What is a Stubborn Mule holiday like?

So what actually happens on a Stubborn Mule holiday? How does it all work? What will it actually be like?

To help answer these questions we have outlined a few of the key elements of any holiday. However for more information please give us a call and we can explain this in more detail.

“Mummeeee, Daddeee, flying is so boring!”

Flying internationally with children is not always stress-free but after you clear customs you will be met by one of our representatives. There’s no hunting around for a taxi and haggling over the fare, rather you will be whisked straight into an air-conditioned vehicle and taken directly to your hotel.

Travelling around
“Are we nearly there yet?”

Although you may use a variety of modes of transport during the course of your tour (plane, train, cycle rickshaw, donkey), the majority of the time you will be in a private air-conditioned vehicle, usually with an English-speaking driver or guide.

This means that you can stop whenever you want, perhaps to stretch your legs and find a toilet or perhaps because you have seen something that you want to look at. This might be a beautiful view, a local market or a small temple not on your itinerary. Flexibility is key here and you can determine your pace depending on your mood and that of your children.

Your luggage will accompany you in the vehicle.

Hotels and lodges
“But this bed isn’t comfy….”

Nothing is more important to the success of your trip than staying in the right hotels. When we discuss your holiday with you, we will pay particular attention to the kind of accommodation that you want and will suggest a range of hotels that we think will suit. We endeavour to make these as atmospheric and interesting as possible and our suggestions may range from a converted maharajah’s palace to a Bedouin tent, from a converted rice barge to a local village homestay.

Generally we avoid large resorts and instead select smaller hotels that we know personally and that we know will suit your family. There may be the occasional exception; for example if you are ending your holiday with some beach time, you might prefer a larger resort with all of the amenities and activities this will offer.

We will discuss all the options with you.

Hotels range in standard from 2/3-star to 5-star depending on your budget.

Will we all fit in the room?
“But Mummy, I want to sleep with you!”

The type of rooms that we book for you will depend on your choice of hotel, the ages of your children and how many of you there are. Families with older children may choose just to book two regular rooms (perhaps with an interconnecting door, if available) whereas families with younger children will often request a single large room, with additional beds or cots.

The options will vary from one destination to another but we will always discuss this with you and will specify the precise rooming configuration for each and every hotel.

What about all the packing and un-packing?
“Hmm…Dad, I can’t close my bag….”

Well, there is no way round it, if you are going to be travelling around then there is a certain amount of un-packing and re-packing to be done. However, to keep this to a minimum where possible we will arrange for you to spend two nights or more in most hotels.

If you have very young children we may suggest that you scale things back further and stick to just 3-4 hotels during the course of your trip.

Are there swimming pools?
“But I’m too hot. I don’t want to see ANY MORE temples!”

We try wherever possible to include hotels with swimming pools. In our experience children can be persuaded to take part in a wide variety of sightseeing if there is the promise of a swim at the end of it!

Of course, not all locations have hotels with a pool or you may be travelling at a time of year when it will be too cold to swim. We will discuss this with you when we design your trip.

“What that? Can I have a pizza instead?”

It goes without saying that all children are different and this seems to particularly be the case in their approach to ‘foreign food’. We have known some lucky parents whose children embrace the idea of tasting new things and happily tuck into plates of curry, stir-fries, exotic fruits and vegetables, even snake, snails and deep fried scorpions. If this is you then you can skip the rest of this section!

Others (unfortunately including most of us here at Stubborn Mule) have children who recoil at the idea of anything a whole lot more challenging than sausages and mash.

Luckily this doesn’t have to prevent you from travelling to exciting places, and your children don’t have to come back half-starved. In many places you will be able to find local restaurants which offer both local and Western food. This means that Mum and Dad can sample the local fare but less intrepid children can perhaps stick with something more familiar.

If this is something that you are concerned about, please discuss it with us and we can offer further advice and recommend specific restaurants that we know will suit.

We can accommodate a wide variety of dietary requirements (including allergies) so please discuss this with us if applicable.

The sights
“Can we go back to the pool now?”

So, you’ve arrived in your dream destination. The next challenge is how to enjoy the best of the sights without the children chanting “we’re bored” throughout the day. Fortunately, in our experience, this is absolutely possible provided your itinerary has been designed with the ages of your children in mind.

It is easiest to explain this with the help of an example. Imagine that you are in Egypt and you have arrived in Luxor and want to visit the Valley of the Kings, where the exquisitely painted tombs of the Pharaohs are located. The children want to stay by the pool instead. You then remind them that you are travelling to the valley on the back of small sturdy donkeys. Suddenly the morning sightseeing seems a whole lot more appealing!

Throughout the trip it is crucial that the historical sites are balanced or complemented with other experiences that the children will enjoy such as boat trips, riding camels, canoeing, cooking classes, zip-lining, mountain biking, swimming in waterfalls, desert camping and so on.

In Belize and Guatemala then, you will not only admire the exquisite Mayan ruins at Tikal but will also spend a day snorkelling on a small caye and having a barbeque lunch on the beach. In Jordan you will not only admire the glorious desert city of Petra but will also spend the night under the stars in a Bedouin tent. In Laos you will wander through the exquisite temples of Luang Prabang but will also head into the pitch black of a 7km long cave tunnel by small motorboat.

Every country has an abundance of experiences like this to offer but many are far off the beaten track and can seldom be read about in guidebooks. However, having travelled extensively in all of our destinations, we know all of the best secrets and will make sure that these are included in your bespoke itinerary. This means that you can see the sights you have always dreamed about, the children will be enthusiastic and entertained, and every member of the family will have the time of their life.

“Daddy, what is he talking about?”

There are lots of different ways of visiting the sights. Some families like to explore on their own, accompanied by a guidebook. Others prefer to be escorted by a guide, who can bring history to life, will make sure you see all of the most interesting places and can answer any questions that you or the children have.

In our experience it generally works best to have a guide with you at the most important sights (the temples of Bagan, the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, the Forbidden City etc) but to explore on your own, and at your own pace, at the less ‘iconic’ places. In this way, if attention is lagging you can go and find an ice cream or a cold drink, sit in the shade and talk about the history in a way that will appeal to the children or spend a few minutes playing hide and seek with little ones.

We can arrange whatever will suit you and your family.


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