The type and form of transport and accommodation of any holiday depends very much on where and for how long one will be on holiday.

If, like us, prefer to spend no more than a few days at any one location, you will not only have to arrange transport to your initial destination but also for travelling between locations.  Travelling within your home country will usually mean that you will use your car or public transport with which you are reasonably familiar. Should you not actually know much about it, it is not too difficult to get the information. If your trip is abroad it can be quite different.

As I mentioned in an article on our 2006 trip, we learnt a very valuable piece of information; it is best to make as many bookings as possible from your home country. This has at least 2 advantages:

1.  You know that you have bookings for a particular train or plane and so won’t be disappointed during your holiday. NB Keep all tickets or proof of bookings in a safe place and do remember to pack them, preferably in waterproof packaging.

2.  Generally, making bookings in advance are cheaper than doing so at the station or airport. Many bookings can be made on the internet but ensure that you use a secure site. If you are not sure if the site is secure, check if it has a padlock in the top right hand corner. Cant’t find it? Do what we as Senior Citizens can do, ask the grandchildren about the internet.

To keep the articles to a readable length I will divide them into sections starting with taking a trip close to home. As we often say in South Africa, “Local is lekker”. (For those who don’t understand Afrikaans, ‘lekker’ means ‘great’.)  It is so helpful and interesting to get to know your own ‘backyard’. A big advantage, besides your own education and appreciation, you are able to speak to others about your country so much more plausibly and with a genuine invitational approach.

Local holidays

If you are not travelling very far, bookings can usually be made via e-mail or telephone, directly with the provider of accommodation or their agent or with the Timeshare Club of which you might be a member. Before you even think of making a booking, decide on why you are going. Do you need total rest and not do any cooking or do you want to be active and/or self-cater?

When making a booking, as I have said in other articles, glean as much information about the venue as possible. Is it really what meets your needs? Are the facilities and activities on offer of interest to you? Are you wanting a few days rest or walks on the beach? Do you know anyone who has been to the same destination? Every place has its own unique offerings and your holiday, whether a few days or a few weeks, can be made or ruined on what you find when you get there, so avoid surprises as far as possible.

The next thing to consider is how you will get there and if you have to book any form of transport in advance – train,coach or hire car for example. If you are using your own car and going to a remote area, will they have fuel facilities and even possible repair opportunities available?

It may seem as if all this preparation is very exhausting but I am writing from experience, having been ‘caught out’ a couple of times. For example, there was a time-share to which we went where we were very disappointed to find that it was not sea-facing as shown in all the brochures and to get to and from the unit we had to negotiate 19 steps up & 19 down –  a total of 38 steps each time! That was acceptable when just going for a walk or similar, but not much fun when getting luggage and groceries from the car to the unit and back again. And we were so fortunate that it did not rain and so the steps did not become slippery.

Another thing to consider is the distance to your destination. I have learnt that as we have aged spending too much time on the road is really exhausting. If the holiday venue is more than a 5-6 hour drive, it is worth every penny in stopping over for a good night’s rest. It also means that you can leave home that much later and enjoy the journey. Make it part of the holiday.

Next we will look at bookings for trips abroad.