Kim Wilde... likes to pack light, turn the phone off and keep a close eye on the kids

Date
Published in
The Sun Herald (Australia)

Which was your best holiday?
I didn't have a proper holiday until I was 30, when one of my closest girlfriends asked me to go backpacking for a month around the beautiful islands of Thailand. The sense of complete freedom overwhelmed me. I've been back several times but the first time was the best.

And the best hotel you've stayed in?
I am very lucky and get to stay in amazing hotels all over Europe. I stayed in one recently in Lucerne in Switzerland called Hotel des Balances. The terrace was adjacent to the lake, wild swans glided on clear blue water as we ate the local flammkuchen. Delicious! As I stepped out onto the little balcony overlooking the picturesque town and mountains, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Time! Family holidays are the most precious, with Hal, Harry and Rose. We love France and have spent many long summers there with close friends and their children.

What do you always take with you?
I have a little dress from Topshop that I've had for 25 years! Apart from that, very little. I like to go native and buy a few clothes at the market.

What's your best piece of travel advice?
Do yourself a favour and turn your phone off. Give yourself totally to the experience; holidays are a really important time to let your mind unravel. Give yourself space.

Where do you want to go next?
I have to say I'm extremely excited about coming back to Australia - we go back a long way! My parents first brought me over when I was 10 years old. I remember Sydney very well; we stayed in the Kings Cross area and I came home with an Aussie accent! In my mid-30s I backpacked with my friend Mark around parts of Australia. I loved the spontaneity of the trip, especially when we ended up on Magnetic Island. I never saw so many stars as I did there in my whole life.

Which was your worst holiday?
I remember a few holidays with ex-boyfriends where we were supposed to be in paradise but it felt like hell!

And the worst experience you've had on holiday?
Losing my kids! They ran off to play and didn't come when I called. I went into complete panic, until I found them, 20 minutes later, making a den under a tree. Children are very vulnerable on holiday; it's easy to get a false sense of security. Toddlers have a habit of slipping out unnoticed, as Harry did once. We found him only metres away from the swimming pool. I still have nightmares about it.

What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?
Hal and I packed for our wedding night, which we spent at a local hotel, before a trip to the Lake District for our honeymoon the next day. Hal picked up the wrong bag and we ended up having to go down for breakfast the next day in our wedding clothes, much to everyone else's amusement!

What do you avoid on holiday?
Making too many plans. I like to chill.

What do you hate about holidays?
I really appreciate time off as I work hard. What's there to hate?

Kim Wilde will perform at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion at the Rewind 80s Festival on Saturday October 29.