort consider where your room is positioned on the Island, most resorts have maps online. You do not want to end up sitting in the shade in your beach bungalow. Finally consider that you can swap rooms half way through your stay. If you're desperate for an overwater bungalow but your budget doesn’t stretch that far, consider a couple of nights in one as a treat at the end of your holiday. General tips: Pack wisely. Everything is imported to the Islands so if you forget something crucial its really hard to replace it. We moved rooms halfway through our stay and my food bag containing my son’s formula got accidently dumped. The hotel replaced it free of charge but the brands were different and I had a very unhappy baby for the last day until we got to Dubai and got the preferred brand. Save some of your budget for the Spa! I love a spa treatment on holidays but the spa’s in the Maldives are the most incredible I’ve ever been in. I could have gone every day! Buy an underwater camera or a case for your existing camera/phone. The marine life is incredible and you won’t want to miss out capturing those memories. My husband is a diver and says that you see more snorkelling in the Maldives than diving anywhere else in the world Bring your own snorkel, mask & fins – saves having to potentially rent them locally and possibly pay extra charges