Katy Holland: Remember those days when getting there was all part of the fun?
Are we there yet? The fun of getting there hasn't completely gone out of fashion.
Sunday 02 May 2010
Ask my kids what their favourite holiday memories are and they'll tell you about the time they went to bed on a "sleeping train" in France. They can't remember much else about the holiday (to be fair, they were only tots at the time) but it just goes to prove the old-fashioned notion that getting there is a big part of the whole adventure.
Which is rather appropriate, considering the recent problems in the skies. It's making us all think again about how we get around, and if, like me, you're tempted to let the train take the strain, the kids will love you for it.
Sleeper trains may not always appear to be the cheapest or most comfortable way to travel – low cost airlines put paid to that – but bear in mind that you're not paying hotel bills, transfers, airport taxes or baggage fees, and it can work out very cost-effective. Especially because there are some good deals around for families at the moment, if you know where to look.
Take the Spanish Trenhotel to destinations including Madrid or Barcelona, for example, and you'll be entitled to a Family Deal, which means a discount of 35 per cent if you book a four-bed tourist class "roomette" (spanish-rail.co.uk). Prices in July and August start at £83.50 per person each way.
For Italian destinations, it's worth checking out the Artesia Stendhal (artesia.eu) overnight sleeper to Venice.
It offers half-price fares for children in couchettes and private sleepers. "Special return" fares from Paris to Venice, which must be booked 45 days in advance start from £86 return per person in a four-berth sleeper.
Sadly, the French Motor Rail sleeper train that my children so fondly remember is no longer running: the TGV is now doing a Paris to Avignon service in less than three hours. But, for those of you who prefer life in the slow lane, it's good to know that the fun of getting there hasn't completely gone out of fashion.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...