Tag Archives: Holiday

The diary of a frazzled holiday traveller or is that holiday travel madness

Holiday travel madnessWe are half an hour from supposedly getting on board our plane to head back to the UK and its the usual holiday travel madness.

I am asking myself as I look up at the flight departure board why have 4 flights arrived and are all set to leave at 12:00 midday so how does that work then?

New game, musical airplanes!

How are you going to get four flights off the ground at the same time, worrying don’t you think!

Now the announcer is shouting for all passengers to Liverpool to get to the front of the queue as the plane is ready to depart.

The public once again are at the brunt of bad communication regarding flight information.

The typical british holiday maker is on show for all to see.

Flip flops, shorts, crazy hats not one of them appear to a have any regard for their safety on a plane. A quick exit requires good robust trainers or shoes not flip flops, ideal if we happen to have an emergency landing on the sand!

They are hot and bothered, flustered and fed up they can’t go any faster through security control as they are reliant on the security men and women who are checking and frisking them!

Did I mention that there are only four security people in attendance to check and frisk 600 potential passengers groovy.

You are too scared to shout at the security people to get a move on for fear of being further frisked in an exploratory way if you get my drift especially as they are now all wearing rubber gloves.

It’s the power they wield over you they sense you are tense and in a hurry yet they couldn’t go any slower if they tried, but the voice inside your head is screaming get a move on.

There is another word I feel I could insert here but for those who abhor swearing I’ll keep it clean.

Now on the plane, the flight attendants shout at you with a smile on their faces and tell you to get a move on, find your seat and sit down as “we will miss our flight slot” as if it was your fault you single handedly caused the plane to be delayed.

Having established myself in the seat, I get stuck with the proverbial passenger from hell.

He looks alright until he flashes his beaming “I had my teeth whitened especially for my holiday so I can pick up a bird and get laid” and he’s wearing flip flops too with feet that look like they’ve been through a mincer then I then get the story of his holiday.

I shut up as I feign minimal interest with a faint smile as he rattles on about his holiday exploits.

He looks at my ipad and ‘says is that an ipad,’ no it’s a toaster I feel like saying what the heck do you think it is.

In front of me I have a family of 6, no I mean 6 kids and 2 adults they are the kids from hell, 6 teenagers both boys who have clearly OD’d on coke and mini cheddars mega super-sized pack who are shouting at each other whilst mum is doing her best to calm her clan down.

How do you get time to have 6 kids, I barely have time to manage 2 let alone 6 of the smiling monsters.

One boy decides to literally climb over me to get to his seat.Holiday madness

Horrified at the thought that I’m going to be saddled with one of these monsters on a two and half hour flight, I glare at the mother, she turns to look at me, smiles and it’s the smile between two women who are unwittingly bonded through the virtue of being mothers. It is the look that says sorry and I know that you know how I feel!

Thankfully I breathe a sigh of relief when I discover the boy monster is actually sitting in the wrong seat.

In the midst of all the shenanigans his lordship my beloved husband whom I might add is sitting with our boys in the next aisle seat thinks it’s sooo funny he’s wetting himself with laughter as its always me that appears to get the short straw.

But guess what I’ll have the last laugh because the passenger from hell seated next to me has alluded to the fact that he doesn’t like flying so when we hit clear air turbulence over the channel I’ll be the one screaming WE’RE GOING DOWN BRACE, BRACE!

Ode to the joy of travelling!

See you in the UK. That’ll be next week then!

 

Why are holidays fraught with stress?

Why do holidays cause tension and stress?
Holidays are suppose to be relaxing, stress free and tranquil?

What is it about a family holiday that makes it fraught with tension and stress leaving you worn out at the end of it?

I know I am not alone because many of our friends reveal that they too come back feeling they need another holiday to get over the one they’ve just had.

Following a recent vacation to Spain I reflected on the aftermath of the holiday which went something like this.

We were so tired that when the Easter term holiday finally arrived the four of us practically through our luggage on to the plane so desperate were we to head for some sunshine, warmth and rest.

The day we arrived the weather at our destination was warmer than the snow and ice we’d left at London Luton Airport early that morning and as we went to collect our hire car and set off on our journey to the apartment I could feel that tension start to melt away.

The kids were snoozing and listening to their iPods in the back of the car and my husband and I chatted about the last few weeks and reflected upon how nice it was to actually have some time together instead of seemingly passing each other in the house like two ships leaving a port.

And that’s where the tension started.

Silly things like driving the car whilst checking the mobile phone.

At home our cars have hands free although I condone the use of using mobiles whilst driving after all what is so life threateningly important you have to use the mobile when driving.

As the journey continued I became increasingly annoyed with him every five minutes checking the mobile phone for emails and text messages.

And, as any good woman would do, I offered to drive.

Back came the answer “aren’t I driving properly then?”

“No!” came the retort.

Holidays and families = frustration
Holidays result in a high concentration of time with family members. Their habits become very irritating.

Having had an exhausting seven weeks leading to this vacation and having left home at 3:45am naturally I was concerned for the safety of us all and this was in no way being disrespectful to my husband who is a good and responsible driver.

