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  1. The perfect proposal is made up of two essential components: the ring and the place. Get these two things right and you'll not only create a proposal that your partner can't say no to but also a special memory that the two of you will reminisce about for the rest of your lives. It's easier said than done though and the perfect proposal takes a lot of brainstorming. We're here to help with five ideas that include both a place to carry out the proposal and the best ring to do it with! 1. Seychelles Let’s face it, who wouldn’t say Yes to a marriage proposal in this little slice of paradise? Gasp-worthy, sugar-soft beaches, sparkling azure waters lapping the shore, and lush dense forest provide the perfect backdrop to a marriage proposal. For an achingly-romantic place to propose, look no further than Le Jardin du Roi Spice Garden – stunningly beautiful gardens, jaw-dropping, panoramic views across the island and a restaurant in which to celebrate, once the object of your affections has said yes and dried her tears of joy. Perfect proposals need the perfect diamond ring. Try a fabulous beauty like three baguette-cut diamonds set in 18k white gold, representing the past, the present, and your future together! A truly breathtaking ring is require to match the islands' stunning views - do that, and we’re sure that her answer will be “Yes, yes, YES!” 2. Dubrovnik You can’t beat a fairytale castle for romance, and Dubrovnik certainly ticks that particular box. The spectacular architecture and sublime atmosphere of this ancient walled city means that any trip here will be memorable. The castle overlooks the calm blue seas of the Adriatic, and nestled below is the town and the harbour. It’s one of the world’s most up-market destinations, so chances are she’ll already be feeling pretty special before you both take a walk around the walls admiring the view. Then drop to one knee and ask the question that will change the direction of your life forever (we recommend doing this as early or as late as possible to avoid the crowds and the heat of a Croatian summer!) What girl could resist? And what girl could resist a stunning, minimalist pear shaped diamond set in platinum? It's a timeless classic with an edge, set high to allow the light to shine through. This ring from The Diamond Studio is guaranteed to prompt a positive response! 3. New York For sheer variety of proposal options, nowhere can beat New York City. Midnight on New Year’s Eve in Times Square…on a horse-drawn carriage ride round Central Park…at the top of the Empire State Building (though, thanks to its metal-detectors, you might want a quiet word with Security if you don’t want the surprise spoiled.) Being in New York is like starring in your own little romantic movie if you plan correctly - take into account the seasons in the city, as summer can be stiflingly hot, and winter can bring snowstorms. Before you know it, you’ll cease to be a boyfriend and return home as a fantastic fiancé instead. This distinctive city needs a distinctive engagement ring, so try an 18k white gold and diamond stunner. The Diamond Studio has the perfect ring - 109 diamonds in the setting, with the centre diamond a stunning 2.29 carats! In total it has 3.54 carats , giving it the Big Apple wow factor. Just watch out for those Empire State Building metal detectors… 4. Jamaica James Bond fans, please be aware that although you may be thrilled to be in the home of Ian Fleming and Goldeneye, your missus-to-be may be less than impressed. However, Jamaica has a host of proposal options. Snorkelling and diving could be the ideal way to lead up to a romantic proposal followed by a picnic and rum cocktails on the beach. Maybe a yacht trip would be the perfect prelude to the biggest question you’ll ever ask? Or how about a horseback ride along the sands at sunset with your intended one? Dunn’s River Falls is a delightful location, but we’d suggest leaving the ring back at base, just in case your wife- to –be isn’t the only thing that gets swept up in the proposal. Reflecting the laid-back, Caribbean pace of life in Jamaica, a diamond and Ceylonese sapphire ring will always remind you of the sparkling blue seas. This sapphire is a lighter blue which mirrors sea and sky. Truly stunning. it'll shine even brighter in the sun! This gorgeous Diamond Studio ring’s understated glamour matches the island’s star quality. 5. Dubai A quiet proposal, or an all-singing, all-dancing declaration of love – which to choose? Whatever you and your beloved would prefer, Dubai offers up a number of possibilities. A candlelit meal followed by a quiet stroll on the beach as the Burj al Arab twinkles in the background might sound perfect, but then again, perhaps it’d be fun to head out to the desert for a spot of dune-bashing before popping the question at sunset. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be spoilt for choice for sumptuous accommodation options and places to celebrate when she says Yes in this most modern of cities. While the Gold Souk might be a good choice for an engagement ring, perhaps it’s best to plan in advance a little. Choose one with a high claw setting that's a reminder of the city's skyline and magnificent tall buildings. The Diamond Studio has the ideal ring - a centre 1.6 carat round brilliant-cut diamond is set in a gorgeous diamond encrusted cocktail style. At 2.8 carats, this is sure to elicit a Yes from your intended! Place this blingtastic concoction on her finger and she’ll love you forever, guaranteed! If you can think of another top 5 places to propose then just let us know :-)
  2. Sun, Sea and a Sandals Holiday

