We know travel is a hot topic, so we are excited to bring you some travel experts from within the British Mums community to share their insights and offer some inspiration for where to go in 2024.

The team at Travel Counsellors are not destination specific so if you already have a Travel Counsellor (TC) they can help you with any destination and if you don’t already have a TC you can find one here!

SOUTH AFRICA

Travel Counsellor – Tanya Robinson

“If you can only visit two continents in your lifetime…. Visit Africa twice”

My top South African destinations will sound a little cliché but that’s because every first visit to South Africa should include Cape Town, the Winelands and a Safari

South Africa is one of the most family-friendly places in the world, with many lodges, resorts and hotels going out of their way to make sure families, of all generations, are catered for with varied amenities, activities, room categories and entertainment programmes.

South Africa can be a year-round destination, and with the help of your Travel Counsellor, you will be able to choose the areas that work best for you and your family at the time that you have available to you.

I am originally from South Africa, and have the best memories of our family holidays along the coastline, in the bush and exploring the cities and mountains.

It’s a 9-hour flight from the UAE, and only a 2 hour time difference – what are you waiting for?

Contact details – 050 531 9588, tanya.robinson@travelcounsellors.ae

FRANCE , ALPES MOUNTAINS

Travel Counsellor – Sophie Anchan

Living in Dubai, we are by the sea all year long, so my summers are usually focused on the mountains and the French Alpes just tick so many boxes for the whole family.

The air is fresh, tons of cute markets with amazing food, great hiking trails for all levels, many activities for the little and older ones, such as natural parks with bears, wolves and deer.The region offers endless activities like with swimming in lakes, water parks, mountain biking and excursions in villages around It is a destination for an outdoorsy and active family that loves food and not so crowed touristic spots.

When thinking about staying in the French Alpes over the summer period, nothing can beat the Club Med resorts. Your mountain “getaway” includes access to the Kids Club catering to all ages with amazing activities such as flying trapeze, introduction to water skiing, horseback riding, cooking classes, plastic arts, music, dance, games, discovering nature, shows, and many more. Adults aren’t left behind with a variety of sports activities and all-inclusive food and beverage packages with a generous food and wine selection, quality spa experiences as well as evening activities.

You might get lucky and be around the “Tour de France” passing nearby which is an experience not to miss. My tip would be to choose your club according to your kids’ age, your preferences and interests.

The easiest way to get there is to land in Lyon or Geneva on a direct flight from the UAE and rent a car or request an airport pick up from Club Med. On average, the Clubs are no further than 3 hours from the nearest airport, but some are even closer.

Contact details – 056 686 7453, Sophie.anchan@travelcounsellors.ae

SEYCHELLES 

Travel Counsellor – Sarah Pickford

Why… the Seychelles is stunningly beautiful with a warm all year round climate. It’s very safe, there’s no visa needed and no required vaccinations. The Seychelles gives visitors the best of island life, and a luxury life, as well as the opportunity to get out and explore more of the country, by land, air or sea!

Island hopping enables guests to experience nature with breathtaking mountains, beaches, natural parks, and animals not seen in other destinations. The Aldabra Giant Tortoise roaming free is quite a sight and kids always love to see turtles up close in the crystal clear water. Bird watchers are treated to rare species and the Coco de Mer palm tree can only be found in the Seychelles. Hikes and walking trails are available for everyone to enjoy the outdoors in fresh, clean air and the water world also offers sporting activity and underwater adventure. Seychellois people embrace family and hotels like to educate their little guests, so in-resort activities are based around the Creole culture and also the sustainability challenges faced today.

Direct flights from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi under 4.5hrs. Mahe properties accessed by road within minutes of landing.

Contact details – 0554386868, sarahpickford@mytc.com

MALDIVES

Travel Counsellor – Sarah Paterson

I first went to the Maldives around thirteen years ago when the children were just five and two. I absolutely fell in love with the place as there is nowhere quite like it in the world. The beaches are amazing. Since then I have been nearly 30 times! It’s still one of the only destinations that the children are happy to come with us!

