I haven’t always been such a luxury traveller…back in my teenage years and early twenties, holidays were decidedly different…
Back then, a hotel was a place to lay your head and a holiday was all about drinking, partying and sleeping until 2pm in the afternoon. There are many things from those days that I would never do again (just too many…) but my mum, dad and Mr Silver all read my blog so I’ll keep this post as PG as possible! Instead I want to look at the various aspects of travel and what I used to do then and the lessons it taught me for the future.
Corfu, Ibizia (twice), Cos and Amsterdam were some of the destinations of choice for these trips. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m well aware that these are beautiful destinations…just not the parts that we went to!
Places like Kavos in Corfu and San Antonio in Ibiza are just the ultimate in tat. You walk down the main street and you are surrounded by dive bars, horrendous night clubs and restaurants with pictures of plastic looking food on the menu.
Kids on a summer job on hols from university try and drag you into their bar with offer of two for one cocktails, fishbowls of booze and amazing tunes….
All the other holiday-makers are drunk…girls dressed in tight dresses with bad strap marks, boys in loud shirts or t-shirts with the slogan ‘What happens in Kavos, stays in Kavos…’ Embarrassingly most of these people are British.
|Oh, the t-shirts…|
The place smells of vomit, stale beer and crap food.
But I was 18 when I went to Kavos, just after my A-levels, it was my first holiday without my parents and I thought it was brilliant!! But never, would I ever stay in one of those areas again…
1. Corfu and Ibizia are beautiful islands, but stay away from Brits abroad destinations, at your peril!
2. Always wear sun cream…
On my blog now you’ll see me staying in Thai villa, an English Country House, or a luxurious city hotel… back then there was just one requirement…it was close to the bars and night clubs.
All those years ago we’d research the destination using tools such a Ceefax and when I say research, what I really mean is find the cheapest deal. The hotel that we’d usually stay in was really just a room to lay our head and a place to drink cheap wine before dinner.
|Do you recognise me at 19 years old?|
The hotel that we stayed in Kavos wasn’t too bad but our room was up about six flights of stairs and I hadn’t exactly packed light; there was no porter to help poor princess in this situation. We had no azure blue infinity lagoon, instead a rather scum filled pool surrounded by mismatched plastic loungers.
When I was 21 and had just finished university, I booked trip to Cos from a deal on Ceefax. We had four girls in a room that was big enough for two people. It was fine as we were out for most of the day but getting ready to go out was a nightmare…you’re talking four girls all trying to dry their hair and straighten it…in a tiny room with no air conditioning.
When we returned from our night out we’d crash in our basic room on our thin pillows under our rough sheets until we woke up the next day to do it all again.
Of course I was very drunk and thought it was all brilliant!! But never, would I ever stay in one of those hotels again.
Lesson learnt: Never, never ever stay in a hot country in a room with no air conditioning.
3. Food and Drink
Now I’m a full-fledged adult, one of my favourite things about travelling to foreign countries is experiencing the culture through the food. I loved trying beautiful pastas in Italy, local produce in South Africa and exquisite feasts in Thailand.
On my teenage holidays there was only really one thing that was important…it was cheap. Before our night out boozing we’d find a restaurant nearish the hotel, the menu and windows would display pictures of the food that you could enjoy once inside. It all looked vile but pictures of plastic cheese, pasta and greasy fry ups didn’t deter us…if they made a spaghetti bolognese for £4, we would be in like a shot.
Don’t get me wrong we sometimes went for the ‘authentic’ experience and I definitely had my fair share of paella and jugs of sangria whilst in Ibiza but we generally stuck to things we’d normally have at home.
Drinks were as bad as the food, some fit looking PR boy would lure us into the bar with the promise of two for one cocktails, which were of course vile. Some places served huge fishbowls of hideous blue cocktail, and five of us would stick a straw in and slurp it up until it was all gone.
The year we stayed in Kos we stayed on an all-inclusive basis. Vast buffets of food were served for lunch and dinner including pizza, lasagne, chips, burgers…nothing freshly made, and nothing, well Greek…The lunch buffet looked suspiciously identical to the dinner buffet and I wondered whether it was refreshed between times. If you’re familiar with the types of drinks served at these type of all-inclusives you’ll know there is generally the option of a very bad house white or red, a very sweet and disgusting ‘house cocktail’ usually sex on the beach or some other classic concoction and then some weird local beer.
Of course I drunk too many of these bad cocktails to care what the food was like and I thought it was all brilliant!! But never, would I ever eat that kind of food again…
Lesson learnt: Do research, buy guidebooks, get recommendations and read trip adviser reviews, nowadays bad food would ruin a holiday for me.
When I visit a country I’m always very keen to see sites on of significance. This might be incredible natural occurrences such as Ayers Rock, historically important places like Robben Island or sites of religious significance such as the Blue Mosque. When I was younger there was no attempt to see Greece or Spain, we’d get up late and sit by the pool until it was time to go out. No attempt was made to see the fortresses and palaces in Corfu, the archaeological sites in Kos or explore the beaches of Ibiza. Clubbing was absolutely number one on the agenda.
For me this is probably the saddest thing about these type of holidays. You’re not really travelling anywhere, as you’re doing stuff you could do at home surrounded by Brits, the only difference is the weather’s better. One of the worst is when I’ve seen people just sitting in pubs and bars watching British TV…seriously, what’s the point of leaving home.
But of course, at the time it was how I wanted to spend my holiday, and after months of exam revision, sitting by the pool and doing nothing was brilliant! But never would I ever ignore the local points of interest.
Lessons learnt: Check out the website of the local tourist board and find out what there is to do and see. I know ‘real’ travellers frown upon it but personally I like seeing sights of interest to tourists. It’s interesting for a reason!
5. The Flights
I’m now a loyal Executive club member and I try and fly with BA whenever possible, including on a occasion flying first class. However, as a teenager the holidays I often went on were organised by tour operators and the flights were charter flights. Fortunately, I’m not scared of flying so I wasn’t too bothered about having to travel with airlines I’d never heard of such as Peach air…
However, there was a certain budget airline that we flew with most frequently. Now I don’t have a problem with the airline in itself, but it was the flight time that was the issue. Of course, the flight there was usually around 6am, from London but that was ok cos it would give us a full day when we got there. The problem was going back, the flight was usually around 1am, so we had to check out of the hotel and usually sit in the foyer for hours on end with our stuff until it was time to head to the airport. We’d arrive back in London at around 6am feeling dreadful and our parents would pick us up from the airport asking lots of questions while we nodded our heads blankly… eyes dry and heads in great pain.
It was this part of my teenage holidays that I truly hated and never would I ever do it again.
Lesson learnt: Book your flight yourself, and get the time you want!
Above anything else, I learned to never be a traveller that’s actually just standing still; embrace the culture, live and breath the place and don’t just sit in a bar watching Eastenders…
This post is part of the travel link up with Emma, Kelly, Rebecca and their guest host Shikha and the topic is ‘Things You’d Never Do Again.’ As bloggers, we try to present the best photos and create perfectly curated travel memories but naughty drunken antics of the past still haunt my memories (in a good way) and it’s been really fun to look back on these holidays.
I’d love to hear the things you’d never do again, no real rules just keep it relevant, share the bloggy love and add your post to the link up widget on of the host blogs.