Travelling is always a good source of material to add to the writing store. Writers collect anecdotes, descriptions of their fellow travellers, more the idiosyncrasies than an actual physical description, and of the experience, though it is all the better if it turns out to be really, really bad than good.
This equally applies to experiences in hotels, with hire cars, tourist spots and especially with fellow travellers.
Start with the airline. This can make or break the start of a holiday and could be the difference between a great start or a horrid one.
We can usually accept the sardine arrangements, the lack of leg room, being within earshot of a screaming baby, or put up with the constant kicking in the back of the seat by the wretched uncontrollable child sitting behind you.
It’s having the person in front fully reclining their seat in your face that gets your goat. For an hour and a half or eight hours, it is still the biggest bone of contention when flying.
We are taking one airline down to Melbourne the one that makes a big deal out of the full service it provides, and another airline back, formerly a low-cost airline but now trying to match its so-called full-service rival.
The flight down is smooth and the food was reasonably good. The landing, even though the pilot was battling sharp crosswinds, was very heavy and left us in no doubt we had reached terra firma again.
I’ve been on worse.
Hire cars are a rich field to pick over and I’ve read about some interesting experiences involving even the best. So far I’ve not had a problem. I pre-booked as far in advance as possible to get a small fuel-efficient vehicle. Sometimes we are upgraded and while they think they are doing you a favour it is not necessarily the case, especially when you finish up with a large car that barely fits small provincial French roads one lane wide. It does happen.
There is also the waiting time at the car rental desk, particularly when it’s the rental company you picked, while other company desks are empty. You also quickly discover that most of the people in the queue didn’t think of pre-booking a car, which to my mind is expecting trouble with it being the peak holiday period.
We had to wait in a long queue after taking a chance it would be less crowded at the pickup point than at the desk in the airport terminal. It was no surprise to discover that a lot of other travellers had the same thought.
We get a small spritely economy car that is clean and has no sign of being in an end-to-end freeway crash. It will do us nicely.
But, there’s always more to the story…