THIS is not travel writing. This is not advice that is going to save your life or save you money. However, I’m just back from holidays and I don’t have anything better to write about just yet. If you have hols coming up, this might be a practical and hopefully funny guide, which will make you look forward to that trip even more. If you have no holidays planned this year, or like me, they’re done and dusted, then I’m genuinely sorry for your troubles.
DO – Research your trip
Trip Advisor is the cause of many a sleepless night for restauranteurs, but for the rest of us it’s an essential tool. Once I knew the hotel I was going to be staying at, I had it researched like something out of the Bourne Identity. Other travellers advised to email ahead and try to get a pool view from your room. I did just that and thankfully we had a beautiful view of the pools and eh…all that goes with that. I also had the foresight to pay a €3 deposit and get a spare key for my room from reception. The reason being is that the key in many hotels now also acts as the trip for the electricity. When you’re on holidays, especially with kids, you need to make sure that the various phones and gadgets are charged to within an inch of their lives. If you have only one key, you won’t be able to charge things when you’re not in the room. Clever eh? Just a little bit.
Don’t – Go all inclusive
This sounds like a great idea – free food and drinks all day at your hotel. You get a little pink bracelet if you’re all-inclusive, which tells the staff that you’re a member of the exclusive free-team. For whatever reason, Irish people seem to be the only nationalities that turn their noses at all-inclusiveness, so much so that you can tell that someone is from the home country by their lack of wrist pinkness. My issue with all-inclusiveness is simple, when you have free food and drink in one place, you won’t want to go anywhere else. “Sure we have free drinks here, why would we want to go anywhere else?” I heard that on more than one occasion. Resorts are full of fantastic restaurants so it makes zero sense to my why you’d want to eat buffet food in a prison setting every night of your holiday. It also means that you have to endure the horrendous “entertainment” laid on every night in the hotels…mini-discos…cabarets…”magic” acts… The flip side of course is that I didn’t want to spend a single night in the hotel because why the hell should I pay for a drink when all the Brits are getting theirs for free.
Do – Book local
Once again we booked our holiday through Harvey Travel, which was almost identical in price to what it would have cost online. If anything goes wrong, you get on the blower to Ian Manto and he sorts it out for you (or whoever the equivalent is at another local tourist office – others are available!). When Ian heard that our shuttle bus stopped at every holiday in Mallorca before it got to ours, he made sure we had a direct transfer for the journey home. It’s little touches like that, which ensure that I’ll always shop local!
Don’t – get too attached to the same bar
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t spend your holiday in an Irish bar – sure don’t we have enough of them here? I’ve only seen the value of them when there’s a Waterford Hurling match on as I don’t like the idea of spending too long in a place that reminds me of home. We were snookered on our holiday for two reasons, both relating to my five-year old daughter. One – we found a pub that had nightly appearances by Peppa Pig and a heap of kid’s games. It’s great to keep the children entertained by Lord only knows how the staff of these pubs stay sane – the exact same songs and the exact same games every night. Whatever about the staff, I wanted to strangle the pink piece of pork after day two. The next problem is Ellie wanting to stay with her new friends in the hotel every other night. Because the entertainment is so bad there, and everyone else is getting their drinks for free, I recommend not allowing your child make any friends while on holiday!
Do – get a new smell
You’re going to laugh at the cheesiness of this one but I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager, and I love it! When you go on holidays, you should get a new shower gel, one that you don’t ever use in Waterford but is readily available. Use it on your hols – you know those showers you have at the end of a hard day’s lounging by the pool, right before you head out to yet another restaurant and pub. Then, when you come home from your holidays, pick up that shower gel from the shop and start using it. Research from more intelligent people than me states that memories are very strongly associated with smells so when you use the gel again you’ll be transported back to the happy and carefree days of that hotel shower and all the happy thoughts you had in it. As I said…cheesy but effective!
So there you go, my holidays are done now for another year at least and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity of reliving them and hopefully enriching yours, whenever you get to go on one!