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Meeting the locals in Thailand

If you want this year’s family holiday to include authentic experiences, insightful tour guides and transformative experiences for you and your children, look no further than Intrepid.

With 47 different family trips to choose from, Intrepid is your go-to tour operator for family adventures. Trips are grouped into two key age ranges – teenage (over 11) and all-family trips (minimum age four) – and popular destinations include Costa Rica, China, Vietnam, Thailand and the Pyrenees in summer. New for 2018 are exciting trips to Bali, Mexico, Tanzania, the Italian Lakes and Croatia.

Just for families: The clue’s in the title. These trips are for families only, travelling with a child under the age of 18. Plus, unlike other travel companies, children aged 17 years and younger receive a 10 per cent discount on the price of their trip.

Travel with other families: Travelling the Intrepid way is a bit like going away with a group of friends. Groups are made up of three to five like-minded families, and kids tend to hit it off straight away, allowing you to enjoy some well-earned R&R.

Taking part in a traditional stick game in China

Single parents: Organising an international trip as a single parent can be a challenging experience– but not with Intrepid. Not only have they taken care of all the logistics (accommodation, transport, tickets, activities), your kids will have a ready-made pack of fellow explorers on standby, and you’ll have a host of like-minded adults to socialise with.

Small group sizes: Intrepid’s family group sizes are small enough to avoid the crowds and reach some out-of-the-way places, but big enough for a good social mix. The average group size of 10 allows you to hop aboard local boats, buses or trains, eat at friendly, family-run restaurants and kick back in traditional accommodation and homestays.

Action-packed: We know the biggest challenge on a family trip is keeping the kids entertained. Intrepid has planned in advance – nearly all of its hotels have pools, and each day has a great mix of action-packed adventure and flexible free time.

The ancient Moroccan kasbah Aït Benhaddou, near Ouarzazate

Discover who is family traveller’s favourite guide to Morocco

A good guide can make all the difference to a family adventure holiday. We spoke to Khalid Lamlih, 35, from the Atlas Mountains, who leads Intrepid Travel’s action-packed trips in Morocco and recently won the Wanderlust World Guide Award 2017.

I come from the mid Atlas Mountains in the north of Morocco full of vegetation and some of the biggest forests in Northern Africa full of cedar trees. I grew up in a Berber, or Amazigh family with two sisters and six brothers. With their children, nephews and nieces, we now have two football teams.

Intrepid’s leader Khalid Lamlih

We need just the ball! I grew up close to a lake and my first contact with tourism was seeing the Spanish holidaymakers who came to camp and fish. There was always a question in my head about who they were and what they were doing there, and what language are they speaking.

My dad looked after the forest – like a guard, and my mum looked after the home. They were Nomadic before they had children. Nowadays the nomads are in decline. When they find a good spot, now stay put. There’s not the space there was to move around. These days we have parks and national reserves and they can’t cross these places.

Taking your animals to feed somewhere, there is always someone saying this is government land and you can’t take your animals inside so most of them choose to stay in one place. Also we used to have snow in the Atlas Mountains which made it difficult to feed animals in the winter because they can’t walk on the snow.

With global warming, last year there was hardly any snow, just on the peaks, so there’s no need to come down. So they decided to stay. We still have Simi Nomads who still travel twice a year, but we don’t have the nomads who cross the country and borders like the Tuareg.

Spice market inside the Medina in Marrakech

I used to see guides when I was growing up and wondered about them and also I see guides who moved to the city and always when I saw a guide explaining to tourists I was always fascinated. But I never had a dream to be a tour a guide. I had a dream to be a journalist.

However when I finished university in Marrakesh studying sociology I heard about mountain guiding. I went on to pass an exam in mountain guiding. We spent six months training in the High Atlas Mountains with a lot of hard training. You are given everything to carry, like blankets and food and give you the map and get you to find your way.

And the place we stayed was difficult. Sort of like an army base. But this was my first step to becoming a guide. And once I’d finished my mountain guide training I went back to Marrakesh to work with a company as an assistant guide.

I did one year more training in different areas of the country, hiking in the mountains, hiking in the High Atlas, Mid Atlas and Sahara. We’d go on camels for 15, 22 days depending on which place. And then after one year I began to take small groups on tour.

When you are an Intrepid guide, you have to know everything! You have nature, history, ancient cities, fauna, flora and more. The tours are always very diverse. ‘Sometimes, families just want to go to the souk and come back and relax.

Others want a real adventure hiking in the mountains or going into the Sahara to ride a camel. But crucially, children always want free time to play.

One of Khalid’s Intrepid group tours

Playing the traditional three stringed Moroccan sintir

I make my tours into a story to engage kids. I don’t concentrate on all the facts and figures like dates, as kids will fall asleep. If you tell a story, everyone is waiting for the end. I make it very exciting – and leave it on a cliffhanger for the following morning!

When I bring families into the city, I tell them the story of One Thousand and One Nights, set in our country. My advice for parents thinking of visiting Morocco would be to give their kids some background before they go.

Make them excited. Show them on the map where they are going. Winning the Wanderlust World Guide Award was very exciting.

I’m thinking of using the prize money to create a mobile school bus or truck that could stay for three or four months at a time in the remote parts of the Middle Atlas, where 40% of nomadic people can’t reach school because it’s too far away. This is my dream.

The lowdown: Intrepid

Intrepid’s eight-day Morocco Family Holiday explores the ancient cultures, dramatic landscapes and the imperial cities of the past. Now, the whole family can fall under Morocco’s spell on an action-packed adventure from magical Marrakech to the old pirate port of Essaouira, covering everything from camel-clad deserts to pristine beaches along the way.

Departures run in March, April, July, August, September, October and December 2018 and costs from £1,672 for a family of four. This price includes seven nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast daily, four other meals, transport and most activities. Excludes flights.

Find out more about Intrepid’s family tours