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Every journey starts with a single step… How holiday travel compares

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I like camping, I really do, but last year I did miss our annual family holiday in the sun. For me and Husband there’s nothing like the relaxation a bit of guaranteed weather, a pool and a good book can bring. Nope, not even a roaring fire, marshmallows and a good bottle of red.

Having arrived on our sunshine isle earlier this week an impressive five hours later than scheduled, I started to reflect on the differences between travelling to a camping break and travelling to a break in the sun. Here’s what I came up with:

Camping
The motorway is closed and there’s long delays. If you are lucky you can get out and stretch your legs. If you are unlucky both kids will announce they need the loo – and not for a wee.

Flying
You’re three hours delayed. You get £10 per person of food & drinks vouchers to spend in the terminal or on the plane and are told they’re not valid for alcohol. However, the cabin crew encourage you to spend them on whatever you’d like. They’re only valid on this flight after all. Another mini bottle of wine? Don’t mind if I do.

Camping
You pack with wild abandon, knowing that the trailer, roofbox, boot and, if it comes to it, foot wells in the back, can take it

Flying
You hand over your baggage at the earliest opportunity but you’re never really sure whether you’ll see your case and its contents again (hence my obsession with packing every case with a few of everyone’s clothes and putting swimwear in the hand luggage, so if all of the cases go wandering, you can have a day by the pool while they are located and returned)

Camping
You can plug in the DVD player, tell the kids it’ll be three films and crack on knowing the DVD player’s battery isn’t going to die 55 minutes in to the first film

Flying
You sit the children next to each other – even though this means risking WWIII – so they can watch a film. They get bored 40 minutes in and seem only to be occupied by swapping seats, visiting the loo and stealing your book/ipad/magazine/soul

Camping
You spend the whole journey peering into the distance and enthusiastically declaring “it looks clearer/brighter/drier over there”. Generally, it isn’t

Flying
You admire the sunrise/sunset and beam at the pilot’s announcement of the local temperature – 22 degrees at 1am isn’t bad

Camping
Once the journey begins you’re loathe to stop, except for an over-priced coffee at a service station. You can buy all sorts of things at service stations these days. My favourites are the blanket/toy/headrest combos located conveniently by the front door in order to attract maximum pester power

Flying
You can shop while you wait for your plane to turn up. Although, is it just me, or is it not as cheap as it used to be?

Camping
You finally arrive at your destination, tired and hungry. And now you have to pitch the tent

Flying
You finally arrive at the destination airport, tired and hungry. And now you have to sit on a coach and watch, increasingly desolate, as 75% of the people on it get off before you do. Although once you finally get to the room, at least your bed’s made

Camping
You can grab a few things at the last minute and take off somewhere local-ish for the weekend, going from home to pitched and relaxing in just a couple of hours

Flying
You spend two weeks washing, ironing and making piles for packing before spending two hours putting it all into three unfeasibly small suitcases and setting off for the airport five hours before you’re due to fly

What would your contrasts be? And which wins, camping or holidays abroad? (Yes, I know you can do both, but for the purposes of this blog, just humour me)

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8 thoughts on “Every journey starts with a single step… How holiday travel compares

  1. Phil Daniels

    Camping wins hands down for me! With camping you can set your own intinery; with flying you are tied to someone else’s. I hate hanging around airports for hours waiting for a flight that will invariably be delayed! With camping you can set your own travel plans and as I always choose to leave early, I miss most of the traffic. Our last trip abroad (last December) was wonderful! No delays, a short transfer, and instant sun on arrival. But it was a 1 hour drive to the car park, a half hour transfer to the airport where we spent another 4 hours. On our return we spent 5 hours at the airport and then one and a half hours getting home. Plus 4 hours each way on the plane, and the time it took to collect baggage means we spent about 21 hours of our hard earned holiday just travelling! When we went camping in May, we were on the camp site on the south coast and set up inside 4 hours. And the sun was shining! Can’t beat that!

      1. Phil Daniels

        We’ve been lucky with the weather, but it pays to head south! We are off to south Devon on 19th August with 3 granddaughters.

  2. Husband

    I’m sure none of you will be surprised where my allegiances lie ☺. As we come to the end of this year’s jolly to sunnier climes I look in the mirror to see someone who’s relaxed and has a colour that even David Dickinson would envy (I think Ronseal call it ‘dark teak’). Unlike camping I can put this colour down to the presence of the sun and not due to rust.

    Sorry to all you hardcore campists out there but as I see it camping will remain for short periods of no more than four nights (preferably shorter). Anything longer than this and I need a proper bed, indoor toilet (no, a bucket will not suffice), swimming pool and guaranteed sun.

  3. Rob B

    No contest for me, I cannot stand holidays where all there is to do is sit by a pool or on the beach. I am not a lover of the sun and am famously bad at sitting still and doing nothing.

    Thats not to say I dont enjoy going abroad, i certainly do but it has to be to somewhere interesting with plenty to see and do and in a fairly moderate climate.

    I dont mind flying, I quite enjoy the experience but its all the hassle getting on and off the plane and the waiting around i cant abide. At least in the car heading off camping i can look around, take a detour if i fancy, stop when I want etc.

    As always, I will add in my usual line that there is no such thing as guaranteed sun!

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