My Travelogue


Travel Companies

A collection of stories about my years of overland travel, holidays and short breaks, around the world.

Welcome to Ivan's whole wide world photo travelogue.
                 What's new;- Just finished the story 'Tales of my first time - Trans Asia 1975 trip' A good read, full of surprises.


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Travel Companies

There have been many Travel Companies involved in our stories, fortunately generally good.

I will set this section out in a vague chronological order, within heads of The Grand Tour, Holidays, and Short Breaks.

It will continually change as specific trip stories are written.


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The Grand Tour

Frist trip to Asia

Most of the early travels which constituted The Grand Tour were self organized, without any input from travel companies.

The exception to this was the ferry to get across the North Sea, the international driving licenses and the Carnet de Passage. The latter two were obtained from the RAC.

At the time you needed a special license to drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle, HGV. However, if it was not used for goods, for hire or reward, then it was just a private car, albeit a large car. There was no restriction on how large a car could be. Hence a international driving license for a car was sufficient. (Not all countries agreed with this, which you can read about in the stories.)

The ferry route we decided to use for our first trip, was from Dover to Zeebrugge. This was mainly due to the location of the ports. Memory suggests that the ferry was one of the British Rail Ferries, operated as Sealink. Citation required.

The next time we used a travel company was to book a flight from Nepal to Bangladesh, as a holiday within a holiday. The booking was with (Royal) Nepal Airlines. However, we never used those tickets. See the trip story to find out why. The next time was again with RNA, but for the flight home as we had sold the truck.


Second Trip to Asia

Despite being separated by a couple of years, the situation was similar for the second trip to Asia, as it was for the first. There was again the need for international driving licenses for Pete and I, but they were still valid from the first trip. Two new Carnet de Passage were required, one for each vehicle, which were again procured from RAC.

This time the ferry was from Harwich.  .... more details to come.

We were more successful with our holiday within a holiday this time and actually managed to use the tickets we arranged with Nepal Airlines. This time it was to Siliguri. We found a hotel on arrival, eventually. Then the reason for the short break, off to the railway station for a trip on the steepest non-funicular railway in the world, to Darjeeling. I understand that Kathmandu to Siliguri is now a difficult route, I don't recall that being the case at the time.

We only sold one vehicle this trip so there was no flight home to organize. We travelled back with the coach and picked up passengers on the way. No travel companies involved it that, unless we include ourselves.

Upon getting to the channel we booked the next available ferry and came across without passengers. One of the earlier passengers left something which gave us a bit of grief at the UK boarder. More of that later.

Pete and I applied for driving jobs in Germany on the way through, and following a brief spell in England, returned to Germany separately. I did not get work and so continued to travel. I went to Amsterdam and stayed with one of the passengers and his girlfriend or partner.

Whilst there Pan Am launched a new service between Amsterdam and Boston, at a very reduced price of 115 guilders. I already had an America Visa and so was ready to travel. An opportunity not to be missed. I was living out of a rucksack already, so it was just a case of persuading Pam Am that I would successfully gain entry to USA, and a one way ticket was bought. I was flying to USA without a plan of any sort.

I don't recall using any travel companies in the US until I got to the airport in New York, and bought a ticket to fly home.

Third trip to Asia and trips to Africa, Southbound and Northbound

I then bumped into Encounter Overland in London. I hit it off with the owner and found myself employed, mainly I suspect because of my previous experience travelling and some of the ideas we discussed.

Encounter Overland was such an important and integral part of my travelling that it has it's own section. Trailfinders were on the same street as EO and get a mention as they provided a significant proportion of EO's clientele.

End of the Grand Tour



19 May 1985 to 2 June 1985

Wendy and I honeymooned in St Lucia, and a few other small islands in the Caribbean. We arranged the holiday through Rankin Kuhn tour operator, part of Thomas Cook as Far Away Places, with flights provided by British Airways. The resort was Couples. I thought that It may now be known as Sandals, Halcyon Beach Resort but there was Halcyon Reach Club just north of Couples at the time.

From a St Lucia Tourist Board brochure at the time;-

  • Couples - Vigie Beach: Beautifully landscaped grounds surround 68 guest rooms and 18 beachside cottages. Bar and cocktail lounge overlook the Caribbean. Facilities for water and land sports and as its name implies, an idyllic escape for two.

It could be that this is now known as Rendezvous. There is a London Business School Case Study which refers to a Mr Barnard who is also mentioned in the Rendezvous web site. Also there is mention of botanical gardens, which matches to Couples.

I was working for Trafalgar House at the time in the construction division. Trafalgar House also owned Cunard, the shipping line, who in turn owned Le Toc, another hotel on the Island. Despite a good staff discount we choose to go to Couples as it was all inclusive and couples only. However, we did book it through Brocklebank Travel, another Trafalgar House Company, based in Bristol.


  • Travel Agent; Brocklebank Travel preformed well. Everything was sorted
  • Tour Operator; Rankin Kuhn provided what they said in there broucher.
  • Flights; British Airways made long flights acceptable
  • Resort / Hotel; Couples, three things to note;-
    • On arrival, the hotel wanted us to go to a welcome party. After travelling most of the day, all we wanted to do was fall asleep. We missed out on the induction talk. I understand the benefit of having the induction whist everybody is together, and the difficulty of getting everybody together afterwards. However, an alterative could have been provided, not a lot goes in, even for those that did attend, when you are more asleep than awake.
    • The other was the proximity to the airport. It is very close. It would have been nice to know beforehand. However, again I do understand that knowing the location of the airport would put a number of people off. As it was, the airport was now only a local airport and the result was that it was not at all intrusive.
    • Apart from the above, which did not spoil the holiday, Couples exceeded expectations in so many ways. It was an excellent resort and we would happily recommend it. Very nearly full marks.
Blast 'Em Up —Game Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Blast 'Em Up—Game Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Blast 'Em Up—Game Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Travel Agent— Review ★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7 on a scale of 0 to 10)

Tour Operator ★★★★★★★★★☆ (7 on a scale of 0 to 10)

Flights ★★★★★★★★★☆ (7 on a scale of 0 to 10)

Resort /Hotel ★★★★★★★★★☆ (9 on a scale of 0 to 10)





Wendy and I joined friends Gill and John in a trip to Iceland. This was a fully arranged tour. We wanted to travel through the centre which at the time was a restricted area. Tourism to Iceland was relatively new. However, we we lucky enough to have one of the best specialist travel agents for Iceland and similar destinations just a few miles away, in Banstead, Surrey, called Discover the World. It comes highly recommended.


USSR was still one huge communist country with restrictions both with respect to entry, and to movement within the country. This was a fully arrange tour, with only small amounts of time allowed to ones own devises. The travel agent tour operator was ... Flights were British Airways in both directions. The pilot even announced when we had left Russian air space on the return flight.






Canada & Alaska








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Short Breaks



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