Have you discovered it yet? That magical elixir that brings unbridled joy to your life? No, not the key to eternal youth, but something that comes a pretty close second. Brace yourself, here’s the secret…
You don’t have to stay in a hotel when you go on holiday. You can stay in someone’s apartment or house and get five times the space for the same money!
OK, so it might not seem like the revelation of the century. But if you’re like me and you’ve piled a family of four into a hotel room that’s little more than a giant shoebox, it’s a life-altering discovery – and here’s why.
In a pokey hotel room, both the adults and the children are forced to share the same space. Big mistake. Why do you think, at home, the grown-ups shut themselves in the kitchen with the wine while the kids have free rein over the rest of the house?
In a pokey hotel room, the whole family has to go to bed at the same time. But isn’t one of the few perks of being a parent the gleeful freedom you enjoy when the kids are finally in dreamland?
In a pokey hotel room, you’re stepping over each other, bumping into one another. I like to think I have a close family, but most of the time I don’t want them that close.
In a holiday apartment or house, however, these issues melt away like the setting Mediterranean sun. When we went to Barcelona recently, for example, instead of booking into a 25m2 hotel room, we rented a four-bedroom, 125m2 apartamento.
That’s a whopping five times the amount of space for the same price as a decent, mid-range hotel room in the city. Oh, and what a space. The terracotta-tiled hallway was so long and wide, my two boys were able to have running races.
And when, after dinner, they were curled up on the giant sofa, watching their favourite DVDs on the enormous plasma TV in the lounge, my wife and I were savouring cocktails in perfect peace at the other end of the apartment, two closed doors away.
Now that’s what I call a break.
But what’s that, you say? No room service? No breakfast included? Well, personally, I’d rather nip out to the nearest supermercado and buy a cheap bottle of vino than pay for exorbitant hotel plonk.
And as for those overdone hotel eggs in the morning? I’d swap those for my sanity any day.
What’s more, it’s not just me that appreciates the extra breathing space. Last year, 25 million Europeans chose to holiday in an apartment or house rather than a hotel room. All booked at the click of a mouse on an ever-growing number of dedicated websites.
And if you don’t even fancy paying for your super-spacious holiday accommodation? You could always swap homes for a week with another family from around the world.
Hmm, maybe next year!