    Our Digital Marketing Executive Jenni Goulden and her partner have just returned from a week’s holiday at Sandals Barbados. Here’s what they have to say! What are your first thoughts of Barbados? Blue skies, crystal clear beaches and luxury hotels? I’m happy to say that Sandals Barbados ticks all those boxes. Upon arrival at the new resort, which opened in January this year, we received the warmest of welcomes. Staff gathered as we came off our private transfer bus to sing their ‘Welcome to Sandals’ song. This was a great start to our holiday, as it made us feel at home, which ties in nicely to the Sandals motto - ‘a home away from home’. We were then taken to the Club Sandals lounge, where we were greeted with a glass of champagne and met the concierge team, who showed us around the resort and to our room. Sandals Barbados has 280 rooms which range from beachfront suites serviced by butlers to new-to-the-brand swim-up suites spaced along a river pool. We were lucky enough to have an ocean view which was stunning. The room included a mahogany four-poster beds, a private bar which was re-stocked every day, and deep soaking tubs both inside bathrooms and outdoors on terraces. In the resort, there are 11 restaurants, among them a steakhouse, Japanese grill, French brasserie and Sandals’ first Indian restaurant. The variety of restaurants in the resort meant that there was something for everyone. Schooners, which offered local, fresh fish, is situated looking over the beach, making it a great location for a romantic meal. The lobster tail is highly recommended! The following evening we booked to try Kimonos, the teppanyaki restaurant. This was my first teppanyaki experience and it was incredible! The chef was seriously well-trained and highly entertaining. After much hype regarding Sandals’ first ever Indian restaurant, this was a must-try and we were not disappointed. The variety of dishes on the menu was great, staff were happy to help with any questions regarding the meal and the decor was beautiful. Very traditional. The rogan josh curry is recommended for anyone who enjoys a little spice in their curry. Butch’s Chophouse was the next restaurant we ate in. Named after Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, the chairman of Sandals, it is the pinnacle of the already high standard of food at the resort. It serves incredible salads, crab cakes with jalapeño tartare sauce and baked oysters followed by a wide variety of the greatest steaks around, especially the Wagyu. You can take a choice of four sauces to accompany the steaks, ranging from a cabernet reduction to 5 peppercorn sauce. Or have them all, as this is Sandals! After all this food, we even attempted dessert, which was no let down on the rest of the meal. We were so impressed with Butch’s that we went back for the second time for our last night! The Bayside restaurant offered French cuisine. Situated looking over the beach and the beautifully lit pool, we were offered a wide selection of French food ranging from snails and pate to chateaubriand. Again, all this food was incredible and the staff were always so friendly. The Bayside restaurant was also home to the buffet breakfast and buffet lunch. The buffet breakfast was not like any other hotel I have been to – choices included fresh fruit, an egg station where you can get omelettes, a pancake station ( a favourite of mine!) and other delicious culinary delights. The buffet lunch was also amazing. Fresh salads, fish, assorted meats which were cooked to your liking and a Panini station. If you didn’t want a buffet breakfast, Portofino’s offered table service. Here you could have eggs benedict, steak and eggs and fresh fruit. The Mariner Seaside Bar and Grill and Dino’s pizzeria were also great options for lunch! Along with the great restaurant choices, there was also a good range of pools. The European themed pool, which was our main sunbathing area, featured cabanas with chandeliers and sofas. This was the quietest of the three pools. The main pool was located at the front of the hotel, overlooking the beach. This was where a lot of the entertainment happened: beach volleyball, games, quizzes and music. There was also a pool bar, which was ideal when you wanted to cool off! The third pool was the lagoon, the largest lagoon pool in the Barbados. Unlike other luxury hotels, Sandals is a true all-inclusive. We were served top-notch liquor, had access to 11 restaurants and water sports were included. We wanted to try out the water sports, so we went on the complimentary snorkelling trip. This was just off Carlisle Bay where we snorkelled in crystal clear water, saw brightly coloured fish and visited two shipwrecks. Flippers, mask and snorkel were all provided by Sandals. This was an amazing experience and was only a short drive from the hotel. We also went paddle boarding and kayaking which were great fun. The water was so calm in the morning, which made paddle boarding a lot easier! Kayaking was wonderful and you could go out and explore along the coastline. The resort is stunning, but I would also encourage you to explore the island. The Sandals concierge team helped us book a private taxi to take us to Harrison Caves and The Mount Gay Rum distillery. Harrison Caves was hugely impressive with lots of history and nature. We were taken down to the subterranean environment on a tramway, where we saw a mile of impressive caves, stalagmites and stalactites. At the Mount Gay Rum distillery, be prepared for copious amounts of rum! We learnt how rum is made, bottled and the history of the oldest rum distillery in the world. Our stay at Sandals Barbados was one of the best holidays we have been on and I would highly recommend anyone who is looking for first class luxury to visit this hotel. I will definitely be back!
