Jenny Coyle is in the anti-camping camp…
I’ve got one fundamental belief about holidays – the experience should be superior to that available whilst ‘staycationing’ at home. For that reason, I don’t partake in medieval reenactments, voluntarily use chemical toilets or ever try to cook dinner over a naked flame in a soggy field. I’d rather stay at home than anywhere rated less than amazeballs on Trip Advisor. I see no earthly reason to pay good money on polyester-sheets and pine-tastic furniture, even to stay in a scenic spot. Someone sort it out and get a boutique hotel going, pah-lease.
I confess, I’m a holiday snob. I’m picky as all hell when it comes to voluntarily leaving my natural habitat of city streets, and orange-tinted night skies. Ye olde thatched cottage at the end of ye leafy lane: screams ‘unspoilt rural utopia’ to some, and ‘here could be murderers, they’ll never hear us scream, with crappy wifi and no-where to get a flat white…’ to me.
I know, I know. It’s not big and it’s not clever to break out the rictus grin when good friends (actually, not that good friends, or they’d know better) suggest celebrating a major life milestone with a weekend of camping. “Talk me through this,” I say. “So, this big old birthday, featuring a number ending in a zero, and we’re going to mark it by making like we don’t have permanent roofs over our heads, indoor plumbing and some high thread count sheets? Can I send a jerobaum of prosecco instead?” Walking holidays, weekend walks, hill walks, bloody country walks… I don’t have the footwear, inclination or faintest shred of interest. The last time I attempted a bracing long-distance stroll, I called a cab at the halfway point – what, we have to walk back again?
Problem is, there’s only so many European city breaks in posh hotels before you run out of cities (and money). Here’s where I bow down to the greatness that is Air BnB and all the other lovely home-rental sites out there. The perfect solution to my family’s desire for a holiday that runs past a weekend, and my desire to slink around some new shops, galleries and cafes. On a recent trip, I dutifully asked the host for recommendations for places to go out of town. How very happy I was when she curled her Gallic lip at me and shrugged. ‘For me, there is only the city.’ Now, that’s my kind of holiday.
Follow Jenny on Twitter at @MissMitford