Trina Cooney has worked as a travel consultant for Flight Centre in Brisbane for twelve years. She is passionate about helping people make their travel dreams come true and loves visiting new countries herself. One of her favourite things about travel is making new friends on group trips (including our editor, while overlanding through Africa on a truck!).
The best group trip you have ever been on:
WOW - tough question! On thinking about it, I would probably choose my Intrepid Tour of Egypt. Such an amazing place full of history, culture, amazing food, people, sights, contrasts, shopping. I really think Egypt is definitely a place to tour rather than trying to ‘do it yourself’. It's busy, crowded and alive with a buzz that is impossible to ignore. I loved everything from bargaining in the marketplaces to sitting on a felucca (a traditional wooden sailing boat) for a couple of days floating along the Nile. I even learnt how to make fresh baba ganoush while taking in the sights and village life on the banks of the Nile.
We then moved on to the Sinai peninsula, visiting Mount Sinai and then relaxing on the beach at the Red Sea. The next day, I awoke to the sun glistening on the water, beckoning me to come in and go snorkelling. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW! I have to be honest and say it's the best reef that I have ever seen, despite being Australian - so many colours - so many fish – just so, so relaxing.
And the worst?
I can't say that I've had a ‘worst’ group trip. I've always arrived ready on every tour with an open mind for the culture. Travelling really is what you want it to be. It's like a painting ... you may love one place, but others not so much. If you want to have a good time, you will.
In the words of the great Dr Seuss: (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
What’s your favourite UK destination for a group day out?
Tough question ... might pass on that one as I haven't done a group trip in the UK.
What makes a good group trip?
Getting into things local ... being aware and respecting the people and cultures of your destination. Trying something new. Being a bit flexible and catering for different age groups. I'm a fan of smaller group trips - great for dynamics and getting to know your fellow travellers.
What do you always pack?
Without a doubt, my camera and my camera charger. I'm a big ‘clicker’ and love taking photos of people, buildings, carvings, sights ... it’s the best way to find the uniqueness of the country.
And what do you leave out?
My laptop. When I'm on holiday, I'm on holiday.
What was your favourite trip last year?
Bali - two weeks of bliss. Sunsets over the ocean. Cooking schools. Massages. Shopping. Eating. Bintang beer. Massages. Getting in with the locals. Walking barefoot on the beach with my feet in the water. Massages. Shopping. Eating. Bintang. Did I mention massages?
A holiday in Bali is always full of amazing people with big, genuine smiles and a great sense of humour. Every morning and afternoon, an offering is placed and prayers are said. The culture is full of gentleness. The most relaxing and inexpensive holiday I could ever possibly wish for.