News & Updates

Coronavirus update

UK holidays and also holidays to Crete are all going ahead as scheduled

Please follow this link for a full update      Covid 19 update

Please be patient with us,  we are a small company of only two staff

We are working through all our holidays in date order and will be contacting each participant with updates.

Please do not pay us any holiday balances that have become due until we have spoken with  you.

We will respond to all emails, however we kindly request that wherever possible you wait until we make contact with you. We will talk with both teachers and the venues about each individual holiday and then inform you of your options.

Kind regards

Jilly & Debbie

Booking Your Flight

Please always try to book your flight through a website such as who are both ABTA and ATOL members and pay with a credit card..Book a flight with a COVID guarantee who will refund you if the holiday does not go ahead. (such as Easyjet)

Brexit - travel rules have changed.

Click here for information on travel to EU countries

Travel Insurance

Always make certain that you have insurance cover as soon as you book your holiday or flight. If you do not have an annual travel insurance policy you can take out cover just for the dates of your holiday at any point prior to the holiday taking place.

Taking out cover straight away ensures that should anything unexpected happen that is covered by the insurance policy  you can make a claim . Travel insurance policies vary enormously ALWAYS read the small print

Flybe Airline Failure - what to do if it affects you

1) Get current information on everything so you can make informed decisions:-
First check with Flybe's website for up to date accurate information.
If you booked via Travel Republic (who are ABTA and ATOL bonded) then also check on their website, both under your individual booking and in their help section
Read your Travel Insurance Policy to see what you are covered for in the event of an airline collapse. This will depend on your level of cover.

2) Getting your money back in the event of airline collapse
If you booked via Travel Republic they should refund you as they are both ABTA and ATOL bonded at the time of writing this information
If you booked direct with Flybe and paid more than £100 with a credit card then you should be able to claim a refund from your credit card provider under section 75 rules
If you booked direct with Flybe and paid with a debit card then you need to contact your bank and ask your bank to do a ‘chargeback’. This isn’t a legal protection – it is a Visa, Mastercard and Amex rule where your bank gets your money back from Flybe’s bank as you didn’t receive what you paid for. It should work for most people providing there is the money to pay you.

3) Rebook a new flight so that your holiday can go ahead.

Please Note: Any payment to Free Spirit Travel is governed by our terms and conditions, deposits are non-refundable, final payments are refundable as per the table on your booking form. Please talk to us if your flight is cancelled and you cannot travel. If Free Spirit Travel cancels the holiday for everybody then you will receive a full refund, if you personally cancel your holiday you will only receive a refund within the booking form terms and conditions, you may however be able to claim on your insurance policy and we can assist with this.

Brexit and how it affects your travel

Check your passport - you must have 6 months left on your passport on the arrival date.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)  which gave free, or reduced rate, healthcare when visiting the EU has been replaced with the UK Global Healthcare Insurance Card (GHIC).

This is free of charge, visit to obtain yours. You can continue to use your old EHIC until it expires. Neither of these cards covers Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Do not forget to take out additional travel insurance as these cards do not cover all costs should you become sick or injured when in an EU country.
Remember that the GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property.

Updates - flight delays

My flight has been delayed. Can I get compensation?

Check the Citizens advice website for detailed information by following this link

Also read the following

Airlines don't have to pay out for delays caused by snow because weather is classified as an "extraordinary circumstance" – though some airlines may issue a refund at their discretion. For those of you flying to India you are almost certainly on a non EU airline so contact them direct to see exactly what you are entitled to.

According to Which magazine you can challenge your airline if you don't agree there were extraordinary circumstances – for example, if you are told you can't fly due to the snow, but other flights are departing. "Airlines may stretch the definition of extraordinary circumstances further than they should."

Which Magazine  states:-

If the delay is not caused by extraordinary circumstances you will be entitled to compensation under EU rules, but only if you are flying with an airline based in the EU or with a non-EU-based airline flying from an EU airport, and only if the delay is for two hours or more. If you are flying somewhere else or with a non-EU-based airline not flying from the EU you'll have to check that carrier's terms and conditions.

If you are delayed for two hours or more you are entitled to: two free phone calls, faxes or e-mails; free food and drinks; and free hotel accommodation if you need to stay overnight.

