ABOUT US

OUR STORY

After travelling the world for more than 25 years, and working in different areas of the Travel industry, Jake and Damon formed Travelcation, a personal concierge travel service.

Our philosophy is to build genuine relationships that turn customers into friends. We want to pass on our knowledge, experience and share our passion for travel with our friends. That’s why we say…

‘See the world the way we do!”

As our team grew so did our offering now under four distinct brands: Travelcation, Backroads Australia & New Zealand and Vagaytion. Each of our brands still maintains the same core values of a travel company, which genuinely cares for our friends, and passes on our highly valued knowledge to offer unique travel experience as only a friend could.

Meet the team

Click on the image below learn more about us.

Founder & Managing Director

Jake Chiem

Founder & Managing Director

Damon Low

Travel Expert

Saskia van den Heuvel

Travel Expert

Elena Vartazarian

Travel Expert

Julie Revett

Travel Expert

Jasmine Porteous

Travel Expert

Lisa Chew

Travel Expert

Bronte Askew

Founder & Managing Director

Jake Chiem

I started my adventure in the travel industry two decades ago. Over the years my experience in this business ranges from retail and corporate travel booking to wholesale and tour operator. I managed multiple successful travel agencies picking up numerous awards over the years including 2 consecutive years for Best Travel Advisor and 5 awards for Best Travel Manager of the Year and Best National sales manager. Was written up in the Travel Weekly magazine as the 6th most successful travel agent of 2006, more recently an award for best new starter business 2016 and Travel Partners entrepreneurial award 2020.

I’ve stayed in accommodation ranging from a Ger tent in Mongolia to 5 star overwater bungalows in Tahiti. I have firsthand flown on all travel classes from economy to first. Experienced adventures such as cruising across the Mediterranean, learning Tai Chi at the Shaolin Temple in China and Safariing in Africa.

Some of my favourites include seeing broadway shows in New York, sailing down the Nile in Egypt, water festival in Bangkok, cycling through Paris, eating amazing seafood in Nha Trang and scuba diving in the pristine waters of Fiji.

My passion has always been to realise your travel dreams, with my years of experience of the domestic as well as international market, I am here to make your experience of planning a trip as easy as picking up the phone.

 

 

 

Founder & Managing Director

Damon Low

I have been working in marketing for the past 20 years and created the look and feel of The Travelcation Group. It is a job that I love doing!

My first overseas holiday was to Japan, fresh out of school I studied Japanese and my Japanese teacher opened my eyes to a much bigger world than Sydney, Australia by taking me to the bustling streets of Tokyo. That single experience triggered a passion that has seen me travel all over the world. I have climbed the stairs of Notre Dame in Paris, walked through the valley of the kings in Egypt, made rice paper on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, climbed the great wall of china, explored the streets of Budapest, eaten pizza in Italy, seen the archaeological ruins of Tulum in Mexico and lost way too much money in Las Vegas.

Who would have thought whilst I was meditating with monks in Japan on that first trip over 20 years ago, that I could turn all this experience into a job that allows me to share it with you.

Travel Expert

Saskia van den Heuvel

Ever since I can remember I have always been obsessed with travelling, different cultures and languages. As a little girl, my favourite thing to do was to sit on the couch with my dad and study the world map. I tried to memorize the countries and their capitals and I would picture myself being there one day. I made it a goal to visit every single country in the world.

All of this led me to my choice of studies; International Tourism Management.

Being born in the Netherlands I had the privilege to travel all over Europe and now that I obtained my bachelors degree I thought it was time for a new adventure. I packed my things and moved to Australia to chase love and explore a different part of the world; I absolutely love it.

My favourite part of working as a travel expert for Travelcation is that I get to share my passion, my knowledge and the things that excite me with like-minded people and to turn their dreams into reality.

Some of my favourite destinations are South Africa, Cuba and of course my home country of the Netherlands. If you need any insider’s tips on where to eat, sleep, explore in these countries and many more you know where to find me!

Due to COVID-19, family and friends back home have motivated me to move back to the Netherlands but still work remotely and continue to share my passion, knowledge and excitement, turning traveller’s holiday dreams into reality.

Travel Expert

Elena Vartazarian

Travel for me is more than getting on a plane, checking into a hotel and ticking off the sites from a checklist, it’s about truly experiencing what a destination has to offer with all my senses. It means taking time off from my everyday life to grow as a person by immersing myself in the culture, the language, the smells and tastes of local specialties and feeling the warmth of the locals…

I learnt the joy of travel with my family in my early years, then on a budget in my student years, followed by luxury holidays with my husband and more recently sharing the love of travel with my two little boys. I was born in Iran and grew up in Australia, have visited many countries in South East Asia, South Pacific, Europe, USA, Canada and more recently Armenia and the surrounding regions. Some of my most memorable travel experiences have been cheering the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup in Sochi, walking the streets of Yerevan with the Armenian locals during the Velvet Revolution and witnessing turtles nesting in Borneo. Having cycled, bused, trained, cruised and driven on my adventures I can recommend the best options for your ideal holiday.

