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Who are you going to call?

Choosing a holiday is not simple. I know it sounds simple. Where shall I go and when shall I go there. Done. But don’t be fooled, there’s much more. And even these two seemingly innocent questions are a potential minefield of indecision. I’ve listened to people in my office spend several hours discussing just one of them. And not just once. Again and again and again until I reach a point where I want to scream.  What could possibly take this long and require this much procrastination?

Aquapura Douro Valley, Porto, Portugal

Aquapura Douro Valley in Douro Valley, Portugal

Holidays. And only holidays. People buy cars faster. People buy houses with less discussion. People name their children more efficiently. And why shouldn’t they take their time? This is one of life’s pure treats. And if it’s a let-down there’s nothing one can do. Time doesn’t give refunds. When the journey begins there are choices. Most people end up going online and looking around. The annoying thing is that one can look around forever. Literally. You could invent a pill that negates the need to sleep and then spend all day every day for 50 years just researching one holiday. But the bad news is there’s new information going up faster than you can read it. Not only that but most of the information is nonsense written by people who don’t know what they are talking about. And on the whole there’s no way of knowing if it was written by a bona fide travel genius who would be your best friend if you’d happened to have met them or a strange man living in a shed who’s never been on a train let alone a plane. I’ve been thinking about this problem recently because a girlfriend of mine was feeling a little lost. So lost that she actually cried at her laptop and then claimed she was finished with the internet and would never use it again. Ever. For anything. Once I explained that would mean no more Facebook she swiftly reversed her decision but begged me for help. Why do the hard work when you don’t have to? I said. When the car breaks down we don’t go online and try to work out how to fix it. When we need a new washing machine we don’t buy Which Washing Machine magazine (although it is a great read) and learn all about them I just ask an expert in a shop I trust. If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood who are you going to call? Yes, the Ghostbusters. You do not try to sort out the ghost problem yourself.

Hotel La Perouse

Hotel La Perouse in Nice, France

So why do people feel the need to trawl the internet looking for the perfect holiday when none of us are experts? I popped my friend on slh.com and in 20 minutes she had picked a hotel and booked. She clicked Hotel Experiences at the top. Then she chose a Beach Resorts experience. After that it was continent time and she knew she wanted short haul so Europe. And then she chose to look at the map. A map of all the beach hotels appeared and from there it took seconds. She didn’t have to scan the small print to find out how far the hotel was from the beach or worry that a ‘sea view room’ might only be a sea view room if you tape some binoculars to your face and do a handstand on the balcony railings. She just knew. Simple

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