One of the memorable moments of childhood is the first night you spend away from home – be it on a sleepover with friends, a school trip or a stay with relatives. Kids get so excited that they probably don’t sleep much, but it’s one of those experiences that helps them on the road to future independence.
Explore family adventures are all about authentic experiences in the country you are visiting – and this extends to night time as well. Wherever possible we give you and your children the opportunity to try out some more adventurous types of accommodation for a night or two; it’s all part of the adventure. The great thing is, it won’t just be the children getting excited – you’ll be there sharing it with them. Here are a few of our favourite sleep-overs around the world:
Greece – Caique Cruise
Instead of moving from one accommodation to another during your holiday, on this one, your accommodation comes with you! Spending the week on a traditional wooden boat you’ll explore the beautiful coastline of Evia Island. Choose from sleeping in your cabin or out on deck from where you can admire the beauty of the night sky or slip over the side for a midnight swim.
Italy – Active Sicily
Did you have a treehouse when you were a child? If you did, we’re betting you would love to have slept in it. On our Active Sicily holiday you can fulfil your childhood dreams and do just that! After a day of enjoying the delights of the Madonie Adventure Park – cycling, tree-climbing, zip-lining, rope-ladder course walking and more – you can feel at one with nature as you try out its unusual accommodation. While most tree houses are made of wood, the accommodation here consists of tents suspended from the trees. About six metres from the ground, the 3-person tents are reached using rope ladders. Perhaps not one for anyone prone to sleepwalking! (Ground-based tents are also available).
Jordan – Lawrence of Arabia’s Adventures
Get a feel for Bedouin life on a night spent camping out in the beautiful desert landscape of Wadi Rum – which Lawrence of Arabia himself visited. Lawrence was inspired by the soaring granite and sandstone cliffs and in his famous autobiography ‘Seven Pillars of Wisdom’ wrote that they were "sheering in like a thousand-foot wave towards the middle of the valley." Camping has moved on a bit since Lawrence was here; these days there is a large communal tent which comes complete with carpets, individual mattresses and even a nearby flushing loo!
USA – Into the Wild West
In Las Vegas, everything is completely over the top and this extends to the swimming pool that’s at the hotel we stay at for the first two nights. The pool features waterfalls and fountains but for a real ‘hold on to your shorts’ experience, take a trip down the massive three-storey waterslide, admiring the sharks and fish in the aquarium it passes through on its long route to the pool below. The large heated pool is both indoor and outdoor and has to be the ultimate swimming experience.
As if this wasn’t enough, on this holiday you’ll also spend a night in a traditional tepee tent in Bryce Canyon and another in a Hogan – a traditional Navajo hut made of logs - for a real Wild West experience.
Canada – Western Canada Pioneer
Canada is all about enjoying the great outdoors so on this holiday we make sure this extends to the sleeping arrangements. Embrace the spirit of the first nation people during a night staying in a tepee and then see how it compares to staying in a modern tent. For two nights you can also try the traditional accommodation favoured by the nomadic peoples of central Asia – the yurt. These large, round tents come complete with a wooden floor, proper beds and even a few shelves. Not so much camping as glamping!
China - Beijing to Hong Kong
China is a vast country and inevitably, some its classic highlights are some distance away from each other. This doesn’t mean that you have to miss out however. To make the most of your time in this fascinating country, we’ve included three nights on sleeper trains. In this way, you can cover a lot of ground while you are asleep, leaving the days free for sightseeing. Often a highlight for the kids, the sleeper train is an experience all of its own and part of the adventure. Clean and comfortable, each compartment has four or six berths. Watch the world go by, play games (how about seeing how many people you can fit into a compartment!) and take advantage of the food – it’s a great excuse for the kids to eat the original ‘pot noodle’!
Vietnam – Discover Vietnam
One of the classic sites of Vietnam is watching the red, yellow and orange sails of traditional junk boats weaving around the karst islands of UNESCO listed Halong Bay. To get a real experience of the beauty and tranquillity of this unique landscape, you’ll spend a night aboard a junk boat. These days the boats are kitted out with a restaurant, bar and sundeck. You can either sit back and enjoy the facilities or take to sea kayaks to get closer to some of the islands’ towering cliffs.
India – Backwaters and Beaches
When you travel abroad, if you stay in hotels you are somewhat removed from the country you are staying in. On this holiday, to get a real understanding of local life and to help put money directly into the hands of local families, you’ll spend two nights staying in small village houses on a homestay in Mancombo Village. Surrounded by banana and coconut plantations, children can learn where bananas, coconuts and other foods they see in their local supermarket come from. Your homestay family will prepare a delicious and authentic evening meal using locally grown produce and there will be an opportunity to find out more about their day to day lives.