1. Location, Location, Location – Deciding where the heck to go?
The world is a big place, you could say its divided in two or even four sections – north, east, south and west – but in actual fact its round and is 24,901 miles in circumference and home to 6.9 billion folk so it’s pretty big. Whilst not everywhere is appealing for a holiday, and certain places are declared official war zones, the prospective holidaymaker needs to decide where the heck to go and for how long. There’ll be questions whirring around – will I be bored on a beach for 2 weeks?
Will I go insane on an all-inclusive resort for 2 weeks? Or will a week in Rome require re-mortgaging my house? There are some great sites on the web that state where to go when, but as globocation.com tries to educate the world on all things travel, here are a few pointers to get your noodle going:
- Avoid going to the Caribbean in September because its hurricane season.
- When Europe is dark and rainy, head to Thailand/Malaysia/Cambodia/Vietnam in January, February and March. The humidity is bearable, it’s not rainy season and you won’t need to wear a snorkel hooded parker jacket as per in Britain.
- Anywhere you have heard of that’s any good in the Mediterranean is rammed from mid-July to the end of August. May/June and September are cheaper and more tranquil times to travel.
- If you go to Egypt or Dubai or any of the emerging Middle Eastern tourist destinations in July or August you will boil.
2. Getting Annual Leave
So let’s pretend you’ve checked out the pros and cons of the Cote D’Azur vs The Greek Islands during a geeky afternoon zooming around Google maps, done some internet searching, figured out where’s hot and where’s not, and where’s not at war and you’ve finally decided where you want to go.
There’s always some headache with getting time off work (backpackers have it easy, all the time in the world, no bosses to please but then again they usually run out of dosh pretty quickly!). Some companies only let you take weekly chunks off. So by doing a Wednesday to Wednesday is against ‘protocol’. Some companies have management hierarchies that are staffed by fearful bosses who think that their organisations will cease trading if you and ‘Bob’ have 2 days off at the same time. They need to chill out themselves and go on holiday. Also bear in mind that kids being off school means ‘holidaymaking’ suddenly gets expensive, plus any colleagues with offspring will be petitioning for that half term week off too. It’s bloody stressful trying to figure out how many days you’ll need on top of work based idiosyncrasies.
3. Printing Off Reams of E-tickets
‘We’ll go with a budget airline babe, it’s only two hours to Spain. We can put up with it’. Brave, brave, brave comment. The stress of flying with those budget airlines begins at the booking stage. One particular no frills airline tries to charge you £7.50 to guarantee you get to sit with your wife (actually, some blokes would probably pay £7.50 to guarantee they don’t have to sit anywhere near their spouse). Other’s leave their website check boxes ticked for the most ridiculous things, like ski insurance even though you’re flying in August to Tenerife, like an overpriced hire car arrangement you won’t need on a 2 day city break to Paris or like buying an extra 10 grams of weight for £76.50…then you have to print off the ticket. On clicking confirm, the ‘budgetos’ (just invented that) then email you a million confirmation messages and you have to do some ‘click to confirming’ stuff, then figure out how to check in online (because if you don’t do it online it’s a £175 surcharge to do it the old fashioned way at the airport – perish the thought hey?). Then you realise your printer is out of ink and you have to sprint to the shops to buy a new cartridge before finally printing what you hope is your boarding pass. Have you remembered ‘Not-So-Speedy-And-Still-Mega-Stressful-Priority-Boarding’ for £20?!!
Here’s quite a witty video on flying with budget airlines that seemed appropriate to insert at this stage!
4. Getting to the Airport
An early morning flight is almost a dead cert for a sleepless night the previous evening. You even have dreams about missing the flight or arriving at the airport without your freshly printed e-tickets (complete with mega stressful boarding). This bit really needs some good planning. If you’re taking a small army on holiday then consider booking some airport parking in advance from a company like Parking4Less.com. You get to pack your own car the previous night and don’t have to worry about a grouchy taxi driver waiting for you to fix a baby car seat at 5.13am. There’s the traditional ‘have you remembered money, tickets and passports darling?’ but then it wouldn’t be a holiday without hearing those infamous words would it?
5. The Queuing Zone
If boarding that plane has become your raison d’etre since deciding where to go, getting the time off work, dealing with the print stage and getting your clan to the airport then you’re within touching distance of your inflight magazine. However, there’s one major challenge left to conquer. It’s a section of the airport where you must remain calm, tranquil and stress free at the same time otherwise flipping out at any figure of authority will result in being dragged off into a side room with frosted glass. Two words: Airport Security. Now it’s obvious airport security needed to be stepped up but to what extent? I’ve seen 6 month old babies asked to remove their booties, asked to drink medicine in front of cameras, seen teenagers removing their belts to reveal even more underwear and endured many a stag party (complete with identikit t-shirts) fooling around, chanting football anthems at 6.15am in front of me in the ‘queuing zone’.
It’s your turn to empty your pockets and day bag only to have the least imposing security staff you’ve ever seen tell you to wrap all your possessions in a clear plastic bag (if you don’t have a sealable bag then please pay £2 for one the airport holding company have conveniently placed in vending machines inches away). You will then be frisked and told to re-dress yourself on the other side. It’s all needed and necessary of course but its dam stressful.
This whole queuing zone section is almost like the last attack on your stress levels but getting through security is a highly satisfying feeling. After putting all your clothes back on and making it through the bright, neon, perfume filled hell hole that is duty free, you can then see the beautiful, dreamy departure screens, and there it is, your flight number boarding in 5 mins, the flight’s on time and you crack a smirk. You break into a little sprint and get first place in the Not-So-Speedy-And-Still-Mega-Stressful-Priority-Boarding queue…well done, have a nice holiday!