Domestic or international, Asia or Europe, organised tours or self-drive holidays are all trips I can help arrange. After 15 years in the travel industry in leisure and corporate travel, and now specialising in family holidays with kids, I have come to understand that each stage of life demands a different travel style – So tell me your travel dreams and let me find the best imaginable trip for you!

Travel Expert

Julie Revett

Booking your holiday can be quite involved, daunting & costly. I am here to find you the best deals, take the stress out of planning your well-deserved break & make your holiday fun!

My love of travel began 20 years ago. I am lucky enough to have travelled widely to destinations such as domestic Australia, Indonesia, Singapore (yes, 22 times!) Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, India, China, Hong Kong, Jamaica (having been married on Onassis’ yacht!) Mauritius, Fiji, New Zealand (both North and South Island) Paris, England and Scotland, USA and Canada. I have even sailed a few cruises!
My clients book with me because they know I listen to their needs. I have the experience and first-hand knowledge to give recommendations which are tailored to your requirements and more importantly I can save you time and money. Satisfaction is the number one element for me as a professional travel planner. Most of my clients will come by me, from recommendations from one of their friends, colleagues or family letting them know about their fantastic holiday experiences.

So, next time you are looking for the perfect holiday please call me. I guarantee to provide you with the highest possible level of personal service coupled with enthusiasm, reliability and most importantly my own extensive travel history.

Travel is indeed my passion not just my job.

Travel Expert

Jasmine Porteous

My passion for travel started at an early age, as my family travelled biennially to Singapore to visit relatives. I was drawn in by the incredible food, captured by the culture and traditions, and addicted to the different sights, sounds and experiences that these holidays gave us. I couldn’t wait to finish school, so I could explore more and see the world!

I’ve since made up for the lost time and have spent 9 months travelling across India and Nepal on a motorbike, a month white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon, spotted the “Big 5” on safari in Kenya, cooked with monks in Dharamsala, sipped schnapps in the Austrian Alps, soaked in hot pools in Budapest, travelled through 31 different countries and lived in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Uganda, with no sign of the relief from the travel bug.

Through Travelcation, I’m able to share my knowledge, passion and love for travel and help others experience some of the incredible wonders the world has to offer. I promise to dedicate my time with personalised service to ensure that your journey is memorable, stress-free and as seamless as possible. Get in touch at any time, to let me help you make your travel dreams come true!

Travel Expert

Lisa Chew

Travel has always been a big part of my life. I should have known when I was planning the itinerary for our big family holiday to the USA when I was 13 that becoming a travel agent was inevitable. From picking the hotels and how many nights in each city, to the route for the drive and what we would do once we got there, I loved piecing it all together.

Fast forward to today and the only thing that’s changed is that I’m now sharing that excitement, passion and experience with others. Planning to eat your way around Spain? Sail around the Greek Islands? How about a yoga retreat in Thailand? Or shop ‘til you drop in New York? Whether you’re travelling for the first time, or the 100th time, there’s always something new to discover, and I’m here to help.

Travel Expert

Bronte Askew

New adventures and exploring off the beaten track destinations has always been a passion of mine. Whether that be trekking through remote rainforests, fishing in a pristine lake, laying on a secluded beach or shopping in a 5 star mall.

Growing up on the Gold Coast I was lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful beaches, unique rainforests, and a large selection of theme parks. Living in the tourism capital of Australia I was exposed to large volumes of tourist activity and people from diverse cultures.

My favourite part of working as a travel expert is that I get to share my experience and knowledge with people who love adventure and are looking to explore new destinations.

Some of my favourite destinations are Italy,  Indonesia and many beautiful locations around Australia. If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous holiday, I am here to help you make this come true.

Our Company

Travelcation Group

Travelcation is part of The Travelcation Group, a collective of the following brands:

Travelcation is a ATAS accredited travel agency that focuses on the personal needs of our travellers.  

With our staffs based in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, we want to make the experience of booking travel easy and painless starting with our flexible hours to service you at a time that is more suitable to you.

Our team of experienced travellers will offer you top service with competitive pricing, the option to pay off your holiday over 12 months interest-free, and will inspire you to visit destinations you never thought of.

Backroads Australia & New Zealand is an inbound tour operator, wholesaler and destination management company. We create bespoke itineraries for tour companies and travel agents around the world who are looking to bring their customers to Australia.
With our extensive knowledge of this wonderful region we call home, we want to share it with the world.

Whatever your holiday style, budget, needs, or desires, we have Australia & New Zealand covered. Backpacking on a shoestring budget or living it up in luxury. Chartering a group tour with a specific language guide or planning corporate function. We will look after all your needs. ​

Plant a Tree Program

More people than ever are travelling and seeing this amazing world. The Travelcation Group is taking responsibility to promote ecotourism and minimise the carbon footprint of our travellers. In partnership with Carbon Neutral, we are committed to planting one tree for every booking we make. Together we can leave the earth in a better place than we found it.