Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Shellie Bailey-Shah
Occupation: Founder & Editor for KidTripster.com
Hometown: Muskegon, Michigan
Residence: Portland, Oregon
College: Northwestern University
College major: B.S. in Radio/Television/Film and M.S. in Broadcast Journalism
Short bio: Shellie Bailey-Shah is the driving force behind KidTripster, an online family travel magazine that provides information and inspiration to families traveling with children anywhere in the world. She’s an expert in family travel, having visited to 35 countries on seven continents, as well as 46 states & 44 National Parks—nearly all with her children. She even took her sons on a 72-day, backpacking adventure around the world to celebrate her cancer survivorship. Given her 20+ years of live television experience as a broadcast journalist, Shellie is a sought-after speaker & television/radio/podcast guest, discussing current trends in family travel. KidTripster was just awarded the 2018 Lowell Thomas Silver Award for “Best Travel Journalism Website” by the Society of American Traveler Writers (SATW).
How often do you fly? 1-2/month, but during the summer, constantly.
How many countries have you been to? 35 countries.
How many continents have you been to? Seven continents.
Earliest travel memory: Spending summers in Northern Michigan on Torch Lake, one National Geographic’s picks for “most beautiful.”
Favorite American city: Portland, Oregon, which must be why I stay!
Favorite international city: Amsterdam and Sydney.
Least favorite country: I can find something to like in all of them, at least so far!
Friendliest people in the world: Cambodians.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia.
Favorite airline: Alaskan, Turkish.
Aisle or window: Aisle.
Favorite airport lounge: Turkish Airline lounge in Istanbul. It’s off the charts!
Favorite U.S. airport: Portland, Oregon. C’mon, it has food carts!
Favorite international airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
Favorite hotel: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas at Iguasu Falls, Brazil.
Favorite cruise line: UnCruise.
Favorite island: Galapágos islands.
Favorite beach: Grand Haven State Park Beach, Michigan. It was the “place to go” on a date when I was a teenager. Today, I appreciate the well-located campground for families.
Favorite National Park: It’s a difficult choice because I’ve been to 44 National Parks, but I’ll go with Wrangell St. Elias in Alaska & Glacier in Montana.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Can’t remember its name, but the best way to find good food is to ask a local where he/she eats, not “Where should I eat?”
Favorite fruit: Raspberries.
Favorite food: Chocolate-peanut butter ice cream.
Least favorite food: Anything that leaves my mouth on fire!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Ginger ale.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Terminal with Tom Hanks.
Favorite travel show(s): Anything on Nat Geo, The Amazing Race, Booze Traveler, Dangerous Grounds (when it was on).
Favorite travel podcast(s): RV Family Travel Atlas, Vacation Mavens, Frommer’s Travel Show.
Right now I am reading: “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: KidTripster, of course!
5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop, phone loaded with podcasts, over-the-ear earbuds, large scarf, lip balm.
What do you always seem to forget? Melatonin.
What do you like least about travel? Having a bad meal while on vacation.
Favorite travel app(s): Hopper, Overdrive, Roadtrippers.
Most embarrassing travel moment: I recently suffered food poisoning before getting on a flight. After rushing to the lavatory during the security briefing, the plane pulled back to the gate. I was told that I couldn’t fly. The “walk of shame” down the aisle was dreadful!
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Disneyland with my kids.
Worst travel moment: I have three worst moments. 1) My youngest son became violently ill from food poisoning the day before embarking on a five-day trek in Nepal. We hiked day one, only to turn around after realizing he was just too dehydrated and miserable to continue. 2) After keeping my family completely healthy while traveling in India for two weeks, my son (same one) got sick seven hours before our flight back to the USA. He was so weak that I had to put him in a wheelchair to get him through the two-hour immigration line. 3) I wiped out on a scooter on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia. The worst part was my oldest son was on the back of the bike. In my defense, it was really more of a motorcycle than a scooter. Lesson: don’t rent scooters on vacation!
What’s your dream destination? Seychelles.
Favorite travel charity: Beyond Unique Escapes, Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Best travel tip: Especially for the family traveler, start small and close to home. As your budget allows and your kids get older, venture farther. But even if you can’t splurge on a big, expensive trip, travel anyway. Travel isn’t about five-star resorts and bucket-list destinations. It’s about memories shared.