Monday, February 28, 2011

Useful and interesting travel information

At Quivertree we're always looking for ways to make your travel more interesting, enjoyable and exciting. Now we understand you cannot be traveling all the time - how we'd all love to!- but you may be researching a trip, or just enjoy reading about travel. So we're always on the lookout for travel stories or guides that may help you with your trips.
1. These could be any number of posts we've written ourselves. Here aresome examples:

2. They could be interesting travel pieces. (My favorites usually come from Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Bootsnall)

3. They could be useful tidbits of information which are designed to helping you with some aspect of your travel

We're always on the lookout for these kinds of stories and tips, and rest assured, we'll be passing them on to you!
Happy traveling in 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quivertree Family Travel Photo Contest!

We are currently holding a Family Travel Photo Contest.Please send us your favorite family travel photos to our Facebook page and the winner will receive a great prize!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

India in summer - When to go, what to see?

India is becoming more and more popular - we've had Quivertree families touring India since the beginning of November and interest continues to be sky high. Why? It's very simple - India has to be one of the most exotic countries on earth - the customs, food, temples, forts, palaces - add in a high level of English, magnificent hotels and thousands of years of history and you have an awesome combination.

High season for most of India is from October through to April. And then the rains fall and fall and fall. And it gets incredibly hot. It really is no wonder that during the British Raj, the whole government packed up and left Delhi for nearly six months - the British just found it impossible to stay there.

But families in North America and Europe have their long summer vacation in July and August. What hope have they got for a successful trip to India at that time?

Think Ladakh!

Ladakh is quite unlike any other part of India. It is a high altitude desert, and the people practise Tibetan Buddhism -in fact, Ladakh is much like Tibet was 30 years ago, before the influx of non -Tibetans that have changed it completely.
Because it is so high, Ladakh is too cold for most of the year, but from late May until September Ladakh offers the best weather in all India. The scenery is spectacular - high mountains, brown valleys, splashes of green from agriculture everywhere, and rushing rivers. The people are incredibly interesting as well - the festivals remind one of those in nearby Bhutan - huge masks and lots of dancing. Just google ladakh images - you'll be amazed.

Quivertree is thrilled to offer families the adventure of a lifetime in Ladakh - staying in restored village houses, visiting monasteries at dawn to watch monks chanting, blowing huge horns, burning butter candles. Activities include short hikes and rafting on the rivers- in fact we offer a three day raft trip option after the regular tour, where you'll camp on the river banks attended by an army of chefs, guides, porters...Contact us for more info.

In addition to Ladakh, it is possible to visit some of the "big name" destinations as well. The National Parks are mainly closed so no tiger viewing is possible at this time of year, and the beaches are mainly wet, but in Rajasthan - land of magnificent palaces and forts as well as the most colorful people in India, the weather is often decent and the palace hotels are on sale!

So, if you've rejected the idea of India in summer, think again!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Family Destinations for 2011

At Quivertree we are always on the lookout for exciting family destinations.This year, we added Thailand, Turkey and Morocco to our original offerings. In 2011, we are most likely going to add a basket of European destinations, as we are finding increased demand for these. So expect to see Iceland, Portugal, France and Italy sometime in 2011! In addition, we will be adding a number of South American countries as well. Watch this space for details!

Monday, October 18, 2010 and CheapOair

Today I want to talk about two sites that have caught my eye lately.The first is
This is really a terrific site with a great idea. The author and creator, Marcella Ponsen, is someone who clearly sees family travel in the same way we do. is a series of guidebooks designed for kids to make their family travel more stimulating and interesting. The website has a lot of cool things, like child friendly cafes in intersting places, a tips and ideas section, and news items. I think this is a great idea. I've long been critical of the mainstream guidebooks (Frommers, Fodors etc.) who seem to believe family travel is restricted to theme parks, toyshops and malls with video arcades. We wish only the best success !

I'm currently researching a family trip for next summer. Top of our choice list Ecuador, Peru, Spain and Italy. Looks like it will be one of them. It used to be one could search airfares at the Big 3 (Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity) but that's changing. One site I've found to be very good is Cheapoair which is a little bit like Kayak but includes more news, a blog, deals etc. I think in the future these all encompassing search option sites will become more prevalent, and Cheapoair (I accept maybe not the best name) is in a good place to carve out a niche for itself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gideon's family visits Turkey

This summer I took my family to Turkey.

This wasn’t my first trip there- I’d been with my wife four times previously, but it was the first with the kids - my two boys of 5 and 9 and my daughter of 13.

Many people don’t really know what to expect from Turkey - just the sound of it is highly exotic - it resonates with the echos of the Ottoman Empire and much more ancient empires before it - it is a meeting place between East and West, a place where cultures clash and of course, a Muslim country. But is it modern or backwards? First world or third world? Are the people friendly or not? And what about the food?

The answer is that Turkey is exotic - but it is also modern and well developed and even in the middle of nowhere one feels safe and comfortable. The people are incredibly friendly, and the food is one of the great cuisines of the world.

Turkey has always been one of my favourite countries - It was even better with the family. To see any country through kids’ eyes is literally an eye opener - and a completely different experience from travel without kids -everything takes on new meaning, one’s perspective changes and you get to visit places you would never have gone to otherwise. A trip becomes less of a pure sightseeing tour and more of an immersion in the country and it’s culture - kids want to see things that interest kids - sure, some of the big sights, but also the playgrounds, the ice cream parlors, the parks, the markets, and sometimes the more off -beat places and sights.

Together we explored Istanbul, one of the great cities of the world, and then we journeyed through the almost unknown Black Sea region - the last great frontier of Turkey. It was awesome -first touring the great imperial city and seeing the remains of past civilizations and then visiting the smaller towns and villages and experiencing the magic of the Black Sea coast. Best of all, kids act as the perfect ice breaker with the locals, and we met so many people through our kids that we would never have net otherwise. Experiencing cultural differences with kids is fascinating too - they loved visiting mosques, and they really enjoyed exploring the new tastes of a culinary repetoire they had never come across before.

Turkey proved to be the perfect family vacation - adventurous, but with the right mix of first world amenities and comfort as well. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Turkey to any family, well traveled or not, looking for a great cultural experience without suffering any discomforts. Follow my blog at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eating and traveling in Turkey

One of the great highlights of Turkey is the food. And Turkish food is perfect for families traveling with kids.

Turkish food must rank as one of the great cuisines of the world – but it is not necessary to eat expensively nor exotically either. The most simple food is also some of the most delicious food - lentil soup (for breakfast!!), rice and beans, Turkish meatballs (kofte), salads. The fruit and the olives are simply outstanding, eat as you go sandwiches are commonplace (the whole world knows about doner kebap), and unusual sometimes – one of our favourites is Balik Ekmek – Fish Sandwich, a great Istanbul tradition. Pide (Turkish Pizza) is available everywhere and is cheap. The meat and fish are good, and the vegetables (whether cooked or raw) are simply outstanding. You don’t need to eat spicy food at all, though you’ll often find a pepper or two served with the food. The bread is great as well (so long as its fresh from the bakery).

And then we get to dessert! For the sweet tooth, Turkey is like heaven on earth. The range of Baklava is incredible – we have never eaten better baklava anywhere in the world. And the ice cream is great – for some reason, Turkey has excellent ice cream – from the sticky Maras Dondurma to the regular ice cream parlors, they are simply wonderful.

Bottom line – one can eat like a king and pay like a king in Turkey if you want, but since most families travel on a budget, one can eat simply as well, and they’ll be some of the