As Need Another Holiday turns five this week (FIVE!), I’m in a bit of a reflective mood. I’ve been thinking a lot about the places I’ve travelled to during those five years, and how our travel style has changed as we turned from couple to family.
It’s actually got me thinking even further back – reminiscing about the family trips I took as a kid with my parents and sister. I’m left seriously wondering how all those years could have passed by so quickly. Suffice to say, I’ve been on a lot of lovely holidays in my time – and I really don’t mean that in a smug way at all. I’m just realising that as I start to see age forty (FORTY!!!!!) on the horizon, I’ve been travelling abroad and in the UK on my hols for more than thirty years.
It’s somewhat devastating to think that as of this August, I’m now properly into my late thirties. But, alas! I have become wise in those long years. Or so I like to think…
So here are thirty lessons I’ve learned from thirty years of holidays. All in honour of the blog’s fifth birthday!
1) The people you meet can really make you fall in love with a place.
2) Holidaying abroad can be cheaper than holidaying in the UK. Don’t automatically think that overseas means out of reach, just because your budget is limited.
3) Although luxury is lovely, as long as your accommodation is clean and the staff understand customer service, that’s all you need to be comfortable.
4) Diving into the sea from a boat is the best feeling ever.
5) An open mind is the most important thing you’ll take with you anywhere.
6) If you spend too much time in the swimming pool with blonde hair, it will go green. I speak from childhood experience. You can be sure I take no chances now I pay a pretty penny for my blondeness to be, ahem, “enhanced”.
7) If my parents managed to get me and my sister aged six and three to Spain by sitting on a coach for twenty-seven hours, armed only with colouring books, travelling by aircraft with a toddler in the age of technology is really nothing to worry about.
8) Visiting a country where you can’t flush your loo paper down the toilet is no big deal.
9) Shower curtains and bathtubs are few and far between when you travel on a budget in the Greek Islands.
10) If you don’t like your hotel room, it’s ok to ask if you can move – don’t be scared that you’re being awkward!
11) Trying new foods can change your life.
12) The best time to visit anywhere is no more complicated to work out than simply knowing when you want to go.
13) Sometimes, a day out doing something different somewhere new is all you need.
14) Anyone who tells you that it’s not worth taking a three hour flight with a baby, just for the sake of a three night break, is an idiot. Go, go, go!
15) Nothing tastes as good as that first sip of the local beer after a long journey.
16) Booking the airport lounge is just plain sensible, and not remotely frivolous or just for posh people (they let me in on a regular basis, after all!).
17) The best way to find bargain holidays is to look for them all the time, and to never be afraid of clicking book.
18) Counting countries is not important. There is nothing wrong with returning to a place you love time and time again.
19) Being afraid to hire a car abroad because you’re scared to drive on the other side of the road can hold you back. Try it!
20) Holiday decisions are among the most difficult you will ever make (beach day or pool day? Help! 😉). But on a serious note, they do serve as a reminder of how lucky you are to get the chance to be faced with such trivial dilemmas in the first place.
21) Most young kids need nothing more than a bucket, a spade and a beach. And a layer of factor 50.
22) City breaks can often be much more memorable than beach holidays. But both are equally enjoyable and have their place.
23) You never need to pack as much as you think you do. But packing cubes are the key to fitting more in your suitcase.
24) Being put off from visiting a place because someone else tells you they didn’t like it is a big mistake.
25) Even expensive cities can be budget friendly. (Hello Copenhagen and Stockholm!)
26) Flying Ryanair is completely fine if you read the rules and follow them. Ditto easyJet, or any other budget airline.
27) The UK has some of the best free museums and galleries in the world. A fave of mine? The Manchester MOSI – love it!
28) Stepping out of your comfort zone when you travel is great, but staying firmly inside it is just as valid a choice.
29) I will never, ever sleep in a tent. Not even if you call it “Glamping”.
30) Booking holidays is the best money you’ll ever spend.