Tag Archives: Travel

My 2018 Travel Bucket List

Every year The Travel Corporation (TTC) publishes the top 10 bucket list.  The idea is to inspire our customers and prospects by showing them some of our wonderful experiences across a number of the TTC “Family of Brands”.  There are so many “authentic” experiences that we offer and so I hope my personal bucket list helps you to find yours.

Over the past year I have been privileged to travel around the world visiting some of the most amazing countries and cities where our business has offices.  Toronto, Los Angeles, London, Johannesburg, Singapore and Sydney.  I try and walk around these wonderful cities as much as possible so I can suck in the atmosphere, immerse myself in the culture and sample local delicacies such as Miso Black Cod at Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills,  Chilli crab at Jumbo Seafood Gallery in Singapore, Peameal Bacon Sandwiches at Paddington’s Pump in Toronto, and a Seafood Platter in Blue Fish on Sydney Harbour.  You meet so many fabulous people in these cities who are only too happy to talk to you and tell you the best places to go.  You just have to ask!

Looking forward to the rest of 2018 I think to myself “What do I need to see and experience in this precious world we live in?”.  Over the past few months I have been working closely with some of our smaller specialist brands (Adventure World, Evan Evans, Luxury Gold, Busabout, Inspiring Journeys), so my Bucket List this year features some the the wonderful experiences they have to offer.

1. Busabout Festival Experience – Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin

I live a few miles from the mystical town of Glastonbury in the depths of Somerset. Each year I cycle to the world famous Glastonbury Festival but this year is a fallow year so the festival is taking a break.  I love music and so what better than to take a ride on a Busabout Festival Experience.  For me the 4 day Lollapalooza Festival in Berlin, where once Nirvana took to the stage and then a trip to Berlin where Bowie and Eno started  their most famous Trilogy Low, Heroes and Lodger.

Lollapalooza Festival Berlin

Lollapalooza Festival Berlin

2. Insight Luxury Gold – Essence of India

Still on my Bucket List from 2015 I still need to visit India and the Taj Mahal.  I have always wanted to go to India with my wife, Louise,  to sample the sights, sounds and tastes of the earths most colourful country.  There is no finer way to experience India than taking the 8 day Essence of India and travel as a VIP with Luxury Gold.

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal

3. Adventure World – Whale Watching Experience

How about a 4 day Whale watching experience in Western Canada with Adventure World and discover the spectacular west coast scenery of Quadra Island, on this ideal combination of adventure, relaxation and wildlife viewing, where you can spot whales, seals, bears and abundant birdlife along the coast of British Columbia.  Wow!

Whale Watching off Quadra Island

Whale Watching off Quadra Island

4. Inspiring Journeys – The Endless Shores

One destination I haven’t experienced is New Zealand.  What better way to see it than on the 11 Day Inspiring JourneysThe Endless Shores.  This unspoilt land is revealed on this Inspiring Journey to some of New Zealand’s most mesmerising natural wonders, from the luminous glow of Waitomo to the fantasy-land of the Shire.

Cathedral Cove New Zealand

Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

5. Lion World – Victoria Falls

Next I want to join Lion World to experience one of the 7 natural wonders of the world Victoria Falls.  They say the ONLY way to see the falls is by Helicopter and this is part of Lion World’s magnificent tour.  You can also walk across the Victoria Falls Bridge and experience a touch of White Water Rafting followed by Traditional African fare at The Boma Restaurant.

Victoria Falls Bridge

Victoria Falls Bridge

6. Uniworld River Cruise – Splendours of the Nile

Now for a spot of Luxury cruising along the Nile on the Uniworld Splendours of Egypt & the Nile.  I have always been fascinated by the Pyramids and ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs and how much the Ancient Egyptians contributed to civilisation as we know it.  How they built those ancient temples, worked with precious metals and kept Cats as pets believing the Cat to be sacred bringing good luck.

Splendours of Egypt & the Nile

Splendours of Egypt & the Nile

7. Evan Evans Tours – Historic Royal Palaces

I work in London 4 days a week and have visited most of it’s historical attractions but seemed to have missed out on the Historic Royal Palaces.   Evan Evans have a wonderful tour called Historic Royal Palaces where you can visit some of the most breathtaking locations in London, including Kensington PalaceHampton Court, Whitehall’s Banqueting House, and the Tower of London.