But for god sake what is so crucial that the mobile had to be checked so often.

That was my first disgrace and ‘rebuffment’ for bad behaviour.

When we arrived at the apartment it was clean and in an excellent state we usually have a number of chores that we give our children to do including washing hands, unpacking their cases and carry ons and putting their clothes in wardrobes.

I have a very specific job that is to delegate the tasks, unpack and get the linen and beds made.

Simple right?

Wrong!

Here lies the start of the holiday stress.

Children by their very nature have a selective hearing problem they are excited and want to get out and about they don’t want to stay cooped up in a flat when the sun is shining let a lone listen to a list of orders being barked out by tired parents.

Simple jobs become a marathon and a challenge to complete especially if you are a pubescent 13 year old, an irritable tired 9 year old, factor in a 45+ short of patience, quickly irritated father.

Mr M (my husband) has a short fuse when it comes to patience and is easily irritated.

His impatience was further exacerbated by our apparent lack of speed we were applying to our tasks, myself included.

The best way of describing this scenario is liking it to Vesuvius – a slow eruption emanating a sticky froth building to an almighty explosion.

UN flags depicting diplomacy for mothers who keep the peace on vacation
If the UN gave out medals for diplomacy I’d definitely be up there along with millions of other Mothers who lay claim to keeping the peace on vacation.

If the U.N. were handing out medals for family diplomacy going above and beyond then I’m pretty damn sure I’d be up there I suspect with millions of other mothers for the sheer effort I show gritting my teeth and calming the situation.

I watch in frustration at the way this relationship between my two boys and husband deteriorates into a war of words and a constant nagging to get a move on.

Invariably the tension escalates into a riot of words. Then I ask or rather request Mr M should chilax, ease off and actually leave the apartment and get a beer.

My 9 year old steps in showing overt diplomatic skills and I see a career in the diplomatic service beckoning as he shouts”shut up everyone and just stop moaning!”

I, on the other hand follow Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people and I strongly recommend you read it.

Habit 2: begin with the end in mind and habit 3: put first things first, both seem to strike a chord with me at this point.

By all working together as a team the quicker we get jobs done the quicker we are on the move.

In simple terms it means if you help me I help you and everyone wins.

No one’s time is compromised and no one misses out because we all get to finish and get out at the same time.

This in my house-hold along with the 4th habit “win win” is my utopian ideal. But we are long way from that.

Like many working house-holds in the UK when faced with this large concentration of time, 24/7 suddenly becomes a real challenge to get through each and every day without some part of the holiday home becoming a war zone and maintaining peace and harmony is the equivalent of finding gold.

During a normal week, if anyone has a normal week step up here please and tell me or better still show me now.

Families are on an invisible treadmill of school, work and routine.

The majority of house-holds during school/working week will have some perceived routine. Ours is no different in fact it starts when we leave home at 7:30 with my husband often leaving much earlier than us.

A family holiday means a massive concentration of time together and for the majority sharing accommodation significantly smaller than our own homes.

Factor in accumulated tiredness which seems to manifest itself when you grind to a halt at the start of your holiday = no patience or time for each other so naturally irritability escalates like the national debt.

You really get to see and experience first hand each other’s foibles which during a normal working week don’t appear to be quite so annoying.

Picture depicting a happy family enjoying themselves
Families are on this invisible treadmill of work, school, routine that when a holiday it all grinds to a halt leaving tempers frayed.

My 13 year old tries to take on the role of adult by scolding his younger brother mostly to get him into trouble.

There’s my nine year old who considers winding up his 13 year old brother and getting him in to trouble a national sport.

My husband who just gets irritated when anyone of us talks and god forbid someone speaks when he’s on that mobile phone again.

Finally there’s me. I think I’m the only sane and patient person in our household. (Debatable)

The working school week combined has to run like clockwork in order for the majority of us leave to be able to leave on time in the morning.

Working lives have become a grinding treadmill one that has become increasingly difficult to jump off. Factor in the economic climate and many are working longer and harder than ever before leaving the majority of us exhausted.

When a vacation finally arrives we simply are devoid of giving to each other anything that remotely resembles human decency.

In fact I’m exhausted reading this!

Therefore using my infinite wisdom, I came up with some top tips for great family holiday’s.

  • a successful family holiday should involve going to the same destination but each member of the family staying in different hotels
  • invest in a serious decent set of groovy noise reduction headphones that way you switch off and tune out to any arguments, shouting or abuse
  • make alternate holiday arrangements for the kids like PGL or a kids adventure holiday, that way they can’t be blamed for anything or get in the middle of anything. Better still book yourself into an adventure holiday and learn sky diving or mountaineering
  • leave spouse at home or get him/her to stay in alternate accommodation
  • book the kids into alternate accommodation
  • ban holidays altogether and stay at home that way you can make several day trips and if war should break out only one day is ruined rather than several whilst the family take sides as to who did what to who and when!
  • Finally, leave them all at home and go on your own holiday my preferred choice!

What do you think? Are holidays a necessary evil? Do they give us more grief than rest?

Share with me your thoughts don’t be shy.

Tell me about the worst or the best vacation you’ve ever had?

Was it with the family or on your own?

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