HOLIDAYS - something we all look forward to and something we all feel that we deserve. Of course, some countries realise this and treat their retired folk to a week's holiday, but I can't see it appearing on our country's agenda for a while, can you?
So, what reason do YOU have for not taking that well deserved break? Can't afford it? Remember that old saying - "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves"? Well, although in this modern ‘throw away' society no one appears to be particularly worried about pennies, the saying is as true today as ever it was. Take an example - when out shopping, how often do we think ‘I need a rest, I'll pop into the caf? for a coffee and perhaps a muffin'? Well, just forego that coffee and muffin every week and at the end of the year you have that return flight to say Spain. To this end, half way through shopping I return to the car not only to drop off my purchases, but to pour myself a coffee from my flask and also to rest and relax whilst listening to the radio. Alternatively, if the weather is nice, you can enjoy your coffee in the fresh air in the park. Also, go without just one packet of cigarettes or that takeaway (you'll probably not even notice the difference, but your body probably will) and miraculously at the end of the year you'll have the accommodation as well. Follow the maxim of the TV beauty advert and think ‘I deserve it'!
So, now we are ready to go on holiday and we come to the dreaded packing. I'm talking ladies here. (Men don't have a packing problem, do they? - they can pack in 5 minutes flat. After all, there's only a few clothes, money and passport. What's the problem?)
Clothes wise - if you want to take the minimum, then think basic duo colours, say black and white. It's amazing how you can mix and match and appear to have taken more clothes than you have. Also, basic clothes can be dressed up with a coloured wrap or jewellery as the occasion arises, and one stole/wrap can be a shoulder wrap/pillow on the plane, a wrap over your swimsuit, or over your dress in the evening when perhaps its cooler.
Because I am rather absent minded and can never remember where I have put things when I'm in a different environment, I have simplified my packing using differently coloured plastic bags. Tights, pants, bras, make-up, hair products, etc. all go into separate bags, and then on arrival at the holiday hotel, I don't unpack the bags but just pop them into the drawers relating to the position on my body, eg tights (feet) would be in the bottom drawer and hair products (head) would be in the top drawer. (I'm assuming, of course, that the hotel has provided drawers, but, if not, do not despair, just hang the labelled carrier bags in order on the hangers in the wardrobe, or just in case hanging space is limited, take with you the plastic hooks to put over the doors). The bedside cabinet is reserved for essentials and emergencies, eg medicines, first aid, phone numbers, travel insurance, mobile phone, paper, pens, etc. Also take envelopes, already addressed, for the holiday cards you are going to send. I find that envelopes take approx. 3 days to reach this country and cards usually arrive after I have returned from holiday. (Now, if I'm beginning to sound a bit smug with all this efficiency, I'm quickly brought down to earth by remembering the initial horror I felt when after my holiday and returning from a frantic shopping expedition, I found that I had been using carrier bags boldly emblazoned with the words ‘PANTS & BRAS'.)
One thing we all miss on holiday is our favourite pillow. How come the continental pillows are always so uncomfortable? Continental heads appear to be the same shape as ours, and yet the pillows appear to be designed for aliens. I have read that the Queen takes her own when travelling, and I can understand why! However, my friend has a possible solution. She buys new pillows once a year, takes the old ones on holiday, enjoys a good sleep, and then leaves the pillows there at the end of the holiday. The resulting empty space in the suitcase is filled with duty free's and gifts, etc. A word of warning here regarding the return weight of your suitcase. I noticed on our recent return from Spain, using a budget airline, that an official stood behind the check-in attendant with pad at the ready, and everyone in front of us had to pay an excess - not cheap at ?7 per kilo. (Remember, a kilo is only approx. equal to a bag of sugar). Some had to pay an excess in the region of ?40. I was left wondering whether some of the holiday souvenirs were worth the ?7. In fact, if you are thinking of buying presents for small grandchildren, why not make it easy on yourself and buy them before you leave the UK. It saves weight and worry and the toys are of better quality in the UK. Also if you ever wonder what happens to all the souvenirs we struggle back with from holiday, then just visit the local Charity Shop or Car Boot Sale.
Now, as you struggle down from the attic with the suitcases, do spare a thought for the following. My friend's husband dutifully brought down the two suitcases and informed her that this time he was going to pack his own suitcase for the distant wedding they were attending. On the morning of the wedding they dressed in comfortable travelling clothes and placed the two suitcases in the car. They stopped at a pub just before their destination in order to change into their wedding outfits. My friend had her glamorous outfit and her husband had a suitcase full of Christmas decorations!!
H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S ! ! !
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