Specialised Travel The Performing Arts Travel Company
Specialised Travel is the world’s leading provider of tour and travel services to the Performing Arts world. Our specialist departments serve professionals and amateur musicians, organise complete concert tours for ensembles world-wide, holidays for singers, and tours for classical music, opera and ballet lovers.
2019 in numbers
We have dedicated, highly experienced divisions, each focussed on delivering the specific needs of touring performers and of music lovers.
Cost-effective support for choirs, orchestras, ballet and theatre companies of any size, travelling anywhere in the world.
- From simple rail ticket supply to the complete operation of a world tour with experienced multi-lingual tour managers
- Access to all airlines; multi carrier solutions for both passengers and freight
- Buying power, negotiation skills and competitive pricing. We source globally and in multiple currencies to obtain the best deals
- Centralised administration and billing. One contact for all requests, i.e. awkward instruments, baggage, special meals, seating etc.
- The internet does provide not the cheapest options .
- What is your time worth?
- Support when things go wrong; 24/7 back-up when unexpected events occur such as strikes, closures, IT failures bad weather. Airline websites and reservations centres are usually unavailable in such cases.
- Trained multilingual staff who can provide a wide range of services from simple support at check-in to complete tour management worldwide
- Our wide range of clients view us as a flexible extension of their own touring staff – called upon whenever necessary
Corporate & Individual Travel
A bespoke travel service tailored to the specific needs of professional artists and performers.
- No call centre anonymity. Direct contact with one experienced manager who knows your travel preferences,
- Full 24/7/365 service
- Fare comparisons between carriers and between full service and low-cost airlines.
- Options held and seats reserved in advance
- Access to unpublished specially negotiated low fares to some popular long-haul destinations in all classes – First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy.
- One call to arrange all aspects of travel – flights, seating, rail travel, hotels, car hire, limo transfers, visas
- Unrivalled expertise in making bookings for musical instruments.
- Our own passport and visa procurement service
- Instant access and response when things go wrong – due to strikes, bad weather, IT disruptions etc
Worldwide Concert Tours
Visit the ACFEA website here for complete information.
Opera, Ballet & Classical Music Holidays
Visit the Travel for the Arts website here for complete information.
We support a number of partner organisations with their travel operations. Current partners are:
Travel Partner for John Whibley Holidays
Visit the John Whibley Holidays website here for more information.
Travel Partner for Concerts from Scratch
Visit the Really Big Chorus website here for more information.
Travel Partner for Carpenter Holidays
Visit the Carpenter Holidays website here for more information.
Thank you all so very much for all of your help with making the MSO’s European Tour the success it was. The MSO couldn’t have wanted for a bigger triumph across the five concerts and the arrangements that you put in place worked wonderfully, quite aside from the wonderful care and attention that you showed us on the road. For an orchestra that tours internationally comparatively rarely, it was great to be working with the best!
Be it for an extensive tour of Asia or America or a single concert in Europe, having received an excellent level of service for many years, the RPO is hugely indebted to Kristina Aljinovic and all the team at Specialised Travel … when it comes to transporting the orchestra and its instruments around the world, their inside knowledge, dedication, reliability and expertise is invaluable and we look forward to Specialised Travel organising our travel requirements for many years to come.
We can't imagine how we ran our hectic schedule without Specialised Travel. Always efficient, helpful, patient, and understanding the particular problems which occur. This service is one of the most important features of a musicians life, contributing greatly to our health and happiness.
Excellent, can't speak highly enough of the individual, personal service provided. There is no other company I would ever travel with! Looking forward to the next one!
Propeller Theatre Company has benefitted from Specialised Travel's superb care and efficiency for the last eight years as the company travel all over the world each year. Each trip comes with its own special requests and these are always met with great grace. We happily recommend Specialised Travel to other companies and are delighted to do so.
We have been working with Specialised for many years now and they always deliver a consistently friendly and helpful service – often going beyond the call of duty to help with last minute requests and always ensuring our travel runs smoothly for our overseas tours.
I have been using Specialised Travel to arrange group scheduled flights and charters for orchestral touring for over 10 years. The team’s expertise, knowledge and professional service is outstanding. Nothing is too much trouble for which is especially important when a problem arises. I know that I can always rely on Specialised Travel to arrange group travel expertly.