  3. What are the three most important things you need for a smoother holiday experience? That’s right – money, tickets, passport…but do you know where your passport is, and when it is due to expire? You can avoid potential disaster next time you head off on your holidays by checking now. It’s best to keep your passport in a safe place – in fact if you have a safe, why not keep it there? – so that you can find it easily. Get in to the habit of putting it back in the same place each time you travel and there’s a whole lot more chance that you will find it next time. Once you’ve located it, then check its validity – when is it due to expire? UK adult passports are valid for 10 years, but under 16s are only valid for 5. Some countries won’t allow you entry if you have less than 6 months left, even if you are due to return home before your passport expires, and many people have been refused boarding because their passport is damaged to such an extent that it looks like it may have been tampered with. If yours has had a hard life, then it may be best to bite the bullet and apply for a new one, even at a cost of £72.50. Passport offices, like the majority of businesses, have busy and quiet periods. While the standard service should generally take around 3 weeks if you are looking for a new or replacement passport, that can stretch to six weeks during the summer months, as demand increases in comparison to other times. They offer a Fastrack service which takes a week from your passport being accepted, for £103, but if you require a new passport urgently, for £128 there is a Premium service which sees you visiting one of the UK Passport Offices in person (they are based in London, Liverpool, Peterborough, Durham, Newport, Glasgow and Belfast). But bear in mind that, for lost or stolen passports and badly damaged ones, you cannot use Premium service. Forms are available at the Post Office and your application will be processed more quickly if it is filled in correctly and if your passport photos adhere to the strict criteria required. Once you have your passport, guard it carefully, as losing it costs both time and money. Taking a photocopy of it with you in a separate area of your luggage, and taking additional proof of identity such as a driving license, means that it’s easier to get emergency travel documents from the UK consulate or embassy, should the worst happen. Check your passport now, and look after it – that way, you’ll have a holiday to remember for all the right reasons.
  4. So Much Choice For Solo Travel

    Do it right, and solo travel the world is an experience that you’ll never forget – for all the right reasons. Looking to discover a new destination in good company? Decided to do something that’s just for you? Maybe you have always wanted to visit an area of the world that your friends or partner aren’t interested in? No matter what your reason for heading off to explore on your own, the perfect holiday awaits you. From cruises to cities and from Costa Rica to Cambodia and Croatia, there are a multitude of different options available. Holiday as part of a group to destinations across the globe, or travel entirely solo to discover culture, history and cuisine in some of the most exotic places imaginable. Take a ready-made package for a fly-and-flop getaway, or the experts at Barrhead Travel can tailor make a bespoke itinerary for you. So many options, so much choice – the most difficult part of your holiday will most definitely be deciding where to travel to first! Sometimes travelling solo may seem a bit daunting, but it needn’t be. Travelling as part of a group means that you have your own space – a room of your own, the opportunity to strike out on your own, yet spend time with familiar faces and have the added services of a tour manager host, who will ensure everything runs smoothly. Generally, there will be a welcome dinner or drink so that you get to know your fellow travellers, and some other meals may be included, so you needn’t eat alone unless you want to. This kind of holiday strikes the ideal balance between an escorted tour and independent travel. Every traveller is different, so there are a range of holiday types available. Combine exploration and relaxation, tick off some of the world’s most renowned historical sites and important landmarks, spend time in cosmopolitan cities, enjoy the festive season at home or abroad, or get active as you hike through spectacular scenery or rolling countryside, stopping at postcard-pretty villages along the way. Of course, you may wish to be completely independent, and head off on your own on an itinerary that you have been planning for years. The experts at Barrhead Travel will work with you to make sure that everything on your travel to-do list is covered, so if you have always wanted to swim with dolphins, see Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, go on safari, cross Canada by rail or go wine-tasting in Bordeaux, then we can make it happen for you. Whatever you do on a solo holiday, one thing’s for certain - you’ll be making magical memories that will last a lifetime.
