As part of our new interview series, we’d love to introduce you to Aimee Chan, the founder of suitcases&strollers, the online magazine that provides inspiration for intrepid travellers with young children.
Aimee is a writer and magazine editor and has been published in various publications including CNN, Elle and Time Out. So far, she’s traveled to more than 40 countries.
How, why and when did you get started to write your thoughts on travel?
I am a travel writer by profession and have been doing that as part of my job working in magazines for over 10 years. I started my own online family travel magazine, suitcases&strollers, when I realised that there were no helpful magazine-like resources to tell me how to continue to do independent travel with kids. While there are lots of fantastic blogs out there, I couldn’t find anything to give me advice that I could take away and use. So I started creating that content myself for other parents.
What are your travel articles all about?
Everything to do with travel with kids under 12.
What has been your most popular post online so far?
Stories on destinations in Asia always fare well on suitcases&strollers. The readers love to hear about places like Malaysia, Japan and Thailand.
What’s your favorite country / place you have traveled to and why?
This is an impossible question for any travel writer to answer. We are travel writers because we love to travel. By default this means there isn’t one favourite place; we generally love everywhere we go!
Where would you want to live if you’d have to settle on one place?
Eventually we would hope to settle down somewhere in Australia since that’s where I grew up and it’s the lifestyle I want for my children.
If I were looking for beaches, mountains, city life, or nightlife, where would you send me?
Beaches – The Maldives. Mountains – Peru. City life – Tokyo. Nightlife – New York.
What’s currently in your top 5 list of places to go to?
Places that I haven’t been yet, but would love to go, include Russia, Myanmar, Egypt, Israel and Korea. Clearly some of these are not great tourist destinations right at the moment, but I’d love to go in the future.
What was the most rewarding travel situation you encountered?
I love the impact travel has on the way kids see the world. They absorb the most interesting things and then tell you about them, months and sometimes years later, and these are fascinating and funny reminders of those amazing experiences you had together. When you travel alone, the moment you are there in a particular place is brilliant and rewarding. But when you travel with kids, oftentimes the second reward comes later when they bring up a memory or they ask you about an experience and you get to relive it all over again.
What is your worst travel pet peeve?
Hotels that do not have your room ready and set up upon arrival. When you travel with kids, timing is everything. There is rarely a situation when you arrive at a destination and do not desperately need to get into the hotel room to change nappies and put kids to bed. When you are left standing around the lobby waiting for a room you booked months ago, and then waiting in the room for them to set up the cot you ordered months ago, it can be maddening.
Have you encountered celebrities during your travels?
The most common place I see them is on planes and in the airport. We recently saw Heston Blumenthal in Sydney Airport and I remember walking next to the Spice Girls in Auckland when they were at the peak of their fame.
What’s your most recent food discovery from your travels?
Brown cheese in Norway. It’s a locally produced unpasteurised cheese that is amazing and sweet and much more appetising than the name sounds. (Yes, that’s the real name).
What is your favorite airline product used and why?
Singapore Airlines Business Class. I have not flown it many times but when I have, the service is excellent and it is a dream when you have kids. The hosties are so helpful, you get so much room and the children are spoilt rotten.
Do you use a gem of a travel product that nobody else may have heard of?
Brolly Sheets are perfect when you travel with kids that are toilet training. You can put them easily on any bed and that way, if there are any accidents in the night, it’s super easy to fix. Plus they are lightweight and fold down into nothing, making them easy to pack.
All photos courtesy of Aimee Chan, suitcases&strollers.