* Prices may differ from that shown
We booked with Trailfinders for our honeymoon to Malaysia after they were recommended to me by a friend.
We went into a Trailfinders branch and sat down with a travel consultant. I originally wanted to go to Indonesia, and on sitting down with the consultant found that the time of year we were going was not great weather-wise. The travel consultant was extremely knowledgeable, having travelled extensively himself, and he made several other recommendations. In the end we went with his recommendation for Malaysia. He put together a general plan for us based on what we wanted as it was too early to book flights - two nights in a city (depending on what worked out better price-wise with flights), a week-long tour of Borneo followed by a week in a 5 star resort. He also gave us his best guess price.
True to his word, when flights were released he called me, confirmed the details and the price. It was a little more expensive than his prediction but not far off.
Prior to the holiday we had a good amount of information. All holidays details were available via an online portal, which included useful notes and guidelines on our destination.
As a holiday with a few different flights, we were greeted by a driver holding a name card for us at the airport which was great. The driver usually had some paperwork or information needed for the next part of out trip, so we were updated every step of the way.
We did have a slight hiccup on our tour. Prior to going we didn't know exactly where we were staying at each night of our week-long tour. It turns out for the first two nights and the last two nights of our tour we were staying at the same resort we had already booked for our last week of holiday (would have been nice to know that, as we may have picked a different resort for our final week). On arrival at the resort the way we had been booked in was confusing. They had us with them for the last two nights of our tour, then due to check out and then check straight back in to a different room for our week of luxury. However the resort were great about sorting everything out to make sure we weren't moved around. The confusion came because we were booked as part of a tour initially, and then independently for the final week - a lack of communication between Trailfinders, the local tour operator and the resort.
The bigger hiccup though was a mistake with our flights whilst on tour. We flew to another part of Borneo for two nights, and on arrival at our destination the driver handed us details of the next couple of days. On checking our return flight had been booked for a day later than it should have been. We tried to rectify this with the local tour operator, but the language barrier meant that we didn't get anywhere. After 24 hours we started to get concerned that it hadn't been resolved so I e-mailed the Trailfinders emergency e-mail address which is on their documentation. Within 2 hours I had a reply and they had sorted out everything. I was really impressed, especially as it was 5am on a Saturday morning UK time.
About a week after returning from our honeymoon I had a call from our original travel consultant. He had been notified that we had an issue and was calling to make sure everything was ok in the end. I thought it was really good that he was aware of the issues and took the time to follow up with us.
Overall, using Trailfinders was a great experience. You can build your holiday to be exactly what you want it to be and the consultants really are experts. The only thing to be aware of is that obviously they use local tour operators in your destination for a lot of the arrangements, and this is where we had a couple of issues. But Trailfinders were quick to sort things out for us, so we can't fault their service.
I booked a recent cruise with Trailfinders. I would have been much better off having gone directly to the cruise provider. When I had to change the date (months in advance) for family commitments, Trailfinders came up with an increase in the fare which was hundreds of pounds more then the price being charged by the cruise provider for the new date. I was stuck in the original contract with Trailfinders otherwise I would have cancelled.When I wrote to complain, customer services passed me on to an ineffectual agent who did nothing.Having been recommended by a friend, I had previously booked all of my long haul trips with Trailfinders. Never again. If you want do not want to be overcharged go direct & don't use them either.
I have used Trailfinders on a few occasions. The last time was when booking a holiday to Thailand. I found the whole Trailfinders experience, easy and straight forward and found there staff to be knowledgeable.
I had never travelled to East Asia before and wanted to get some expert opinion on the country and the region. I found that they had members of staff who were widely travelled and were able to offer you first hand advise on their own experiences travelling to the region. I always find it reassuring when you are offered fast hand advise from someone who has been there and done it.
The travel agent who dealt with us managed to find us a great deal on flights. As I had just under 3 weeks to complete my trip I was keen to fly direct to my destination. The travel agent showed great knowledge in knowing which airlines I could fly direct with.
