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A Dad’s Guide to Booking a Holiday

Haven’t booked a holiday yet? Better get your skates on.
 

People who’ve been stormed-in for four months are mopping up anything that will get them off this rock for a fortnight in July. Here’s a quick guide to help you plan a rocking holiday.

The flights cost what?

The costs of sunshine flights this year are through the roof. Apparently the recession is over and everyone has gone out and booked three holidays. There are three ways to combat the rising prices. The first if to wait for Aer Lingus or Ryanair to have a one-day flash sale. These are great if you want to fly to Dusseldorf on a Monday night in late April. (You so don’t.) The second is to check the airline websites four times a day to see if that flight to Barcelona has come down. The main problem there is a sense that the airline is tracking your every move and knows you’re desperate. Sometimes it can feel like Michael O’Leary is lurking outside your house, listening in on your conversations. (We can’t rule that out. Maybe use hand-signals when discussing holiday plans with your partner, just to be on the safe side.) The final path to cheaper flights is to fly through the U.K. Because nothing says ‘I’m on holidays’ more than nine hours in Luton Airport with three kids under seven. Don’t even think about it.

Where in the World?

Two words for anyone considering a holiday in Ireland. Last Summer. At least you saved a fortune on sun-cream for the kids. Now you need some time abroad. The two weeks in a French campsite is risky this year. The main problem is the Euro soccer finals in June. Two weeks in France will cost almost as much as a fruit juice at Disneyland Paris. (A small one.) Even if you do splash out for France in June (look at you, all loaded), there is every chance the mobile home next to yours will be host to three English fans from Burnley. Very nice lads, but there is no upside to someone singing You Fat Bastard at three in the morning. (Particularly if you’ve recently given birth and feel a bit touchy about your weight. It’s your husband I feel sorry for, getting up out of bed to tell the Burnley crew to keep it down. And arriving back four hours later because the lads needed someone to help drink their cans of Stella.) The eastern Med is pretty much off limits because of the threat of terrorism. The States is expensive because the dollar is strong and anyway Donal Trump probably won’t let you in. So it might be time to look at flights for Spain and Italy. Just don’t tell Michael O’Leary.

Apartment or Mobile Home?

It’s ridiculous to say you can’t swing a cat in a mobile home. The truth is you can’t swing a cat anywhere. They just won’t let you. Still, for all the turning sideways involved in getting into the jacks, the mobile home has a lot going for it. The best being that you can sit out on the deck and judge your neighbours for poisoning their kids. (That couple from Kildare are feeding their kids pizza again, Joe. We’re so much better than them.) The paper thin walls are also a huge advantage. Nothing beats the sound of someone else’s kids crying. It could be you. But it isn’t. Sweet. The only drawback is when you end up next to a German couple who have the best sex life in Europe and don’t mind who knows it. All that ‘Oh Mein Gott Ja’ at two in the morning can make you feel bad about your twice a month. (Maybe twice a week on holidays, cheap wine is good that way.)

Car Hire

Here’s a sentence you’ll never hear from Irish Dad. “Let’s just get a taxi from the airport, I have no problem with being driven around by another man.” You see, Irish Dad isn’t allowed to make many important decisions in life. But he still retains the right to get lost in a foreign country. So he insists on hiring a car to make the 10-minute drive from the airport to an all-in resort which you never have to leave. (That’s actually a three-hour drive once Irish Dad gets his hands on it. Only a fool would use their phone satnav in a foreign country, says he, missing the turn off the motorway for the third time.) Irish Dad gets a cheap thrill out of looking for a good deal on car hire. Particularly when he spots that one car hire firm at Milan airport is far cheaper than the other ones. Irish Dad is not the type of man to be put off by the fact that the cheap car hire outfit is called Dodgy Luigi Cars. Or that the 87,000 people went onto TripAdvisor to say the guy behind the desk at the airport was called Fat Tony and the whole thing was a cover for the local mafia. Irish Dad says he knows how to deal with these people. That’s why he has a 7 grand charge on his credit card for a small scratch in the glove compartment. Irish Dad is happy to pay this charge.

You would be too, if you saw Fat Tony. 

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About the Author

Pat Fitzpatrick lives in Cork city with his wife and two small kids. He gave up a decent job in I.T. in 2008 to head for the lucrative world of writing. So don't hire him as a life coach, investment advisor or anything to do with your career. His Sunday Independent newspaper columns have been entertaining Irish people through some tough times. Pat is a regular on the on the RTE Today show with Maura Derrane and Daithí O’Sé and pops up frequently on radio shows such as the Right Hook. All of this is a bit too much like hard work, so he has started writing novels which will hopefully fund an early retirement to a hammock in the back garden. His first novel, Keep Away from those Ferraris, is available online and in shops outlined here http://www.patfitzpatrick.ie/novels/. Pat’s kids are both under two, so if you don’t mind, he is now going for a quick lie down.

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