Her face is most recognisable as a news anchor who has been in our lounge rooms on television screens in Australia, but Tracey Spicer has also been a travel writer for the past 7 years. The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mama Holiday is also mother to Grace (7) and Taj (8) whom she takes on vacation, both locally an internationally, about twice a month. She tells suitcases&strollers about her favourite family holidays and why she thinks it’s important to travel with kids.
Is it important to travel with kids?
I think it's important to travel with your kids because it opens their minds. They are exposed to different cultures, lifestyles and values to those at home. They get a broader understanding of how the world works by travelling. It also comes in handy when studying geography or history at school.
[For more reasons why you should travel with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story by the founder of Lonely Planet, Tony Wheeler.]
How has travelling as a family changed your perspective on travel in general?
Travelling with my kids has made me more tolerant of the hiccups that happen on the road. You have to stay calm otherwise the kids go feral!
What do your kids like about travelling?
My kids like to travel because they get to swim in a hotel pool! Seriously, they love to travel because they get long stretches of one-on-one time with mum and dad.
Where is the most unusual destination you've been to with your family?
Morocco. We spent five weeks travelling through the country when Taj was four and Grace was three. Carol Prior from the company By Prior Arrangement made up a wonderful, family-friendly itinerary. We also stayed in a Club Med in the middle of a date palm plantation on the outskirts of Marrakesh.
Where is the destination that you've been with your family that surprised you the most?
The Philippines. I was so surprised by the cultural melting pot. The food was a fusion of Asian, Spanish and American. And the service was terrific everywhere we went.
Which is the destination that you have loved taking the kids the most?
I'd have to say Fiji. It's just such a fun and easy destination, if you have small kids. The Fijians are beautiful with children.
Where has been the destination that the kids have loved the most and why?
Ha! They love anywhere that has a pool! Actually, Disneyland is top of the pops. Even for the adults. I walked out of there saying, “That was the best day of my life!” To which my husband replied, “What about our wedding day?”. [To read about the various Disneylands and Disney Cruises around the world, see thesuitcases&strollers stories Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World Florida Insider, Theme Parks in Asia and 10 Reasons To Cruise.]
Where do you go for more regular local family holidays?
We go to Crescent Head, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, once a year. It's a lovely little seaside village stuck in the 1970s. Deliciously daggy.
Where is the one place in the world that you haven't been that you really want to take your children?
Europe. Soon they will be studying modern and ancient history at school. I like the idea of trying to bring history to life for them.
What are your top 3 picks for selecting a successful family holiday destination?
1. Try to find a destination with something for everyone, preferably within walking distance.
2. Pack a sense of humour. Things don't always go as planned.
3. Ensure the experience is age appropriate for your kids. Fiji is terrific for very young kids. Older ones prefer to go somewhere more adventurous.