You may recognise television presenter Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain. We caught up with Charlotte and took a trip down memory lane, talking all things travel.
What is your earliest travel memory?
As a child our family holidays were usually spent in the westcountry, staying with grandparents in Devon, or driving the caravan to Cornwall with a stop-off in the New Forest. My earliest memory of travelling abroad was when we took the caravan to France to stay at a campsite in La Rochelle. I absolutely loved the sense of adventure that came with it, I was in the bunk bed and my big brothers were out in an inner tent in the awning. For me it was all about making new friends around the swimming pool, eating steak and chips and lots of icecream!
What has been your most life/perspective-altering trip?
Our trip to Zimbabwe was a once in a lifetime holiday for us. We went with my parents-in-law who were thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to go on safari and see such amazing sights. You are completely filled with awe seeing nature up so close, and in such a raw form. We were lucky enough to see an incredible array of animals, including a pride of 17 lions which came within feet of our jeep. We visited Victoria Falls, my mother-in-law zipwired across the river from Zambia, we went canoeing with hippoes, got charged by an elephant, and ate a mopani worm. It was some holiday!
What is your favourite hotel and why?
I don’t have one favourite, but lots that I have fond memories of. The ones that stand out for me are those who have exceptional staff and service, and offer special experiences. When Ella Rose was a baby, Sani Resort in Greece was a lovely place to stay as they offer a baby puree menu, have staff on hand to entertain your children while you eat, or a beach nanny service so you can have a dip in the sea. Another holiday with Ella Rose as a baby was at the Per Aquum Desert Palm hotel in Dubai, when our food had just arrived but Ella Rose did not want to sit still! A lovely waiter took her on a tour of the restaurant to give us the chance to eat our dinner in peace. And at the Maldives Anantara Kihavah, they had so many special experiences from an outdoor cinema with champagne and popcorn, to stargazing, underwater dining and thai boxing, we made so many special memories that holiday.
What is your favourite country to visit and why?
The Maldives, it's my idea of paradise. From the moment you arrive and slip your shoes off, it's a blissful holiday all week. Crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, marine life to explore, gorgeous food and drink. It's got everything you need to fully recharge your batteries and you can do as much or as little as you like.
What has been your memorable meal while travelling?
Definitely the lunch with sharks that we experienced on our last trip to the Maldives. We were sat on a picnic bench having a lovely lunch in the shallow sea, and baby sharks were swimming between our legs! My 5 year-old daughter Ella Rose was absolutely mesmerised by it!
Where is the first place you'll go once it's safe to travel again?
I’m not sure yet, our plans at the moment involve Ella Rose’s cousins coming to camp in our back garden so that’s as far afield as we’re going for now! Hopefully things will get back to normal soon as I now have a long list of holidays I’m dreaming about – from walking on a sandy beach, going on safari, to heading off to the slopes for a ski trip!
Where is the top of your bucket list and why?
Las Vegas. I still haven't been there, and it's one of those places that everyone else seems to have been to! We are planning a group trip so hopefully we can get out there soon to experience it in all its glory. I’m keen to pack in seeing and experiencing everything while I’m there so I may need to book in a few days recovery afterwards!
One travel essential you never travel without?
My kindle, as I love a good book. I used to have to take 7 paperbacks with me as I love reading while travelling and on holiday, this has definitely helped with cutting down on the luggage!
Favourite travel companion?
My five year-old daughter Ella Rose (and I'd have to include my husband in this too, he wouldn’t want to be left behind!). It's great being able to introduce her to new things and places, and seeing them through her eyes. Plus she's a great traveller - the flight is one of her favourite parts of the holiday as she gets to watch non-stop films and eat snacks!