The coronavirus has left us all feeling drained and desperate for things to look forward to — but it’s still in doubt whether a holiday abroad will be one of them.
With official advice to avoid non-essential travel, many people will be forfeiting fortnights in the sun and European city breaks for a staycation or, if they have suffered financial losses, no holiday at all.
But foreign travel isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here, we attempt to lift your spirits by offering 25 reasons not to miss your summer break abroad.
1 The idea of a holiday is that you return feeling and looking refreshed and gorgeous.
If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll return with a blotchy rash where a tan should be, a join-the-dots formation of mosquito bites and hair like a Brillo pad.
If you’re anything like me, though, you’ll return with a blotchy rash where a tan should be, a join-the-dots formation of mosquito bites (pictured file image)
2 The pre-holiday diet. Yes, you planned to eat sensibly for a month but you didn’t do it, and now you have to be miserable crash-dieting to drop half a stone in a week so you don’t look like a total heifer in your bikini.
3 The post-holiday diet. You’re not going all that way to live off salad, are you? A fortnight of paella, sangria and ice-cream means you regained the bikini diet weight — plus 5 lb.
4 Those divine little tavernas and bistros where they bring you a basket of bread that you didn’t order and stick it on your bill even if you didn’t touch a crumb (trying not to ruin the effects of all that dieting).
Those divine little tavernas and bistros where they bring you a basket of bread that you didn’t order (file image)
5 Don’t want to take part in the pool aerobics? You’ll either be bullied into it by the flirtatious entertainments manager, or suffer in furious silence as you try to focus on your paperback while 1990s dance hits boom out of the speaker next to your lounger.
6 The hotel buffet is a shambles. Eggs run out by 8am and why are there never any plates?
You feel like abandoning breakfast and rolling up your sleeves to start marshalling waiters into service.
And don’t get me started on those bizarre rotating toasters. Surely they should be in a museum by now?
7 Determined to save time, you print off your boarding pass at home — but then queue for hours at baggage drop.
And, naturally, you will be behind the one businessman too busy on his phone to notice the line moving. Maybe if I just nudge your bag forward with my foot, sir.
8 Getting a bad case of duty-free wrist. With neither hand free, you place that bag full of magazines, newspapers and a gallon-size bottle of water over said wrist. By the time you board the plane, you have red welts where the handles have cut in.
9 How adorable, that child walking to the airport gate in front of you has one of those Trunki cases that look like cute animals on a lead. What a shame it’s nearly caused you life-changing injuries five times now as you try to overtake.
10 When will you learn that priority boarding is never worth paying for? Even if ground staff check boarding passes, it all goes out of the window the minute you get on a transfer bus — and it’s a free-for-all.
11 Passengers who let their children watch videos on an iPad without headphones. Do you say anything? Of course not. Tut, mutter that it’s unacceptable and then eyes front.
You’ve been served your in-flight meal, organised your tray and even managed to unwrap your cutlery without the salt and pepper sachets falling on the floor (file image)
12 You’ve been served your in-flight meal, organised your tray and even managed to unwrap your cutlery without the salt and pepper sachets falling on the floor — when the person next to you decides that this is the moment they need you to move so they can visit the toilet.
13 You’ve landed, it’s time to get your baggage off the carousel and every other suitcase looks exactly like yours. To help identify your case, you tied a red ribbon around the handle — but so has everyone else.
14 Foreign loos. The American ‘rest rooms’ with a huge gap under the door, the Far Eastern ‘squatties’ that require you to have the thigh strength of a wrestler — and don’t even mention the French ones.
You’ve landed, it’s time to get your baggage off the carousel and every other suitcase looks exactly like yours (file image)
15 Why is your worst sunburn always somewhere on your bra line? Oh, the agony of doing yourself up for dinner after a day in the sun.
16 Being asked to take a picture for someone while you’re trying to admire a beauty spot — only for them to ask you to redo it six times because it’s not Instagram-perfect.
17 The misery of car hire. Sat-nav? That’ll be another ¤20 a day. Petrol? That’ll be twice what you’d normally pay for a tank. And woe betide you if you’re 15 minutes late back.
18 You’re on a package holiday and you’re aboard a coach with 20 different drops to make at various accommodations. Guess who’s last?
19 Hidden extras. Compulsory ‘resort fees’ for things you’ll never use, like the gym or sauna.
Why is your worst sunburn always somewhere on your bra line? Oh, the agony of doing yourself up for dinner after a day in the sun (file image)
The local and state taxes. Before you know it, your ‘bargain’ hotel room has doubled in price and they still have the cheek to charge you for wi-fi.
Then there’s the surcharge for eating at a restaurant anywhere near a tourist attraction.
Anyone who’s been hit with a ¤60 bill for two lousy coffees and cakes in St Mark’s Square, Venice, will know the feeling.
20 Hotels and villas that want you out the door at 10am the day you go home. Cue leaving your luggage at reception and trying to change out of a wet swimsuit in a tiny public loo.
21 Airlines that won’t let you pay for your hideously overpriced Pringles and Coca-Cola with the foreign coins you were hoping to offload.
22 People who refuse to walk on the moving walkways at airports and stand there blocking the way with their bags.
23 Airport parking. It will cost more than your holiday and you’ll have to wait 20 minutes for the transfer bus. You could save cash by parking in an off-site car park — ten miles from the airport.
Airport parking. It will cost more than your holiday and you’ll have to wait 20 minutes for the transfer bus (file image)
24 The souvenir that breaks. You bought that china salad bowl all the way home, carefully padded with T-shirts.
Then the cab driver plonks your bag down unceremoniously on the pavement outside your house and the bowl has to go straight in the bin.
25 At least this year you won’t have to smile and say, ‘Mmm lovely’ when a returning work colleague digs out a box of revolting nougat sweets for the office to share.