Sent by Tom Cantwell
Based in Co. Kilkenny
With over 30 years’ experience in the travel business and the last 11 years as a Travel Counsellor, I am delighted to turn your holidays dreams into reality, ensuring the whole experience will be enjoyable and stress free from start to finish.
I am passionate about travel and have had the travel bug from an early age giving me first-hand knowledge from inter-railing around Europe and back packing around Australia and South East Asia and most recently South Africa and family holidaying in Florida. I have been lucky enough to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Seen the big 5 in Kenya, visited Malaysia, Thailand, honeymooned in the Canadian Rockies, met Mickey Mouse in Orlando and Santa in Lapland. Far from my back-packing days, I have cruised in the Caribbean and Europe and drank cocktails in Atlantis The Palm in Dubai.
Working from home means I can offer an exceptional confidential service to ensure your trip meets and far exceeds your expectations and I am available at a time that suits you - be it evenings or weekends. Operating with over 21 Destination management companies in different countries around the world, together we create authentic experiences that build lasting memories for our clients. Be it a Thai cookery class, trekking for Gorillas in Borneo or a simply a romantic meal on the beach watching the sunset it’s the little things that make all the difference!
I specialise in honeymoons, cruising and family holidays and I can tailor-make itineraries to suit your requirements to make that special once in a lifetime trip one to remember.
Travel Counsellors uses award winning technology. With the latest development of our mobile App “My TC”, your customer experience will be enhanced like never before; enabling you to keep in touch with me at anytime, anywhere in the world and stores all or your travel documentation.
Travel Counsellors are licensed and bonded with the Commission for Aviation Regulation in Ireland which gives you that added peace of mind.
For the best personal service, give me a call or send me an email.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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.
07 August 2019
After a busy year, this was one holiday I was really looking forward to! Our family holiday or what my husband calls is ‘A mammy’s holiday!’ did exactly what it says on the tin! We have been on mobile home holidays for the last few years and were really looking forward to returning to the Los Jameos Playa after spending many years holidaying there when our kids were young. They always want to go back as they all have fond memories and are now 17, 15 and 12. Seaside Los Jameos Playa, a 4-star hotel that is located in Playa de los Pocillos on the island of Lanzarote. Yes, a longer flight at around 4 hours but totally effortless travelling when all our boarding passes were downloaded on MyTC App! We flew through the airport (pardon the pun!) and having flown on the early flight at 6.15am we were on our sunbeds before 1 o’ clock! The airport was only 10 minutes away from our accommodation. We went with another family which gave us the manoeuvre to swap rooms around, with 2 rooms allocated to each family and because we have older kids, they were all able to share on their own and enjoy their space as much as we enjoyed ours. The Hotel has twin/double rooms from inland view to sea view and has family rooms that will accommodate up to 4 as well as interconnecting rooms for larger families who want a bit more space. The hotel has wheelchair accessible rooms and the resort is very wheelchair friendly . Seaside Los Jameos Playa is located opposite the beach with fantastic promenade space which we took full advantage of, starting each day with a 5km walk mostly towards the airport, where if you’re a ‘plane spotter’ you could totally enjoy the many ‘fly overs’ from a perfect vantage point! If walking is not your scene and you want total relaxation then Seaside Los Jameos Playa is the place to be with sunbeds for everyone. There never seemed to be anyone looking for beds they could not get. Breakfast is buffet style as are all the meals with everything freshly cooked. There is the option of a traditional fry, omelette of your choice, pancakes, croissants, fruits, pastries etc, there is something for everyone including a nice glass of Cava if you so wish! After breakfast every day we headed for the pool. There are two pools, one a little cooler than the other and a beautiful bar located right in the middle of the two! If you go all-inclusive, you can order drinks from 11am – 11pm! Enjoy them at your sun bed or at the poolside bar. Lunch is served every day between 1pm and 3pm. You can go with a healthy salad or all out with fish, meat and chips. Although everything is buffet, there is a waiter assigned to each table to look after your drinks for you. Afternoons for us, were mostly passed by the pool with pancakes and waffles served between 3pm and 5pm! We went to the beach a couple of days and found inflatables on the water in Puerto Del Carmen, which is a very reasonable €4 to €5 taxi journey away. The inflatables were €12 per hour per person and everyone enjoyed them although it was a bit of a swim out to them and back again! For those of you into GAA! We