Writing from the back of a bumpy campervan driving down the Autobahn in Germany on our way to France, the outlook is not looking good. It’s raining, the parents are complaining about the clothes I’ve strewn about in an attempt to find my sunglasses and we’re heading to a blimp museum. I know what you’re thinking – what are these perks you’re on about? Well as it turns out, blimp museums are actually pretty interesting, once you figure out how to use the overcomplicated audio guide. The fact is, that if I had been on holiday with my friends, the likelihood of us visiting a blimp exhibition, let alone anything remotely educational is about as likely as avoiding an STI in Zante.
Holidays with friends inevitably involve nights filled with shots, embarrassing antics and the photos to prove it; followed by mornings lying on a beach wondering why the sun has to be so bright when you have such a bad hangover. A family holiday could not be more different. Cocktails are substituted by cups of tea and attempting to do the shuffle on a dangerously overcrowded dance floor is replaced by playing card games and reminiscing about that family reunion last Christmas. Sounds mundane? Quite the opposite. After spending months away barely finding ten minutes to ring home and catch up, it’s actually been pretty nice spending some quality time with the family.
Another definite upside is the money side of things. To fund a holiday away with your mates, a serious chunk of change has got to be torn out of your student loan. A couple of hundred at least for the essentials – the hotel, flights, new swimwear. Then of course there’s spending money to think about. Wouldn’t you be disappointed if you returned home minus a straw donkey and a novelty hat that says ‘kiss me quick’ on the brim? On the flipside, the parents are willing to pay my way a little bit to educate me and give me the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t normally be able to do on my own (non-existent) income, such as climbing up all million and a half steps of the Eiffel Tower or taking a peek at the Mona Lisa.
I can definitely see the advantages of these chalk-and-cheese holidays. A crazy adventure in the sun with friends guarantees you a brilliant time and a holiday you’re never going to forget, depending on how much cheap vodka you drink. But don’t write off the idea of a family holiday. Even if the thought of spending more than 24 hours with your family gives you a headache worse than a Sangria hangover.