After a childhood on her family’s farm in south-western Australia, Alice Callander moved to London in 2004 where she worked in the City for several years to support her desire for global exploration. She feels her real love of travel began when she left her desk job at Morgan Stanley and headed off on a solo trip from Kampala to Cape Town, stopping en route to work as a safari hostess in Zambia. Her adventures have since extended far and wide to the Middle East, Indian Ocean and beyond. Alice first met Sally whilst working at a London-based luxury tour operator – the idea to found Sally & Alice Travel Co. was later born on a shared holiday to Alice’s farm. Their level of expertise and experience means they are more than capable of creating personalised travel itineraries for clients whether they’re after a holiday or a honeymoon, a family trip or a life-changing adventure. Alice is based in London these days with her husband James and son, George.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
I grew up on a sheep farm in southern Australia. Our first international trip was to Europe when I was two years old (Dad claims he lugged me across the French Alps in a backpack), but my earliest vivid memories are actually from the beach holidays we had every year at Port Fairy, a sleepy coastal town at the end of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
One of the best was an impromptu road trip in to central Australia with my dad and sister when I was seventeen: we packed up the car and headed into the desert, camping out under the stars and retracing the steps of explorers Burke and Wills as far as their fateful end at Coopers Creek. Another great trip was a solo adventure around Africa in my twenties when I worked briefly as a safari hostess in the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. My then employers may not have liked to hear me class this time as a ‘holiday,’ but it was certainly a wonderful introduction to African safari, and one that inspired me to start working in travel on a full time basis. Most recently, it was a holiday in South Africa with my husband; we especially loved being able to do some riding at Ant’s Hill in the Waterberg.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
Mallorca, to a little B&B called Torrent Fals when George was about 9 weeks old. I remember we were pretty terrified about it at the time but needn’t have been. In fact, it was on this trip that George slept the whole way through the night for the first time, so we have very fond memories of the place!
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally?
Funnily enough, despite the fact that I work in travel, I tend to get very anxious (borderline hysterical!) before a journey, especially if there is a long haul flight involved. But it’s always worth it once you get there and, inevitably, we give George much more attention and have a lot more fun as a family when we’re away from all the distractions of the daily grind.
Q. Do you ever travel with your child for work?
Not as yet. I have just returned from a fabulous work trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, but George is still too little to accompany me, especially as I tend to move around quite a lot, and often in malarial areas. That said, I definitely have a lot of Sally and Alice style family trips in the pipeline – a road trip around Namibia, like the one we put together for some clients recently, is my idea of heaven. In the meantime, Mauritius, the Maldives or the Caribbean are my ideal destinations for happy holidays with a toddler.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?
I stayed at North Island, Seychelles when I was three months pregnant. Does that count!? We have not yet done a huge amount of travel with our son, beyond trips up to Scotland where my husband’s family live, but we did fly out to Australia when he was 7 months old and stopped over in Bali for a few days of “R&R” to break the journey. It was heavenly: the Balinese people we met were incredibly friendly towards George and we organised for a babysitter to come for a few hours each day while he slept, which meant we could really switch off and sneak in a few Balinese massages.
Q: And your worst?
Hmmm. See above. The flight back from Australia was pretty horrific. I was struck down with a migraine, which meant that my husband had to pick up the slack for the full 22 hours. We haven’t spoken of it since…
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
We haven’t yet introduced the iPad yet (though it’s only a matter of time) so, thus far, it has just been a matter of having a good selection of toys and books on hand.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
I always travel with wet wipes, nappies and Calpol in my hand luggage, as well as plenty for George to drink and eat, as nothing distracts him better than the prospect of food (he’s not unlike his parents). Another great tip a friend gave me for flying long-haul was to take a change of clothes, not just for baby but for Mum, too.