Some matches are made in heaven and that's certainly the way we feel about the relationship between Original Travel and children's party people Sharky & George. Both companies opened for business in 2003 and have since gone from strength to strength. Then in 2010 Rosie from Original Travel married the eponymous George to make it a very literal partnership. It wasn't until 2013, though, that the two brands hatched a joint plan to transform the way families go on holiday, and 100% Sharky & George-ified Original Travel family holidays were born.
Injecting the Fun into Family Holidays
At the crux of the partnership is our shared belief that there are a whole load of potential flashpoints on family holidays, namely boring transfers, busy airports and the flights where we collectively felt we could make them more fun for children and parents alike, and turn potential disaster into a bit of brilliant bonding. The brainwave was the Sharky & George fun pack, tailored specifically to the interests of each child thanks to questionnaires filled in by grown-ups and kids alike and which Sharky & George use to create super-fun and informative kits. As a parent who has used his own children as guinea pigs, I can tell you that the packs go down very, very well!
What Goes in the Packs?
Over to George for this one! 'Once we've read each child's questionnaire responses we put together awesome bespoke packs of great stuff to do, make and play with on the journey and on holiday. Some of our favourites are T-shirt graffiti kits, bouncy ball making kits, brilliant pool toys and water pistols, sand art postcards and best of all, a lanyard of little cards, each with relevant games and fun stuff.
From our experience you don't need anything particularly elaborate for the best holiday games. Most important is inspiration for fun stuff to do, so the little lanyards are perfect. They encourage children to do things like give one of their parents a sand mermaid tail on the beach; take trick photographs to enter into our competition or to organise treasure hunts where they bury a stash of sweets, draw a treasure map and mark an 'x', and then see if their siblings or parents can find the prize.
'The packs also come with a cuddly Otie, the Original Travel mascot, who has his own passport that children can have stamped at customs. They also include a world map with general knowledge questions and fun facts and questions about the specific destination you're visiting, so there's an educational element to everything. We also make sure that there's an 'emergency' envelope for parents to have in their hand luggage, only to be opened in case of delay or travel mayhem. It contains some extra games and activities to relieve any flashpoints on the journey.'
Who Are The Packs For?
'The packs are designed for 3 to 12 year olds, but we're very flexible and happy to put something together for older or younger travellers. If you're travelling with a baby, we send you a list of tips on how to make flying with babies easier and six little bags of sweets, earplugs and a 'sorry' card to hand to everyone sitting near you on the flight just in case they do cry even after all your best efforts!'
'It gets better. For the ultimate treat, we can arrange for one of our Sharky & George fun gurus to come on holiday with you and keep the kids entertained from start to finish. We arrange for you and the children to meet the fun guru before you travel so you can see that there's a rapport. Then on holiday the fun guru is on hand to invent games, make silly videos and generally make it the best holiday your children have ever had; all while allowing you the chance to relax!'
So there you have it. The basis of the perfect partnership. We bring the expertise on where to take the family (Greece, Oman and South Africa are current favourites), and Sharky & George know better than anyone how to keep children happy.