I thought choir tours were just hard work from start to finish but I was proved wrong. I enjoyed this trip and we enjoyed the music. ACFEA clearly understands musicians and your excellent links with communities abroad means that our performances were extremely well received. We had over 400 people at our first concert and a standing ovation! Thanks for putting it all together!
The Tours department of Intermusica have enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with Specialised Travel for many years. We very much enjoy working with the group department at Specialised, and find their services extremely professional, reliable and provide a high level of service for our clients. The team are extremely prompt at replying to enquiries, and ensure to make suitable arrangements no matter what type of group (orchestras, choirs etc) taking into account all special requirements. We value our relationship with Specialised Travel and plan to continue working with them into the future.
I've worked with Specialised Travel for almost 25 years on many orchestral tours all over the world. She. Kristina effortlessly combines charm and elegance with a no-nonsense and hands-on approach and is someone you would like to have with you in a crisis; she and I were in New York together on 9/11 for a major project for the Lincoln Center. We had an orchestra, choir and artists flying in from all over the world that day, but we ended up dismantling the entire project in very challenging circumstances. We were stuck in NY for a week, but Kristina got us back to London (business class!) on only the third BA flight out of NY... I am grateful to Richard, Kristina and all their colleagues at Specialised Travel for their care and contribution to the work we do.
Specialised Travel deliver a dependable and professional service, with a distinct understanding for the unique demands of travel within the arts.
Meet the Team
Admin & Accounts
Corporate & Individual Travel
Travel for the Arts & Tour Operations
Richard worked as a courier for ACFEA and Specialised Travel whilst a student at Oxford University where he took an MA in Materials Science, was Chairman of the University Choir and a Lay Clerk in Christ Church Cathedral. He purchased the company in 1983 and has combined his travel career with that of being a professional singer, having over 150 CD recordings to his credit. He still appears regularly with ensembles like the King's Consort, Polyphony, Tenebrae, Concert d'Astree, BBC Singers and Sonoro amongst others.
Kristina joined Specialised Travel in 1985 after an initial grounding in the travel industry. In addition to her responsibilities for general management of the company as Managing Director, she has concentrated on developing and servicing the international touring market for orchestras, choirs, ballet companies etc., travelling worldwide and - for example - visiting Japan over 46 times at the latest count. By birth a French-Croatian, Kristina is fluent in French, Croatian and Italian.
Nick joined STL in 2005 and has over 20 years of experience in the travel sector, having held a variety of different finance roles in both tour operating and travel agency businesses. A qualified chartered accountant, he trained with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) in Cambridge, before deciding to focus on the travel industry. At STL, his responsibilities also extend to overseeing HR and legal matters, IT and compliance. He has travelled extensively in North America, Australia and New Zealand, and is passionate about cricket.
Following a degree in Music from Sussex University, Helen worked for the Philharmonia Orchestra as Tour Manager for 15 years. In this role she travelled widely across Europe, the USA, Australasia and the Far East. Helen also studied the violin at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has sung with the BBC Symphony Chorus on various occasions.
Poppy worked as a tour leader whilst studying for her Spanish MA at Edinburgh University, and has continued to tour manage all over the world ever since. After a brief initial career in artist management, she became an Operations Manager for Specialised Travel in 2006, arranging both concert and special interest tours abroad. She has worked in several different departments of Specialised Travel including Travel for the Arts and ACFEA. Married to a concert and opera singer, she is currently on extended maternity leave.
Now living in Seattle, Nick graduated in Music from the University of Cambridge where he was organ scholar of Girton College. Prior to joining Specialised Travel, he combined post-graduate studies in Musicology at the University of Bristol with work as a conductor, organist, accompanist and baritone. He has organised, led and performed on tours throughout most of Europe, North America and Asia. He is an expert in the crucial area of planning cost-effective and rewarding concert tours, especially for our North American clients.
Following a degree in Music, Becky trained in Arts Administration at the London Sinfonietta before spending five years organizing concerts and education projects for the London Symphony Orchestra. In her role as LSO Tours Manager she travelled widely across Europe and the USA. Becky plays the oboe and, prior to joining Specialised Travel in 2005, taught English in Spain.
