Review of "Trailfinders"
“Trailfinders was established in 1970 and has been the leading name in independent, tailormade travel for over 30 years.” Well this is what it says on their website so I assume its true. Having just booked my round the world ticket with them I figured the least I could do is write an opinion on them and give them some publicity. Obviously this opinion will not be as comprehensive as I would like as I have not yet been on my holiday but hopefully I can do it justice.Trailfinders are not as widespread as several of the bigger travel agents such as Thomas Cook and with travel centres only in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. There is also one in Dublin and several in Australia. However, before those of you who don’t live near one of these travel centres, stop reading tickets or holidays can be just as easily booked over the phone. The largest travel centre is on High Street Kensington in London and is what they call a ‘one stop travel shop’. Why because it caters for every possible aspect of travelling. What do I mean by this? Well you’ll have to read on to find out?
Booking TicketsObviously the main purpose of a travel agent is to sell you tickets for flights or holiday bookings. Trailfinders surpasses all other travel agents in this field quite convincingly. Firstly as Trailfinders is totally independent all the advice given is impartial. The travel agents who work at Trailfinders have all had specialist training and most have had firsthand experience of where you’re about to head to. In my case the agent had been on a trip very similar to the one I am about to embark on and was incredibly helpful, giving useful advice and working out the best way for me to get the most out of a round the world ticket.
In addition to this the layout of the travel centres is impressive as they have at least twenty different agents working at their own desks so you can and sit down and discuss your trip without feeling rushed or uncomfortable as a queue builds up behind you. The whole procedure takes away any hassle with the agents themselves proving courteous and professional and generally inspiring confidence. As I mentioned earlier all this can be done over the phone with the same standard of service applicable.Another huge advantage of booking with Trailfinders is the flexibility that they allow, they are specialists at making tailor made holidays so instead of having to worry about hiring a car or arranging onward travel you can simply ask them to organise it all for you. This also has the advantage of being able to design your own holiday rather than make do with a package holiday; you’ll be given expert advice on how to fit everything you want to include in your holiday at the lowest cost and the greatest convenience. I’m beginning to sound like a PR executive now so I’d better move on.
The CostObviously I can only generalise as to the cost of tickets at Trailfinders compared to other agents. They claim that the huge range of flights they have available make them among the lowest priced tickets. In the case of my trip a 29,000-mile round the world ticket with 6 stops has set my back £852 plus airport tax. My itinerary is London – Bangkok overland to Singapore-Perth-Darwin-Sydney-Auckland-Buenos Aires overland to Rio de Janeiro-London. I spent several days phoning other agencies including student travel service STA and none gave me a quote of less than £1200 so Trailfinders came out well on top for me.
The trick with any flight or holiday bookings is to shop around to get the best deal. It is worth remembering though that the cheapest may not necessarily be the best so booking with a reputable firm is never a bad idea.Visa and Passport Service
As I said earlier, Trailfinders cater for all your travelling needs and will advise you if you need a Visa for the country you are planning to visit. Their Passport and Visa department will give you the relevant forms to fill in and sort it all out for you at an administration cost of £18 (plus the cost of the Visa itself). Alternatively if you have more time and less money you can take the necessary form to the relevant embassy sort it out yourself avoiding the £18 fee. Like the Travel Clinic the employees who work at the Visa service are all knowledgeable and are more than happy to answer any questions or queries you might have. I need two Visas for my trip, an Australian work Visa and a visitors Visa for Thailand, as I was working at the time I paid Trailfinders to sort out my Australian Visa, the Thai one I took to the embassy so its really up to you.Other Departments
Trailfinders on High Street Kensington also sells travel essentials such as first aid kits, maps and guidebooks as well as a host of other equipment. In addition to this it has an Immunisation Department, which will sort out any injections or medication that you need. In all honesty unless you have to get it all done at the last minute the best way is to get all the injections free on the NHS as Trailfinders charge for this service. For example to get the several Immunisations I required for Thailand would have cost me over a hundred pounds at Trailfinders but was free on the NHS. I should also mention that similar to other travel agents Trailfinders have their own Foreign Exchange.You can also take out Travel Insurance at Trailfinders which is underwritten by Lloyds and is an impressively comprehensive cover although is a little more expensive than some others. For short breaks I would definitely advise the Trailfinders insurance however for a yearlong trip around the world it weighs in at £399, which is a tad pricey.
Well I think I’ve just about reached the end of my sales pitch… a few final points to make are the website address which is www.trailfinders.co.uk and from which you can order their brochure, a colourful and informative publication that is well worth a look. All in all I’ve been incredibly impressed with Trailfinders throughout my dealings with them, they have proved nothing but polite and helpful and have sold me a ticket that is simply great value for money. The only thing left for me is to get on my plane on the 27th June and I’ll update this opinion as and when I can as well as posting some exciting new travel ops.
Product Information : Trailfinders
Manufacturer's product description
Listed on Ciao since: 03/07/2000