Review: Audley Travel
Travel Service - Tour Operator/Travel Provider
Witney, United Kingdom
Tailor made trips which really are tailor made
21 people found this review helpful
Choosing the right Travel Agent to book a holiday can be crucial. We have used some agents and said “NEVER AGAIN”.
Up until 5 years ago we always holidayed in the UK and I researched and booked all our holidays. When we decided to spread our wings we rapidly realised we needed help.
The first big trip we planned was to South America. We read the books and knew what we wanted to do, but had no idea how to begin. We knew we didn’t want to go on an escorted tour. Having been used to doing our own thing we do not adapt easily to the straightjacket of a tour. Many tours did not go to the places we wanted to visit or took us to places we were not interested in. We decided we would need to look at a tailor made trip.
We assembled our ideas and wrote to three different agents specialising in South America. The different replies were illuminating. One company was shoe horning us into one of their sample itineraries. Another said they did not book people on navimag, the ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt and suggested a luxury trip to see the Chilean fjords without addressing the issue of how we would get between the two places – an essential stage in our itinerary. Even though we had specifically said ‘no tango dinner’ it still featured as a highlight.
Audley Travel were the only company who answered all our questions, understood what we were trying to achieve and were prepared to listen to what we wanted to do. We decided to use them.
We have used Audley Travel now for six trips over the last four years and have another trip in the pipe line. We have been very impressed by the level of service, knowledge of the destination experts and support during each trip.Their prices are competitive with other tailor made agents and they guarantee to price match an identical itinerary from another company.
They really do offer tailor made itineraries and will continue to tweek and adjust the itinerary until it is completely right. When you first contact them you are allocated a named ‘destination expert’ who is responsible for working out and making all the arrangements for you. This means you are just dealing with one named person and have a direct phone number and email address. We have found their response to be very quick. All have been very patient in anwsering my many questions.
We try and visit Audley and discuss our plans in detail with our named person. This helps clarify ideas and what is realistic. They then produce a priced itinerary for discussion and amendment. This is very useful as it immediately helps us identify which ideas are not going to work, or deliver what we want.
They say they like to get it right first time, but realistically accept that most itineraries will go to Version B. We have needed to go to a Version C. Apparently Version K is their record. Although they concentrate on the more expensive accommodation options, they offer a range of accommodation to suit expectations and price range.
Just before we leave our named contact rings too check final details and answer any last minute questions. Once on holiday you have the name address and phone number of a local agent as well as a 24 hour emergency contact for Audley. If there are problems during the holiday these are quickly dealt with and a phone call from Audley confirms that you are happy.
There is the assurance that any problem will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. We were intending to visit Tibet in 2008 as part of a long trip through Asia. A few weeks before we were due to leave the Chinese closed Tibet to foreign visitors. At short notice we arranged an alternative itinerary (Plan B) with Audley. We were in Beijing when there was the major earthquake. A few days later we were due to start on Plan B. This was going to take us into areas still experiencing minor quakes and the local agent decided it was unsafe for us to go. With our guide we arranged Plan C for the seven days affected. We went off and did something else while all the new arrangements were made for us. Audley rang us to check we were happy with them. There were no cancellation charges, extra fees or anything.
We were in South America in 2010 when the Icelandic volcano was causing havoc with air schedules. We knew Audley would sort out how to get us home if needed.
There is always a welcome home phone call with questions about how the holiday went and if there were any major issues needing to be addressed. A feedback sheet is sent out a couple of days later and they do read and take on board all comments.
We have used Audley for two trips to South America, one to Russia, a long trip through Siberia, Mongolia, China and Kyrgyzstan, a trip to Bhutan and a trip to India. We have a trip to Tunisia planned with them. We have used other Travel agents who advertise tailor made but none have met the standard of service of Audley. For many tailer made just seems to be the number of days you spend in each of their designated places.
As well as tailored made itineraries, Audley offer a few small group holidays to specified destinations with an expert guide.
Our website with photographs of our travels is here.
21 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.