After graduating with a joint honours degree in History and German from the University of Nottingham, Elizabeth joined the Philharmonia Orchestra as their Concerts & Tours Assistant before going to work in the Concerts Department of the BBC Proms, and joining the ACFEA team in 2012. Elizabeth is passionate about music and travel and in addition to extensive visits to Europe, has a penchant for travelling and exploring in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.
Catherine moved to London from San Francisco for a Masters in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Music Studies from City University. In San Francisco she worked as a Marketing Manager at ODC/Dance and curated a concert series at the Pro Arts Gallery. In London, she worked as an arts manager and with emerging artists in not for profit organisations such as Dance Art Foundation and Making Tracks. A Greek speaker, she joined STL in 2013 and is an active performer specialising in traditional and contemporary Greek music performing all over Europe and the US.
Dan studied oboe at Birmingham Conservatoire before joining the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, administering their community choruses. After moving to London in 2012, he worked at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, assisting the orchestral and chamber faculties, before joining the team at ACFEA in 2015. As well as his passion for music and the arts, Dan enjoys travelling extensively throughout Europe and worldwide.
Following a degree in music from Royal Holloway, Julia worked for the Musicians Answering Service, New London Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra before moving to the BBC Proms & Radio 3 Live Events team in 2012. More recently she worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival. She is a keen traveller and enjoys hiking and cycling amongst other outdoor activities.
Paloma was born in Madrid and moved to London in 2015 to study for an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths. As part of this programme she was an intern at Intermusica in the International Touring Department. On returning to Madrid, she worked as Press Assistant in the Communications Department of the Teatro Real. Following an exciting and rewarding first summer working for ACFEA as a tour leader in Spain, she joined full time as a Tour Manager in 2017. In her spare time Paloma enjoys playing the piano, going to as many concerts as possible and travelling extensively!
A former Youth orchestra leader, Steph studied at the University of Birmingham and then worked for the music department at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham. She moved on to the position of Schools Officer at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, organising a range of workshops and partnership projects in a wide range of schools across the West Midlands. As well as being a keen amateur musician, Steph has a passion for running and has enjoyed travelling around Europe and parts of the USA.
Amy studied oboe at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, spending her third year of musical studies in Bologna, Italy. After graduating, she worked for Berkshire Maestros as Orchestra Manager for the Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra and choirs, and subsequently joined the Royal College of Music as their Orchestra Coordinator. With a passion for travel, Amy joined ACFEA as Tour Manager in 2019 and enjoys hiking, running and experiencing different cultures.
Natasha joined Specialised Travel in 2000 after 14 years of administration in the hotel and banqueting industry. Following years of organising events for clients, she now has the task of overseeing all aspects of the premises here at Specialised Travel. When asked to describe what her job entails, she says the easiest response is "everything that is not to do directly with travel or finance!" On occasion, however, she can be tempted out to help with specific large-scale operations.
Born and bred in India, Krunalini gained a post-graduate qualification in her home country before moving to the UK in 2004. Here she pursued further studies and is now a qualified chartered accountant with experience of working in various service sectors. Having been in the travel industry for the last 5 years, she now has a passion for that sector and joined STL from Wendy Wu Tours in 2019. In her spare time she loves listening to Indian Music and crochet knitting.
Sri Lankan born, Andy came to the UK in 1984 and completed his education here. Since then he worked in a number of finance departments, before joining Specialised Travel in 2001. He is primarily responsible for its treasury function. He enjoys sports and spends much of his spare time helping to raise money for various charitable causes.
Maria has worked for Specialised Travel for 26 years. Originally from Goa, where she worked as a teacher, Maria came to the UK in 1978. She held a variety of secretarial and accounting roles before joining the company, where she has responsibility for airline payables. She enjoys nature and entertaining people.
Joining Specialised Travel in 1997, Josh is an invaluable part of the service we offer to our clients. He personally delivers tickets, visas and travel documents to clients' homes and offices all over London and the South East. He is also responsible for arranging group and individual visas with London-based embassies and consulates.
