Planes are for Business, Cars for Pleasure

To my mind, the best way to travel for a family holiday is by car. The car journey is an essential part of the holiday for us.

Plane travel is for work. In our house, between the two of us in the past couple of weeks, work related plane travel has meant Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Sydney, Melbourne, Dubai, Rome, London, New York, Washington DC, Skopje, and the calendar ahead looks very much the same.

Plane travel means packing lean — things that fit into small rolling cases. Nothing extraneous, nothing bulky, everything mini and thin. All reading material is electronic, be it board papers or ebooks.

Plane travel is also solitary. Commuting alone in crowded places, speaking to seat mates as little as possible, getting as much work done on the plane as we can.

Plane travel means moving fast, racing from place to place. Keeping timing tight, catching connections quickly, staying a minimum amount of time so we can get back home. Even in a video enabled world, some things can only be done face-to-face, be it board meetings or peace negotiations.

All that changes with car travel — it is the exact opposite.

Car journeys signal a holiday.

We pack BIG. And unapologetically bulky.

Duffle bags that don’t have wheels, full of clothes we’ll mostly never use. Food we’ll gobble along the way. Oh, and liquids. LOTS of liquids. In large containers. And paperback and hardcover books. Awkwardly shaped gifts for our friends, scooters, bikes, laptops, tablets, chargers, extension cords, toys, essentially everything but the kitchen sink.

Our car holidays include ferry journeys, long and short. Last summer we drove and floated from England to Sardinia and then back up through Europe to Germany, and back home to England.

In the car we listen to music, catch up on stories of things that happened since out last car journey, we take turns sleeping (a lot) and driving, and most of all we enjoy the enforced closeness.

Travelling by plane is great – it gets you where you need to go, when you need to be there, and of course for far flung holidays there is no other way. But plane travel is about the destination. For us, car travel is about the journey. Business trips are a blur, but I can remember every car journey we’ve ever taken as a family.


25 June 2013

Planes are for Business, Cars for Pleasure

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