This is the first in a series of posts telling you all about my recent travels. My aim is to give you some ideas for planning your own holiday if like me, as you’ve got a bit older (both Mr Husband and myself are the other-side of fifty) a big summer holiday has taken a bit of a back seat in the hurly-burly of daily life. Our year instead is punctuated with last minute weekends away, which although nice don’t quite hit the relaxation spot. We’ve been on a few longer trips in the past few years (Jordan, South Africa) since the children have flown the nest, but these have been prompted by family events rather than being for the sole purpose of a holiday.
Now you might say booking a holiday is easy so what’s the issue, just go to a travel-agent site and book a package deal, everything is sorted, flights, accommodation, transfers. However, I’ve only ever done this once and I felt a little bit out of control of my own destiny, yes crazy I known. I would much rather put the holiday together myself and if it all goes wrong…..well I will just have to sort it out. So early this year I finally got my planning head back on and set organising a trip.
When planning I always find it useful to have a bit of a check list, and these were criteria for this holiday.
- Needed to be somewhere hot and sunny, guaranteed! Rain was not an option. I live in Buxton I just needed to dry out and warm up (only joking, the weather is not that bad – really).
- Needed to be able to fly from my local airport and the flight time needed to be 3 hours max. I love to travel, just not by plane. Luckily for me Manchester is my local airport so there was plenty of choice.
- Needed to be a beach focused holiday allowing me a splash about in the sea but needed to have other things of interest as I get bored sitting on the beach everyday.
- Needed to have a good variety of local food and wine. Most (all) of our family holidays have revolved around sampling local food, it’s just part of our holiday. I’m not an all-inclusive holiday person.
- Needed to be somewhere featured in the recent Rick Stein Long Weekend TV show aired last year. For those who don’t know Rick Stein is a British restaurateur and TV chef etc. I know that sounds a strange criterion but every time I watched this show I would say “we should go there”. It also narrowed our destinations, too much choice can be a bad thing you know.
- Needed to be able to travel using public transport. Didn’t want to hire a car.
- Needed not to be too expensive – budget airline and mid-price accommodation, lets not go wild with the kids inheritance just yet.
So not a lot of boxes to tick – as you can see I’m quite easy to please (ha ha). The place I chose to centre the holiday around was Cadiz, a city on the South West coast of Spain. However it’s a tricky place to fly to so I planned a bit of multi-centre trip, Faro to Seville, Seville to Cadiz and back again. It was going to be a mini-trek as we were only going to take a backpack each as I do love travelling just with hand luggage. I hate waiting for suitcases, would much rather cram everything into a back-pack or just not take it, liberating don’t you think? How many clothes could you need for twelve days in hot weather?? Mr Husband was a bit concerned but we did a practise run and got everything in.
So everything was decided. Here’s the basic itinerary
- Local bus from Buxton to Manchester airport
- Return flights Manchester to Faro Portugal (Ryanair)
- Local bus from airport to Faro town
- 3 Nights in Faro
- Bus from Faro to Seville
- 2 Nights in Seville, Spain
- Train from Seville to Cadiz, Spain
- 5 Nights in Cadiz
- Train back to Seville followed by bus back to Faro, all in one day
- 2 Nights in Faro before getting the bus to the airport and early flight back to Manchester and bus back to Buxton
Here are some pictures to keep you going……..
All tickets and accommodation were booked online about 4 months before we went……easy? It may all seem a bit complicated but not in the era of the internet. I booked all the accommodation through Booking.com as it meant I had all the details together on my phone app – like having a mini travel agent at my disposal. I possibly could have got slightly cheaper prices booking directly but saving the odd few pounds was not the aim of the exercise for this holiday, keeping it a simple as possible was.
The bus a train tickets were also booked online directly with the various travel companies and all tickets printed before we left. Call me old fashioned but I do like having my tickets and boarding passes printed out. I have stood behind numerous people younger than me frantically scrabbling on their smart phone trying to find their tickets. It makes me smile and not always to myself.
So that was the holiday planned, I on my way. In the next post I’ll share with you my experience of Faro. It was all good, if you want holiday nightmares you’ll be reading the wrong blog.
Have you organised a similar trip or do you like it organised for you?