When booking my flights, I was keen to sort out my own accommodation as I hadn't finalised my travel plans for when I was there. I found that the travel agent wasn't overly pushy on trying to get me to book my accommodation through them, although they did offer to sort out accommodation and other extra's such as airport transfers and car hire.
Although I made it fairly clear I was likely to book my accommodation independently the travel agent was still willing to offer their suggestions on things to do and see. I thought this was quite a nice touch.
If you are booking independent travel, I would advise shopping around as I have found in the past that you can get cheaper deals with other Independent travel agents.
I had a very pleasant experience booking with Trailfinders and wouldn't hesitate using them again.
I have used Trailfinders on a number of occasions as I tend to travel independently and Trailfinders is very geared towards the independent traveller. All of my bookings have been done through the Birmingham branch and have all be conducted face to face rather than over the telephone or the internet (although you can make bookings over the internet and the telephone). However I personally feel that with these types of holiday its really beneficial to be able to sit down with an advisor and get everything sorted out in one visit - and for this reason this is why I like to go to the Trailfinders office. I have travelled with Trailfinders to Australia, Thailand and Cambodia.
I can break this review down into the service provided in the sales office and the service provided during the trip itself - and unfortunately, in my opinion, the quality of the service provided by the sales team and by the in-field team is actually poles apart. I'm sure this will become apparent in my review.
**The Sales Team**
As I said, Trailfinders is very much aimed at the independent traveller. They tend to focus on worldwide destinations outside Europe - and you can either pick an entire trip or you can pick day trips or trips of a few days and join them together. I tend to opt for the shorter trips and string them together because that way I tend to be able to arrange exactly what I want. Trailfinders will arrange for all of the transportation and hotels if you request it, even if they are not part of a set trip. Its actually quite good to get Trailfinders to book everything to do with your trip because I've found that they are able to give you quite a lot of discount compared to booking accommodation and transport yourself. However, the good thing is that they will do as much or as little of the planning and booking as you want them too.
When you actually go to the Trailfinders offices, it is immediately apparent that the sales advisors know what they are talking about. Rather than just doing what they are told, they are actually very willing to advise you and make suggestions and alternatives regarding your trip. They have sales advisors who are experts on different areas of the world and they really do have a wealth of knowledge. For example, when I was traveling to Cambodia, the expert advised me which route to take through the country because transportation options are limited - and yet by following her advice we were able to travel to everywhere we wanted to, albeit in a different order to which we first thought made logical sense. Some transportation networks don't seem to work on logic!!
The other thing that I thought was great was their continuing service once you leave the office. I basically received regular emails from the consultants with any updates or changes - and where changes were necessary, I was given all of the options available. In addition to this, on one occasion I needed to make major changes regarding my dates and they took care of this without any further charge. It really gave me peace of mind that they seemed able to deal with anything I asked of them.
The documents have always arrived with everything included and details have been full and complete. They tend not to deliver the documents very early and so they can arrive fairly last minute (like a week before the travel date) but they have explained to me that this is so that they can make sure that everything is confirmed before sending it out and so the documents posted are the final and confirmed itineary. In addition to this, everything you've arranged is viewable online and so you always have that back up to refer to at any time should you need to. I personally have always found this very helpful because it meant I could arrange additional things around my Trailfinders iteniary.
**When You're Away**
This is where I can find Trailfinders a little bit more hit and miss. Trailfinders use local guides and companies - and some of these are excellent and some of these are not so great. For example, I had a wonderful guide for my 3 day tour of Siem Reap in Cambodia, but a truly awful guide for my 5 day tour of Bangkok. Luckily having the awful guide didn't spoil things for us because we ditched him and ended up doing our own thing. This pattern has kind of repeated itself time after time - where one guide shines and another is rubbish. Where a guide isn't very good its generally been because their motivation seems zero, although their actual knowledge itself is adequate. It really is a shame because some of these local tour guides that trailfinders affiliate with can let the company down. Trailfinders really do need to spend a bit more time selecting the local guides they use if they want to improve their overall product.
