Express & Star

Walsall travel specialist helps customers plan global adventures

It's that time of year when many of us start dreaming of swapping our winter woolies for some summer sunshine.

Travel specialist Helen Davis from Walsall

After the pandemic put a lot of people's travel plans on hold, holidaymakers have been keen to make up for lost time.

Travel specialist Helen Davis, who has more than 22 years' experience working in the travel industry, has seen growing demand for 'bucket list' holidays, adventure trips and luxury hotels.

She says many people are also seeking new ways to spend time with their friends and family and celebrate special occasions.

"I think people have got the buzz about travel again," she says.

"I think the pandemic really made people dream of going to the destinations they were yet to travel to.

"As the destinations around the world opened and the vaccination policies relaxed the demand got higher and higher for each destination.

"People seem to be thinking of the places they have not yet visited and really have the urge to travel and see those destinations as I guess you don’t know what is around the corner.

"Also, a lot of people had to postpone trips for special occasions, and everyone seems to still be celebrating.

Helen has more than 22 year's experience in the travel industry

"I’m seeing trends now pop up. People used to have their own or a couple’s bucket list. Now I have family bucket list trips, people getting in touch planning to go to Florida and stay in Disney in the next two to three years.

"Friends having a bucket list to go to New York on a girls Christmas shopping trip, male groups having hobbies such as mountain biking or golf in new destinations," Helen tells Weekend.

Helen, who is based in Walsall, started her career as a trainee travel agent in 2000 and has worked for Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays.

For the past nine years she has been part of the Travel Counsellors network, specialising in tailor-made experiences and luxury travel.

In the run up to Christmas, she has helped families plan once-in-a-lifetime trips to Lapland with their children and customers travel to New York to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Helen first realised that she had a knack for holiday planning while visiting a travel agency with her parents when she was 15.

"The agent was really struggling to come up with ideas for what my parents could afford.

"It was exciting looking at the holidays but they weren't able to afford them.

"I started looking at the brochures and firing ideas at the the travel agent.

"I helped the agent find something that I don't think they would have been able to find otherwise," she explains.

Helen loves keeping up to date on the newest hotels and attractions and earlier this year travelled to Dubai to see the new hotel and landmark Atlantis The Royal.

In March, she is taking a small group of customers to Iceland for a four-night break which will include a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon and the chance to explore the Golden Circle by Superjeep.

Helen, who has many repeat customers, enjoys getting to know her clients and being able to offer very personalised recommendations.

Helen helped families plan once in a lifetime trips to Lapland this month

And hearing about their adventures when they return is the ultimate job satisfaction- although sometimes they can't wait until they get home to tell her how much they are enjoying their holiday.

"It's not unusual for people to send me videos and messages while they are away.

"I've event had people Facetime me if they've had something special going on that I have organised, "says Helen.

She believes the bucket list trend will continue into 2023 and says trips that take in a number of different destinations are also likely to be popular.

"I expect to see more people wanting to go to multiple countries, not just visiting one country," Helen tells Weekend.

So far Helen hasn't witnessed any changes to people's holiday habits and plans as a result of the cost of living.

"I'm not seeing any slow down in what people are booking for their holiday. They aren't spending any less and I haven't seen any cancellations," she explains.

If people are planning luxury trips but they don’t want to break the bank, Helen says there are lots of ways to reduce the cost.

"Using a travel agent who gets to know you, can find out how much flexibility you have and what is most important to you to then find the best trips or deals on your behalf.

"Booking early is key when travelling over popular dates and school holidays and will also help spread the cost.

"Playing around with dates, avoiding peak travel over Bank Holidays dates etc or even by just avoiding weekend travel it can help. Even choosing less desired flight times will gain people extra savings.

"There are many destinations that you can travel to such as Turkey, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Thailand, Indonesia that offer terrific value for money.

"Choose alternative destinations. For example, in the Indian ocean Mauritius can often be hundreds of pounds less than the Maldives.

"Newly opened hotels can offer money saving options. Or staying off the beaten track, you could go to New York and stay in Brooklyn for a longer stay than for the same amount of time in Manhattan.

"A hotel that has a courtesy bus ride to the beach is often cheaper than a beachfront option.

"You may dream of a water villa in the Maldives, but you could split the stay and have a beach villa for the first part of the trip then upgrade to a water villa for the final part of the stay," says Helen.

*For more advice, see or visit