The Fairy Godmother of travel

on 04 September 2018.


As Fare Wise Travel celebrate 25 years in business, we meet with MD Veronica Bailey to find out the secret behind their success. She tells us about her childhood adventures, what led her into the travel industry and how she launched a successful company that has lasted over 2 decades….

What got you interested in travel?

“I was sort of born into it, I started life in Bolivia but spent sections of my childhood in Burma, Nigeria, Canada and Egypt. My father was a mining engineer and we just followed where he went.

I loved the buzz of a new country, discovering different cultures, flavours and particularly the food, I will never forget the delicious vegetable dishes I had as a child in Egypt, the people were poor, but they were able to make beautiful meals from very little.

It taught me to be resilient and adapt to different perspectives, for example in Burma my school was very basic: simply some benches with chalk and slate. Travelling makes you confident and able to get on with a variety of people”

What happened when you came to the UK?

“I got a job in Banbury working for the Tourist information centre but as it turned out, a few opportunities came along at once and quite by chance a friend mentioned they were starting a Travel Agency Competence course and I burmathought I’d tag along. Two years later I emerged overqualified for just about every junior travel agency role. Luckily WHSmith, who at the time were offering travel packages, took me on…”

How was Fare Wise Travel born?

“It was a series of synchronistic events that emerged from my frustration that we could only sell products from one company. I just knew that people weren’t getting the best deal because travel companies were so fragmented, and I wanted to open something independent.

Luckily, some clients at the time became investors and my boss followed suit, suddenly we had enough hands-on deck to launch the company! Working tirelessly from home, on the 16th of October 1992, Fare Wise Travel was born just as last-minute deals were coming out for travellers and we made some large bookings, including flying a young football team over to the States.

We gained enough capital to open our shop on 115 High Street on the September 13th 1993.

It just sort of came together, I think the right people believed in the company and customers kept coming back”

What’s the secret behind your longevity?

“We offer something unique: a free service that coordinates all of the parts of travel together that can make it stressful. We do the research for customers, we’ve been to these destinations and can offer solid advice, but above all we listen to what they want and help them make informed choices.

Travelling is now more accessible than ever, but it can take careful research to coordinate the right accommodation, location, flights and transfers.

A customer can come to us with an idea and we act like their fairy godmother, pulling together the best deals available on the market to make their vision a reality!”

What brought Fare Wise into the 21stcentury?

“I think the most important part of our business is our staff, we invest in our team and they tend to stay with us a long time. We take on apprentices and engage with the local community, for example we offer the Tourist information service free of charge. I believe that keeps us current and it is important to me to invest in our town and its own tourism.

We have embraced new technology, which enables us to search large databases for the best deals and bring them all together whilst they are still current. We have also joined the world of social networking and post regular offers for packages across the world.”

What can I expect coming to you?

“We can take the stress out of travelling. When you come to us, you will always speak with a real person and we are there for you from booking to aftercare.

We can coordinate groups with a wide variety of needs, so if you want the whole family to come on holiday from different locations in the UK, we can do it for you by finding the right accommodation and destination for all ages.

We can make sure you are travelling at the right time of year for your destination, so you avoid any monsoon seasons and make sure you have the right documentation for your travel. I will never forget a frantic call from a man who had booked a flight home to the UK that transited through Moscow and hadn’t realised he would need a Visa. We can make sure those mistakes don’t happen!

I suppose we help keep people safe, informed and make sure they find a destination that works for them and the whole party. We also offer aftercare so if anything goes wrong, we are on the end of the phone to help you.”

Won’t I pay a premium compared to online deals?

“Absolutely not, we work like a broker, so we can search the wider market and get you the best deal available.

When you choose something online, you don’t get an awful lot of background as to what you are booking but if you book through us we can advise the best places to stay and eat out, so you know what you are getting in advance. It’s almost like having a well-travelled friend!

Lots of people believe that if they go online it will be cheaper but these companies are adding their own margin with very little back in the way of customer service.”

We march to remember… Hungerford’s remembrance parade
This Sunday the 11th of November the people of Hungerford will commemorate the heroic servicemen and women who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.

Our top picks for the best in European Christmas travel
This year you can really experience the delicacies and delights of Christmas custom from traditions across the continent with some of Fare Wise Travel’s hand-picked Christmas escapes!

May your days be Holly and Bright
Yes, there is no escaping it. Christmas is just around the corner and our attention will soon turn to decking our halls and garnishing our doors with beautiful seasonal delights.

Taking you further with eBikes
Electric bikes are revolutionising cycling, acting as a leveller and making the sport more accessible to people of all abilities, stages and ages.

No ordinary school run… in the MINI Cooper 5 Door Hatch
Raising children is a constant merry-go-round of getting people to the right places at the right time with all the required paraphernalia: school bag, check, lunch box, check, homework, check.

A frightful week of Half term fun at Cobbs
This half term Cobbs Farm Shop and Play Barn are offering a little bit extra with non-stop entertainment for all the family.

Viva las Donnington Grove
Set your soul on fire next month with an evening of entertainment from the King himself featuring authentic tribute band Elvis in Trouble who offer the ultimate Las Vegas experience.

The Fairy Godmother of travel
As Fare Wise Travel celebrate 25 years in business, we meet with MD Veronica Bailey to find out the secret behind their success.

Free collection for your bike service
Keeping your bike roadworthy has to be a priority throughout the year, so after a fantastic summer season, Banjo Cycles of Newbury are offering a free pickup service for bike maintenance in Hungerford area this September.

A warm welcome this winter
This winter transform your home with the natural warmth and comfort of a real log burner.

A cruise for me, free for you!
Fancy experiencing a cruise and bringing your loved one for free?

A brand new local jobs board
Hungerford TOWNSITE™ is well established as a conduit for local people featuring news, events, attractions and special offers and NOW we've added a LOCAL JOBS BOARD to our already successful mix. This comprehensive section aims to connect with local job hunters in a friendly and more engaging way

Getting to know you… Cobbs, much more than a farm shop
As you walk into Cobbs newly refurbished and extended café, it’s easy to see why this business is thriving.

#2 laid back honeymoon ideas 2018
Pick an idyllic spot in the Mediterranean, combine it with panoramic coastal walks, snorkeling and beautiful turquoise waters to make it a perfect honeymoon!

Luxury honeymoon on a budget
Are you getting married over the Christmas period in 2018? Fare Wise Travel are offering an exclusive 7-night winter beach-chillout honeymoon with an all-inclusive luxury package.

18 idyllic championship holes
Once considered the preserve of retired bank managers, the game of golf has been re-branded for a new generation and not only now has mass appeal, but in certain quarters is even considered quite groovy

Those of us who live here don't have to think twice, we love it and, you've had a job to persuade us to go elsewhere.

Compared to many towns, Hungerford High Street is in good shape. It is better now than it has been for years...

Walking in the beautiful areas of outstanding natural beauty in and around Hungerford is a very special experience.

Next time you visit Littlecote House keep a wary eye out for ghosts. That black dog you see on the stairs may not be all it seems!

Enjoy your visit and don't foget to let us know how it went