I have complained about the guide on one occasion (the one in Bangkok) and I was given an apology, but nothing in way of compensation which would have gone some way in making up for some of the money we had to pay out on top once we'd ditched him.
The accommodation has always been as advertised. They tend to do the whole spectrum of hotel stars - and they are as they are supposed to be. The lower star hotels tend to offer good value in as much as they are clean and functional, but obviously without the amenities and services that are offered at the higher class hotels. I've always find the fact that you can mix and match the hotel accommodation classes quite useful as it means that one day I can save money and go basic and the next day I can pay more and have some luxury!
Overall, Trailfinders have the potential to be a completely fantastic company. The knowledge and expertise they have at hand is brilliant and business is conducted professionally and effortlessly. However, unfortunately, they seem to fall down on their auditing of the effectiveness of local guides. Because of the experience I've had with some guides, I don't currently use Trailfinders. However, if I could be offered some assurance that they have improved the way they audit their guides then I'd be very happy to go back to them.
Trailfinders, We booked West Coast American Trip. Some hotels were second rate for example Pickwick Hotel which was incredibly noisey from traffic and the bath laminate was peeling off in chuncks the hotel had clearly seen better days . Incurred extra costs at end of holiday due to car rental through no fault of our own, even though the holiday was suposed to be all inclusive. Would not recommend Trailfinders as I would not trust them.
I am a little concerned about Trailfinders since I just booked my biggest ever trip with them and trusted them to give me good rates in general on everything, including car hire. Today I checked out the car hire prices I booked with them and could not believe that if I had booked the same direct, I would have saved £200!Be careful out there!
My wife and I used Trailfinders to book our honeymoon last year. It was a fairly major trip and we visited Australia, New Zealand and then San Francisco. The team at our local Trailfinders were very helpful and delivered excellent customer service throughout. We were able to speak to different members of the team who really knew their stuff about each of these areas. We were advised on the tourist things to see and do as well as some things off the beaten track.
Once we had decided to book our holiday, we were set-up with an online account which contained the contact details for our travel consultant who was responsible for managing our booking. We could view our personalised itinerary which contained confirmation details for all our flights, accommodation and car hire we had booked.
The itinerary detailed all of the costs that we had paid and once we had decided on our excursions, these were added to our account and we could track them on-line. This was really useful for managing our budget as everything was all in one place.
As it was our Honeymoon, Trailfinders made a note on our account which resulted in a number of our hotels giving us either a complimentary upgrade or a bottle of champagne and chocolates. That was a nice touch and made the holiday feel really special.
The holiday booking was quite complex as we were visiting a number of countries, flying with different airlines and staying in a number of different hotels. As a result we choose to book everything through Trailfinders for convenience. Our entire holiday went very smoothly and there was not a single hitch which is a great attribute to the company.
Trailfinders claimed that due to the number of bookings they make with the hotels and car hire companies, they can often secure better rates than their customers going direct. For a smaller holiday I would definitely do a bit of research just to check that this is the case.
We also bought our travel insurance through Trailfinders which was very competitive. The cover was also a lot more comprehensive than the policy being offered by our bank.
I would recommend considering using Trailfinders for your next holiday, especially if you have a relatively complex itinerary.
If this review has provided you with some inspiration, you may also like to read some of my other travel related reviews:
Singapore Airlines - Sit back and relax
Virgin Atlantic - Virgin on the Ridiculous
Alcatraz - Escape to the Rock
I booked my honeymoon with Trailfinders and with their expert help I (and my new wife) had the best holiday ever! I just had to write this review to thank Trailfinders for their excellent service and help prior to travelling and also during our trip.