If your flight arrives at its destination three hours or more late you will receive compensation of between €250 and €600, depending on how far your flight takes you. So you'll get €250 if your three hour-delayed flight travels 1,500km or less (ie, London to Amsterdam), but €600 if your plane is delayed by four hours or more and travels at least 3,500km (ie, London to Sydney).

My flight has been cancelled. Will I get my money back?

If your flight is cancelled you should be offered either a refund or an alternative flight to your original destination.

For compensation you will have to look to the EU rules again, though if the delay is caused by snow – and thus an extraordinary circumstance – you might not get anything. If you are covered by EU regulations you will be entitled to travel assistance (such as help with rebooking for a later date) as well as meals and accommodation etc. Check the official EU website for more on your rights.

Call to book: 01273 564230

Welcome to Free Spirit Travel, UK's leading provider of yoga holidays


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  • Unspoilt & Magical

    From £565

    A beautiful, high standard eco venue away from the tourist area and close to a quiet beach

We are delighted to have this new venue, with its brand new yoga space, dipping pool, great locally grown organic food, on-site classes of cloth dying and silversmith work. To reach the beach you walk through the women's farm.

It is delighful!

More information

Footsteps Eco Lodge is an Award Winning Eco Lodge and is 100% operated on sustainable and ecological principles.

The lodge is in a stunning rural tranquil location in the bush, next to a protected forest with an array of bird life and monkeys, and only a 20-30 min walk to kilometers of deserted golden sandy beaches. This is a peaceful serene natural sanctuary, an ideal place for yoga.

It offers authentic, intelligently designed, cool accommodation in natural, relaxed and friendly surroundings. The venue is completely off-grid with solar panels, hot water, composting toilets, grey water recycling and the grounds are full of fruiting trees, vegetables and flowers. It has its own plunge pool, perfect to dip and cool off in.

They are proud of the food and its quality. Meats and seafood are sourced locally from reputable suppliers. It produces its own fruit and vegetables but also source locally from neighboring farmers. The bread is baked early morning by local bakers.

Close relationships with the local community, local schools, development projects and local villages have been built over the years and guests are encouraged to visit and involve themselves with local projects and local people to enrich their experience. The staff are extremely friendly and welcoming and have been there for many years creating a warm, family atmosphere.

Things to Do

There are many interesting and unusual activities on and off site to create a unique holiday experience.

If you want to be creative there is a resident wood carver, silver smith and tailor on site. Try your hand at tie dye or local cooking. If you enjoy music try traditional djembe drumming or the local 21 stringed instrument the Kora. Every week there is a barbecue around an open fire under the stars and they have drumming, dancing, kora playing and tales from the local traditional storyteller.

If you want to relax, massage and beauty treatments are available. You can lounge on the sundeck and take a dip in the freshwater pool or stroll down to kilometers of near deserted, golden sand beaches.


Amongst the many available:

  • Try the Abuko Nature reserve full of birdlife, monkeys and crocodiles
  • Take a relaxing boat trip through the mangrove forests
  • Visit the local fishing village - fishing is major local source of food

Take a nature walk with the Lodge's knowledgeable guides who can fill you in on the local wildlife, fauna or flora and give you an insight into village life. There are many lovely walks in the area or you can hire a bike.



The designated Yoga area is set back from the lodge in just under an acre of it's own grounds.

It is based on a large bantaba (traditional thatched African meeting hut) and will be used for group sessions (maximum class size 18)

There will also be decked areas under the trees for individual practice. Mats,blocks and bolsters are provided.




The yoga area has many fruiting trees (oranges,bananas,avocado,grapefruit), palm trees, flowers, various plants and mature trees, an abundance of birdlife and even it's own well.  True tranquility, ideal for yoga practice.

Yoga is twice a day with one day off for excursions.  The first class is in the morning before breakfast after which your day is your own.  Our second yoga class of the day will be in the late afternoon after which we will have dinner together.



The lodge has 9 detached en-suite roundhouses which surround the center piece pool. All roundhouses have their own fruiting trees which supply shade, privacy and of course fruit.

There are 2 stylish, self contained log cabins set in their own grounds which have a kitchen, lounge and bathroom and 2 double bedrooms. They also have there own bantabas and hammocks to enjoy relaxing afternoons in the shade.

