Sharon and her family, WheresSharon.com
Most people assume that once you have a family, trekking around the world and overseas adventures must come to an end. Luckily travel blogger Sharon and her husband Josh are proving otherwise – the pair document the experiences of travelling with their two and four-year old children (the good, the bad and the sometimes challenging!) on their family travel blog, WheresSharon.com.
Together they aim to inspire other people and families to continue travelling, spreading the message that children are not a barrier for travel.
Sharon is a self-proclaimed travel addict who started blogging in 2005. Keen to ensure that her children experience new cultures, languages and people, they travel worldwide. The family’s recent trips include the Dominican Republic, Caribbean Islands, seven weeks in Asia and the USA. The blog itself includes family travel tips and advice, along with details of Sharon’s solo adventures.
We sat down with Sharon to ask her a few questions about her travel experiences and what she looks for in a destination and accommodation:
Sharon, if you had to pick a favourite country or place to visit, where would it be?
Sharon Gourlay, Family Travel Blogger
Argentina is definitely our favourite travel destination. My husband and I just love this country. We are big fans of good wine and good steak and this country delivers on both. It is also excellent value and we love the culture.
The other big plus is that it is such a big and diverse country. There is such a variety of cities, towns, wilderness and attractions. We would happily move to Argentina.
What is the most important thing about the accommodation you stay in?
Location is the most important, closely followed by cleanliness, space and facilities. We are extra fussy about all these things since we started travelling with young kids. They can’t walk far, they are often sitting on the ground and we frustrate each other if there isn’t a lot of space for us to move.
Do you have a favourite hotel?
Our current favourite hotel is the Berjaya Times Square Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. This hotel is just perfect for a family. They don’t just offer apartments for a great price but they have three fabulous pools, a kids playground and many other features.
The biggest selling point for our family is that they are above Berjaya Times Square the shopping centre. There are so many shops, eating and entertainment options here that it is just great for us. There are also regular free buses to Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC. We love it.
Sharon and her family on holiday in the USA
What destinations are still on your bucket list?
There are so many destinations on my bucket list. The big ones would be Russia and Croatia. I would love to take the Trans-Siberian railway and island hop along the Dalmatian coast. The Trans-Siberian railway has been top of my bucket list for a long time. I love the idea of travelling so far by rail in such a remote location.
Croatia because a good friend of mine lives there, so I am constantly teased by photos of that beautiful country. I cannot wait to get there.
As a mum and an avid traveller, what would be your main piece of advice to anyone considering an overseas trip with kids?
Just do it! Don’t over think it. It really isn’t as hard as you imagine it might be. You just need to be well organised and have realistic expectations. Travel with kids, especially young ones, isn’t the same as travel before kids. Now, for example, we just have to move at a slower pace and we spend far more time in children’s museums than actual museums.
What do you love most about travelling as a family?
The main benefit is the excellent quality time that we get together. It is hard to find much time at home to just hang out together without being distracted by all the parts of everyday life.
It is also really nice to see the world through our children’s eyes. They find such joy in even the smallest things, it is great to watch. They also make some very interesting observations and offer another perspective. It’s also a good excuse to do lots of fun kids activities and not feel any guilt over not getting to every museum or historic site.
Finally, what are the three things you ‘must have’ while travelling with your family?
The first one is an iPad. We find this invaluable with young kids when travelling. It is such a great entertainment option on planes or when we are stuck waiting somewhere. The second is our kinderkot travel cot. It is perfect for the baby of our family and nice and compact so it fits in the top of our suitcase. The third is my iPhone. I hate to say another electronic device but it so useful. It is our camera, communication device, game device, GPS… It’s fabulous.
You can read more about Sharon’s travel adventures on her blog, WheresSharon.com. Also stay tuned for her upcoming contributions to the HotelsCombined Blog, where she’ll be sharing advice, reviews and experiences with us.