John Gordon Jones
John has worked in the travel industry for over 30 years, gaining unparalleled experience in all aspects of the business and before he joined STL in 1997, worked for PanAm and a major Mayfair travel agent. He looks after the individual travel requirements many of STL's high profile and discerning clients. John has travelled extensively all over the world, having both lived in the Far East and studied in Rome. A keen amateur pianist, John’s major passion is classical music.
Steve has been working in travel since 1975 and with Specialised Travel since 1989. As well as having a range of loyal clients, he also looks after travel-specific I.T. systems at STL. He has travelled extensively with a particular fondness for South Africa. Outside of travel, his interests include a lifelong devotion to Portsmouth Football Club and listening to a broad spectrum of music from classical to rock.
Maria has worked in travel since 1980, covering tour operations, ABTA holidays, film crew transportation and individuals from both the opera and classical music worlds. She joined the Business Travel department at Specialised Travel in April 2001.
Peter has spent over 25 years working in the travel industry. In that time he has worked for KLM in Sales & Marketing, for Air Canada as a flight controller and for British Airways as a trainer for the pilots and cabin crew. More recently he worked in Business & Corporate Travel at Flight Centre's UK Head Office. Peter is a new recruit of Specialised Travel, joining in January 2019 and in his spare time enjoys performing with many Musical Theatre companies.
One of the company's longest-serving employees, Ghita joined Specialised Travel as a school leaver back in 1988, originally as a trainee in the business travel department. She is now Manager for the Production Touring department, looking after the touring arrangements for a wide range of professional musicians, orchestras, choirs and theatre companies.
Juliet joined the Production Touring department in 2018 after spending 11 years working in STL on programme planning and marketing for our Travel for the Arts tour operation. Prior to this, she held posts at the Royal Opera House and with European Union Youth Orchestra. Juliet is a trained dancer and spends much of her spare time performing with a local theatre group.
Sunita lived in the USA for over 16 years, working in Corporate Travel in Tampa, New York and Seattle. Returning to the UK in 2002, she joined Specialised Travel where she has contributed her considerable experience of travel and knowledge of diverse destinations across the USA, Caribbean, Europe and Asia. She is fluent in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, and is passionate about Indian Classical Arts, Drama and Architecture.
After graduating with a joint honours degree in Russian and German from the University of Manchester, Hannah travelled extensively as a member of Cabin Crew for British Airways. After a brief stint in individual travel, and with a vital insight into airline operations, Hannah joined Specialised Travel in 2018 and is a member of our Production Touring Department currently looking after touring dance companies.
French by birth, after working for 18 years for airline companies such as Tunisair, Air France and KLM, Laurence moved on to event management with the agency Banks Sadler as a student travel specialist. In this position, she had the opportunity to travel worldwide and appreciate many different cultures. In 2019, Laurence joined Specialised Travel as a Senior Travel Consultant in the Production Touring department, specialising in group travel arrangements.
Vanessa is a seasoned travel agent of Cypriot origin, raised in South Africa. She moved to London in 1998 to work for a European tour operator, gaining knowledge of cosmopolitan Europe. Before joining the TFA in 2013, she worked for a London-based tour operator specialising in tours to Asia from which she gained a detailed knowledge of that Continent. She counts China, India, and parts of South America as some of her top destinations. Vanessa is multilingual, being fluent in Greek and Afrikaans.
Jenny studied Accounting and Mathematics at Newcastle University before quickly discovering her passion for travel on a six month trip around Latin America. Since then she has travelled to over fifty countries worldwide providing her with in-depth knowledge on many of Specialised Travel’s destinations. In her spare time she enjoys the outdoors and rowing.
Mark has worked for Travel for the Arts since 2001, and previously worked with other specialist tour operators, including those featuring tours to the Oberammergau Passion Plays. He has amassed unrivalled knowledge of major opera houses and how to source difficult-to-obtain tickets. He also leads TFA small groups, his favourite destinations being the Scandinavian trio: Northern Lights, the Savonlinna Festival, and Drottningholm plus Dalhalla.
Gisela joined Specialised Travel in 2018, bringing with her more than 15 years of experience in Marketing and Communications. After graduating in Digital Media from Goldsmiths College, Gisela worked in different organisations within the arts sector before launching into a career in the travel industry. Born in Brazil, she has a passion for music, dance, travel and adventure.