May 09, 2023 6 min read

We've recently watched our island muse, Charlotte Ferguson, travel round for 2 months to the most dreamy locations around the world. Read this truly inspirational interview and discover her favourite destinations and how she managed island hopping with a young family...


Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to love island life?

I’m originally from the little seaside town of Eastbourne, UK and basically grew up at the beach! My Dad was a competitive sailor, so my childhood was always spent around boats and the ocean. In the summer, We used to go on holiday to Ibiza as a family and I always knew from a young age that this magical little island is where I wanted to raise my own family in the future. Fast forward many years when I met my husband (to be) on the island and the rest is history! Island life is most definitely for me! You are never far from an idyllic little cove and my children can grow up the way I did, barefoot and salty...always!



You travelled the world as a young family, what is it you love about exploring together?

I first left Europe in my early twenties and went back packing around Australia and South East Asia on my own. I really believe this was the making of me as a person. Since then I've definitely had the ‘travel bug’ and just love moving around, exploring and experiencing the local food and culture. I think it’s such an amazing experience for children to be able to do this from a young age and I love watching them absorb everything around them with awe and wonder. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is simply magical.


Recently, you embarked on an island hopping adventure. Tell us where you visited and what were your most magical moments?

We stayed on three different islands in the Maldives, (Anantara Dhigu resort and Thulusdhoo and Dhifushi local islands) We then travelled to Thailand and island hopped around the Andaman and Gulf Coast.


Where are your top locations to stay and visit in the Maldives?

We've loved them all, each have their own strengths and weaknesses so its really hard to pick a particular favourite. The shortlist includes;

  • Baros (adults only, so very tranquil, romantic and great reef for snorkelling}

  • Ozen (incredible restaurants, including an underwater one!}

  • Moofushi (stunning lagoon and amazing sea life...also all inclusive!)

  • Velassaru (lovely restaurants and a gorgeous lagoon)

  • Anantara Dhigu  (stunning lagoon and amazing for families and children)

  • Dhifushi local island (well priced day trips and experiences, much fairer priced accommodation)

  • Thulusdhoo (surfing and water sports, local restaurants, well priced day trips and experiences, gorgeous local beaches)


    Best place in The Maldives for Families?

    The best place we've visited for families is Anantara Dhigu. The children were made to feel so special from the moment they arrived, with a letter addressed to them inviting them to the kids club with cakes to decorate. They all had bikes with their names on them (including ones with stabilisers and little trikes) The activities in the kids club were in another league to what we’ve seen before. Misha went on glass bottom boat with his new friends and watched a film under the stars with a pizza picnic. The lagoon was extremely calm and shallow, so perfect for children and they also ate for free, if you weren’t all inclusive. 


    Can you tell us more about the local islands? Why did you decide to visit them?

    We've been fortunate enough to visit the Maldives before and it is absolutely out of this world, perfection. I felt like we hadn’t really experienced the real Maldives and there was a lot more to see than the immaculate resort islands though. The local islands are a lot more reasonable in price, so it’s a good way to extend your stay, in a much more cost effective way. Excursions are also a fraction of the cost of the resort islands too.

    We met lots of locals, who were super friendly and amazing with the children. We ate in local restaurants, explored everywhere and went on some unbelievable day trips which were some of my most memorable moments of the whole trip. Swimming with nurse sharks, a day on our own private island, visiting a sandbank in the middle of the ocean and seeing dolphins everywhere we looked...we will never forget these moments!


    Can you share your top edited itinerary for anyone visiting the Maldives?

    I think most resort islands are pretty mind-blowing, but if you fancy a bit of adventure (but also a lot less luxury) try visiting some local islands too! We stayed on Thulusdoo and Dhifushi, but Dhigurah, and Fulidhoo are next on the list.


    Where are your top locations to stay and visit in Thailand?

    My favourite places are Railay Beach in Krabi, Koh Lipe, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. I’ve been to Thailand many times and explored all over, but these are the places I will return to time after time. The beaches, landscapes and vibe is so special and unique to each place, which I love.


    Best place in Thailand for Families?

    I think everywhere in Thailand is very family friendly, but Phuket and Samui maybe have the widest choice of activities and hotels, particularly aimed at families and children.

    We love to explore as many places as possible, but with children we’ve learnt it’s better to minimise risk! Travel to places you know tick all the boxes for what you need from the perfect family holiday. Thailand has the best food, friendliest people and wonderful culture. It's also easy to island hop and everywhere is very different, extremely family/child friendly, amazing wildlife, it's safe and simply has a vibe like no other.



    What did the children eat in Thailand?

    A lot of fresh fruit and coconuts! I love the variety of food they can try there and all the delicious fresh fruit shakes. It's one of the best things about Thailand for me. Meal wise, they loved the different rice and noodle dishes. Alba also ate a lot of fresh fish.



    What were your favourite things to do/excursions during your island adventures?

    Feeding and bathing the elephants at the elephant sanctuary, rock climbing for the first time with Misha, climbing to the various viewpoints, kayaking through the caves, snorkelling boat excursions and seeing Misha swim with sharks and turtles for the first time was absolutely magical.



    What have been the most difficult challenges travelling with young children and how do you cope?

    The biggest fear is always the actual travelling. Preparation is everything with this. Try to travel at night or during nap times and have a bag filled with activities and snacks which is easily accessible!

    The biggest actual challenge was sleep. Often we were in the same room so getting the children to bed was tricky and Alba totally stopped sleeping through the night, which woke the entire room up regularly! Every minute of missed sleep is absolutely worth it though!


    What are the essentials in your carry on bag?

    An endless supply of baby wipes and snacks, fully loaded ipad, bib, changes of clothes for everyone (we were really caught out with this once) activity books/little story books. Also headphones! You can zone out to your favourite music once the children are asleep. Lastly sunglasses, so you arrive in your destination looking chic, no matter how little sleep you've had!


    Can you share any travel hacks?

    Always take a travel pushchair which fits in the overhead lockers. The Babyzen Yoyo is our absolute favourite. The children’s hand luggage suitcases which turn into scooters are also great, when they are a bit older and can be used in your destination too!


    Try to fly at night and take boat transfers during naptimes.

    Try to keep your extra bags to a minimum. You literally will not have enough hands to move suitcases, pushchairs, children and bags across precarious long tail boats and various other modes of transport you incur along the way!


    Lastly, where is on your bucket list next?

    My bucket list destination is Bora Bora and French Polynesia. We've always said we will go for my 40th, which is a little way off yet!

    The Maldives is so perfect, that it's really hard to go anywhere else once you’ve been and there is always still so much more to explore and see! I would love to combine it with Sri Lanka next time. For somewhere totally new, we've been considering island hopping around the Seychelles too.


    What were your top picks for the packing list from Tyde London?

    We packed lots of linen and soft colours which Tyde London do so well. I lived in the yellow Kea Top and Zephur Skirt set and wore the BUOY shirt so much as a beach/pool cover up. I love the length and colour of the orange & cream.

    The kids favourites included the Linda Suitsuit, Florence Dungarees, Lio Terry Polo & Ben Terry Shorts and Misha lived in his unisex sandals.

    We loved all the styles and they got so much wear. The LiiLU Romper is in it's second year and still a staple favourite!


    SHOP CHARLOTTE'S TRAVEL SELECTION HERE: Charlotte's Travel Edit - Tyde-London


    Follow Charlotte over on Instagram at @charlottestrada