What would you say the three biggest travel trends for 2018?
I would say the biggest travel trends this year are experiential travel where holidaymakers are looking for authentic cultural experiences such as cooking local dishes in real homes or learning a new skill.
Adventure travel is also high on the agenda for many holidaymakers whether its stand up paddle boarding or trekking volcanos.
Sustainability is another hot trend this year and one that I hope is more than just a trend. Younger travellers are increasingly aware of green travel and everyone should have plastic pollution on their radar, especially when it comes to ocean destinations.
There’s also been an increase in low cost long-haul carriers such as Norwegian and Wow Air have opened up new routes to a wider audience.
And of course the sharing economy means that there’s more choice than every before on where to stay.
What is the 'hot' destination for this summer?
If you want to go intrepid this summer, Rwanda is a hot destination with direct flights from London Gatwick with RwandAir and plenty of tour operators offering adventure holidays there such as Expert Africa, Steppes Travel, Timbuktu Travel and Natural World Safaris.
For more conventional travel destinations, Greece is always a hot ticket.
People tend to buy a whole new wardrobe before a holiday, where can they save money and still look on trend?
Pre-planning purchases and comparing where something might be cheaper in advance can help you cut down on costs.
Another tip is to look at accessories again - new accessories can make you feel like you have a completely new look.
What is the hot destination for winter travel this year?
South Africa is always a great winter sun getaway with minimum jetlag and maximum sunshine. It’s also great value for money once there. Closer to home the Canary Islands are always a great wintersun escape.
For snowy winter holidays, Sweden is opening up to UK visitors such as lesser known ski resorts such as Vemdalen, offered by Crystal Ski this year.
Where would you advise families to consider for an affordable summer break?
Spain’s Costa Brava is good value for money this summer especially flying into Genoa. Car hire is also affordable in Spain.
Less explored Eastern European countries such as Slovenia offer incredible value for money.
For longhaul, Thailand is also great value for money and has everything including beaches, culture and city.
What are some new emerging destinations for families with young children and why are the these becoming popular?
Costa Rica is growing in popularity for families with direct flights and lots of tour operators offering smart family packages which offers safe adventure.
Sri Lanka and Vietnam are well and truly on the adventure map for families.
There’s a return to Egypt, popular with families for its culture and beaches. And Tunisia is re emerging, with the possibility of exploring the desert heritage sites and dars (similar to Moroccan riads) as well as the more mass market beach resorts.
Are there any surprises in terms of popular destinations for summer holidays this year?
With the fabulous weather in the UK there’s obviously a focus on staycations and our love affair with glamping continues with companies like Canopy & Stars offering the most charming places to stay with plenty of emphasis on getting kids back to nature.
I’ve heard of a lot of families heading north to Scandinavian countries such as the Finnish lakes and the islands off Sweden.
How can families reduce the amount they spend before going on holiday?
Organisation is the key. If you book early, you’re more likely to get a deal on flights and holiday packages. Alternatively if you are leaving it late to book, then being flexible with your destination and dates will serve you best.
Buy your holiday money at the Post Office before you travel to avoid higher commission and lower exchange rates at the airport or overseas.
According to the B ‘get more summer survey’, our largest preholiday spend is on our holiday wardrobes. With kids clothes to sort out too, it’s worth getting sorting through their wardrobes early and planning what you need. Organise a clothes swap with friends and family to save on costs. If you do need to buy new, there are incredible bargains at shops like H&M and Zara Kids, though don’t get carried away. I find that my son in particular never wears everything I pack for him, relying on old favourites.
Do you have any tips for how families can get the best deals on holidays abroad this year?
All-inclusive resorts are a good option for families, especially if you want a luxury holiday on a budget with everything paid for up front including dining, drinks, ice creams, entertainment and kids clubs. New brands such as Ikos in Greece are sensitive to local culture, encouraging guests to get out and even include dining at local restaurants.
Could you tell us a little about multi-generational travel as a trend?
Multi-generational or ‘3G’ travel has been a buzz word in the travel industry for some time now with grandparents living longer, fitter lives and being wealthy enough to help fund trips. ‘4G’ has even come to light with four generations travelling together. This also means there are more adults on hand to look after the children, giving frazzled parents the chance to have a night or two off without babysitting bills. Villas are often the best option for this type of holiday.
Can you tell us about the best family holiday you've ever had?
As editor of Family Traveller I’ve been on so many incredible trips and have realised over the years that there’s no reason to curtail your worldwide adventures even when kids are young. The world is generally speaking a very welcoming place and when you have kids in tow, you’ll find people are there to help. My kids are now 14 and 11 and we were lucky enough to visit India last year and do some volunteering with communities in rural Rajasthan with a Canadian charity called Me to We, followed by a tour of the typical tourist spots including the Taj Mahal and Jaipur. A highlight was a street food tour of Delhi, something that I was apprehensive of, but turned out to be the best thing ever.
Some of our most enjoyable trips have been in the UK. For a city break with kids, I recommend Edinburgh. It’s easy to get around (if a bit hilly!), there’s usually a festival on, there are family friendly museums, botanical gardens, the Castle and plenty of areas to run around such as Princes Street Gardens and Arthur’s Seat. There are Harry Potter shops galore and great places to stay like Adagio Aparthotel just behind Waverley train station.
Where would you love to go on holiday with your family if money was no object?
I’d love to take my kids on a proper extended adventure one school summer holidays, perhaps across the Atacama desert in South America or the national parks of the USA. I’ve never been to Brazil so this is on my radar too, as is a trip across Australia and New Zealand with them. I’m also ashamed to say I’ve never explored the Scottish Highlands with them, even though their granddad is Scottish. It would be great to do this in style.
What do you do on your holidays to help you cut costs?
If we’re travelling on budget airlines, we always keep packing to a minimum to avoid extra costs. It’s also good to take your own food on board, as often my kids don’t like the airline food and it’s satisfying to take a picnic, though of course you have to buy all your drinks at the airport.
Once on holiday, I have been known to squirrel away pastries and fruit from the breakfast buffet in hotels to keep the kids stocked with snacks throughout the day!
Self-catering saves a lot on food costs, and it’s lovely to shop at local markets. I also love going to foreign supermarkets with all their fascinating packaging. You always find something different. In Sweden recently, our local supermarket had what looked like an ice cream cabinet, which was actually full of fresh prawns to scoop out and help yourself!
What is your must pack item and why?
My SLR camera is always a must to capture all those wonderful memories as well as for my work, along with a notebook and pen. If we’re flying, I have to pack my lip balm and moisturiser, magazines, books and snacks. Also a big cosy scarf. I’m very old school.
Ready to adventure? We are! Check out our blog for more top tips to help you save all year round so your budget is looking beach budget ready whatever the weather.
This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.