One of the best travel tips for people thinking of going on any kind of trekking or adventure vacation with friends or family is to first consider whether their personal enthusiasm for this style of holiday is shared by the rest of the group.

The following story of a family’s holiday nightmare in Thailand provides an example.

The family had enjoyed a few days of a beach resort holiday in Thailand when the husband suggested that they go off on a jungle experience, organized by one of the trekking and adventure tour operators. His wife was not enthusiastic but decided to go along with the proposal because she knew that this was something her husband had always wanted to do. Their seven year old son sounded as keen as his dad and their five year old daughter seemed happy enough with the idea too. The other family member was a two-year-old boy.

They booked up with a reliable tour guide and set off three days later, The seven year old had become even more enthusiastic and promised his mum that he would deal with all the nasty snakes and spiders for her.

After a grueling seven hour drive, during which time all three kids had been travel sick on several occasions, the family finally arrived at their destination, a lodge in the jungle.

They were greeted by a number of snarling dogs who looked as though they desperately needed a good meal of European children to fatten them up. Mum was immediately panic stricken but Dad and the tour guide reassured her that they were in no danger and the family continued safely towards on to the lodge.

This building was a large, wooden hut on high stilts with a straw roof. Immediately below it, there was a small lake that looked as if it should provide a perfect home for crocodiles. Inside the lodge, accommodation was about as basic as it can get.

Dad was more than happy with everything however and informed the rest of the family that anything more grand would have spoilt the back-to-nature experience. Mum was not amused.

Luckily, only one overnight stay in the lodge was involved. As night fell, the crescendo of jungle sounds increased. Mum laid awake becoming more and more worried about the children who were in the next room. Very soon the jungle noises were accompanied by the sound of the children crying. Dad got up to fetch them, returning with three very frightened children who spent the rest of the night in their parents room. It was just as well, because within an hour a new sound was keeping everyone from going to sleep. Mum and the children listened in horror to repeated loud bangs on the roof-beams accompanied by ear splitting screeches. Dad explained that the source of this noise held no threat for them. It was only monkeys, he informed them but his explanation did little to reassure the rest of the family.

There was little sleep for anyone that night except the two-year-old, who slept fairly soundly after the move to mum and dad’s room. Mum found it hard to believe that she slept at all and was relieved when the sun finally rose and shone its light into the room. She untangled herself from under the mosquito net and looked around the room that had seemed so menacing in the dark. But her relief was short lived and her scream awoke the rest of the family. There in the middle of the floor, only a few yards from where she had been sleeping, was a large, tropical spider. It wasn’t quite the last ordeal she would face before they left the lodge. Waiting for her in the bathroom were two gigantic tree frogs.

The long journey back to civilization was uneventful apart from further episodes of travel sickness. Mum refused to talk to her husband for the entire length of the journey. Back at the beach resort, the relationship improved a little over the remaining few days of the holiday but not enough for Dad to ever forget the best travel tip he had learned for a very long time: don’t take your family on a wilderness excursion unless they are genuinely as enthusiastic about going on one as you are.