  5. Myths about Travel Insurance

    So you've booked that big holiday, and you're debating whether or not to pay for travel insurance. You may feel that you have spent enough on your dream getaway, and that the additional cost for travel insurance is just too much. You may feel like it's a waste of money, because nothing is going to happen to you on holiday, and if it does it will be a struggle to get any money from the insurance company anyway. WRONG! Let us try to clear up some of the commonly-held myths which surround travel insurance. Nothing will happen to me! So you travel a lot? You've seen the world and nothing bad has ever happened to you, so why bother to buy travel insurance now? Unfortunately, weather, flight delays, illness or other major catastrophes can happen very quickly and easily change the best of travel plans. The only way to protect you from these circumstances is to invest in travel insurance. You can get protection from flight delays, medical car and many more... I have insurance at home. Unless you specifically purchased an insurance policy that includes full coverage abroad, your domestic health insurance and credit card policies do not always cover the costs of trip cancellation, medical expenses and other scenarios. What happens if you are stuck in a foreign country because an ash cloud has cancelled all flights? If you don't have travel insurance, you will have to pay for additional hotel nights and maybe even new flights home. I would never get a pay out anyway. The right policy will not only cover catastrophic illness, injury, disasters and repatriation costs, but it’ll also help if you lose your camera or your expensive designer sunglasses fall off your head into the sea. However, make sure you understand how the excess works on your policy. I am not doing anything dangerous on holiday! Ok, so you're not planning on bungee jumping or shark diving, but emergency situations can happen to relatively 'boring' travellers too. What if your taxi breaks down on the way to the airport and you miss your flight? Getting travel insurance will help minimise the issues, should circumstances go bad. So don’t buy into the idea that, just because you're not going to jump out of any planes on your vacation, you won’t need travel insurance! I can buy my flights and hotels now, then book travel insurance right before I leave! So you want to treat your loved one to a trip to Paris for your 1st anniversary? You book a romantic hotel, where you can see the Eiffel Tower from your guest room window, and you think that you'll wait until nearer the time to book your insurance. This is not clever. In the week before you're meant to go, your partner is taken ill and can no longer travel. If you don't have insurance, you can wave au revoir to your romantic weekend - and your cash too... Barrhead Travel offers extremely competitive rates, and the cover is excellent too. You’ll be asked by our travel consultants as to whether you would like to buy insurance when you book your trip – please don’t put it off! We have annual insurance policies available too, for frequent travellers. Be sure to book your insurance in store at any of our branches, or give us a call on 0800 804 8666, as soon as you book your holiday – you’ll be covered straight away!
  6. You wouldn't go on holiday without your tickets or your passport, but many of us happily set off without travel insurance. In fact, the number of people travelling abroad uninsured is on the rise. What happens if you fall ill when you are overseas and need medical treatment? Or maybe you have to cancel your holiday due to a family member being taken to hospital? These are all factors which make purchasing adequate travel insurance one of the most important purchase's you make when travelling away from home. If you don't have travel insurance and one of the above scenarios happens, your dream holiday could turn into a nightmare. Once you have decided that you require travel insurance, you need to make sure that you purchase the best type of cover for your individual needs. You can get basic cover to shark cage diving in Cape Town! It is very easy to see what is covered and what is not. It is important to understand how the 'excess' works on your travel insurance policy, to make sure you don't get caught out. The excess is the amount that the policyholder pays towards the claim. For example, if you lose or damage your camera and you put in a claim for £500 and policy excess is £100, the insurer would pay out £400. Another thing to watch out on, is that there are a number of different policy covers. Some polices charge an excess per section, which could result in costs mounting up quickly as you would need to pay excess on the amount of items you lose. This is compared to just one excess per claim, which could work out much cheaper. Whatever type of travel insurance you need, Barrhead Travel offers extremely competitive rates, and the cover is excellent too. You’ll be asked by our travel consultants as to whether you would like to buy insurance when you book your trip – please don’t put it off! We have annual insurance policies available too, for frequent travellers. Be sure to book your insurance in store at any of our branches, or give us a call on 0800 804 8666, as soon as you book your holiday – you’ll be covered straight away! To purchase, you will be offered travel insurance when you book your Barrhead holiday.