I have visited many islands but some of my favourites include Lux South, Intercontinental Maamunagau and Anantara Kihavah. Many resorts have kids and teenage clubs and some are adults only or have adults only areas. Some resorts have a house reef so snorkelling or diving is around the hotel. Many hotels also offer snorkelling trips, fishing trips or sunset cruises, where you may be lucky to see dolphins. One of my most memorable trips was snorkelling with Whale Sharks at Lux South.

The Maldives is expensive, so most clients opt for the all inclusive packages so they don’t have to worry about what they are spending. Some packages even include massages and spa treatments or diving such as the Ozen resorts. The Maldives does vary a lot in price but I can normally always find my clients the best hotels for their budgets and requirements. Also it’s worth noting that the peak season is the most expensive, mainly due to the lower levels of rain fall which is between late December and April. However,  increasingly travelling out of season can be an economical time to visit and have a good chance of sunshine too.

You can fly from Dubai with either Emirates or Fly Dubai in around 4 hours. Alternatively there are Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi which are around 4 hours or the budget airline Wizz in just over 5 hours. Once you arrive in Male there are resorts accessible by either speedboat, seaplane or domestic flight.

Contact details – 0555659056 sarah.paterson@travelcounsellors.ae

ZANZIBAR 

Travel Counsellor – Sarah Flint

Zanzibar’s allure lies in its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and rich culture. Walking through Stone Town is like stepping into a time machine with labyrinthine streets and bustling markets. From lazing on beaches to exploring forests and diving into the ocean, Zanzibar offers diverse adventures for every traveller.

Zanzibar offers an abundance of activities for all types of family holidays. Consider staying in the serene north or west before a night in Stone Town. Explore its maze-like streets, visit Prison Island for giant tortoises, and enjoy snorkelling adventures on a local dhow excursion. Discover the Jozani Forest with its unique ecosystem and Columbus monkeys. With a perfect blend of exploration and relaxation, Zanzibar guarantees an unforgettable experience for you and your family.

We flew with Flydubai. They have 2/3 flights depending on the day of the week. It takes about 5 and half hours to reach Zanzibar. The best time to travel to Zanzibar is from June to September.

Contact details – 0556184164 ,sarah.flint@travelcounsellors.ae

VIETNAM

Travel Counsellor – Pamela Glazier

Vietnam has my heart, with its lively streets, old-world charm, and those postcard-perfect beaches.  Each time I’ve visited I’ve found something new and amazing to explore. The warm and welcoming people of Vietnam add to its charm, making visitors feel right at home from the moment you arrive. It really is a perfect destination for families with children of all ages.

There are so many highlights, where to begin! Hoi An is a short drive from the picturesque beach resorts of Da Nang and is a must see. I’ve cycled through the villages and rice fields, learned to farm like a local and been crab fishing in Hoi An – so much fun.

A cruise of Halong Bay is unforgettable, and such a unique experience. Family friendly activities include visiting the floating villages, exploring magical caves, squid fishing, cooking classes, kayaking and so much more.

If you’re travelling with older children, trekking in Sapa is a great adventure. Surrounded by rice fields and small villages it’s a great way to see local culture with a stunning backdrop. Truly unforgettable.

With direct flights from Dubai to both Hanoi (6 hours) and Ho Chi Minh City (7 hours), Vietnam is so accessible. From the 2 main cities you can then transfer on to a number of towns and resorts with regular internal flights. Or if you’d like an adventure, taking the train is an amazing way to see Vietnam, and many provide cabins making travel easier for families.

Contact details –052 964 9740, pamela.glazier@travelcounsellors.ae

GEORGIA 

Travel Counsellor – Mary Ainley

Georgia is a great location to travel to from Dubai as it is less than a 3hr flight and in the same time zone. This makes it a great long weekender or perfect for a short ski trip. The capital Tblisi offers great dining options, and the cobbled streets are beautiful to stroll through.

We have skied in Georgia a couple of times , as it is so easy to get to and much cheaper than skiing in Europe. Ski in ski out hotels are very budget friendly and the option of private ski lessons is much more attainable. Gudauri is the main ski field in Georgia. There is a great vibe on the mountain, fabulous food and beverage options and a great ski field for beginners as it is wide open with no tree hazards!

