As part of our weekly series Family Travel Tales, we pick the brains of some of the most inspirational travelling families, so they can share their top travel tips, bucket list of destinations and favourite travel memories.
This week, we are introducing you to the Hyottes, a family of five from London. Matthew travels a lot by car (eg. his Instagram name) with his wife and three sons (10, 6 and 4). In fact their extensive travel by car has caught the Wall Street Journal a few years back.
1. What is the first trip you remember taking as a family?
As a full family of five, our first trip was to New York from London, three weeks after our youngest son was born to visit family. It was a race to see if the US or UK passport would arrive first and the UK passport won out, so he travelled on that. Our first real trip was a couple of months later when we travelled to Vieques, Puerto Rico for Christmas. After two flight connections to San Juan, an overnight stay and a small prop plane ride, we arrived to some of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean.
2. Your Instagram account often includes your kids’ perspective on holidays. Which are some of your most favourite destinations, activities, and hotels?
Generally speaking, our favourite travel spots are beach destinations. In particular we love Salento which is southern Puglia where we try and go at least once a year as a family. The whole family loves the beach, the kids are outside being active and the food and wine is amazing. A win for everyone. Another one of our favourite destinations is Cornwall in the UK. The water is much, much colder than Puglia, but the surfing is amazing and scenery is incredible.
3. Any tips you would give to other family travellers?
My advice to families is to travel as soon as you can with kids…it only gets easier. The more they travel when they are young, the more they will be used to travel as they get older. Also, travel out of your comfort zone, maybe to a destination that you think will be unmanageable with kids. I bet you will be surprised.
4. Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Actually no. I tend to do a lot of research on destinations so we generally know what to expect. We are often pleasantly surprised by destinations when the exceed expectations, but we typically know what we are getting into.
“Travel as soon as you can with kids…it only gets easier”
5. Do you have any funny travel stories?
As we frequently do road trips and we have three boys, there are a lot of funny stories, mostly involving bodily fluids. My wife has banned me from telling these stories though…
6. Tell us something unexpected that has happened to you on your travels
We were flying to Calabria, Italy and are flight was re-routed to Puglia (8 hours drive away) – where at the time we hadn’t been – because of thunderstorms. So we cancelled all our plans in Calabria and spent the week in Puglia.
7. If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?
South Africa. Summer is in full swing, there are beaches, beautiful scenery and wildlife, and great food and wine. It ticks the boxes for the entire family.
8. What are your top 3 family friendly hotels or holiday homes?
#1 Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall: Drop off your surfboard and walk from the beach in your wetsuit to the bar. When the kids aren’t on the beach there is a kids’ room and an evening babysitting service so adults can opt for a quieter dinner. Amazing ocean views from all over the hotel and great coastal walking trails.
#2 B&B Hotels: When we travel in Europe we drive everywhere from London. 20 hour drives are not uncommon for us. This budget hotel chain is based mainly in France, with hotels right off the highway. You can arrive at any time and check in and enter your room with a code. We usually stay for only a night, but it’s incredibly convenient for road trips.
#3 Our house in Puglia: We spent over a year renovating what was essentially a ruin in the centre of a small village in Puglia. It’s nice to have a small place to call our own in such a fantastic location.
9. Where is the best family meal you had in a restaurant?
Fondue at a restaurant in the hills above Appenzell Switzerland. The restaurant was also a working farm and the long haired cows kept the kids entertained for hours. A perfect snowy winter lunch.
10. If you had a bucket list of 5 destinations to discover with your children, what would be on the list?
#1 Cape Town, South Africa
#2 Istanbul, Turkey
#3 Tokyo, Japan
#4 San Francisco, California
#5 Easter Island, Polynesia
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