Travel tips

Luxury is Not Always the Best When Travelling

Last updated 6th June 2017

Our Contributing Editor on why, when it comes to travel, a little bit of everything is best.


A few years ago, my friend Penny Smith and I walked the Inca trail in Peru. We’d been in tents for four nights, squabbling over thermals – believe me, Penny was a very messy camper – and we decided to stay a night in the wonderful Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.

We got this lovely room, we had a massage at the hotel (incidentally, one of the best massages I’ve ever had, perhaps down to the four days of hard trekking) and, the next morning, we got up at eight o’clock to see the ancient citadel before anyone else arrived. It was just extraordinary. And, yes, we’d had a nice breakfast and a coffee before visiting the site.

It’s moments such as this – when luxury and adventure go hand in hand – that make travel so special for me. Too much of one thing can tip you over the edge.

My husband spent his entire childhood camping and in caravans, and he just doesn’t want to do that anymore. He’s had his fill. I want to take Molly, eight, and Dan, seven, camping – well, ‘glamping’ – this year, but Jason’s just not interested.

My kids, however, are at the other extreme. Because I take them with me when I write my travel pieces, they’ve been lucky enough to stay at luxury resorts such as Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Dar Ahlam in Morocco. Yet all my daughter dreams of is going off somewhere in a campervan.

I think a little bit of everything does you good.

Mariella Frostrup is a Contributing Editor to Family Traveller and a mother of two.

A balancing act 

Sorry if this makes me sound spoilt, but two weeks in a luxury hotel would be hell for me. I would go completely stir-crazy. You really can have your fill of being waited on hand and foot.

A friend of mine – an actor who’s been on tour with a play for the past five months – illustrates this perfectly. He came round for dinner last night, and my husband Jason and I cooked him some simple chicken, rice and vegetables. He fell upon it, saying, ‘Oh my God. I can’t believe it! This is so great!’ Everyone thinks it must be nice to go to a restaurant every evening and have food served to you. But if you do that all the time, you reach a point of overkill. 

When I travel with my kids 

I try to plan a bit of rough and a bit of smooth. I like a healthy combination. There’s no greater feeling in the world, for example, than going on a sailing trip where you get totally salt-encrusted and your hair tangles into knots, then staying a night somewhere really sumptuous and spoiling. Nothing beats that sensation of the first shower in which you wash off all the salt and the grime, and evolve into a more presentable version of yourself.