Air Con

One of my pet hates is looking for a vacation. It drives me crazy, and I do not understand why it has to be so annoying, I really don’t.

Travel Agents and Airlines advertise in the most annoying way possible – for example, I saw an ad on the side of a bus offering flights to Amsterdam for £29*.

The asterisk marks the point where sanity departs. This £29 is one-way for one person. Fair enough (you may think), except that it then states that this figure is “based on a group of four”. This comes to £232.

You and your three amigos – if you have three amigos AND they are available – AND willing to travel to Amsterdam with you on CERTAIN dates (a long shot I know) each pay £29 x 2 or £58, because you have to get back home, don’t you? – in total this is 4 x £58, or £232 – plus the taxes and baggage and who-knows-what-else.

It’s a con. I hate when the price per person is dependent on going with others, it’s usually four – but what about single parents with less than three kids, or couples with only one child – or more than two children – why are they penalised? And don’t get me started on the single room surcharges!

Years ago, while working for myself, I would end a project, and be free to go anywhere pretty suddenly… unfortunately websites do not like that.

My destination would be unimportant, the dates pretty flexible, this meant that I had to play the websites like a one-armed bandit, trying destinations at random, airports, dates. Very frustrating indeed.

Even now that I am married with children, and I more-or-less have to take vacations during school breaks – when the prices take a hike up a sharp hill. It’s the same thing – I have to input destination, dates, and pick an airport (Glasgow) – when I obtain no results, I am left pondering what it was that caused the failure: what will I try next? Change the airport? the dates? the destination? It’s a stab in the dark. Holiday Roulette.

Anyway, this is just my long-winded way of getting round to announcing that I have managed to get a vacation booked for the Easter break. And I’m exhausted and in need of a flippin’ vacation now.

Check this out – to drive 3 hours and then to fly from Newcastle (in England) compared with Glasgow (local) is significantly cheaper. In fact, going for TWO weeks is cheaper than a single week’s break flying from my local airport. We’re talking about £350 cheaper – how mad is that?

No wonder everyone in Scotland drives to England to fly abroad.

I am forming a personal theory that this is why Scots have such a reputation, not just for being thrifty and penny-pinching, but for health issues – the stress and anger generated by travel websites — and the stress and angst of long drives to English Airports on infamous death-trap roads like the A1.

I just thank goodness that I do not live in Inverness or the Islands!


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