Tell us a little bit about your tribe and your holiday style.
We are a family of four, with kids who are now eleven and twelve, based in Hertfordshire. We absolutely love travelling, and made a conscious decision to try not to let having children completely change why, where and how we travel. That’s not always realistic, but it has helped us push the boundaries.
We both work in the travel industry (running a private jet company, PrivateFly together), so a love for aviation and travel is something that we live and breathe every day. Travel as a family is a luxury that we prize above most other things. Like many families, we lead pretty busy lives, so travelling together builds fantastic memories, bonds and shared experiences that last way beyond the days or weeks that we’re on the road.
We’ve taken the kids travelling from when they were just a few weeks old, and have been lucky to enjoy some amazing places close to home as well as some far flung adventures. Despite our day jobs, our holiday style is more independent traveller than five star – we’d rather make our budget go further and keep authentic by staying in local places, camper vans and home-stays.
We have family in Australia and have been lucky to enjoy several trips there with the kids, basing ourselves between Sydney and also a fabulous cattle farm in rural New South Wales where my sister in law and family live. We’ve also enjoyed family holidays to Hong Kong; houseboats and beach huts in India; camping in the desert in Jordan; Camper van trips in New Zealand, Sweden & Croatia; and scuba diving in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Closer to home, we regularly visit the Scottish Islands. We’ve seen in many fantastic New Years with groups of friends, renting houses on islands like Jura, Islay, Barra and Colonsay. Barra has the most amazing beach runway, and Colonsay has Kiloran beach, one of my favourite beaches in the world (so far) which you can often enjoy to yourselves.
What has been your favourite family holiday and why did you love it?
If I had to choose just one favourite, it probably would have to be Jordan. My husband spent a gap year there, and he has always wanted to take us back there as a family. So we went there in December 2013, and packed in as much as possible into a week. We started in Amman, where Adam lived and worked in a children’s home years before, visiting the Roman amphitheatre. We ate mouthwatering falafel, houmous for breakfast, and the best chicken shawarma, ever. Then we hired a car and drove to the Dead Sea, for some fantastic fun floating and bathing in hot dead sea mud.
From there we went to Wadi Rum in Aqaba, one of the most out-of-this world settings that you can imagine. The four of us trekked by camel into the desert, and stayed in a desert camp for New Year, with one of the brightest, starriest skies I’ve ever seen. Wadi Rum’s red mountains have been the setting for many movies including Lawrence of Arabia, as well as doubling so convincingly as other planets in movies like Prometheus, and The Martian. We then started New Year 2014 on a huge high at sunrise with a hot air balloon ride above the desert.
Then we ended our holiday in Petra. The walk along the narrow Siq Gorge before the hidden city opens up is so dramatic. The kids both loved horse riding through the site, and although it’s really tiring, it’s worth trying to see as much as possible. In terms of the warmth of the people, scenery and culture, Jordan is an amazing and unforgettable family holiday.
What 3 destinations are top of your family travel bucket list?
- Botswana – We all love wildlife and animals and have never been to Africa as a family. Maybe a safari to the Okavango Delta.
- Faroe Islands – not so far, still in Europe but relatively undiscovered.
- Palawan in the Philippines – we almost went there a few years ago but it didn’t happen. Supposedly it’s the best island in the world.
If you had to pick one travel item that makes travelling with kids easier, what would it be? A sense of humour and good insurance. On an ill-fated trip to Bulgaria once, we ended up in hospital twice, once when my daughter had as asthma attack, and then just after she recovered, our son ended up back there with a cut needing stitches to his head. The same day we had our camera stolen. The holiday gives us lots of laughs (in retrospect) and sticks in the memory for mostly the wrong reasons.
What’s the best piece of family travel advice you can give?
Ask a friendly taxi driver for his favourite places. We’ve discovered some of the best places to eat and visit by chatting with taxi drivers. Many of them love sharing their knowledge and tips, often things you won’t find in the guidebook.