By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
July 28, 2015
Colleen Kelly is the host of “Family Travel with Colleen Kelly,” which airs nationally on PBS. Not surprisingly, Kelly loves being on the road. One trip she took stood out so much she was compelled to include it in her travel series.
“I had been to Ireland with my family many times,” says the Chicago-based adventurer. “I just knew that I had to kick off my travel show with an episode about this special place. I wanted people to see how family-friendly Ireland can be. Also, I wanted people to see some of the surprises, like the culinary scene, which has been revolutionized over the past 20 years.”
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. Internationally, Salzburg, Austria. I lived there when I was younger and I got engaged and married there, so it has a special place in my heart. Salzburg is magical. It’s surrounded by castles and has rich history and wonderful music, food and wine. In the United States, I absolutely love San Diego. It seems it’s always warm and sunny there, so it doesn’t matter what time of year you go. And the beaches are so beautiful. Plus, there are a lot of fun things to do as a family, like the world-class zoo and Legoland, which is a draw for both boys and girls.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Malta! It’s a sunny little island in the Mediterranean Sea, near Italy. It is kind of untapped and feels very removed from Continental Europe. It has quaint villages, rich history, exciting nightlife and amazing food and the people are so warm and welcoming.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. The first trip I remember well was a road trip to California and along the way we stopped at the Grand Canyon. What I most remember is stepping out of the car and getting my first view of the canyon. It was so massive and just breathtaking.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. Don’t over-plan, especially when traveling with children. Enjoy the journey and be open to opportunities for spontaneous adventures. These experiences are often the ones you remember most once your trip is over. Also, go with the flow. If you vacation with a young child, your perfect plan can change in an instant. If you’re flexible, meltdowns and sudden itinerary changes won’t stress you out as much.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Berghaus Toni in Riederalp, Switzerland, is one of my favorites. It’s an intimate hotel in the Swiss Alps that is accessible only by gondola. I also love the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida, Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal and The Peninsula in Chicago.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Westport, Ireland; Salzburg, Austria; Krakow, Poland; New Orleans and, of course, Chicago.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. South Africa and Australia.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. A wrap for the plane, my Mophie Juice Pack external battery case, which has saved me on many trips, and several small bottles of sunscreen. I’m a big believer in protecting my skin at all times and I never go outside without it whether I’m traveling or at home.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Imperial Tacos and Beer in Las Vegas, a casual restaurant that serves incredible, innovative Mexican street food; also C Chicago, which serves fresh, sea-to-table food in a vibrant, cool setting. It’s my favorite new restaurant in Chicago.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?
A. Bread, cheese and wine, especially when I’m traveling someplace that is known for these things. I couldn’t get enough of the local cheese in Wales. We always ordered a cheeseboard for dinner!
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. The conventions and visitors’ bureaus are great resources. I also look up reviews by other travelers and local bloggers’ recommendations.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. The worst was when my baby threw up on me on the plane. I was a new mom and didn’t think to bring an extra shirt. That was a long flight! The best was spending my birthday last January in La Paz, Mexico, at the fabulous Costa Baja Resort. It was just me and my sister, our first girls’ getaway in a very long time. I swam with seals and whale sharks in the wild, did paddleboard yoga and ate incredible food on the beach. The sunsets on the Sea of Cortez were unlike any I had ever seen.
© 2015 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
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