Emirates and Fly Dubai fly direct to Tblisi with a flight time of less than 3hrs. The transfer from Tblisi to Gudauri is approx. 2 and a half hours.

Contact details – 0555569840, mary.ainley@travelcounsellors.ae

SRI LANKA

Travel Counsellor – Lisa Foley

A cultural melting pot which has been shaped by its colourful past, Sri Lanka is a sun-soaked destination with spectacular beaches, unrivalled landscapes and some of the best food you can find.  There is so much to explore in Sri Lanka from the mountains and train rides, to game drives and beaches.

Ideally you would spend 10-14 days exploring the country before relaxing beachside. I would start in Kandy to visit the Temple of the Tooth– a Buddhist temple that houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Kandy lies at an altitude of 500 metres above sea level and is considered to be the cultural centre of Sri Lanka. Next, take the scenic train ride to Ella.  Along the way you’ll see waterfalls, misty forests, tea plantations and colourful towns.  Whilst in Ella, you can hike to the summit of Ella Rock, see the iconic Nine Arch Bridgeor enjoy laidback village life.  From Ella, I would continue down to Yala National Park.  Here you’ll find wildlife such as leopards, elephants and crocodiles, as well as hundreds of bird species.  Stay for 1 or 2 nights to see all the park has to offer.  Finally, work your way around the South Coast to either Galle, Weligama, Hikkaduwa or Bentota for your beach stay.  Here you’ll be in a good position for day trips to Mirissa for whale watching, to visit the many turtle hatcheries that line the coast or exploring Galle Dutch Fort, home to charming cafes, jewellery shops, bookstores, fashion outlets, and even a museum.  This is just a snippet of what Sr Lanka has to offer.  Everything we do is tailor made to suit your tastes and budget so please get in touch to create your perfect itinerary.

You have direct flights from Dubai with Emirates, Fly Dubaiand Sri Lankan airways. The flight time is about 4.5 hours.  Be warned, the timings are not family friendly so consider a night in Negombo at the start of your trip or be prepared to jump in the car for 2+ hours.

Contact details –0565460998, Lisa.Foley@mytc.com

CRUISE

Travel Counsellor – Lindsay Nunn

Unpacking once and waking up in a different destination everyday? What could be better!  There really is something for everyone, whether it be water parks, ice rinks or climbing walls or something smaller and more refined – the best bit of all is visiting a range of ports offering a truly enriching holiday experience.

With so many itineraries and Cruise Lines to choose from it is hard to make one suggestion, however Mediterranean Cruises always seem to be extremely popular with families.   Embark in Barcelona and set sail around Greece taking in Malta, Santorini, Mykonos and disembarking in Athens.  A pre and post cruise stay will also allow for further exploring in Barcelona & Athens.  Dining on board is altered as per your destination offering local delicacies meaning you don’t miss out!  Local entertainment is also welcomed on board to offer further cultural enrichment.  As for the Cruise Line, this really does come down to personal choice!

Dependent on your departure port this could be from the UAE or you would fly to your first port of call to embark.

Contact details –0585256866, Lindsay.nunn@travelcounsellors.ae

BALI

Travel Counsellor – Lauren Tilston

The Island of The Gods, the name speaks for itself!

There is such a wonderful and calming energy in Bali – even in the middle of chaotic traffic! Bali is able to offer something for everyone therefore I really recommend a twin stay so you can experience everything this beautiful Island has to offer.

I would highly recommend taking some time to book a private tour of the beautiful temples and rice fields whilst staying in Ubud. Some of the tourist spots can be very overcrowded – such as the Monkey Forest – so it is worth paying a bit extra to get a special experience.  The Mount Batur Trek to watch the sunrise is spectacular! It is sold as a moderate climb, but in my opinion you need proper walking boots and definitely one to try without the kids! Do remember to take lots of layers as it is very cold at the top! I loved the private Jungle Walk with private boat across Tamnlingan Lake. This is most definitely one you could enjoy with the little ones.

Once you have finished in Ubud you can head down to one of the stunning beach spots. For families I would recommend staying in Nusa Dua. Some people find the area a bit ‘commercial’ but I think it is a fantastic base for families. You will find the usual branded hotels as well as a golf course. It has plenty of family activities and it is easy to hop around between resorts. Using this as a base you can dip in and out of the busier areas on day trips. Some of the more popular area such as Kuta, Seminyak a Canguu have become very touristy and extremely busy – something to keep in mind if you are someone who prefers to stay away from the action!

