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About Birding Abroad

Group sizes - we aim to keep group sizes small, usually between 5 (with 1 leader) and 10 (with 2 leaders). We do this to ensure a friendly and personal approach which we can further tailor for individual needs, as well as maximising opportunities for all members of the group to enjoy the best of the birds and wildlife. Our tour leaders will be on hand 24/7 whilst you are away on tour.

Accommodation - we stay in good quality accommodation, usually small to medium sized hotels with twin bedded rooms including en-suite facilities, but this depends on the location. Hotels are chosen primarily for their location (usually to be as close to birding locations as possible), and wherever feasible situated in out of town locations, enabling us to sample local fare and culture. Single rooms are usually available at a small supplement, but in some circumstances single rooms may not be available and we would then ask you to consider the possibility of sharing. We try to minimise the number of the hotel changes during a tour, but of course some destinations require us to be on the move more frequently. As seasoned travellers ourselves we understand that group members want to feel comfortable, refreshed and enjoy what is after all a holiday too.

Pace and style of the tours - our itineraries are designed to allow ample time to enjoy the birds and wildlife in each location. We appreciate that tours are more enjoyable when fatigue is minimised, so each day we include short refreshment and comfort breaks, enjoying a coffee or snack, to break up the time spent in the field. In our tour descriptions we are transparent in explaining whether the itinerary, terrain, altitude or any other local conditions could present group members with particular challenges. The walks we make are fairly short, usually not more than two kilometer's, with much birding actually done even closer to our vehicles. We take our walks at a leisurely amble, pausing regularly to absorb the birding and wildlife. Some target species do of course require us to be in the field early or later in the day and we indicate clearly in our tour descriptions if this is so. Any early morning starts or late evening sessions we undertake are optional, with some group members preferring to start after breakfast and end the day by late afternoon. We enjoy making new birding friendships and enjoy good natured and good humoured company from people of all backgrounds.

Our prices - we offer keenly competitive prices, with no compromise on quality and comfort to maximise the enjoyment for our customers. We achieve this because we operate as a two person team, doing all the planning, organising, tour leading and administration ourselves with no office staff or overheads and no expensive advertising budgets. Moreover, whilst we need to cover our business expenses, Birding Abroad is not primarily driven by the need to generate significant commercial margins, and hence we are able to keep prices low, passing on great value to our customers.

Customer feedback - we achieve high ratings from our customers, many of whom have chosen to travel with us on repeated occasions. We don't take customer loyalty for granted though and ensure that we listen to feedback and look for continual improvement in what we offer on our tours.

UK travel - we endeavour to use regional airports close to the Yorkshire region, where Lance still lives, but inevitably some tours have to start at the London airports. With clients from all around the UK, and Nick being based in Bournemouth, we are often able to offer assistance in getting to and from the UK airports we use. This usually entails hiring a mini bus with convenient collection points along the way. Of course some clients like to make their own plans and simply prefer to meet us at the check-in desk, and that's fine too. We will always ask if you need some help with UK travel and see what is possible.

Nick with group members watching Aquatic Warblers Poland May 2015

International Flights - Birding Abroad is currently exploring the benefits of ATOL membership, which provides protection to customers in the event of a tour operator becoming insolvent. For the scale of our current operations however, we feel the costs of joining ATOL would add significantly to the price of our tours. By keeping flights and the other components of the tours as separate elements, we can keep prices competitive, without affecting the quality of the tours. Please remember that Birding Abroad will protect your money in a separate 'clients account' until the successful completion of each tour.
Therefore for the time being our tours will begin and end at the destination airport of the country being visited. A number of factors have persuaded us to structure tours in this way.
1 - Clients benefit from greater flexibility around the core dates of our tours, permitting time either side of the tour to 'do their own thing', including sightseeing and exploring other interests in the country being visited.
2 - Clients can more easily upgrade from economy seating should they wish, offering greater choice in the degree of comfort they wish to enjoy.
3 - Some clients may have favourite airlines, being members of loyalty reward schemes and wish wherever possible to avail themselves of the benefits this brings. Others might like to search for the best deals themselves from the large array of flight providers on the market.
4 - We believe the majority of our clients are quite happy to arrange international flights for themselves, and simply meet us as tour leaders and organisers at the destination airport.
We will indicate the flights on which Lance and Nick will travel, enabling you to fly out with us from the UK. Please note we will make every effort to assist in booking flights for those who require such help - we will meet you or even talk you through the booking process as you make the airline booking. Remember we are only a phone call away.
Where possible we will organise travel to and from the UK airports, usually by mini-bus, for those that wish to have a 'door to door' experience.

What information do we provide? - should you be interested in a tour and want to talk to us informally first, then we are only too pleased to assist with any queries you may have. Should you make a booking with us, we then normally send a series of letters which cover everything you will need to know. The first of these will request a deposit and any personal information that is required to initiate and progress the tour. Further communiqués from us give information on flights, UK travel, the likely weather, clothing recommended and other useful tips relevant to the country being visited, and the date of a pre-tour meeting (purely optional of course), usually held in Doncaster, where clients can meet and clarify any last minute issues.

 
LANCE DEGNAN
14 Fiddlers Drive, Armthorpe
DONCASTER, South Yorkshire, DN3 3TT.
Tel: 01302 835094 email: lance@birdingabroad.com
NICK WHITEHOUSE
18 Cucklington Gardens, Muscliff,
BOURNEMOUTH, Dorset, BH9 3QS.
Tel: 01202 514575 email: nick@birdingabroad.com