Kensington Palace

London’s Kensington Palace

8. Trafalgar Tours – Land of the Incas

Still on my bucket list is Machu Picchu and what better way to experience this incredible Sacred Valley than on Trafalgar’s Land of the Incas tour takes in the incredible Sacred Valley of Machu Picchu.  When I get there I will take off my walking boots out of respect to the Inca who used to walk barefoot, because they wanted to be in touch with Mother Earth: the sacred ground.  I have heard that to visit Machu Picchu is one of the most amazing experiences of all time.

Machu Picchu

Land of the Incas, Machu Picchu

9. U by Uniworld / Summer Lodge

Innovation is at the heart of what we do at TTC.  This year a combined effort by Uniworld River Cruises and Contiki developed the amazing U by Uniworld cruise.  This amazing innovative new approach to river cruising for 21-45 year olds.  I’m not in the age band for U by Uniworld so my wife and I will take a short trip from our house in Somerset to Devon and enjoy a spa and tranquility of The Summer Lodge and send my daughter Beckie on this one.

U by Uniworld The B Ship

U by Uniworld The B Ship

10. Red Carnation Hotels – Ashford Castle & Lodge

And finally at number 10, and as 2018 draws to a close and we think of Christmas, I would love to take my girls to Red Carnation Hotel’s Ashford Castle. Where we can stay in one of the unique bedrooms enjoying a fabulous Gin & Tonic sitting by a roaring fire, walk the fabulous grounds, take a cruise  across the lake and ride a horse across the estate.  The magnificent five star Ashford Castle is set in 350 acres, on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland. Dating back to 1228 and now beautifully restored to it’s former glory.


Ashford Castle, Ireland

Now it’s your turn.  Why not go to TTC and start preparing your bucket list and your perfect #ttctopten?

#travel #Contiki #ContikiUK #ContikiUSA #Trafalgar #AdventureWorld #InspiringJourneys #BusAbout #InsightLuxuryGold #GrandEuropean #ExperientialTravel #AuthenticTravel #LionWorldTravel #TTC #UniworldCruises #UbyUniworld #EvanEvansTours #ttctopten #ttctop10 #Red_Carnation #Summer_Lodge #AshfordCastle


Is Google the new Travel Meta Search?

Do metasearch companies have a future, and if so, what is it, asks travel technology, CRM and social media consultant Jon Pickles

The recent announcement by Michael O’Leary that “there are some very exciting developments with Google where we have been working with them on sharing the pricing”, and that “it will blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water”, hints that Google is looking to get into flight metasearch in a big way.

I have always maintained that at some point in the near future consumers will start their holiday search direct from the Google search box – if they don’t do so already.

Once Google provides a meta-like result set showing the cheapest fares, hotels and extras, the metasearch companies will be redundant. Google are already doing this in the US.


I know that Mr O’Leary is known for making bold claims, but he would not have mentioned the detail about the Google search were there not an element of truth in it.

It wasn’t long before confirmation came with news that Ryanair was participating with Google on Flight Search. Try google.co.uk/flights.

Google has a Travel team in the UK. They are not just there to help travel companies, or are they?

What I love about Google’s Flight Search is that as soon as you choose a departure city you then see a map of all destinations that departure airport services – a really nice, clean interface, uncluttered by the confusing array of advertorial baggage the metasearch sites have to show in order to monetise them.

Compare Google Flight Search and Skyscanner from a user perspective and see what you think?


Take a look at Google’s Travel insurance comparison site. You can search for travel insurance across multiple suppliers (40).

It’s got a clean, easy-to-use interface and provides a comprehensive list of results. You can select one or more for comparison, and when ready to buy you are redirected to the insurance provider’s web site.

When you simply search for “Travel Insurance” in Google you get a prominent ad for Google insurance search below paid ads like this. Is this impartial?


Last year I needed to book a hotel stay in London for the World Travel Market. I wanted the hotel to be in Soho, London, because although I had meetings at WTM, the evening events were in the City.

I was sitting at my office desk and had my desktop in front of me. Rather than using my favourite hotel booking app, Booking.com, on my iPhone, I opened the Chrome web browser (another Google product) and typed “Hotels in Soho” into Google search.

Within minutes I had inadvertently stumbled upon Google’s hotel comparison site and made a booking. It’s fast, it satisfied my need and, well, it worked. I didn’t have to remember a metasearch URL, I just used my default browser.

So, we have to ask if metasearch companies have a future, and if so, what is it? I think that Google sees many opportunities in this space – after all, fast search is Google’s core strength.

Originally posted in Travolution: click here