Direct flights from Dubai with Emirates will take you just over 9 hours.

Or why not fly with Singapore Air and break the journey up with a stopover in Singapore!

Contact details –​050 8714 794, lauren.tilston@travelcounsellors.ae

CRETE

Travel CounsellorKate Mcilveen 

Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, beckons visitors with its stunning beaches and crystalline waters. In the west, we explored the beautiful beaches of Balos Lagoon and soaked up the rich tapestry of history evident in Chania’s picturesque Venetian Habour. To the east, we chilled out in the boutique style village of Elounda and took a trip to the historical island of Spinalonga, a former leper colony made famous by Victoria Hislops bestseller ‘The Island’.

Crete’s northern coast boasts a wide variety of resorts catering to all preferences, from family-friendly options with water parks to luxury boutique hotels. With opportunities for hiking, water sports, climbing or quad biking adventures you can choose to stay put and enjoy your resort, we hired a car and ventured around the island, or you can embark on day trips. The adventurous can trek through Samaria Gorge, history buffs can visit the famous Palace of Knosso and the pink sands of Elafonisi Beach are instagramable heaven. 

Fly direct to Athens with Emirates, AirArabia, Aegean or WizzAir and then get a connecting flight to Heraklion or Chania with Sky Express or Aegean

Contact details 056 1131240 ,kate.mcilveen@travelcounsellors.ae

MAURITIUS 

Travel Counsellor – Gill Finnigan

Mauritius, for me, is a tapestry of diverse offerings, seamlessly blending pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, warm hospitality, thrilling activities, and cultural richness. It’s a destination that caters to relaxation and adventure, ensuring an enchanting experience for all ages within a safe and welcoming environment. The fact that my golf enthusiastic husband revels in the fantastic golf courses adds an extra layer of delight. Plus, the icing on the cake – there’s no time difference between the UAE and Mauritius 😊

Mauritius, a compact island, measuring 45 km wide and 60 km long, boasts an abundance of attractions easily accessible to visitors. Explore family friendly resorts like Lux* resorts, Beachcomber Resorts, Trou Aux Biches, Constance Belle Mare Plage, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Heritage Le Telfair Golf & Wellness Resort, One & Only Le Saint Geran, Westin Turtle Bay and many more…. Dive into diverse activities from the captivating Chamarel Seven Coloured Earths and beach charm in Pointe d’Esny to snorkeling with dolphins in Tamarin and diving the dramatic drop-offs at Flic en Flac. Nature enthusiasts can hike through Black River Gorges National Park and delve into the island’s plantation history at Eureka, take a boat trip to Île aux Aigrettes or unwind on pristine beaches on Ile aux Cerfs.  With something for everyone, Mauritius is a destination that promises to create cherished memories 😊

Experience the convenience of non-stop flights from Dubai to Mauritius, with a swift travel time of just 6 hours and 35 minutes!  Operated by Emirates and Air Mauritius, you have the flexibility to kickstart your adventure with an early morning flight at 2:35 am for a full day in Mauritius or opt for a more relaxed departure at 10:05 am. On your return journey, choose between a 16:35 flight or a later option at 21:50.

Contact details – 058 5664394, gill.finnigan@travelcounsellors.ae

THAILAND

Travel Counsellor – Angela Sharp

Thailand is a country of contrasts – it is vibrant and energetic yet peaceful and serene.  Whether it’s sightseeing in the cities, exploring nature and wildlife in the wilderness or just relaxing by the beach enjoying the glorious weather and food (plus maybe a spa or two!), there is something for everyone.  Plus,it offers amazing value for money and remains very safe for families.

The top places in Thailand to visit with family would be Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi & Chiang Mai.  Combining a short city break (sightseeing and culture exploring temples, markets, street food) or a nature adventure followed by a beach stay is very popular.

Accommodation options are spacious and often well-catered for families (with villas & suites offering 2+ bedrooms) some with outdoor space & private pools – most larger beach resorts have good kids clubs too.

