When you work in the travel business, people imagine that you get blasé. Another trip to paradise? Yeah, whatever.
Maybe that can happen, but from where I’m sitting there is absolutely no sign of it yet. In fact, the day I no longer feel as giddy as a schoolgirl when I lock up the house and set off somewhere new, that’s the day when I put away my passport and change jobs.
I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy many memorable trips and I hope to enjoy many more. Picking a favourite would be impossible, but it’s got me thinking about what actually makes a great holiday. And I reckon it’s all down to three things: the right people, the right time and the right place.
The right people could be your travelling companions or new friends you make on the journey. But they also have to be behaving
in the right way. You could be setting sail to somewhere wonderful with your nearest and dearest at your side, but if your stroppy teenager has decided the whole plan is lame, you haven’t a hope (though as long as you’ve got the time and place right, you should be OK).
As for the right time, that could be the season with the best weather, or the right time for you personally because you need to recharge your batteries, or because you’re marking a great life event like a wedding or a retirement, or simply because you love the idea of turning your back on the UK in January.
Of all my three conditions, the most important must be the right place. So how to choose? Take the bucket-list approach and you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. But decide what you want from your holiday, then keep an open mind about where you might ﬁ nd it, and you can make some wonderful discoveries.
The elements you’re looking for might be sunshine, culture, scenery, beaches, history, cosmopolitan cities, great food and wine, shopping, variety or quirkiness. Whatever ﬂoats your boat, write it down like a shopping list. Above that, add a row of possible destinations, and hey presto you have created your very own holiday-choosing tick chart.
Chances are, you’ll ﬁ nd that most destinations tick some of your boxes but only one ticks them all: the Mediterranean.
We are so fortunate in this country to have such an amazing place on our doorstep. What more could we possibly ask for? Well, how about a magical conveyance that delivers us daily to a new place where we can fulﬁ l another of our holiday dreams, or even discover a new one? What might such a conveyance be? No, not a magic carpet, but a fabulous cruise ship.
And choosing a Mediterranean cruise is just step one. Such is the choice of sailings that you can put a double tick in all your boxes by choosing exactly the right ship, full of all the right people and sailing at just the right time.
That’s why the latest ﬁgures from the Cruise Lines International Association show that an amazing 36 per cent of UK cruisers select the Mediterranean as their destination of choice. And I must admit, I’m with them all the way.