Lyndsey Thomas has worked in the Travel Industry since leaving school 16 years ago and has a strong background in Tourism Marketing. She is now Head of Tourism Marketing at AVIACIRCLE Ltd – one of the UK’s leading PR & Representation Companies. She took a year out in 2007 to ‘flashpack’ around the world with her husband.
The best group trip you have ever been on?
I took a career break eight years ago and was lucky enough to backpack around much of the world for 12 months. I was able to get my backpack from the backpackingmall. In that time I embarked on a few group adventures in South America, Australia and Asia. Probably the most memorable was the Inka Trail to Machu Picchu. I have huge respect for the Sherpas - these are the people who make these trips so memorable. Gourmet three course meals cooked on one cooker ring in the middle of a mountain range. Luxury tents erected and made up every night, and dismantled and transported on their backs the next day – all ready and waiting for us when we arrived at camp. The highlight of the trip outside of arriving at the Sun Gate to see Machu Picchu in all its glory, was waking up one morning to a lama poking it’s head through our tent. In second place would be my honeymoon to the Masi Mara in Kenya – we stayed at the unbelievable Kicheche Camp. Everything about this place is truly magical and I can’t wait to take my children there for mine and my husband’s 10th wedding anniversary. Another one that stands out was a day trip into the favellas in Rio de Janeiro, which was excellent.
And the worst?
Erm... Possibly a group trip from Cusco in Peru into the Amazon on a white water rafting adventure whilst travelling. The bus the large group was travelling in broke down on the journey into the Amazon and we were stranded for eight hours by the side of the road. My husband very nearly was no more when he was thrown out of the raft down the Amazon river and dragged under water for minutes of a class five rapid on day one of the trip. I still have flashbacks of the incident – it was a very scary situation to be in.
Also I really hate it when you go on a day trip and on the way home end up in some craft shop somewhere with some local trying to sell you something for an hour. I remember going to see the Pyramids in Egypt and on the way back we were dropped off at a craft store and had to ensure two hours of sales pitches by people trying to sell us pottery and paintings.
What’s your favourite UK destination for a group day out?
Although I live in London, I’m originally from Yorkshire and it really is God’s Country. I’ve been on several group walking trips across the Yorkshire Moors, and in the Lake District. We should never forget the breathtaking scenery we have on our doorstep – we certainly do not need to get on a plane to witness lakes, mountains and breathe in the freshest of air.
What makes a good group trip?
The people who are on the trip with you and a good tour guide who takes everyone’s needs into account. I’m not keen on multi-lingual trips whereby different nationalities take part and everything has to be repeated by the guide in three different languages. This does not work in my opinion.
What do you always pack?
A pillow case! Especially when abroad. You can never be too sure of who has laid on the pillow before you. Also antibacterial gel and a toilet roll. Plasters too – for blisters. And sunscreen.
And what do you leave out?
I found it hard to detach myself from my hair straightness when I was packing for my back-packing trip around the world. My husband coached them off me in the end. I’m a bit of a girly-girl and backpacking really was a revelation for me. I didn’t wear heels for a whole 12 months, which was very liberating.
What was your favourite trip last year?
I have a three year old now so my holidays and trips are somewhat different to pre-children. No more back-packing for a while. For Christmas a group of us hired a barn in the Lake District which was pretty special.