  7. Each year, we see reports issued by The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and other well-known organisations that show the number of people who don’t buy travel insurance is rising. And there are many, many other travellers who decide to buy it just before they go away. If there’s one thing you do when you book your well-deserved and much-longed-for holiday, it’s take out adequate travel insurance when you book your holiday. We know that travel insurance isn’t the most exciting purchase you’ll ever make, and that many people think, "I’ll be fine. It’ll never happen to me.“ But the fact is, accidents and issues do happen to people - all the time. And another fact is, if you need it and you don’t have it, you could be in real financial dire straits. It may be that you think that insurance is too expensive. You might think that the UK Government will cover your costs if you fall ill or have an accident abroad. You might think that all you need is the European EHIC card will cover you for any medical emergencies. You might not have thought about what happens to the money you have paid for your break if you fall ill and can’t travel, if you are made redundant and can no longer afford to go, or if you are delayed getting to the airport because of an accident on the motorway and miss your flight. Insurance covers you for those unexpected things that just might happen before your holiday, which mean you have to cancel. It covers you for medical bills – and let’s be honest, it’s well-documented that destinations such as the USA charge huge amounts for even the most basic medical care. While the UK Government’s Foreign Office will provide you with emergency assistance, they will never give you money for medical bills. And the EHIC card only entitles you to the same benefits as a resident of that country, which could still mean you pay for treatment. It's not an alternative to travel insurance, just an added extra - it won't cover for things like emergency dental treatment or an air ambulance home to the UK. Of course, exclusions will apply, especially if you are taking part in dangerous sports or have an excessive amounts of alcohol. It pays to read the small print on your policy, but wouldn’t you rather be safe in the knowledge that you’ll have a safety net if anything untoward happens? Not buying insurance at the time you book your holiday is a false economy. When you do buy it, make sure the policy covers you for everything you’ll need – some policies, including those given free with credit cards, may not have the level of cover required. As the UK’s leading independent travel group, Barrhead Travel offers insurance at extremely competitive rates, and the cover is excellent too. You’ll be asked by our travel consultants as to whether you would like to buy insurance when you book your trip – please don’t put it off! We have annual insurance policies available too, for frequent travellers. Be sure to book your insurance in store at any of our branches, or give us a call on 0800 804 8666, as soon as you book your holiday – you’ll be covered straight away!
  8. Luxury Cruising onboard Seabourn Quest Elaine Monteith, from our East Kilbride branch, visited Seabourn Quest when it visited Leith recently. Here she tells all about her experience on board and why, for her, Seabourn is the ultimate in luxury cruising. As we drove into the car park at Ocean Terminal at Leith in Edinburgh to join the ship, the first thing that struck us was how compact Seabourn Quest was, when compared to some of the mega-ships that are sailing the oceans of the world. She was beautiful from the outside, but as Seabourn is all about intimate luxury cruiing, from the moment we walked up the gangplank we knew that that was just the start of something special - this is no ordinary ship! You simply don’t get a cabin when you holiday with Seabourn – the all-suite accommodation has every amenity you could want and more. And the public areas reminded me more of a high-end, boutique hotel, with lots of glass and modern decoration which added to the glamorous feel. Seabourn is a company which prides itself on its hospitality, and has a 1:1 ratio of staff to guests. Every member of staff we met, from the bartenders to the spa therapists and from the waiters to the officers, seemed genuinely happy to see us, and our host Carly told us that every one is a hospitality professional who has a real sense of pride in looking after their guests. This is an all-inclusive cruise line, and that includes all the restaurants and champagne, as well as mini massages and free sun lotion when you are out on deck. Every little thing you could wish for is here. Entertainment options on Seabourn Quest include Movies Under The Stars – sadly, Edinburgh was grey and rainy when we were there, but we could imagine how lovely that would be in sunnier destinations! – as well as shows in the Grand Salon, and Rock The Boat dance parties on deck. We could see how easy it would be to make new friends on this ship, and as the art of conversation has always been an important part of the Seabourn experience, the company invites all sorts of experts, such as explorers, artists, chefs and business people to be part of their Seabourn Conversations series, where as well as presenting on their area of expertise, they mingle with the guests and take part in the social side of life too. From the gorgeous spa to the fitness centre, from the mini golf to the restaurants, everything was really impressive on board. There were two outdoor swimming pools, Jacuzzis, plenty of sun terrace areas where you could sunbathe without banging elbows with the person on the next (very comfortable) lounger, Seabourn Square, with its coffee bar, library and computer centre, and five lounges. The ship is definitely small enough to create a homely, intimate feel, yet large enough to have all that you could want in a home from home on the seven seas. Smaller ships are able to get into smaller ports and Seabourn’s excursions in each have been planned to be exciting and different. There is something for everyone, such as wine and food tasting in Tuscany, exploring ancient ruins, going kayaking and even touring by helicopter! We all agreed, as we sipped champagne in the bar before dinner, that we’d be quite happy to settle down on one of the sofas there for a few weeks and be completely pampered! But the delicious dining options in The Restaurant changed our minds – we’d rather spend a few weeks there instead! There was a wide selection of dishes to choose from, all impeccably cooked and served by lovely waiters and waitresses. There are three restaurants on the ship, the other two being the more informal Colonnade and the other the speciality restaurant, Restaurant 2. For luxury and extra-special service, I’d definitely recommend Seabourn Quest. Every tiny detail seems to have been thought of – one evening on board definitely wasn’t enough!
