My family are right on-trend with our plan to stay home for the summer holidays. As we drove back from France yesterday – which is not as glamorous as it sounds since it’s less than a two-hour drive and the campsite was one kilometre over the border – German radio was full of top tips on how to enjoy holidays at home. Callers mooted things like having breakfast in your pyjamas, having coffee in bed and not worrying about hotel hygiene as reasons why they enjoy staying at home. Having never given hotel hygiene a moment’s thought, I loved the last one. It’s so German.
After two nights’ camping, I can report that I like staying at home because when you turn a tap, water comes out of it. I also like not having to walk through a damp forest to go to the loo in the middle of the night. And I like not meeting strange men coming out of the co-ed ablutions and wondering if I am going to get the toilet they just used. The campsite was budget-friendly though (€20 a night for a caravan that sleeps four, kitchen equipment, linen for one double bed, a barbeque, gas and a tent pitch) and pretty, and at some point in the holidays, when I get over the water/loo thing, we’ll go back.
The two main reasons mooted for people to holiday at home, or in Germany rather than in another country, are finances and the threat of swine flu. However, Thomas Cook’s new offer for Germans to reserve loungers in advance might be enough to get the population onto budget flights to Turkey. According to yesterday’s Independent, for the first time in a generation more Britons are holidaying in the UK this year than abroad (probably to avoid the Germans and their deckchairs). Marketers have leapt onto the Holiday At Home concept, and sales of picnic accessories and barbeques are soaring.
With my kids on holiday from Thursday this week until mid-September, I’m compiling a list of cool things to do at home. Here it is so far:
* Ride bikes
* Learn to cook something new
* Eat lunch at the river
* Eat lunch in the garden
* Keep diaries
* Go to the library
* Go to the pool
* Hire DVDs from the library or borrow from friends and have movie nights
* Cut up old magazines and make a collage
* Have friends for a sleep-over
* Go for a walk in the forest
* Read in the hammock
* Learn to ride the unicycle
* Bake cakes and invite friends round for a tea-party
* Collect and press leaves
* Go roller-blading
* Camping in the garden
* Pour Mummy a stiff gin and tonic and take it to her in the hammock
Any ideas warmly welcomed.