How often do you travel?
At least 70 per cent of the year. I’ve just got back from a week in Indonesia and I was in Kerry recently and then I’m back to Asia for a few weeks. Being away is hard when you’ve got a wife and three young kids, so my time at home is sacrosanct. I try to bring my family with me when it’s feasible, such as when I’m in Europe and it doesn’t conflict with their schooling. Recently we had a holiday in Portugal where we rented a private villa with its own pool. It was really relaxing and we ate lovely, fresh local food.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
For family breaks, somewhere less than three hours away by plane is ideal.
Your earliest memory of travelling abroad?
I’m the youngest of seven children and Mum and Dad ran a café, so we never really travelled abroad when I was little. Holidays were mostly in Ireland, visiting relatives or on weekend breaks, and once we took the ferry to Pontypridd in Wales to visit cousins. The first time I got on a plane I was around 12 and went to Manchester. It was so exciting.
When I went to Dubai with the family last year where we stayed in an amazing hotel right on the beach on the Palm Jumeirah. The kids had a blast. The weather was fantastic. We visited a massive water park and Ferrari World, in Abu Dhabi, then went up to the top of the Burj Khalifa. The panoramic views were incredible and I loved its architecture, which is an interest of mine. I’m a massive golf fan and keen player, as are the kids, and luckily the Abu Dhabi Championship was on, so we got to see Rory McIlroy.
Your favourite golf course?
The Jack Nicklaus course in Pearl Valley, outside Cape Town, where I played with the lads from Westlife when we were on tour. It’s by the Simonsberg mountain, near Stellenbosch, which is known for its wineries and nature reserves.
Do you get any childfree holidays?
My wife surprised me for my birthday in July. I’m a huge fan of the band the Backstreet Boys, so she organised for us to fly to Las Vegas to see them in concert. I got to meet them backstage and have a drink with them.
Your favourite place in the UK?
I love London – one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s such a melting pot of culture, architecture and history. There’s so many places to eat and shop. I never get tired of driving down the Mall and seeing Buckingham Palace – it’s such a special place. I used to live in Surrey, so I know my way around London, but I still uncover new bits. Sometimes when you’re living there, you don’t appreciate what’s on your doorstep.
Most memorable travel experience?
In 2003, my wife and I stayed at the Hilton in the Maldives for our honeymoon. We were in our own private villa on stilts and Sir Paul McCartney was also staying in a villa nearby. I once bumped into him walking along the sandy, tree-lined path to the spa. He took one look at me and started belting out the Westlife cover song Mandy that we’d just released.
Best piece of travel advice?
Always know where your passport and phone are when you’re travelling. I regularly forget them on the plane and have a mad panic to get them back.
Nasi goreng – it’s an Indonesian dish that has fried rice with prawns and chicken in soy sauce with a fried egg on top. I have it several times a week when I’m travelling in Asia and it’s gone in minutes.
Your best cure for jet lag?
I’m in Asia at least once a month and I try to stay on Irish time. I’m never in one place long enough to get settled into its time zone, so it seems healthier to keep my body clock the same. I don’t fight jet lag and just sleep when I’m tired. It can mean that I have breakfast at 3pm or dinner at 11pm.
Shane Filan Singer
Your travel essentials?
Laptop for watching Netflix, mouldable gel earplugs to help me sleep and redox soluble vitamins to keep my immune system tip-top.
What do you hate about travelling?
Being away from family, because I miss them.
I’ve never been to Moscow and it looks beautiful.
Shane Filan has fond memories of exploring Ho Chi Minh City, above; and enjoyed a great family holiday in Dubai, above right