  9. Barrhead Travel’s latest store, at the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow, opened earlier this year, with a former Modern Apprenticeship Scheme to Manager! Ruaridh Wilson joined us in 2010. Each year, we take on around 50 young people across our branch network – we’re looking for a great attitude and personality, and Ruaridh fitted the bill perfectly. He’d been at college studying to join the Merchant Navy, but decided it wasn’t for him, so when a friend told him about Barrhead Travel’s Modern Apprentice scheme, he made the leap. He began his career with us in the Canada department. Having travelled pretty extensively, far away destinations seemed the perfect match for Ruaridh and he soaked up knowledge of this huge and diverse country in the first 6 months in the department. “Getting to know all about the geography, activities, Canadian culture and holiday options was really interesting, and gave me loads of specialist knowledge,” he says. “I was also given a lot of coaching and training on the systems we use in-house, and we had separate training using role plays, which was good for helping us to understand the customer’s needs and ensure we gave the best possible service. I really enjoyed it.” After just a few months, Ruaridh was ready to progress into a customer-facing, sales role while he completed his qualification. “I was in the Canada department for 2 years as a Sales Consultant, and I loved the complexity of the itineraries I put together, because we tailor-made every one for the customer. The most satisfying booking I made was for a large group – the attention to detail I needed was challenging but great experience.” Ruaridh then looked to expand his knowledge, with a move to the Longhaul department, where he gained experience of other areas of the world and compiled itineraries to areas such as South America, Australia, the Far East and the USA. “I love learning and the best thing about travel, for me, is that you can never know everything – every day is a school day!” he smiles. A promotion to Team Leader gave Ruaridh the experience of managing a team, which in turn led to him becoming Assistant Manager in the department. After applying internally for the position of Manager at St Enoch, Ruaridh was pleased to be offered the job. “Running a new store is an honour, but it’s also very hard work and a lot of responsibility,” he says. “I’m determined that it’ll be a success, and thanks to the fantastic team we have in the store, backed up by the amazing offers and technology that the company provides, we’re well on our way to achieving the goals we set ourselves when we opened.” Young people are the future of Barrhead Travel - why not join us via the Modern Apprentice scheme? Contact hr@barrheadtravel.com or call 0141 223 6655.
  10. One Day Cruise Event

    One Day Cruise Event Barrhead Travel invites you to join them at their One Day Cruise Event on Saturday 22nd August at their Glasgow Superstore, located in Oswald Street. Enjoy a full day of celebrating all things cruise and meeting the experts from the world’s leading cruise lines. If you’re new to cruising, this will be a fantastic opportunity to find out a bit more about why it makes the ideal holiday. The experts at Barrhead Travel will be running informative presentations throughout the day, providing you with all sorts of helpful advice and tips for your first cruise, from how to pick the most suitable cabin type, to what you should pack for every kind of cruise. Perhaps you’re a seasoned cruiser, looking for something completely different. The cruise experts at Barrhead Travel can introduce you to their exclusive, tailor-made cruise and stay holidays. With a variety of worldwide destinations, these hand-picked cruises are perfect for those seeking new and exciting experiences. As well as having the cruise experts on hand to answer any questions, you’ll be able to get a taste for what life’s like to be on board the cruise ships. Sample delectable cuisine from the chefs at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse; sip some wine courtesy of Majestic Wines; roll the dice with the Grosvenor Casino or relax with some indulgent spa mini treatments, courtesy of Pure Spa. On top of all this, Barrhead Travel are also offering some amazing prizes and exclusive offers throughout the day to celebrate their 40th anniversary. You’ll receive £40 off per booking and there are 40 exciting gifts to give away. Plus, the 40th booking on the day will win a fabulous mystery prize – you’ve got to be in it to win it! To find out more information about this event, or to register your attendance, call Barrhead Travel on 0141 242 1313.
