Carli Hester has had many real life travel experiences that have opened her eyes, and her children’s eyes, to some of the many wonders of the world.

By Michelle Hespe

“Travelling with kids opens their eyes to the possibilities out there for them. When travelling, they are always using their senses — sights, smells, sounds and new things to touch — it’s all so different to their day-to-day life that it gets them asking loads of questions,” says travel agent Carli Hester.

“I always tell my kids how lucky they are, because the the world was far less accessible when I was their age. I didn’t even go overseas until my twenties, and they’ve already experienced some amazing places, such as Fiji and Hawaii. I am always saying to them: ‘There’s a whole world out there, so let’s go and see some of it!’”

Carli recommends taking advantage of activities offered at hotels and booking things in before you head off. “You can do so many different things now with children. I always make sure I have something for us to do each day, such as kayaking, or zip-lining is a favourite,” she says. “And then make sure you have some quiet downtime too.”

Carli has three children, aged 7, 13 and 14, and it was on a recent trip to Hawaii that she saw firsthand how an experience can make children wonder about history, other people, and why things are the way they are. “We took the kids to see Pearl Harbour on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, because we wanted them to know what happened there. One of them said: “Mum, if the Japanese did this to the Americans, then why are so many Japanese people living here?” she explains. “You don’t even realise sometimes what they are taking in. And he was right, there are a lot of Japanese people living in Hawaii, and that question leaves to many other parts of history and how Hawaii came to be so multi-cultural. Without those travel experiences, the kids might not be so inquisitive.”

If you’ve travelled, then you probably have one of those special memories that sums up what seeing another part of the world can do for your soul. For Carli, one of those memories was from a hot air balloon ride in Jaipur.

“An early morning start after an anxious night of sleep were soon dispelled by what I can easily say was one of the best experiences of my life,” she says. “Sky Waltz operate hot air balloon rides over Jaipur, India, and after finding out they were Australian-owned and that our pilot had been flying all his life and is a regular in the Paris Ballooning season, I totally relaxed,” she says. “The beauty of Jaipur’s landscape at sunrise is beyond words. The locals absolutely love the balloons as well, and so they all come out on to their rooftops to say good morning. We even got low enough for one of the locals to hand our pilot a cup of tea! As we touched down all the school children and locals ran to greet us. It was such a great morning and a big bucket list tick,” she says. “But just remember that kids have to be six years old to fly.”