Travel Tips

Getting Your Family to the Mountains

Fly and Transfer

Walking to the North pole without any motorised transport.  Climbing Everest without any oxygen.  Swimming across the Atlantic with just a thin coating of chip fat for warmth.  Crawling, using only your lips, from Southern Spain to the eastern-most tip of China, carrying a fridge full of frozen concentrated orange juice cartons on your back, in just a singlet and underpants, whilst being shouted at sarcastically by your boss all the way.

These are all a piece of piss when compared with trying to get a young family to the Alps via Geneva airport for a snowboard holiday during half term.

To use some maths, family happiness = airport to the power of minus 1.  As in, it is the total opposite.  As in, only the most misanthropic twisted mind of a he-devil who hasn’t had any coffee that day could come close to conceiving an experience less pleasant than kids + airport.

Let’s assume that you have somehow managed to get everything you need for a week’s snowboarding into a single vehicle with fewer than 8 wheels.  Unlikely I know, but please go with it.  Let’s also assume that you have managed to get yourself from the car (or taxi) to the airport terminal without anyone being run over by another stressed-out family trying to reverse into a parking space that is too narrow.

When you arrive at the terminal what you then see is thousands of potential Jimmy Savilles, kidnappers, terrorists and richer people in the fast lane who are going to stop you getting to your plane on time.  What your kids see is a massive playground full of shiny things.  And they will also instantly become deaf.

I could write a whole book on this topic, but peak misery in an airport arrives somewhere around the security gate.

I could write a whole book on this topic, but peak misery in an airport arrives somewhere around the security gate.  The kids by this time will be fighting, screaming, frothing at the mouth, undoing all those fabric belt barrier things, be dripping in sweat and bright red, licking the floor and have a full nappy that is about to leave a trail of nuclear waste on the security guard’s shoes.  Old people wearing blazers are shaking their heads at you, and you are trying with all your might not to call them c*nts.

Then you have to take your belt off to get through security, and your “age inappropriate” low slung jeans fall to the floor.  You have to unpack all the electronics, which the kids had forgotten about…but then see…and start crying because you won’t let them play on the iPad.  You want to shout at the top of your voice and smash something to make the pain go away, but then you see your kids disappearing off through the security gate and running away into the arms of a strange man in a shell suit who is most likely flying to an eastern bloc country to sell them as slave babies.  You immediately blame your spouse.  He/she shouts at you.  More shaking of heads, more tutting by old people…and this is all before you have actually got on the plane.

Fucking hell, I hate airports.

And I hate planes.  Or “really shit and cramped flying buses” as I prefer to call them.

My darling children, my sweet, ever so beautiful children also hate planes. I know this, because they have always puked up on me, or spent all flight wailing like rabid banshees or grabbing the ears of the person in front, knocking over my free tomato juice and dropping all their colouring pencils underneath the seat and then crying.

And once you’ve arrived at the other side, cleaned off the puke, changed a fully loaded nappy on the floor at baggage reclaim and somehow managed to stop your children losing an arm in the rotating luggage belt, you have to walk about two miles to get to the transfer bus with your 120kg of baggage, which is being driven by someone who is still drunk and/or is the most boring self-righteous person you have ever met who assumes you know nothing about anything and spends the next 2 hours talking utter gob-shite about mountain life when in reality all they do get pissed all week and do about 1 hour of skiing per day.

So, Fly + Transfer sucks.

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