  11. Next up in our Barrhead Travel Back Office Heroes series is Tain Cleland, Wholesale Admin Assistant. Tain’s worked for Barrhead Travel for 15 years in a number of roles, starting out at the age of 24 as a Telesales Consultant in the firm’s first-ever contact centre in Barrhead, helping customers to find their ideal holiday to the sun. “Barrhead Travel was much smaller then, and it was really exciting to be part of a company that was growing and had such big plans,” Tain says. “The Manager of the contact centre is now the Sales Director, and the contact centre has moved to become part of the Glasgow Oswald Street superstore, but one thing that has never changed is the feeling that you are part of a family. I love working here!” Throughout her years at Barrhead, Tain has had the opportunity to learn and develop, moving into servicing online bookings received through the company’s websites after a few years. “I was looking for a change and was really happy to be given the chance to try something different. I enjoyed looking after online enquiries, but as my colleagues will tell you, I do like to talk to people! So after a couple of years, I was asked if I would like another role in the Wholesale Department, dealing with customers who had booked holidays using Barrhead Travel’s exclusive summer charter flights. I was flattered to be asked and jumped at the chance.” Tain’s current role sees her help customers pre-book their seats and help with any additional travel requirements or after-sales requests relating to their booking. “My role really helps make sure that our customers get the most out of their holiday. It’s lovely when someone calls me on their return to thank me and tell me what a great time they had.” It’s a varied job, as no two bookings are exactly the same, and Tain’s love of speaking to customers is quite evident when she says, “I actually race other people in the office to pick up the phone! The best thing about my job is my colleagues, though. It’s important to have fun where you work and I think Barrhead Travel has the right balance. I’ve always felt looked-after in my time with the business, as effort really gets rewarded.” Asked about what makes her proud in relation to her role, Tain says, “It might be a bit off-the-wall, but what I’m proudest of is the fact that in 15 years I have never had a day off sick – which must be pretty unusual in any job!” And her advice to anyone looking to join Barrhead Travel? “I’d say – go for it! You won’t find a better place to work in the travel business.”
  12. In the latest in our series on our Barrhead Travel Back Office Heroes, we speak to Dawn Wallace, our Accounts Department Supervisor Dawn’s been with us for 27 years so far, and her role, and that of her colleagues in the Accounts Department based at our Barrhead Head Office, is vitally important to Barrhead Travel. She has a total of 40 staff working on her team and with her vast experience and knowledge, she’s able to ensure that everything goes to plan. Her years of service mean that she has seen many changes occur, too. Dawn says, “When I started out in the admin team there were only two of us, as there were only about 20 people in the whole company. “I’ve seen Barrhead Travel grow so much. Though it started out in the town of Barrhead, we now have branches all over the country. It’s fantastic how it has grown and it’s great to have been a part of it for so long. “The technology in the early days seems so dated now – we thought we were ahead of the game when we got a new key and lamp telephone system! Now we’ve got modern computers and up to the minute technology, things are much more efficient and easier, and my job’s even more enjoyable.” Dawn adds that, while technology may have made her job easier, the thing that keeps her coming into work each day is Barrhead’s key asset, her colleagues. “The people are what makes the company. The staff are fantastic and so helpful - and I’ve been here long enough to see a lot of new faces come in to the business. I think that’s what makes the difference – we’re a family company and that’s what has made Barrhead Travel so successful.”
  13. Helping a huge company like Barrhead Travel operate efficiently and effectively takes a lot of team work, so we’d like to sing the praises of some of the unseen heroes in our organization. First in line, and deservedly so, is Norrie Webster At 84 years young, Norrie’s proud to be Barrhead Travel’s oldest employee. He joined us way back in 1992, following a long and illustrious career as a marine engineer in both the Royal and Merchant Navies. Retirement certainly wasn’t for Norrie, and he’s been a valued member of the Barrhead team ever since. “I simply love the job, and all the staff that I work with are absolutely wonderful.” Norrie’s 5 – hour working day sees him drive between our Glasgow branches, including the superstore at Oswald Street, the Accounts and Admin offices in Barrhead and the Glasgow luxury shop in St Vincent Street, as well as assisting with banking. “I go round in a circle, picking up stuff and delivering it elsewhere,” says Norrie. “It’s great as I get to know lots of the people who work for the company. Many of them I’ve been speaking to for many years and they’ve become good friends.” Norrie says that the business has changed considerably since he first joined. He adds, “When I started, Barrhead Travel was just one shop and had about 35 members of staff. Now it has expanded so much, it’s quite unbelievable.” Norrie says that, although his current role is a world away from his life on the open wave, there are similarities. “I spent my career in the navy travelling the world. Now I work for a great company that helps other people do the same!”