found Murphy’s Irish Bar showing all live GAA matches, horse racing and sports, unfortunately Kilkenny didn’t win for our day out, but we were all delighted to see the match! The old town is quaint, a bus journey at approx. €2 per person but be careful to get off at the shopping centre at the top of the old town or you will end up like us, gone too far and a bit of a wait for a bus back! We had a lovely walk around there and the kids jumped off a pier for a while too! Back at Seaside Los Jameos Playa, we always have a few pre-dinner drinks before going to our rooms to shower for dinner! Dinner is served between 6pm-9.30pm with a different themed night every night. We enjoyed Asian, Mexican, International, German and Swiss but if none of those take your fancy there is always steak, chicken and an array of fish with potatoes, rice & chips along with salads and veg of every description! Deserts were plentiful too at both lunch and dinner with ice-cream of every colour a firm favourite with all our crew! There is a variety of daytime entertainment for children aged 4 to 12 teenagers and adults. There is a timetable for the week available. For younger kids there is small playground and a sand area if you don’t want to venture the beach. Evening entertainment was very good, with a mini disco first for the younger children followed by magicians, singers, bands etc. We sat outside every night and let the sounds flow around us as we were there to enjoy chat and have no younger children! There is a games room for younger people with pool tables and a few machines! For the older children, there was WIFI! Ours went to their rooms at night and enjoyed movies on Netflix! The rooms are spacious and bright and so clean! Sheets changed regularly along with towels and the staff are all so nice, pleasant and helpful! Everyone had a super holiday! The hotel can be booked on Bed and Breakfast basic, Half Board and an all-inclusive basic, we opted for the all-inclusive and it was fantastic. We will be back again, and the holiday gets both thumbs up from all the family… which is not an easy task! If your thinking about your next summer holiday, why not get in touch? I can tailor make your next family holiday to suit everyone’s wants and needs.
16 May 2019
I have been to New York a few times but a family trip to New York was on my wish list for quite a while and now with my kids now 16, 15 and 12 it felt like the perfect time to go. I picked February midterm to travel as it was good value for both flights and hotels. January and February can get quite cold in New York, but we went prepared and set off on our 4 nights/5-days adventure to the city that never sleeps. We flew out direct from Dublin to New York JFK airport and got a taxi yellow cab to our hotel, costing around $80 dollars. The subway also brings airport passengers right into the city and only costs $12 dollars. There are hundreds of hotels in New York and lots of trendy areas to choose but this time decided to stay right in the middle of midtown in the New Yorker hotel. We had a 1-bedroom suite for the 5 of us which was great as it gave us the extra room we needed and came with an amazing view of the Empire State Building. As we arrived in the early afternoon, we headed off down to Time Square to get the real feel of New York and the kids’ necks were sore from looking up at the billboards and lights! We battled through the jet lag and did our first attraction by night which was “the Empire State Building”. We took the elevator to the 102nd and took in the unforgettable 360 degrees views of 360 the city all lit up at night. Shopping was top of the list in our planning of New York and I decided to get it over and done with on day two. We travelled from Port Authority, which was only a 5-minute walk from our hotel. From here we got the bus to Woodbury Common premier outlets, which is about an hour away from Manhattan. Woodbury Common has over 200 designer discounted shops and is a shopper’s paradise. We spent the day shopping and we definitely fell into out beds that night. A top tip if you’re planning on doing a lot of shopping bring one of your small wheelie cases to carry purchases. To see more of the city, we got a 24 hour hop on hop off bus ticket and there is two types of tickets available one for uptown and one for downtown. We headed to ground zero and the memorial museum which was so sad and hard to believe the devastation it caused on Sep 11 many years ago. My children were blown away by it. We got the subway (even if it’s just once you must experience the subway it’s crazy but it’s the real New York) to Central Park and had a walk around you. If you’re looking to get off your feet an alternative to walking around the part is getting a horse and cart, which allows plenty of time for people watching. In Central Park you can see the John Lennon memorial and the park has also featured in many films such as Ghostbusters and Home Alone 2. The National History Museum is off Central Park, and we headed there to soak up some knowledge. We arrived in early afternoon and when we came out of the museum the place was covered in a blanket of snow. It was an amazing sight to see Central Park in a blanket of snow and a memory I will never forget. On our last day we decided to get up early and see more of what this