08 May

Rain, rain go to Spain

A friend of mine has just come back from a week in France.

She had a great time, eating yummy food, meeting charming people and rediscovering her inner child in Disneyland Paris. However there was one fly in her holiday ointment – it bucketed down every day. Not light drizzle, but proper, tropical style downpours, just not as warm. It got me thinking about the number of holidays I’ve had where the weather could have ruined a holiday or at least made it less enjoyable.

Now for starters, I’m going to concentrate on overseas holidays. It would be a bit unfair to go on about childhood trips to Southend making mud pies in the rain thanks to our very interesting, but incredibly unpredictable “four seasons in one day” climate. No, let’s talk overseas, because it’s fair to say one of the main reasons we go overseas is we generally have a much better idea of what the weather is going to do.

There may be a very good reason why prices are lower in destinations at certain times of the year...

I’ll start with France in April three years ago. After three lovely, if cloudy, days in Provence we visited the Camargue, an incredibly beautiful marshland famous for its wild white horses and pink flamingos. Unfortunately, the day we went I’m sure they were all hiding from the rain, though I did see a couple of pink splodges in the distance. Next day to Arles where Van Gogh chopped his ear off. A beautiful town but probably the wettest I have ever been outside of taking a bath. To add insult to injury when I got back to ABTA, my colleagues delighted in telling me  was that there had been a heatwave in the UK whilst I was away. This of course stopped the day I got back.

Next, an impromptu trip to Krakow in Poland which coincided with the coldest weather Eastern Europe had seen in 50 years. At night the main square was bewitchingly beautiful as the snow fell -and totally empty. This was not too big a surprise as it was -44 degrees and I lost all feeling in my hands after 10 minutes. I was wearing ski gloves!

Seville in August on my first holiday without my parents and with my first “proper” girlfriend. We had a great time travelling around the Costa del Sol and in our third week went to the home of Flamenco. Getting off the bus was like walking into an oven. It was 48C and our no-star pension had no air conditioning. It was not nice.

I’ve got to stress that on the whole I had a great time on all three holidays and some fabulous memories, but it does raise the importance of doing a bit of research about the climate of the country you’re travelling to at the time of year you’re thinking of going and we’ve got a great tool to help you here. There may be a very good reason why prices are lower in destinations at certain times of the year and if you are going in early spring or late autumn the weather can be less reliable, so pick a destination where you have indoor options to keep you entertained.  If it is going to be very hot make sure your hotel has air conditioning and lastly, don’t be like a customer who recently asked one of our members for all of their money back because a barbeque they’d been promised had to be cancelled due to a storm. We can control a lot of things, but the weather is unfortunately not one of them.