The Stubborn Mule Team

Here at Stubborn Mule we are parents as well as experienced travel consultants, so we know the challenges and joys of an adventurous family holiday. Together our sales team has more than 50 years experience in operating and leading tours throughout the world. We have organised every type of holiday for every age group, from toddlers and teens to intergenerational holidays with babies, adult kids and grand parents.

Who you’ll talk to

When you ring up or email you’ll be dealing with our frontline team. Planning your trip with one of our travel consultants couldn’t be easier – you tell us where you want to go, what your interests are and we do the rest.

Stubborn Mule Travel team - MD and family

Liddy Pleasants

Managing Director
Favourite destinations
China, Sri Lanka, Oman, Laos, Mongolia
Favourite holiday activities
Cycling, anytime, any place. Cold beers at sunset. Sand between my toes. Mountain views. Food… especially in Sri Lanka and China. Bouncing around on a bumpy road with the windows open and a warm wind in my hair. Laughing like a drain when I look in the mirror after the aforementioned bouncing. Swimming in the sea. Hiking. Temple visits. Should I stop now?

Most recent holiday:
Two weeks in Oman at Easter – genuinely one of our best ever family holidays – Kenya, Mexico and Nepal, all with the family.

I never pack without including:
Double the number of plug converters that I initially think we need. And a sarong.

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
It’s properly fun. You get to spend time together in a way that can be difficult to fit in at home. They find humour and interest in the smallest things and my kids constantly surprise me with the ease with which they embrace life in all its wonderful variety.

Also, travelling with children opens doors that would never otherwise have been opened. Locals are so delighted that you have brought your children to their country that you really are welcomed with open arms – we’ve experienced this in so many different countries.

And worst?
Turning up at an amazing restaurant and having to trawl through the menu to find something (….anything!) that my fussy child might consider eating.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
Getting the post trip feedback and hearing about all the adventures and amazing experiences that our Stubborn Mule families have had.

Kelly - Stubborn Mule Travel team

Kelly Perks

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Cambodia, Peru, Jordan, Cuba, Belize and Japan… I could go on!
Favourite holiday activities
Walks and boat rides in the jungle looking for tarantulas and other wildlife, exploring ruined temples, hiking to amazing viewpoints (then trying to capture it in a photo), and watching the world go by in a street café.

Most recent holiday
Jordan with the family, Peru, Morocco and Japan with Stubborn Mule for work.

I never pack without including:
High factor sunscreen – redheads and strong sunshine don’t mix well! Also, my filter drinks bottle for fresh water wherever I am, and binoculars.

Suitcase or backpack?
I like both! Suitcase for plenty of room and ease of pulling it along. Backpack for leaving my hands free while walking around. I have to admit, the older I get, the more I value my suitcase…

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Seeing the world through their eyes and giving them those incredible ‘firsts’. Watching them learn to bargain for souvenirs and say hello in another language. Their realisation that the world is fascinating and so very different to their home.

And worst?
Difficulties when they are very fussy eaters, worrying about them getting sick, being in charge of *everyone’s* packing and sometimes just accepting that you won’t see everything you want to see before the children have had enough.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
I love our down to earth approach, flexibility and understanding that when travelling with children you may not have the inclination to try and do it ALL (and accepting that that’s okay). Our tight-knit team constantly sharing information with one another and keeping up to date on the best places and activities for our guests, in such great detail. And the most special? Getting feedback from our clients after they have travelled and seeing how their special holiday was actually the trip of a lifetime – that’s the best.

Stubborn Mule Consultant, Helene Cooper with her kids surfing

Helene Cooper

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Ecuador, Borneo, Nepal, Jordan, Alaska, Chile, New Zealand
Favourite holiday activities
Summiting mountains! Or volcanoes (not fussy). Having madly busy days doing as much as we can fit in and then chilling with a beer watching the kids dive-bombing each other in the pool. Trying as many local delicacies as possible preferably in night markets (and attempting to get the kids to do the same). Snorkelling with turtles and sea lions (Galapagos), going on night walking safaris in the rainforest (Borneo), falling asleep under canvas pretty much anywhere (even in a rainy Lake District).

What I do on my time off
Summit mountains (when I can escape beautiful but rather flat Suffolk). Run. Run around after three kids with their rugby, hockey, football, cricket matches. Sea swimming, SUP, family BBQs on the beach (summer), board games in front the fire (winter), long hikes in Snowdonia or the Lakes followed by a good local pint in the pub.

