Chris Haslam on our Lost City of Petra family holiday

The best-selling author and award-winning travel writer who travelled with Exodus on The Lost City of Petra, takes a light-hearted look at the concerns you may have when taking your little ones away on a family adventure holiday for the first time.

If taking the kids on holiday wasn’t tough enough, you would be forgiven for having grave reservations over taking the little blighters on an expedition. Health and safety in potentially hostile environments are obviously paramount, but other concerns are equally as valid. Will they spoil the moment by asking “where’s the swimming pool?” as you survey the inexplicably perfect masonry of Machu Picchu? Will they want to go wee wee at the exact moment a tiger steps out of the bamboo, and, above all, will they succeed in showing you up in the close confines of an expedition bus by explaining that the second bottle of red you consumed on the terrace last night is the reason your family was last down to breakfast this morning? The answer to all the above is of course they will, but once you accept that this is the worst that can happen, you’re over the first and only hurdle to transforming yourselves from a couch-surfing family of vaguely unfulfilled slobs to a lean pack of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies.

Be warned, though, that once you explore the Pyramids together, take on the High Atlas en famille or cruise the Lycian coast like a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson, there’s no going back. Acres of wobbling flesh laid out like rotisserie chickens on concrete pool sides will no longer attract you. Complimentary spa treatments and a welcome basket of fruit in your seaview superior will be insufficient enticement, and you’ll find yourself more interested in what Ray Mears wears on holiday than Victoria Beckham.

Last word goes to my ten year old son Frederick, tearing across the empty perfection of Jordan’s Wadi Musa in the back of a pick-up truck, sand goggles on and his kaffiyeh streaming in the wind. In five action-packed days on Exodus’ Lost City of Petra adventure he’d floated in the Dead Sea, found a deserted Crusader Castle, explored the ruins of Petra by moonlight and camped in the desert under the white smear of Milky Way. All I wanted in return was a photo, I said.

“Leave me alone, Dad,” he yelled in reply. “I’m having the time of my life.”

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