  14. Stretch Your Holiday Budget, Thanks To The Strong Pound! Heading off to resorts in Europe this year? Then you’ll be happy to learn that your holiday budget will go further than it has for years, as the pound is at its highest level since 2007. It’s risen 13% in a year, thanks to the issues the Eurozone has been experiencing in recent months, and experts predict that it will rise even further in the next 12 months, meaning next year may be even better than 2015 for Brits on holiday in European cities and resorts. If you haven’t yet booked your next getaway abroad, then Europe makes real financial sense. Eating out is cheaper, you’ll pay less for an ice cream or a bottle of sun lotion, and let’s face it, the weather is bound to be better than it is back home. Resorts in Portugal and the Costa del Sol are the best value for money, but even the most upmarket holiday destinations in the South of France and Italy have seen sizeable reductions in the cost of all those things that make a holiday memorable, like chinking glasses of Prosecco in Portofino or nibbling on calamari in Cannes. Prefer to get out and about and explore? The freedom of the open road is also more affordable, thanks to the lower cost of fuel abroad, so you can discover more of your destination for less. And it’s not just Europe where you’ll find the strength of sterling helping your wallet, because it’s also risen in recent months against currencies such as the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand dollars. If you’re planning a holiday to any of these places, there’s seldom been a better time to take the plunge and get it booked at Barrhead Travel. With a wide range of currencies on offer at very competitive rates through its branch network, it makes sense to buy your currency in advance from Barrhead Travel, too. You’ll get more Euros for your money than if you purchase them last-minute at the airport, so call into your local Barrhead Travel store today, and you ‘ll be quids in for your next escape.
  15. Stress Free Packing - 6 Handy Hints

    We all know that to experience stress free packing we should pack light, right? We’ve all seen those “top tips”, whereby your capsule wardrobe consists of one black bikini, one white bikini, a sarong, a sundress and a pair of day-to-night wedges. All rolled up to avoid creases in your tiny carry-on case. However, we also all know that there’s no chance of most of us being so organised. And besides, what happens if one of your bikinis has a malfunction, or you spill red wine on your sundress (or set it on fire with an unnoticed tealight, as happened to one of the Barrhead Travel team during a romantic break in Croatia…) Here are our own “top tips” for realistic packing for your next break. We can’t guarantee that you won’t still have to check your luggage in the hold, but at least you might not be over the weight limit when you do. Plan your wardrobe We bet there are many, many women out there (and possibly several thousand men, too) who take pairs of shoes on holiday which match only one outfit. There, reading that in black and white has made it seem silly, hasn’t it? Sensible travellers know that taking shoes which go with a number of dresses, skirts or trousers mean that they have more room in the case for essentials, like teabags or chocolate Hob Nobs. Take shoes you’ve broken in, too – there’s nothing worse than new shoes in the heat, a recipe for blisters and hobbling about cobbled streets, restaurants and bars as if you're walking on hot coals. Make a list Write down columns detailing Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and so on, and then figure out what you’ll be doing and what you might need to wear. We promise, a little planning before you even open the suitcase to pack will help you whittle down what’s absolutely necessary, what you can fit in if you have the space, and what you were mad to even think of taking in the first place. Basically, squashed clothes are creased and crinkled clothes, so the more space you leave, the less like Worzel Gummidge you’ll look on your longed-for break. Think before you pack it Prescription medicines, things that have huge sentimental value, valuable items like tablets, cameras or money…never, ever put anything in your checked baggage that you would be upset over losing. The odds on your suitcase being delayed or lost are long, but it does happen. Take them in your hand luggage – or leave them at home. And always lock your checked baggage, making sure you have a baggage tag outside and contact details inside, before you wave it goodbye at the check in desk or bag drop. Keep within the weight limit Know your baggage weight restrictions – these can vary from airline to airline and from route to route. If they state 20kg, and you like to pack everything but the kitchen sink, invest in a hand-held baggage scale and weigh it before you go, so you don’t get any excess baggage charge “surprises” at the airport. And don’t try to get around the restrictions by wearing 12 sets of clothes, as a boyband member tried recently – he fell ill on the flight as a result and had to be given oxygen by the crew. Research pays off Does your accommodation provide hairdryers and irons? If so, don’t bother taking your own – travel light and you’ll feel relaxed even before you hit the check-in queue, plus you’ll have more space in your case for mementos of your trip. Don’t forget… Passport, ticket, money - that's the holy trinity of travellers. But also think of things such as adaptors, an umbrella (check the weather forecast in advance of travel), sun lotion, insect repellent…savvy travellers, remember that the likelihood is that a lot of toiletries and cosmetics will be available in the destination you’re travelling to. Why not buy it there and avoid dragging it all the way from home? If you really must, decant enough for the duration of your stay into travel-sized bottles, and save yourself some space and weight into the bargain. (Handy tip – wrap any toilet bags or cosmetics in plastic bags too – then if the worst happens and something bursts mid-flight, your clothes will be protected.)
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