amazing city has to offer. Our hotel was opposite the Madison Square garden and the kids wanted to see where Conor Mc Gregory fought, so we did a guided tour of the venue. There was ice hockey practice on while we were there so that was exciting to see. Then we did a boat trip on the Hudson to see the Statue of Liberty and when came into view we were just blown away. The boat tour also stops for a while, so you have the chance to get them memorable photos. We then headed to Rockefeller Centre to do Top of the Rock (which I’d advise pre-booking day to avoid a wait) and then we went to the ice-skating ring. We spent our last hour in Macys to fit in the last of the shopping. As it was a family holiday, we started every day with a big breakfast in a diner near the hotel (Tick Tock) One of our most memorable dining experiences was our dinner at Ellen’s Stardust diner. This is a diner where singers and performers who are trying to make it on Broadway, serenade you while you eat. It was one of our favourite memories of the trip! New York has so much to see and do and we are excited to head back for another trip (without the kids). On our next trip we’re planning to walk the Brooklyn bridge and the High Line, sample some cocktails which enjoying a view of the skyline and take in a Broadway show. Another top tip purchase an explorer pass before you go, these will grant you entry to a number of attractions, we got 7 attractions included in our ticket and it covered everything we did above. If you thinking of bringing your family on a magical trip to New York, why not give me a call? With my expertise and first-hand experience, I can make your travel dreams into a reality.
10 January 2013
Six colleagues and I travelled to the amazing Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico visiting the hectic resort of Cancun as well as the quieter resorts of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum to sample some of what Mexico has to offer. We visited all the hotels in the AM Resorts Group and there is a hotel to suit every customer and budget, whether it is a honeymoon, romantic getaway, family hotel or girl’s holiday. Secrets the Vine in Cancun only opened in October this year. It oozes modern contemporary and is located on the most amazing white powder sandy beach and turquoise seas, within easy reach of Cancun’s nightlife and shopping. Secrets Silversands in Puerto Morelos also has a contemporary feel on a small beach. There is a great buzz around this hotel, especially the pool area (but there are seven pools so you can still get a quiet spot). All rooms here are junior suites with very clean lines. The Secrets Maroma was definitely my favourite as I love a hotel with a more traditional feel. This property is stunning with amazing rooms and bathrooms, some room types even have swim out suites with direct access to semi-private pools. Wow! Secrets Capri also has a more traditional feel with the added advantage of being near the resort of Playa Del Carmen. It’s only ten minutes away if you wanted to go out and about with the locals. All of the above have different things to offer the individual, but what they all have in common is that they are adult’s only, all-inclusive properties with excellent value five star service. All have a la carte restaurants; Italian, Oriental and French to name but a few. All drinks are included from water to beer to unlimited cocktails. Also, if you stay in any of the Secrets properties, you can visit one of the others for a change in scenery. This can be arranged directly with the concierge but you do have to pay for the taxi between hotels. The next group of hotels we visited were the Dreams and the Now properties. Dreams Rivera and Dreams Tulum are both very traditional in a Mexican style. They have great kids clubs open 9am to 10pm, great beaches, pools and restaurants. There are also hammocks and swings to laze the day away. Dreams Cancun is very central in the hotel zone but I would only recommend it to the young and lively. You can holiday on a beautiful beach within walking distance of all the nightlife and shopping. We also visited Now Jade which was a modern hotel and Now Sapphire, which are more traditional hotels with a lovely Mexican feel. I loved the atmosphere here. All the Secrets and Dreams hotels have a preferred club room type which gives free internet access in your rooms and private check in, as well as a few more little added extras. They usually have an adult only pool too. The last hotel we visited was a very unique hotel; Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, a Luxury boutique property with 90 suites. The hotel prides itself on its cuisine and personal, homely feel. Many celebrities have stayed here too. Outside of the amazing resorts there is lots to do. You can visit the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum or spend the day at Xcaret eco-archaeological site. Here we swam in one of the natural underground rivers. A full day out can be had here with its various water parks and the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Last but not least, the ultimate night out is Coco Bongos which is a must. I loved Mexico and I can’t wait to go back. If you are planning a trip to Mexico, give me a call and I will pick the right hotel resort for you.
