Posted inUncategorized

Business spotlight: Meet Chris Newman from Taking the Strain Travel

Chris Newman set up Taking the Strain Travel set up January 2020  in Pontypool. Cwmbran Life is putting the spotlight on independent businesses in and around the area.

Chris Newman from Taking The Strain Travel

Research by Keeping it Local said when you spend a £1 with a small/medium-sized business around 63p remains in the local economy. Only 40p stays local when you shop with larger businesses. The money you spend locally circulated through local businesses helping them to grow.

Every business owners has a story to tell. We spoke to Chris and asked him a few questions.

What is your business?

I’m an independent travel agent who set up Taking the Strain Travel in January 2020 just before the pandemic hit. Through that period I have been able to ensure that the ethos of Taking the Strain Travel has been able to show through. I believe that holidays and travel shouldn’t be stressful or at least as stress-free as possible and that is from the moment you start looking or discussing your travel arrangements to when you travel and also after you return. Taking the Strain Travel prides itself on customer service and being available for clients and customers. 

logos for a travel agent

Why don’t you just book online? Of course anyone can, you enter a few things on a holiday site and have a look at some pictures and read the descriptions and away you go. It’s simple isn’t it? Not always. I take the time not only to search for the type of holidays you want but look at things like the locations, room types, local area, transfer times and many more different aspects that can be the difference in making a good holiday into an excellent holiday. So the description says that it’s only 100 metres from the beach – amazing! Book it!

Yes it may be 100 metres from the beach but is that a simple walk or is it across the busiest road in the resort? Or is it on the edge of a cliff with a big drop and you would actually have to walk 1km to get to the beach? These are just examples of the little aspects that we look at and consider before providing our customers with quotes.

We are happy that over the nearly three years we have been in business that we have been building our customer base and reputation and hope to continue this and maintain the level of service that we provide.

Taking the Strain Travel is affiliated with Inteletravel UK and are both ABTA and ATOL Protected. We work with a range of partners and continue to enhance our knowledge with ongoing training and support from our providers. 

We always try to keep our social media platforms updated with our latest offers but as with anything we can’t always post all of them. If someone is looking for something in particular they can just drop us a message, email, text or give me a ring and I am more than happy to look at options for them.

We look after all aspects of travel from summer holidays, cruises, city Breaks, escorted tours in the UK, Europe and worldwide. We also can arrange luxury or bespoke holidays such as multi-centre trips or accommodation only. Just contact me and if I can help I will. If for any reason I am unable to I will let you know and give you advice on options that may be available.

Why did you want to work for yourself?

I have been self-employed before so I knew what challenges were ahead of me with regards to running my own business, but setting up Taking the Strain was different. It actually all came about when my father passed away (unfortunately we had a holiday booked and flew out the day he passed).

It was extremely hard making the decision to go away but with the support from my sister we went ahead. While on holiday I took the time to think about the future and knew that I wanted more than what I was doing and still am (whilst building the business) which was working part-time in retail.

With no real background in travel apart from booking family holidays and travel for friends and family I was going to have to rely on my customer service background and a lot of training and education. After looking at different options to get into the travel industry over the next six months I found the best fit. I started the training and got all the basic training complete allowing me to launch my business and continue the endless amount of training for the travel industry from destinations to brands, provider training to updates, airlines to activities.

What are the best things about running a business and what are the challenges? How have you overcome the challenges?

The best thing is hearing the feedback from customers, sometimes it can be about the travel or holiday itself or sometimes it’s about the booking process but this always puts a smile on my face. Also being able to work from anywhere and around family and other commitments is great and as Taking the Strain builds I am hoping it will give me and my family that little bit more freedom.

With regards to challenges as anyone in the travel industry will tell you over the past three years we have had our fair share, from the pandemic and then the knock-on effect from it with regards to airports and airlines with recruitment which had a knock-on effect with flight cancellations and holidays being cancelled at late notice.

We try to help our customers by ‘taking the strain’ out of the issues that arise. Sometimes things can’t be helped but we try to ensure that if aspects of our customers’ travel arrangements do change or alter we are able to communicate effectively with them and advise all of the options they have. We hope that this takes some of the pressure off them, in what can be a very frustrating moment.

The way that we try to overcome instances like changes in arrangements is by trying to be one step ahead or as proactive as possible. This would mean for example, if a flight is cancelled we would check the available options prior so that we are already as informed as we can be when we contact our customers. This lets them know that we are already assessing the situation and working towards a resolution when we call them. 

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business?

My first bit of advice would be to look into the industry that you are going into, check out the local competitors as you may be able to spot a gap in the market that you are able to target. Sometimes this may not be the direction that you initially thought that you would be going, but don’t let that hold you back.

Don’t let people put you down by telling you that your business isn’t going to succeed. If you’re willing to work hard and build your reputation it may take time but you will get to where you want to be. Some people get there quicker than others. Set realistic goals and targets and work towards them but don’t stop and relax if you hit them, make new ones.

Tell us how customers can contact you?

Customers can contact us through any of our social media accounts which are linked via our website Taking the Strain Travel or by phone or email too.

Phone: 07368 357612


We are available Mon – Fri 8am – 8pm Sat & Sun 9am – 6pm (but also do pick up urgent messages outside of these times)

We look forward to helping with your travel arrangements in the future.


Posted inNews

Business spotlight: Meet Chris Newman from Taking the Strain Travel

Chris Newman from Taking The Strain Travel
Chris Newman from Taking The Strain Travel