Trailfinders call themselves the Travel Experts, which is quite a claim! When we were booking our honeymoon, we had an idea of where we wanted to go as we knew that we wanted to split our honeymoon up between a beach type holiday and also a city break. When we spoke to the Trailfinders employee it as clear that where we had first thought we could do this was going to cost an arm and a leg!
However with her advice we were able to tailor a great holiday to have both of our requests well accomodated for and at a price that did not bankrupt us.
When we had decided on the location the employee was extremely knowledgeable and helpful in advising what areas to stay in (and stay clear of) and what hotels to stay in. Trailfinders send their staff all around the world to experience places and stay in as many places as possible so that they have more knowledge to pass on to customers. They also record their experiences which allow other trailfinders staff to see what normal people thought of hotels and resorts.
I found this very useful as the trailfinders employees were very honest about the hotels which did help us to decide where to stay. The employee we spoke to was great s asking for upgrades and honeymoon specials, and we did benefit from these when we arrived (such as free wine, champagne etc).
When we were on honeymoon trailfinders has relationships with travel companies in other countries who arranged to meet us to see how we were getting on and if they could help in anyway and gave us advice about local areas, great restaurants and bars.
I think trailfinders may suffer from a reputation as being expensive, but I did not find this to be the case. I would now in the future definitely go to trailfinders to discuss my next holiday!
when booking our holiday to canada we used trail finders as when looking through the internet they specifically state that they offer the best deals on holidays tailored to meet your specific needs and that was exactly what we needed, we were traveling with two young children and my great gran so wanted this break to suit all of us and be enjoyable for us all.
The only down fall i found for this company was that they have a web site with lots of info but you cannot book on line but they do have 24 travel centers around the uk so you shouldnt be too far away from one and if you are you can book by phone.
The staff were very helpful and found us a fantastic holiday that suited all our needs and fitted into our budget, they offered all the different day trips wholst we were there so that we wouldnt have to book once on holiday, provided us with lots of info about where we were staying, showed us a short film of the hotel we were staying in and gave us a map of the area to take with us.
All our travel documents were ready and waiting for us the week before our holiday and everything went smoothly, they offer fantastic deals for booking a few months in advance or last minute and are very reasonably priced.
i would strongly recomend this company to anyone who is traveling with specific needs.
I recently got married and had set-up a wedding list with Trailfinders. I thought this would be good as people could make contributions online. Lots of guests and family live abroad, so the online facility was a selling point.
However, I found out that a friend had made a contribution but I hadn't receive the vouchers from her. I contacted Trailfinders who admitted that they had problems with their website. They told me that I needed to contact my friend and ask her whether the money had been debited.
I started to think that this could have happened to a number of guests and soon found out that it had. I phoned Trailfinder again, who said that they had no record of a family member having paid. I did not get an apology or explanation eventhough they put me in a difficult position, as it is very difficult and embarassing for me to contact every guest to ask them whether they have made a contribution or not.
I feel that I have lost out as I am not going to embarass myself or my guests and famiily by asking them whether they have contributed or not (and it is quite possible that someone at Trailfinders is pulling a fast one, pocketing my wedding gifts).
I have been in touch with Trailfinders several times since and still no apology or compensation. Whatever you do, don't set up your wedding list with Trailfinders
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 www.trailfinders.com, 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 offices 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 BAs call centre staff could not locate Koh Samui on a map, and advised me to call back once I knew the airports three letter code. I did obtain this, but it would have meant a disjointed leg of a three leg journey as they didnt 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 wont 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
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.
