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Florida Guide > Travelling

High emotions going on holiday – you’re not alone!

I don’t know about you, but I plan my holiday and spend the next few months dreaming about my it….sun, swimming, what I could do, what I can buy, what I can afford! I frequently dream of sitting in my spa, with a glass (plastic!) of wine in my hand after an afternoon shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets.

However, the reality is that up to 40% of holiday makers cannot totally switch off from work, wondering what’s being decided whilst their away. I have to say that as I teach I at least know the whole school is closed during my time away and that my colleagues are away from school on holiday as well!

With great anticipation the holiday is looming closer. A few days out its packing time – and I must admit I find this stressful. I go to each room and start piling the bed with clothes – far too many. I make decisions on what should be taken - often to find the family saying ‘I haven’t packed the right things’. I then spend ages getting the cases out of the loft, start packing with shoes around the edges, heavy and items which don’t crease as much at the bottom. Finally I make sure everyone has nightwear and a swimming costume on the top so when we arrive late in the evening in Florida, (and I may not want to unpack), we don’t have to struggle through the case to get out ‘essentials’. (Well, these are essential to my young daughters!)

However, I think I’m doing this all wrong! I read that the ‘experts’ tell me I should be getting everyone in the family to take responsibility for their own clothes. I half tried this on our last visit. I say ‘half’ because I ‘half failed’….or should that be ‘half succeeded’? My daughters got out most of their summer wardrobe – too much and there were long, heated negotiations to reduce the pile to fit in the suitcases and my husband ….. he promptly forgot his underwear! The only positive of this was it meant he had to come shopping and of course, I needed to spend time browsing and purchasing on the first day of our holiday! Nevertheless I’m still trying to decide whether this was, as predicted by the experts, a less stressful method…

My next task is hand baggage. My 10 year old has a bed full of cuddly toys. She’s very good at organising these when the beds are changed but not so good when we go away. We’ve now got it down to three: Waddle the Penguin, Rhubarb a tiny dog which my older daughter brought her back from her ski trip and then there’s Eeyore…. he is two feet long and must come with us!

The morning arrives and we’re like headless chickens trying to get the cases into the taxi. I loose count of the times we say ‘Have you got the tickets, money and passport?’ We finally pull away from the house and someone says ‘Did you lock the back door?’ You know you have but now you’ve got doubt in your mind….’did you?’ Thank goodness for mobile phones – we ring a parent and they reassure us ‘Don’t worry. We’ll go round and check,” knowing full well we will have locked the door!

We talk to the driver who asks where we’re going. The girls chatter about what they want to do on their holidays and before too long we’re pulling off the M23 for Gatwick. Arriving at the terminal we patiently wait for a drop-off parking space and get out our luggage. Top tip! Count how many bags you have in total, including hand luggage so you can check later! We load them onto trolleys that hubby has just walked miles to get and off to the terminal and check-in desk we go. Patiently we wait in line. The building is heaving with so many people travelling. I look around to see how they are dressed and try guessing where they are heading for…. Well it passes the time as you wait to lift your bags on the scales at the check-in desk ready to answer the many questions. “Did you pack the bags yourself?” I often feel like saying “Yes, with a great deal of thought, effort, stress, negotiation and tact!” But you don’t. You reply with a simple ‘Yes’.

A new count of how many bags we are left with now the hold baggage has gone and we’re move towards security and go airside. Now, am I the only one with children who seem to want to spend all their holiday money here, before we’ve even left the country? Oldest daughter visits ‘Next’. “I must have that bag mum.” Youngest daughter “I must have these magazines”. Gosh the marketers sure know how to capture my daughters in this very limited space! Using all my parental skills we manage to persuade them to save their money so they can spend it whilst they’re in Florida, where they might find something different to what we have in England – and cheaper!

We head towards Garfunkels for breakfast to ensure my oldest daughter has something to eat as she isn’t at all keen on aircraft food, and well, it passes the time and stops the girls wandering off for yet more retail therapy. Finally we hear the call for our flight. “Whose bag is that?” hubby asks as we start to walk off. “Mine”, says the oldest daughter. “Oops, I nearly left it behind” she giggles.

We walk down to the gate. Another short wait, hand over our boarding cards and walk towards the aircraft door. “Everyone! How many bags have we got?” “Yes, we’ve got the right number this time.” A smile to the steward and stewardess at the door and we struggle down the narrow aisle with our dreaded hand luggage, thankfully finding an empty locker waiting to take it all.

With the necessary items taken out of the bags – usually only 10% is needed!! We sit in our seats. Relief sweeps over me. We’re all here in one piece and only 10 hours away from arriving at our house. We push back, slowly taxiing out to the runway looking at the other aircraft waiting their turn. The bell goes ‘bing’, ‘bing’, ‘bing’ and we move, the huge aircraft turns and then we’re away, roaring down the runway. Anxiety, followed by relief turns to excitement. I’m on my way! Look out Florida – here we come!!

Sounds familiar? Have a fantastic holiday in the Sunshine State!

Author: Denise and Nigel Taylor (Villa link: click here)
Other articles by this author: click here

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Page added on: 4 September 2006
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