Aren’t Summer holidays great! Winging your way to warm, foreign climes for two weeks of relaxing bliss; coming back totally skint with a sunburned spouse, a daughter who is just going to die because she’s had to leave Alexandros – the Greek waiter and would-be consummate lover (if you hadn’t had the little toe-rag sussed from day one) – and a bowel-disturbing condition which may have been caused by the ‘freshly washed’ salad bar or last night’s slow-cooked lamb kleftiko. “Does this smell funny to you”?
These days it’s the same only worse. Many of those destinations that were once the mainstay of the package holiday are now blighted by the black spectre of terrorism, local economic woes, poor exchange rates and rip-off airports. Here you will be x-rayed and groped and left to simmer for several hours until you finally get told that your flight is further delayed because the pilot had an idea for a poem and set your plane down on Tristan da Cunha to get a pen.
There is a better way. Stay here and vacation in good old Blighty; that’s what I reckon. Save yourself the anguish of foreign jaunts by holidaying in a land where quite a lot of the people speak the same language, where the currency is familiar and the weather predictable in its unpredictability.
Many older readers will remember the UK holidays they took as children. Those halcyon days under rain-soaked, suspiciously stained canvas that smelled perpetually of wet dog, or pinned down in tiny rental caravans perched precariously on clifftops watching through the window as the rain rushed in from storm-tossed seas. People were stoic in those olden times; nobody minded the mud and the occasional trudge to the ‘conveniences’ conveniently situated in the distance far across the farmers field. The one with with the bull in it. There’s an expression that sums up the whole Britishness of it: ‘We made the best of it’.
These days we’ve gone soft. If I mention tented holidays to Mrs DriveWrite, she looks at me appalled and queries my sanity. If pressed she says she will accept ‘glamping’ as a last resort, but only if we go in a Range Rover, there is somewhere to plug in hair dryers or heated rollers (for the evening. Obviously) and there is also a dry cleaners and a Waitrose within easy walking distance.
Seriously though, it’s a thought isn’t it? This country still has a lot to offer, you know. There are many amenities, some beautiful, bosky countryside and a scenic coastline. Crucially you don’t have to rough it any more either. Coming up in late February at the NEC is the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show (see here). The delights of modern DIY holidays will be all laid out before your very eyes. Why, you don’t even have to miss your fave TV shows. Take them with you.
I know that caravans can lead to a fraught crawl under some circumstances on our roads but mostly these days caravanners have good tow-cars and know their business so it’s not the issue it once was. In any event, if you buy your own ‘van you’ll be at the head of line so it won’t be a problem will it? Whether you’re taking your own gear or electing to rent on site there are many holidays venues around that will welcome you (The AA have listings) and they can pretty much guarantee that you won’t get gored on the way to the ‘facilities’.
So instead of flying off to strange lands why not take your camping or caravan vacation here? Best of all you can plan a decent driving route to make the most of it. Just remember though, if taking children, don’t forget wet wipes. Plenty of wet wipes. Also a bucket. Geoff Maxted