Thursday, March 23, 2006
It used to be so easy. We would decide where we wanted to go, we’d go to the travel agent’s and ask for the cheapest possible ticket, we’d pack our stuff and head off.
Since those days of carefree travel, two complicating factors have arisen:
1) two little children
2) the internet
The children complicate things because we’re no longer brave enough to set out into the unknown with some money in our pockets but no itinerary and no hotel. We’re not flexible enough to pack our (now voluminous) gear up every day and hit the road in whatever direction takes our fancy. We’re not yet cruel enough to inflict multiple museum, garden and ancient ruin visits on them so there has to be a pool and a reasonable amount of sun. But we are just a little bit cruel, so a children’s club to abandon them in occasionally would also be nice. Of course, we need to be able to see them during the night so two double rooms aren’t an option unless the hotel explicitly encourages child room rampage. No, we need a family room. Suddenly, we find ourselves in the boring, middle class, middle aged, mid-budget, bulging midriff category.
The internet complicates matters because it offers FAR, FAR too much choice for people as indecisive as we are. But I am nothing if not compulsively thorough in my quest for the perfect holiday at the perfect price.
First of all, I use several of the aggregators that bring all of those cheap holidays together, then I laboriously trawl through the individual sites and pick out the packages that are within our budget, seem to suit our requirements and look attractive. Then I work out a very complicated mental logarithmic calculation allocating points for climate, novelty, charter/regular flight, departure point (Bordeaux or Toulouse), amount of blue sky in the photos, proximity of beach (and fifty seven other items). Then we dither for a week or so and inevitably some of the possibilities fill up and disappear.
This time we narrowed it down to Morocco, Croatia, Tunisia or Tenerife.
We eliminated Morocco because both Marrakech and Agadir are fully booked from Bordeaux and none of the packages from Toulouse include family rooms.
Croatia was tempting because it looks so beautiful, but the temperatures are a tad lukewarm in April and again, there are no family rooms.
Tunisia looks like a good alternative to Morocco although it’s not as warm at Easter. So what about hotels? Well, one is 3km from Monastir airport mmmm I hear charter planes droning overhead in the middle of the night. Another is separated from the beach by a “road” no doubt a roaring motorway. But look there’s also one in Hammamet and it’s right on the beach and even has an indoor swimming pool, which would be excellent if the weather was mediocre. Let’s go for that one then. Okay, but wait a minute, if we fly out of Toulouse, we save 500€ in all, that’s quite a lot of money. Yes, but what if the flights are in the middle of the night? How would we manage to get there for 4 am? Oh no, oh no, we just can’t decide. Let's sleep on it.
What about Tenerife then? This looks perfect — regular flight, we can even add on a couple of days at the end; not in a big resort but a nice quiet one; family apartments, fantastic climate with sun practically guaranteed, a lovely big pool and a little one for the children. This sounds perfect.
There’s just one thing — we went there last year.
Are we ready to be THAT boring?