05 March 2012
Malaysia is one of my favourite countries in the Far East, from the fascinating capital of Kuala Lumpar, known simply as KL to the beautiful islands of Langkawi and Penang. KUALA LUMPAR. On arrival in KL airport we headed to the city centre by train which took about 45 minutes. I stayed in the 5 star deluxe Shangri La which is in the famous area called the Golden Triangle. Here you find all the good standard hotels, big shopping malls, nightclubs and also here is the famous Petrona Twin Towers. Moving north of the city is a lot more traditional with all the night markets where many bargains are to be had with hundreds of stalls of handbags, watches sunglasses and rip off designer clothing. Lots of food markets in this area too. Don’t miss a trip to the Brickfield area home to little Indian, browse the stores for beautiful Indian fabrics and inexpensive restaurants. We stayed for 4 nights but you could really stay in KL as long as you wish as it is such a cosmopolitan city with blend of the Far East. After a 4 night stay in KL you could take a 1 hour flight to Penang, but we decided to take a land excursion to see of the real Malaysia. 3 hours north of KL through tea plantations and rainforests to The Cameroon Highlands: the centre of Malaysians tea plantations and 5000 - 6000 feet above sea level. We stayed 2 nights in Cameron Highlands and then headed to Penang, approx 194 miles crossing the 3rd largest bridge in the world linking Penang to the Mainland. PENANG We stayed 6 nights in the 4 star Park Royal in Penang which was situated at the centre of the bustling Batu Ferringhi beach. There was a great buzz in Penang with its vibrant night markets and excellent cuisine, fabulous beach with lots of water sports. The Capital Georgetown is a modern city worth a visit and we also took an excursion to a butterfly farm and a batik factory in the town of Teluk Bahong. LANGKAWI We then headed to the strikingly beautiful island of Langkawi with pure white sand beaches. After the buzz of Penang it was nice to chill out in the beautiful Meritus Pelani Beach Resort and Spa on all inclusive basic. We stayed for 5 nights of pure relaxation. We then left The Pearl of the Orient flying Langkawi/Kl/London/Dublin after a most memorable stay. We really enjoyed our 15 nights stay but can’t wait to go back to Malaysia and head to Borneo located off the east coast, where you can combine relaxation, adventure in the home of the Orang Utang. Borneo offers stunning scenery, pristine beaches traditional culture and adventure. It is a land of immense jungles, unique wildlife beautiful beaches, fascinating history and excellent hotels and cuisine. I CANT WAIT.
12 April 2010
This is my 5th visit to Lanzarote one of the most popular of the Canary Islands, especially with the Irish holidaymaker. There are departures from Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Knock in the summer months. The accommodation is of a very good standard ranging from your basic apartment to your 5 star hotels (very few of these are high rise). The main resort is Puerto del Carmen with its palm tree promenade running the length of the beach. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, within walking distance you have the old town with views over the sea with fabulous sea food restaurants. There are plenty shops and it has excellent value as it duty free. This time I stayed in the nearby resort of Playa Pocillos in the 4 star Los Jamoes Playa (this is my second time to stay here). It is ideal for couples or families, the food is excellent and they have an all inclusive option if you wish. There are 3 pools, a kids club and nightly entertainment. You can walk into main resort or hop in a taxi, which only cost us 6 euro. The other resorts in Lanzarote are much quieter, Playa Blanca with its white sandy beaches is ideal for families, Costa Teguise which holds a weekly market and the up market resort of Puerto Calero with its marina, lined with restaurants and shops, you can also take an amazing submarine safari there. So there is plenty of choice for couples and families. No trip to Lanzarote is complete without a trip to Timanfaya National Park to see the live volcano and amazing landscape. This year we also brought the children to Rancho Texas, a zoo with live shows, we really enjoyed it and they also do an evening show with dinner. There is also a small water park for an alternative day out. I will always recommend Lanzarote because of the relatively short flight (usually day flights), temperatures never soar too high in the summer as there is always a breeze, so ideal for children. There are great restaurants and they offer great value. There is also still enough nightlife without been hectic for couples and singles.
