Which family holidays do kids like the best? Emily Steele has been to 9 countries around the world including visiting the Neuschwanstein castle that inspired Walt Disney in Germany and climbing Mount Fuji in Japan. At 8 years old she is eager to learn about the world around her and she and her brother Matthew (10) are already planning their next trip with their parents to Uganda. She tells suitcases&strollers about the value kids see in family vacations and why you should travel with your kids.
How often do you travel?
We travel a lot; my mum and dad try and take us to another country every year. They promised us a new country every year so we have visited the same number of countries as our ages. I have been to 9 countries so far so I am ahead by one.
Which countries you have travelled to?
Fiji (but I was just 2), France, England, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau (but just for the weekend), Singapore, Japan (the best ever!) and now Germany too. We went via Bandar Seri Begawan but Mum says that doesn't count because we didn't go out of the airport.
What do you like about travelling?
My dad's a teacher so he is always teaching us and showing us the different things in the countries we visit. We learn about the cultures and the different food is usually nice, except the slimy vegetables and all the bones in the chicken in Hong Kong.
What don't you like about travelling?
The sleeping thing [jet lag]. My brother and I were waking up very early in Germany and Mum kept telling us to go back to sleep. It was easier coming home to Australia [to adjust to the jet lag].
Where has been your favourite place to family holiday?
Japan; we all loved Japan. We stayed in a real Japanese hotel with paper walls, we LOVE sushi and we climbed Mount Fuji. Mum and Dad couldn't walk when we finished but Mathew and I were running around the hotel.
There is also a Universal Studios and a Disneyland so we got “kid time”. [Mum: That's what we call it if the kids do a cultural piece, then we reward them with “kid time”.]
The temples are also fun, burning incense and donging bells. In one big temple in Japan we found a lost little girl and stayed with her until we found her dad.
Are there any family holidays that you've been on that you didn't like?
No, I just love travelling!
Is there somewhere you regularly go on family holidays?
We have been to see my nana in England 3 times. It's great because they have Hamley's [which is] the biggest toy shop, lots of ponies in the forest [New Forest], LEGOLAND (the hotel is cool) and lots of castles. We even met the dragon from Merlin in one castle [Warwick Castle]. I met lots of real princesses too at that castle.
What is the best thing you've ever seen or done on family holidays?
Climbing Mount Fuji in Japan. We did lots of training with Mum and Dad but in the end the walk was quite easy. It was really windy and Dad had to hold my hand so I didn't fly off the mountain. [Mum: It was windy but it was unlikely she would have flown off the mountain.]
We were the first in our group to the cabin and
they made a big fuss of me because of my age. After dinner we had to share a
room with about 100 other people sleeping on the mountain. When we woke at 4am
the sun was rising over Tokyo. It was very very cold but amazing.
What is the worst thing you've ever seen or done on family holidays?
The long plane rides aren't fun but we are getting used to that now and play games and watch videos.
Where is the one place in the world you haven't been to that you would like to go?
Canada. I would like to see the wildlife in the forests and then also go skiing when it snows. I am learning French at school now so maybe I can practice when we do go.
What do you think you get out of travelling that you don't get when you stay at home?
We learn a lot, especially with Daddy Jamie. [Mum: That's what they call their Dad.] Sometime Mum has to tell him “enough” but we learn stuff like about Hiroshimo in Japan and the origami cranes and the Nazis in Germany and the Big War. [Mum: That's her reference to World War II.]
We also get to try of different food. We ate so much in Germany at Christmas. I think we had sausage at every Christmas market we went to and lots of pretzels.
If you could plan the perfect family holiday for you, where would it be and what would you do?
We (well, Matthew, Mum and I) LOVE animals. Dad does too, but not as much as us, so we would like to go to Uganda and to Borneo to see the gorillas and the orang utan.
In Uganda we will hike to see the gorillas and mum and dad say we have to get fit again because it will be hot and then maybe we will go to see some other animals like lions and hippos. We haven't been to Africa so it will be fun.
What are the three best things that make a great family holiday for kids?
1. New experiences. I remember when Matthew and I were afraid to try new things and Mum had a chat to us about “opportunity”. Now when she says the word “opportunity” Matthew and I are ready to try anything. Well, I am, Matthew is not as brave as me.
2. Theme parks too. We usually go to a theme park somewhere but we haven't been to America like some of my friends.
3. Meeting new people. Mum says I can make friends in any language – I don't need to be able to speak to them; we just make friends.