All you need to know to survive a family holiday in 2017

But then holidays have always been a bit of an anticlimax for me. Exhibit A: when I was six years old, my brother and I were so excited about going to Spain that we woke up at 4am that day and were jumping on our beds with glee when our dad came in to announce that Rosie, our little sister, had developed whooping cough so we couldn’t travel to Spain and we’d be going to our grandparents’ house in Kent instead. It was, perhaps, the first inkling that life has its challenges. 

A few years after that, Dad and I went off to climb Kilimanjaro but I fainted on the first night in Tanzania, cracked my head on a table in the dining room and had to have two layers of stitches around my left eye to stop it from falling out. 

Then there was the time I failed to make it to the airport for a post-A-level holiday in Greece because my Fiat was broken into and my passport nicked from it the day before I was due to fly. I remained at home in London while my friends snogged boys with tattoos in the fleshpots of Malia. 

All in all, I have a chequered relationship with holidays. You may feel the same. And yet, here we go, getting all excited about them again. The tickets are booked, the boarding passes are printed, your alarm is set for 4.45 tomorrow morning. You’re off! And here are some of the inevitable things that will happen …


After Hannibal’s army crossed the Alps on elephants to take on the Romans, they were presumably quite tired. But they probably weren’t as exhausted as anyone who’s ever been on holiday via a British airport. Discussing exactly which British airport is the worst has become a national sport, but for my money it’d be Stansted. A few weeks ago, I walked through Stansted’s Duty Free area (whoever decided that we should all be forced to walk through Duty Free immediately after queuing for security should be poked in the eye with a giant Toblerone) and there stood a lady with bright pink lipstick handing out free shots of rum at 6.55 in the morning. And I am all for a drink every now and then, but rum before 7am is the thin end of the wedge.

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