Suitcase or backpack?
A constant source of amusement in the office – I am backpack through and through – replete with buff, hiking boots and waterproofs. One simply cannot roll a suitcase along the trails of the Himalayas after all.

Most recent trips?
The Galapagos, Bali and the Komodo Islands and Morocco (all with the kids) and Brazil and Namibia (for ‘work’).

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
Talking to adventurous families about exciting adventures in far off places (theirs and my own), sharing a laugh over email with our wonderful local partners around the world, putting together fabulous new itineraries for fantastic new destinations, working with a brilliant bunch of like-minded mums in deepest, darkest Suffolk (yes, I know that makes us sound like a witches coven) and the minor appeal of heading off on regular recce trips and family holidays to test our trips out.  It’s a hard life….

Best boredom buster for keeping kids happy on a long haul flight?
I guess I’m not allowed to say sleeping pills or a catapult… after our 17 hour epic to Borneo I can happily advise that it is all manageable, connecting flights are actually quite painless and any flight will inevitably involve electronic devices, colouring pens (non-permanent!) and endless snacks along with the threat of getting some sleep otherwise there will be none of the above!

What is your secret to achieving family harmony on a trip?
Making sure the kids have had their daily fix of swimming (rivers, pool, sea, waterfalls, wherever) and the parents have had their cold beer.

Lee Douglas with family by a Sphinx in Egypt

Lee (Lee-Anne) Douglas

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
South Africa, India, Vietnam, Costa Rica and Sri Lanka
Favourite holiday activities
Immersing yourself in a culture, getting to grips with what it’s really like, not just on a tourist level – including learning about local traditions, customs, festivals and local cuisine. Wildlife. Adventures on local transport. Fun activities, such as zip-lining, kayaking and riding donkeys.

Most recent holiday:
Morocco … sorry, that was WORK!  As was Borneo before that.  So, Egypt with the family in May (or camping in sunny Suffolk this summer … a teeny tiny bit less impressive in comparison!).

I never pack without including:
Passports & travel insurance, obviously. Wet wipes, sarong, insect repellent and sunglasses/sun cream… I’m a practical person!

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Best thing is experiencing new and old experiences through the eyes of your child … making memories that they’ll speak of for years to come and will leave a lasting impression on them.

And worst?
The pressure you feel in making sure everything is just right. When it was just yourself (and hubby), you would go anywhere and do anything … now that you have children, you feel this enormous responsibility and double-check everything 100 times… visas, flights, medication, etc.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
We are experts in arranging holidays for families… holidays that we ourselves do – and would love to take our own families on … tried and tested! And the feedback we get from our clients is just magical – confirmation that we’re doing the right thing.

About us - Stubborn Mule team - Charlotte

Charlotte Hamilton

Sales Manager
Favourite destinations
India, Costa Rica, Namibia, Cambodia and Egypt
Favourite holiday activities
Cycling the back streets of Jaipur and sampling some amazing street food en-route.  Markets – any type, anywhere – from wholesale fruit and veg in India to fish in Istanbul, arts and crafts in South Africa, silk in China and souks with everything under the sun to buy in Egypt and Morocco. Sundowners in Africa – enjoying that golden hour of sunshine with a G&T in hand whilst watching giraffes amble nearby – unbeatable!

What else do you like doing on holiday:
Eating! 10 days of curry in Rajasthan was heaven for me. I always make sure to try the local delicacies too – pigeon pastilla in Morocco was quite nice but the sheep’s “bits” in Beijing less so!

I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to adrenaline fulled activities and manged to avoid zip-lining in Costa Rica but I have to say, the tubing there was the most fun thing I’ve ever done!

Most recent holiday:
Cambodia with my family including my 7 year old daughter who loved the cookery class and kayaking trips best! Before that Namibia with my colleague Helene, Thelma and Louise style road trip through the most fabulous landscapes. Plus Morocco on a work trip.

I never pack without including:
Far too many books! I’m a sucker for guidebooks and often buy 2 or even 3 for each destination.

Suitcase or backpack?
I have a really unpractical holdall that I love because it’s orange and because its now been to so many places with me, I can’t bear to leave it behind!

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids? And worst?
The best and worst thing is their enthusiasm for the tiniest things and the strangest thing – “look Amy, isn’t this temple incredible?!” her reply – “Mum when can we go back to the hotel, I love the café/shower/slide there so much?”

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
That no two itineraries are ever exactly the same, it really is 100% designed just for your family.

