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Review of "Trailfinders"

published 06/11/2005 | helencbradshaw
Member since : 29/07/2001
Reviews : 310
Members who trust : 302
About me :
thinks Ciao readership is getting a little outdated in its expectations in the digital age.
Pro Tailored service, professional staff
Cons none
very helpful
Where did you book
How often have you booked through them
Customer Service
Value for Money
How good were the guides?

"A long, long TRAIL, Into the Land of my Dreams.."

Dream Destinations

Dream Destinations

Trailfinders has been my travel agent of choice for several years now. They have around 15 branches across the UK including one in Glasgow, although all of my bookings have been done via the telephone.

I had a friend who worked for Trailfinders in London and I think it was a good ten or more years ago when I first learned about their specialism. While they offer a wide range of holidays to suit more independent travellers, they particularly appeal for their flexible approach and for tailor made trips, particularly Round the World (RTW) trips at bargain prices.

From their website, you can find a map showing their branches within the UK and Ireland. Each branch has its own geographical number, so you know you are talking to someone relatively local, not a huge call centre, where you are just a number. That said, if you cannot get through right away, the office's auto-attendant will tell you your position in the queue, so at least you know you are not waiting for hours. Normally I would phone and find there would be perhaps 1-2 people in the queue before me, which seemed acceptable to wait (although travel calls can be a little long at times).

I have booked two long haul flights with Trail-finders, namely to Australia in 2003 and to Thailand in 2004. With the latter trip, I had tried my favourite airline, BA beforehand, (as I had enough airmiles to pay for the trip in theory). However BA's call centre staff could not locate Koh Samui on a map, and advised me to call back once I knew the airport's three letter code. I did obtain this, but it would have meant a disjointed leg of a three leg journey as they didn't have a partner airline.

By contrast, calling Trailfinders was a lot less painful. They had been able to get me a flight from GLW > LHR > BKK > USM for a total of £666 return, including an upgraded seat type for the LHR > BKK sectors. This compared favourably with BA, who were a similar price for economy seating. I had never flown with the airline in question and was suitably apprehensive, but the trailfinders member I spoke to was very reassuring about the airline (one of the largest airlines you have never heard of apparently!).

My other trip was to Australia, again GLW > LHR > SIN > BNE > SYD > SIN > LHR > GLW, booked last minute for a competitive price, and included an upgrade to World Traveller Plus on the London - Singapore leg.

As with booking any trip independently, there are a lot of pieces that you need to organise, and Trailfinders are able to hold seats on aircraft for you, and provide your reference number, while you sort out the rest of the trip.

Documentation is with you within a very short period of time, perhaps 48 hours or so. You can arrange your travel insurance through them also. They are reasonably competitive and the cover is comparable (although I really ought to take out another 12 month policy sometime soon). I think I paid around £50 for a trip to Australia lasting three weeks, which was a pound or two more expensive than other policies available at the time, but sometimes it is easier to have all your eggs in one basket.

Once you are travelling, you can easily view your trip on line from their website by following the "viewtrail" link. This is simple to access, with your surname and booking reference number. You can also use Viewtrail to see details BEFORE you go, such as immunisation information, and the outstanding balance on your trip.

My sister also used Trailfinders to book an extensive four month trip last year. She had contacted me by text to ask me to contact Trailfinders on her behalf as she was unable to phone or access email. She had given me a fax number instead of a phone number and was half way around the world at this time. I contacted a branch in London with her reference number, and they were immediately able to offer the right branch that could assist me with the changes to the route that she had asked me to do, and advised me that she could see the amendments as soon as she could find internet access once again.

However, if you want to escape the cattle class feel of the typical package holiday, but still want a little bit of comfort and security then Trailfinders have a range of "Perfectly Planned" holidays which might be of interest. Some of these trips make me want to jump back on a plane tomorrow and go around the world. Staying in top hotels in resorts such as Singapore, Cairns, Sydney, Uluru and LA on a RTW ticket are available from around £1200.

Of course once you do book with Trailfinders, you can opt to receive their brochure and from time to time this is one mailing that you won't mind receiving.

Trailfinders can handle all aspects of your tailor made holiday, including car hire, airport parking, hotel and stopovers, weddings - and even Polar cruises. The fact that they look for staff on the basis of their global travel experiences has certainly shown through on all the conversations I have had with them over the last few years

Recommended 5/5

Tel 0845 058 5858 or use website for your local branch

They are open seven days a week with opening hours from 10am until 6pm on Sundays.

They do not have an online booking service, as most trips are more complex and therefore need some degree of human interaction! However the website is very informative and up to date, and is guaranteed to whet your appetite.

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Comments on this review

  • elspeth334 published 17/04/2007
    I really like trailfinders too I was interested to know if you were lucky to be upgraded or did you have to pay extra. We have a second long haul in August this time with Emirates to Hong Kong via Dubai which from Glasgow is a bit of a trek. Cheers Elspeth
  • dakota196 published 13/01/2006
    I've used them before too - they're great, as is your review. Emma :)
  • lizrow published 15/12/2005
    Great review! xxxx
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Product Information : Trailfinders

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Listed on Ciao since: 03/07/2000