Trailfinders - they simply never admit they're wrong and NEVER want to pay out. My wife and I booked part of our holiday to India through this company albeit a very crucial part - the Indian Airlines internal flights to get around this huge country. We painstakingly went through the flight bookings (of which there were about 7) in person with a member of staff and they gave us the tickets. Once in India we found out, upon turning up at the airport, that one of our flights didn't exist - and hadn't been in the Indian Airlines schedule for a considerable time. The IA staff tried to be helpful but in the end, in order to stick to our schedule we had to fork out about £150 to get on a flight with a rival ariline to get to our destination. On our return to England we contacted Trailfinders and asked why they had booked us on to a flight which didnt exist. This was back in November 2002 (its now April 2003). Since then, and to cut a long story short, they have apparently being trying to contact Indian Airlines in order to get to the bottom of the cock-up. Basically hoping that my wife and I would forget the complaint. Of course Trailfinders know that this is unlikely to be resolved after such a long time. But their failure to make appropriate investigation and their unwillingness to admit their failure is what really drives me mad. My wife used to work for them when she first graduated and knows from experience that this is the tightest, meanest company around which has a 'policy' not to admit its failures and certainly will never pay out compensation. There are better so-called 'independent' companies around to book your travel - STA or Campus/USIT for instance. Trailfinders SUCK!!!
I first remember using Trail Finders when my parents booked our family holiday to Zimbabwe in 1997, until then I thought that all travel agents were pushy, blonde and worked in my local highstreet. Recently I used Trail Finders when I booked my tickets to New York, I had already checked on the internet using all the websites I could think of and I couldn't actually find a flight I could afford. However one phonecall to Trail Finders and I had several options. It was really easy, my mum called them and got through immediately, she told them exactly what I wanted and waited a few minutes while it came up on their computer. They came up with two options for me, either I could fly with Continental or Air India. Even the Continental flight was alot cheaper than the other flights I had been quoted and the air India flight was insanely cheap. My mum asked if anyone had flown with Air India as we were a little bit dubious about their record and sure enough someone got back to us and gave us their experiences, it seemed alrite so we booked with them. They were not pushy about selling us anything else, they asked whether we had hotels arranged but when we said were arranging it seperately they were absolutely fine about. We had no billing problems with it, and they took my passport details so they could arrange the ticket and I received all the right documentation really quickly. I got my tickets about 6 weeks before I was flying and given all the details I needed. We also found that there were no extra prices to pay, and the price they quoted us includes airport taxes and everything we asked for. I would use trail finders again tomorrow, I think that their knowledge of the products they sell are excellent, and we felt good as customers. We didn't feel like we were being asked to buy more through them and nothing was too much trouble for them. Obviously Trail Finders specialised in kore unusual holi
day for the independant traveller, so there is none of the brousure sort of thing. If you are used to choosing what you want from a photo this is not the company for you because there is none of that at all. However, if you see a holiday you like advertised but would like more time in one place and to skip something else then Trail Finders can help.
For reasonable flights around the world, I have always believed that Trailfinders is one of the best agents. Last year I lived in the States and travelled back to the UK on a number of occasions, and each time I booked through trailfinders, and buying very reasonable tickets. I have never had any issue with the tickets arrival in the post, and there have never been any problems during my travel. Recently I have been dying to get away to somewhere warm, so I thought I would give trailfinders a ring and see what they could offer me. I was pretty vague about details: somewhere cheap and warm for up to 7 nights, maybe Spain or Portugal. So I called I told this to the Trailfinders agent, and indicated that I would like the price of both hotel and flight. The man that I spoke to was not going to win any prizes for customer relations, telling me somewhat icily that they did not do charter flights and I would be better off with a high street travel agent. Isn't that what Trailfinders is? Plus how could he explain the fact that I could quite clearly book hotel and flight throught them - I had just recieved a broucher from them telling me so. I determined to persevere as I have previously had nothing but praise for the company, so I asked if he could just give me some flight prices. He replied that I would be better off using Easyjet or Go. Defeated and deflated I put the phone down. Not a good experience. However, the purpose of this is not to write a negative report of the company, quite the converse actually. I just wanted to point out that even a perfectly good and efficient company can employ agents who are clearly not having the best day. I have used trailfinders maybe 15 times and always found them to be courteous, helpful and knowledgable. So my advice is that if you happen to call the branch in the north west of the UK and get a guy who is a little sour, don't take it personally, and don't judge a whole company by one of i