Would you take kids on a river cruise?

I’m a bit of a cruise fan, and that includes the chance to sail along some of the world’s great rivers – I’ve been along the Yangtze and would love to cruise the Mekong.

But a river cruise with kids? Let’s be honest, they’ve got a reputation for being only for pensioners. And while that’s the kind of image which cruising in general has worked hard to throw off, it seems pretty accurate for most river itineraries.

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Until you add Disney to the mix of course. Because they’ve now announced a partnership with AmaWaterways, according to this story on Cruise Critic, joining Tauck River Cruising and CroisiEurope to offer trips aimed squarely at families. Continue reading

Family day out: The Superworm trail at Wendover Woods

Superworm is superlong, Superworm is superstrong, watch him wriggle, see him squirm, hip hip hooray it’s Superworm – and his very own woodland trail.

Following on from the success of the Gruffalo walks around the country, the Forestry Commission has added a new Julia Donaldson theme to the trees this summer… Superworm.

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I hadn’t actually come across Superworm before – we love all Donaldson’s books and have loads at home, but there are so many I haven’t begun to complete the set – but a walk in the woods sounded a good plan regardless.

And at Wendover Woods in Buckinghamshire, our nearest trail, there’s still a Gruffalo looking out to the horizon so I figured Minnie would have fun finding him even if she was unimpressed by worms. Continue reading

Travelling during the French air traffic control strike

There are few friends I travel with – not because I don’t like the rest, but I think it’s a balancing act of matching personalities to find people you’ll love to spend holidays with. And the two friends (and their girls) that we’re heading to Gran Canaria with are in that select bunch.

Frankly, we’re fighting some pretty rubbish luck on our trips to date though: the ash cloud, a hernia, snow in the south of France in May, a vicious bout of gastroenteritis requiring a wheelchair at the airport, major back problems, teething, a virus… the list goes on. And now, French air traffic control.

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The strike has been all over the news, affecting thousands over Easter and costing the industry around £50m. And of course it hits far more than just those travelling to and from France, if your plane is venturing through French airspace.

Now another three-day stoppage is planned for April 16-18… during which point, our plane for Gran Canaria is due to take off from Gatwick, cruising gently down France’s west coast. I hope… Detouring isn’t necessarily an option, alas. Continue reading

What to do in Gran Canaria with kids

My next trip is just around the corner and I can’t wait. It seems like forever (I know, four months) since I’ve been on a plane, and even longer since I felt some real sunshine – despite the weather’s efforts this week.

This time, we’re heading to Gran Canaria. Although I’ve travelled to Lanzarote half a dozen times, several with Minnie, and to Tenerife before that, this is a Canary Island I haven’t explored before.

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As with the others, there’s also a lot more to it than the old-fashioned reputation of high-rise hotels and towels on the loungers at dawn. That goes for families too – here are my 16 things to do in Gran Canaria with kids. Continue reading

How to find the real last-minute family travel bargains

There’s nothing like the feeling of snapping up a bargain holiday, travelling somewhere you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, whether it’s a gorgeous hotel, a city break away or some last-minute sun.

While I’ve found my share of last-minute discounts over the years, it’s suddenly got a lot trickier when booking as a family. For starters, spontaneity goes out of the window but a bigger problem was not being able to check if deals were really family-friendly – too big a risk to discover it isn’t when you check in with a two-year-old.

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But if you can be flexible about when you go and where, especially if you’re travelling outside school holidays, there’s still plenty on offer. So if you’re looking for last-minute family travel bargains, here are my tips on what to bear in mind. Continue reading