In this series, 7travel shares exclusive interviews with some of Channel 7's most recognisable talent.  

On TV, Karen Ledbury is the consummate presenter. After seeing her bubbly personality and gentle tone on screens at home, fans might be surprised to learn what true relaxation looks like to this true beauty: a big dose of peace and quiet! We spoke with Karen to find out her tips and tricks for travelling as a mum of three, what destinations have been most memorable in her vast travels, and more.

What is the best travel lesson you've learned?

I think always being prepared is the best lesson. When I went to Fiji with my husband, we had our 10 month old baby and it was actually our first holiday away together. We couldn’t have been more excited. But what we didn’t realise is that the time we were there was the only 2 week period when the nanny service wasn’t available! So be prepared by doing your research. It will make or break your holiday.

Where is your favourite getaway in Australia?

Just about any part of Queensland is perfect. Whether it’s going up to Cairns and across to Green Island or Airlie Beach or down south on the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast… you could drop a pin anywhere on the Queensland Coast and find a new destination. I could never get tired of it!

Is there something that would surprise your fans to learn about you in ‘holiday mode’?

I’m very quiet! Most people who see me on TV see me talking all the time. But when I’m on holiday, I’m quiet. And I don’t wear a stitch of makeup and I never take a blow-dryer with me when I travel! It’s liberating. I’m there to completely absorb into the holiday and relax, so I don’t want to worry about how I look.

Room with a view in Japan

Where did you take your most memorable holiday?

I travelled to Japan and I had been there back in the 90s competing for karate. But it was when I returned with my family that I really fell in love with the country. It's such a diverse country - you have the history, heritage, and beauty of Japan, but on the other side, you have this incredible technology world, an amazing modern feel. It’s busy and tranquil at the same time. We got to see Tokyo all the way to the snow-capped mountains for the best skiing. Then we were jetted off to Universal Studios and finally back to Tokyo. For my kids, it was the best experience to get themselves around a country that doesn’t speak English everywhere, getting to sample all the different foods. Everything there is just so exciting in Japan! 

People in cycle rickshaws

On the flip side, the other holiday I found equally exciting was a cruise! It’s just so different from any other kind of holiday, where everything is there all in one go. As a mother, I was excited to unpack once and have no cooking, cleaning, or any other responsibilities. There’s food 24/7, entertainment, and both kids-only activities and adults-only activities if you want to reconnect with your partner. It was such a great experience all around and quite different from what I expected. It was relaxing, but we got to wake up and look forward to something new each day.

Have you taken a holiday to a destination that surprised you?

Definitely the trip to Japan. Before I visited, I thought of Japan just as its main cities. But when we got to experience the country and skiing on another level, I was in awe. On the mountains, the snow was so thick and full and amazing, and the facilities were fantastic! And of course, the food was just amazing and so diverse with Westernised food and authentic Japanese food. It was almost a shock when we discovered how much there is to see. A history buff could take in all of the culture and history, an adventurer could stay active, or children can even see the major theme park attractions, and there's still so much more to do.

skiing in Japan

Do you have any tricks for packing?

Always pack complete outfits that integrate together! If you pack three outfits, make sure all three tops match all three pants. Stick to an easy colour theme so that you can mix and match. When you do your research about your destination, look at the weather and aim to pack light and simple. Coordinate when you pack and you’ll look and feel great for the whole holiday!

Karen enjoying the snow in Japan

Do you have any tricks for getting through long flights?

Pack one complete spare outfit and a change of underwear along with a little ‘refresher’ bag. For the kids, I always pack spares for them, give them a hydration spritz to keep them refreshed, and make sure they have socks so that they can kick off their shoes and get comfortable.

When you leave for a holiday overseas, what’s one item you always pack?

I always take a little leather travel bag. It’s been my trusty travel bag and I take it on every single trip I go on, no matter what country I visit. Inside the kit, I’ll always have my lip balm, eye drops, ear drops, throat drops, Band-aids, Panadol, nail polish… because you never know what’s going to happen! 

If Karen has inspired you to take a trip of your own, consider our travel deals on offer today!