Emily - Stubborn Mule Travel team

Emily Marshall

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Nepal, Indonesia, Tanzania, Morocco
Favourite holiday activities
Surfing at sunset, snorkelling in Zanzibar and climbing back on board the boat for snacks in the sun, hiking in the rhododendron forests of Nepal with my Nepali friend Tashi, and swimming with turtles straight off the beach of the Gili Islands in Indonesia.

Most recent holiday:
Tanzania and Morocco – both working holidays!

I never pack without including:
My waterproof, solid sunscreen stick! It’s bright white but no burnt noses here…

Suitcase or backpack?
Backpack with wheels!! (North Face have an incredible waterproof, convertible holdall…)

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
I love watching children see something for the first time – it is refreshing and you share the excitement, even when you have already seen something similar before or know what to expect. Children are also some of the most adventurous people I’ve ever met – their curiosity is a really special thing.

And worst?
The worst has got to be the strops! Often at an inconvenient moment…Sometimes someone is just having a bad day and there’s not a lot that will make it better except a nap!

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
The range of destinations that we open up to families of all shapes and sizes – exciting, adventurous travel should only just be beginning when you have children!

Caroine - Stubborn Mule Travel team

Caroline Dolby-Bingham

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Florida, Tuscany
Favourite holiday activities
Cycling off the beaten track (nothing too arduous!), snorkelling in the Red Sea, sitting amongst the penguins at Boulders Bay and exploring local markets for the ultimate souvenirs… (my daughters have inherited the shopaholic in me!)

Most recent holiday:
Thailand, South Brittany and Morocco

I never pack without including:
Baby wipes

Suitcase or backpack?
Suitcase – it’s easier to live out of a suitcase than a backpack.

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Best – Sharing priceless memories that will last a lifetime.

And worst?
The ‘ Are we there yet?’ syndrome.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
The passion and enthusiasm of everyone who works here. We all know how important family time is – so we have a big onus on getting it right.

Claire and family - Stubborn Mule Travel team

Claire Gray

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
South Africa, Namibia, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya
Favourite holiday activities
Wildlife, wildlife and yet more wildlife! Walking in nature where I can observe wildlife and animal interactions.

Most recent holiday:
In the last couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to go to Vietnam, USA, Jordan, Antigua, Norway, the Norfolk Broads, Uganda, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Namibia.

I never pack without including:
Tea bags and a small flask. So many places don’t do proper tea!!!

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids? 
It is such an incredible privilege to see the world through a child’s eyes. Even things we had done, and seen, before we took the children, were so special. We have only travelled once at Christmas but as we bumped along a muddy dirt track in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia my son looked at me with tears in his eyes and said “This is the best Christmas ever” and there wasn’t a present or bit of tinsel in sight.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
Helping people to plan their amazing trips and hopefully using my experience of travelling with children to help them to have a really special time of their own. There are so many countries out there that I love, and it is wonderful to share that passion with clients and persuade them to try out places and experiences that my family have loved.

Jane portrait - Stubborn Mule Travel's team page

Jane Prinsep

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Hong Kong, Morocco, Ecuador, Borneo, Thailand, Jordan, New Zealand. The list is endless…
Favourite holiday activities
I’m a water baby, so swimming – anywhere – with sea lions in Galapagos, with fur seals in Kaikoura, New Zealand, or a hotel swimming pool at night after a couple of gin & tonics.

Most recent holiday:
Morocco. My first trip back for 15 years. It was a work trip with the whole Stubborn Mule Team and I can honestly say it was the most fun I’ve had in years. We packed it in – Marrakech, shopping in the souks, trekking in the Atlas, feasting on tagines, dancing with the locals and even quad-biking across the Agafy Desert at night. Mesmerising and hilarious in equal measure.

I never pack without including:
Compartments. I’m a happier traveller if I know where my stuff is. My holiday time is far too important to waste time rummaging.

Suitcase or backpack?
One that converts into both. I love anything multi-functional and space-saving. 

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Excitement levels. The unbridled joy when they see just about the coolest, most awesome thing they’ve ever seen, only for it then to be topped a few minutes later by something even more cool and awesome. It’s infectious. Kids are the perfect ice-breaker when travelling in a country where there’s a language barrier. The love of our kids is something any parent, anywhere, understands.