Finally there is the clay brick house called Sunbird House again set in its own grounds and has a kitchen, lounge, balcony and 2 en-suite double bedrooms.

The accommodation is clean and comfortable, and in keeping with the strong eco ethos has odourless, composting toilets that use no water, the hot water is solar powered and grey water is recycled.

Breakfast, accommodation, three course vegetarian dinner (meat or fish available at small additional cost), yoga and use of lodge facilities.

Guests can help themselves to fruit growing in the grounds.

Not included:
Flights,transfers, travel insurance, lunch and drinks, any treatments and excursions

Gambia is served by:

  • Gambia Experience
  • Vueling
  • Air Portugal (TAP airlines) approx 1 hour flight change in Lisbon, this is the cheapest route.

Gambia is in the same time zone as the UK so no jet lag. You fly into Banjul International Airport which is one hours drive from the lodge.

Available at £20 per person one way - 1 hour from Banjul Airport

Visa/Medical Advice
British nationals are given a 28 day visa on arrival. Passports must have 6 months validity remaining.

It is recommended to speak to your GP regarding medical travel advice.



  Programme Teacher Single Cost Shared Cost
Feb 3 Feb 10 Hatha Yoga Jody Lawrence £695 £575

Hello Free Spirit!    A few words to thank you, Karen Calder, and the Gambian crew at Footsteps Eco-lodge for a fantastic 10-day yoga retreat. (February 2020)
It's been a privilege to follow Karens teaching, she is very inspiring and I feel I made a lot of progress. I warmly recommend both venue and teacher and will definitely try to catch up with Karen somewhere in the future.

Thanks again for everything., Marianne (Sweden) Karen Calder 2020


Dear Debbie and Jilly, Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed my 10 day stay at Footsteps, Gunjur, with yoga teaching by Karen Calder. We were looked after superbly by David and the team there and the venue's offer was as billed, and more, encouraging us to enjoy the beauty of the area and to learn something of Gambia and its delightful people. But of course yoga is the priority interest and we were taught with really expert care and kindness by Karen. Karen was able to recognise and teach to individual needs and encouraged us all to move forwards in our practice and to enjoy the journey. I've only experienced Iyengar as a strand within Hatha Yoga so it was especially beneficial to learn more from a dedicated specialist. Karen also led the group beautifully encouraging friendship through yoga; thanks too to my fellow yogis for making this trip such a success. I'm so glad I remained committed to this retreat after Thomas Cook's demise and I hope the travel options will enable more people to visit, to support the country and to do yoga there. 

Best wishes Sharon - Karen Calder January 2020



Dear Freespirit I wanted to send a review as a teacher following my recent trip to Footsteps in Gambia. I cried when I left!

The accommodation is wonderful, simple, comfortable and spotless. The Yoga Shala is beautiful with open sides that make the most of the stunning gardens, birds and sunshine. On our first morning each mat had flowers, a lovely touch from Ben and Manny who looked after the Shala, putting the mats out and away for us every day and keeping everything clean and tidy. The food was absolutely first class and nothing was too much trouble for the staff who smiled constantly.

We visited the local school, met again by the most open smiles. We drummed (badly!) in spite of the noble efforts of Bunja who played with his band a couple of nights later. a fabulous night of laughter and dancing. We walked to the beach, swam in the sea, saw the ladies farms,  fishing boats, pelicans, Mangroves, oyster beds, beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  It is a place in which you can just sit and watch and within seconds you will see something beautiful, incredible,  finches in every imaginable colour, flowers, lizards. I spent hours just watching it all go by - the best possible meditation.

I have never felt so relaxed in a new environment. Gambia time makes the Spanish 'Manana' seem urgent but this exactly what is needed on a yoga retreat. I am already looking forward to returning next year

Karen Calder February  2019.


Having travelling alone for the first time I am here now at Footsteps having to fly back to England tomorrow :( ...I must say I have had a fantastic relax for 7 days enjoyed my stay immensely will def return !! Any lady's thinking of travelling alone this is the perfect place no worry at all the staff here are brilliant owner David is very laid back & welcoming & is very lucky to have Seven as part of the footsteps family :) thanks to you all !!   Chrissy Whittington-Jewell


What to saySimply the best place in the world. Go relax enjoy amazing surroundings good company @ wonderful hospitality and all the joys that nature has to offer   Gail Davies