There are a multitude of day trips and activities that can entertain the whole family – from island-hopping with snorkeling and kayaking, to visiting the vast National Parks and waterfalls to wandering around temples  and religious sites.  Unique experiences with elephants in their own environment, somewhere like Elephant Hills, are also very popular with families wanting to head off-the-beaten track.

Fly directly to Bangkok, Phuket or Krabi in just 6 hours from Dubai – including options now with low-cost carriers.  Travelling within the country to other islands and mainland destinations is also very easy with great domestic flight connections.

Contact details –058 595 1461, angela.sharp@mytc.com

JAPAN

Travel Counsellor – Andrea Britchford

Recently topping many travel polls as the ‘best country in the world’, Japan is a uniquely individual country of many contrasts. It offers a fascinating culture with a blend of futuristic and traditional. Buzzing, mega cities such as Tokyo and Osaka are juxtaposed with historic cultural highlights including Kyoto and the mysterious Geishas or the revered Mount Fuji. It offers travellers a spectacular experience no matter which season you visit in.

One of the main considerations when visiting Japan is which season to go in. Most popular is spring time when the ‘Sakura’ blossom is in full bloom. This is also the busiest and most expensive and must be booked up months in advance. Autumn is the other season of changing colours, whilst winter is perfect for skiing and summer hosts festivals throughout and wildflowers on the island of Sapporo.

First timers to Japan often focus on the cities of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka which are relatively close together, easily accessible by the amazing bullet train network and offer a real taste of all sides of Japan. And all are really family friendly!

Tokyo has an array of attractions, from the chaotic pedestrian crossing at Shibuya, to the fish market, temples, karoke and numerous restaurants, shops and attractions. It is also home to Disneyland. Kyoto is the cultural capital where traditional tea ceremonies, geishas, palaces, numerous temples and walks, especially during blossom. Osaka is home to Universal Studios, the famous castle and also amazing foodie experiences.

Away from the cities, there are a number of day trips and destinations worth mentioning. Hakone is home to Mount Fuji, Takayama is in the countryside with traditional buildings and a laid back atmosphere, Nara is the ancient capital of Japan, Hiroshima has an amazing museum about the bombing and Miyajima Island houses the giant Tori Gate and car free living.

Emirates fly direct to both Osaka and Tokyo from Dubai whilst a number of other predominantly Asian airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific offer services with a stopover but at a much cheaper price.

Flights with stopovers are also available from Dubai to Okinawa, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

Etihad also fly direct to both Tokyo and Osaka from Abu Dhabi.

Contact details –​0527573444, andrea.britchford@mytc.com

GREECE

Travel Counsellor – Amy Mardon

Picture this: crystal-clear waters lapping against sun-kissed shores, ancient ruins with tales of history, and vibrant villages bustling with life… Greece, a haven for families, offers something for everyone! Explore the charm of Santorini, the lively beaches of Mykonos, or the serene beauty of Crete. Indulge in their delicious Mediterranean cuisine while soaking up the warm Grecian hospitality – a treat for the whole family!

Introduce your kids to ancient history at the Acropolis in Athens and wander through the iconic ruins.  Tip: Avoid the crowds and heat by visiting early in the morning

Taxis on the islands can be hard to come by and on the pricey side – consider renting a car (most offer car seats too) to explore or using the bay-to-bay water taxis to discover the quieter beaches

Put Elafonissi Beach on your travel checklist when heading to Crete – with pink sand and clear waters make it the best family beach day! Tip: Arrive early to secure a good spot!

Ikos and Grecotel resorts offer fantastic kid’s activities and entertainment in stunning resorts – fun for them, relaxing for you – winner!

Fly direct to Santorini, Mykonos or Corfu with Fly Dubai during the summer months or mix up culture with relaxation by flying into Athens for a few days before hopping aboard a ferry to begin your island adventures.  Flying time is around 5 hours making a breeze when travelling with little ones

Contact details – 0558375837, amy.mardon@travelcounsellors.ae

If you are interested in joining the Travel Counsellors community and running a thriving home-based travel business here in the UAE you can contact Holly for further information – holly.mccann@travelcounsellors.ae or WhatsApp 050 6850918.