Andrew Gee started his career at Outrigger Resorts and Hotels in Fiji more than two decades ago. As the company’s vice-president sales and marketing Asia Pacific, he has had plenty of opportunities to travel with his sons, Fletcher and Murphy. They love going away together as often as possible, with at least one international holiday a year. Here are his tips!
Hi Andrew Gee, where do you love to go in Australia on family holidays and why?
For many years the boys and I would hire a cabin at Shoal Bay Caravan Park. We always had a great time. It’s a very relaxing lifestyle and the beaches around Port Stephens are so perfect. I also love Tassie’, and during one of the few windows we could travel between COVID lockdowns in 2020 we did Cradle Mountain and hired a house in Freycinet. The air is just so fresh and pure in Tassie.
What has been your favourite family holiday overseas and why?
This is a very tough question. Our favourite international resort is Castaway Island Fiji. It has been a second home, and we feel so lucky. The staff there are like family to us. Our favourite “big” holiday so far was a US boys’ road trip we did in 2018, driving more than 5000 kilometres in 16 days, starting in Dallas and driving to Las Vegas. We stayed in places like Roswell, Albuquerque, Flagstaff and then returning via Phoenix, Tucson, Tombstone, El Paso and San Antonio. The accommodation budget per night was around AU$70 so we stayed in some very “interesting” roadside motels and local hotels. It was a great experience and a fabulous father/son bonding time. We would all do it again in a heartbeat.
What’s the worst thing that’s happened to you on a family holiday?
Besides the lost luggage and delayed/cancelled flights (oh so common these days!), it was probably when my youngest, Murphy, fainted at the shopping outlet in Las Vegas. Yes, it was 110 degrees and being a “bad dad” — I hadn’t kept his fluids up. But it all worked out OK in the end.
And the best?
Again, a tough question. It’s hard to go past Disneyland, seeing the Grand Canyon, Dove Lake in Cradle Mountain National Park, Queenstown in New Zealand, the list goes on! And catching up with our extended Fiji family at Outrigger and Castaway, of course. The boys and I live by the saying, “travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. After more than two years of COVID restrictions, we cannot wait to get back out exploring.
Andrew, what’s the one thing every family should experience?
A big road trip – our US road trip is still talked about today by my boys. I reckon there is “road trip part two” in the very near future. At least the second time around some of the driving can hopefully be shared.
What advice do you have for travelling with kids?
Being prepared for all experiences and when they get a bit older have them involved in the itinerary planning, get actual maps out and even the old much-loved atlas. Make sure they feel part of the trip before you leave home. Also put away the phones as much as possible, get them to look up and out. There is so much to see and take in (in real time!)
Any tips for how to save money when booking a family holiday?
Book ahead. If using frequent points, get in very early (11 months in advance). If you can, try to travel just outside of school holidays (not so easy with senior high school students).
On the road, my boys and I have travelled in the past with a sandwich maker (cheap Kmart version). We pick up bread, ham and cheese and breakfast for the three of us comes in under $5. In the US look for motels that offer some form of basic free breakfast too. It might not be gourmet, but it will fill up hungry teen tummies… well, for a while!
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