• Gabrielle Sander

Holiday 101

It’s that time of the year when all you want to do is escape to somewhere, anywhere; just to escape the monotony of the day to day: work, home, cook, eat, telly, sleep, work, hoover, etc.  Holidays are all roses and rainbows; fun and adventure; food and frivolity, and so on. If I am not on one, I am thinking about the next. But, unless you have a daddy called Sugar…

Mindfulness is big at the moment. So next time you’re pining for some passport action, why not spend a little time thinking of all the things that annoy you when you’re away. Oh, sure, they’re forgiven and forgotten by the time you’re home and Sky Scanning for your next hit, but remembering them might be helpful during those difficult, all-outta-holiday-allowance/money-times…

  1. The airport luggage carousel. This is my number one, guaranteed to make me want to throttle several members of the general public, travel bug bear. If I were king of the world, this would be high up on my to-do list (up there with tackling world peace and homelessness). If everyone just stood back, I shout internally, we would all be able to see if our bag was coming; and then, and only then, we could step forward, pluck it off and go on our merry way.

  2. The holiday search. In the olden days, before the internet, you had to scan teletext or pop to a travel agent to find and book a holiday. Now, the opportunities are endless. At first it’s fun: I’m booking a holiday, whoopee! Fast forward five hours; your eyes are stinging, you’ve racked up and cleared your cookies more times than you can remember (because we’ve all been warned the rascals will smell our desperation and sting us with the premium rates otherwise). You find a perfect looking hotel, then see the Tripadvisor reviews, warning you away – even though you’ve heard some might be written by fake-o rival hotels… You get there in the end, but boy do you need it by then.

  3. Packing. Hunky dory on the whole. You do the maths (if I’m there for seven days, I need seven casual throw-ons for the day; seven nice outfits for the eve – best chuck in a couple more nice tops in case I don’t like what I’ve packed when I get there…). You get to wear the ‘holiday me’ clothes, you’re too self conscious to don in front of your friends, because no-one’ll know you. Out they come, in they go. Then you realise you packed away semi-dirty clothes when you came back from your last jaunt, because they passed the sniff test. Now they’re a little bit screwed up and tired looking, with carbonara dripped down the front… Which brings us on to…

  4. Unpacking. No explanation needed for this one. Take out the duty free and souvenirs and the rest is dead to you.

  5. Passport control – the London one’s specifically. A bit of a niche complaint. Yes, it’s important to check everyone is who they say they are, so we don’t get any do-no-gooders slipping in to the country. But the insistence to take your passport out of its slimline cover, even though they jolly well know they’ll still be able to scan it, because every other country airport manages to, drives me up the wall. Worse so when I’m all tired and teasy from a night flight.

  6. Plane seat prodders. Oh how lovely it is having a touch screen on the back of the seat in front of you, to pick and choose your own in-flight entertainment, willy-nilly. Remember when we all had to watch the same film, at the same time, on the screens that dropped down from the aisle ceiling? The best thing about this modern technology is that they require just the gentlest of touch to work; there really is no need to push at it like you’re giving a bully a good telling off, so the person in front is forced to nod their way through every choice and round of Bejewelled with you. Having a public service announcement at the beginning of the flight, to remind people of this, would be money well spent.

  7. Liquid limits. Again, I completely get this is for our own safety. But, why not allow us to have more than one 20cm x 20cm bag? And why only 100ml, why not a half filled 200ml bottle? This rule was introduced as a temporary measure 11 years ago; it must be time for a rethink.

I’m sure there’s more. I don’t know about you, but I feel better for getting all that pent up frustration off my chest.

Tell me, what would you put into the travel room 101?