08 April 2010
Cascais is only 40 minutes from Lisbon Airport, with daily flights from Dublin. This is my second visit to this part of Portugal and it will not be my last, I love this little resort! With its winding cobbled streets, outdoor cafes, restaurants serving the most amazing food, little beaches and a beautiful harbour filled with yachts and fishing boats. It also has a smart new marina. What better way to sip on a glass of wine or cold beer and watch the world go by?! On my first visit I went with two girlfriends and we stayed in the Villa Gale, a 4 star, right next to the marina and few minutes’ walk to the town. I highly recommend a sea view room as it boasts the most amazing views. My second trip I went with my husband for 3 nights and we stayed at the 5 star Grande Real Italia. It is the best hotel I have ever stayed in, the very best in sophistication and comfort overlooking the sea. It is very near the marina and 10 min stroll to the town. We took the local bus up to Sintra which only took about 40 minutes, steeped in history particularly the Roman period. The older part of Sintra is built on a granite slope and has to be seen on foot or by horse drawn carriage, we opted for foot and the views of the Portuguese coastline are amazing. The famous Guincho Beach with its high waves is just down the coast, which attracts surfers from all around the world. Lisbon is only 40 minutes by train and also if you had the time you could also incorporate a trip to Fatima. The neighboring resort of Estoril is only 2 miles away with the largest casino in Europe if you fancy a flutter! There is a nightly cabaret and music hall shows on offer there. If you are a golfer there are several championship golf courses available to you so its also proves very popular with golf groups. I love this part of the Portugal as you can take in city and beach very easily!! I can’t wait to go back.
08 April 2010
I travelled to Disneyland Resort (Eurodisney) in December for a 3 night / 4 day stay with my two children aged 5 and 6 (left the baby at home) and my brother and his 2 children of the same age. We flew from Dublin to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and then took the shuttle to our hotel which took about 40 minutes. There are12 hotels in all so there is one to suit everyone, 6 of them are themed hotels, all of which you can either walk or hop on a shuttle to get to the park. So there are hotels to suit whatever taste or budget you have. These will take up to 4 people in each room and most have interconnecting rooms. Davy Crocket Ranch is another Disney hotel it is about 20 minutes drive to the park. They also offer self catering cabins taking up to 6 people so ideal if you have a car. 5 more hotels on the outskirts which are only a short shuttle ride to the park. These hotels cater for larger groups or larger families. We stayed in Hotel Cheyenne which has a Wild West theme and was perfect for us. It is a good idea to have a plan to make the most of your stay. There are 3 areas in Eurodisney. Disneyland Park which is divided up into 4 lands. Discoveryland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland. Then there is Mainstreet where all the parades take place. Disney Studios which has lots more adventure for all ages with animation and shows, experience movie and cinema sets come to life. Disney Village. When the park is closed the fun continues with restaurants, fun for all ages, it’s the place to go for the ultimate in shopping, new movies, dancing, dining and live entertainment such as Buffalo Bills Wild West Show (which the kids absolutely loved!!). The whole stay was magical and we all loved every minute of it, as we were there at Christmas, it was covered in snow and lit up with magical fairly lights. Every few hours it snowed on Disney Main Street! We also got to meet Pluto and Santa, the real man himself. The kids have fantastic memories, for Molly it was having dinner while the princes and princess dropped by our table to say hello, she had her photo taken and also got an autograph! For Jack it was meeting Jack Sparrow and if we went on the Pirate of the Caribbean ride once we went on it 20 times and we had to buy the cd in case we might forget… Ho ho ho ho it’s a pirate’s life for me!!!!!!!! So definitely a trip to remember and we are planning our return trip already.
Co. Kilkenny 14/04/2014
Co. Kilkenny 24/05/2013