And worst?
When they’re exhausted, hot, uncomfortable, hungry, thirsty and the husband’s exhausted, hot, uncomfortable, hungry and thirsty, and they all must tell you repeatedly because, of course, you are none of those things.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
This isn’t your usual sales team. We represent a diverse mix of characters, ages, backgrounds and philosophies, but with one common passion – our love of travel. I suppose you could call us explorers! We all want the best for each other, so it’s a very supportive and friendly place to be. In a workplace, that’s a real privilege.

Portrait of Abby in South Africa - Stubborn Mule team

Abby Baldry-Smith

Travel Consultant
Favourite destinations
Sri Lanka, South Africa, Thailand, India, New Zealand
Favourite holiday activities
Cycling, anywhere and everywhere! Nothing too strenuous, but a lovely way to meet locals and explore the area at a slower pace. Snorkelling and diving – looking for whale sharks in the Philippines or Great whites in South Africa. Shopping preferably in a market.

Most recent holiday:
Recently returned from a year away overlanding in Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya), New Zealand, Fiji and South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand) and Morocco!

I never pack without including:
My camera, snacks and a good book

Suitcase or backpack?
Backpack

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Seeing the world through their eyes, marvelling at the smallest details we as adults take for granted. Their ability to adapt and make friends, whilst quickly overcoming a very apparent language barrier! Spending quality time together and making memories that will be relived and recalled for years to come. The joy of experiencing things for the first time, living and appreciating the present.

And worst?
Trying to overcome jetlag, when everyone is wide awake and tired at different times!

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
Working closely with the wonderful team, sharing knowledge and experiences to be able to create incredible itineraries for our families, best suited to their interests and preferences, in amazing places around the world.

Priscilla Howells

Priscilla Howell

PA & Administrator
Favourite destinations
India, all of South America (!) and South of France
Favourite holiday activities
Exploring, the people, walking and seeing how people live.

Most recent holiday:
Malta and Morocco

I never pack without including:
Things the children forget to pack, Top Trumps and Backgammon.

Suitcase or backpack?
Suitcase now.

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Doing things together, time out together, excitement together.

And worst?
Fighting over the one pair of goggles.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
The people and being surrounded by travel talk.

Stubborn Mule team - Mike

Mike Pleasants

Accounts Manager
Favourite destinations
Oman, Syria, Goa, Jordan & Laos
Favourite holiday activities
Walking and food.

I never pack without including:
My IPOD and a good book.

Most recent holidays:
Oman followed by Nepal last Easter

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
The wonder with which they can experience the most mundane things. Simply walking into a local grocery store and the greeting both they and the patrons give is amazing.

And worst?
That the experience for them is only fleeting. You just hope that they can remember some of what they are experiencing.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
It is a family run, family driven, quality over quantity relationship with the client. We are passionate about what we do and are always striving to give our clients something unique and memorable.

What is your secret to achieving family harmony on a trip?
Don’t Panic. There is nothing that cannot be dealt with and nothing that cannot be altered. Flexibility both before and during the trip is key. Communication.

Rebecca in Egypt

Rebecca Scrase

Content Queen, newsletters, blogs and more
Favourite destinations
Indonesia, Northern Spain, Nepal, Laos, Australia
Favourite holiday activities
We are committed, hard-core campers, often taking off for a four week digital detox into the Picos Mountains, Northern Spain or a not detox at all wine-soaked beach holiday in France.

Most recent holiday:
I’m about to go to Egypt for Christmas with my family and am beyond excited.

I never pack without including:
Mascara. I am living proof that glamour and adventure travel are not mutually exclusive.

Suitcase or backpack?
What’s a suitcase?

What’s the best thing about travelling with kids?
Looking at the world anew through their eyes and sharing my love of adventure with them. Also, laughter.

The worst?
They still seem to hanker after tech even when they’re living the dream.

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
The camaraderie, and that so many of us have been in the travel business (and have worked together before) for years. The parties can get messy.

Team - Felix - Stubborn Mule Travel

Felix Trash

Social Media Manager
Favourite destinations
Nepal, Canada, Alaska
Favourite holiday activity:
Hiking through the mountains.

I never pack without including:
My camera.

Suitcase or backpack?
Backpack

Most recent holiday:
Hiking holiday in Washington State, USA and Alaska

What’s your favourite thing about Stubborn Mule?
That they’re forever pushing the limits of what a ‘family holiday’ can be – anything is achievable!

Evenings and weekends call backs

We are very happy to discuss your holiday in the evenings or at the weekends. As parents we know that the best time to think about a holiday is sometimes after all of the kids are in bed! If this is the case, let us know a convenient time to call you and we will be happy to do so.

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Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751