The joys of a ‘copy and paste’ holiday

You may not brag about it, but going back to the same country, town or even hotel is a predictable joy, writes Lucy Thackray

Thursday 21 April 2022 14:15
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<p>For Lucy’s family, a familiar taverna by the sea is adventure enough</p>

For Lucy’s family, a familiar taverna by the sea is adventure enough

Last week, nearly a third of British holidaymakers admitted going back to the same holiday spot year after year.

Some 73 per cent of people in a Norwegian Cruise Lines survey said they had been back to the same hotel, let alone the same country - with four the average number of return visits.

This reflects that, in a world of tallying up country counts and competing for bucket list brags, there is still something comforting, wholesome and familiar about going back to the same place.

In the NCL survey, a third of respondents said they relished the lack of forward planning involved in this kind of “copy and paste” holiday, while more than a quarter said they liked seeing familiar faces.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been back to the same hotel every year, but I’ve certainly been back to the same Greek beach town

I wouldn’t say I’ve been back to the same hotel every year, but I’ve certainly been back to the same Greek beach town - visiting during 10 summers of my thirty-something years, to be exact.

My parents discovered our holiday spot, in Greece’s Peloponnese region, when I was six. Tasked with finding a Mediterranean location that would suit three kids under nine and two grandparents in their seventies, they miraculously struck holiday gold.

We went back to dig for more when I was seven, and eight. And 14, 15 and 16. I took a first boyfriend there at 18. We visited several times more as a family, as I passed 22, 26 and 33.

It was perfect. Two softly-shelving sandy beaches within walking distance of all apartments; just enough development to offer a mini-mart for young parents desperately seeking beach snacks and pharmacies for grandparent reassurance. But low-rise and naturally beautiful enough for the Instagram years.

It remains perfect, in the eyes of our little family, ages nine to 74. We’ve taken my niece twice since she was born, aged two and eight, and she loved roaming the bay on her beloved inflatable turtle as much as she did paddling about in swim nappies. It just works for us. It’s informal enough for toddler chaos and sociable enough for teen siblings. Though becoming slightly more popular over the years, it’s never become built up or overrun with tourists.

Though copying and pasting, we book our trips independently - this area of the Greek coast only really has rental apartments to stay in, and budget airlines fly there during summer. We’ve mixed up our accommodation, from family-friendly blocks with pools and snack bars to special-occasion villas with a sunset view, but once we’re there, the itinerary is always the same.

There are the same six or so restaurants we have to have dinner at; many of them now run by the sons of the chaps who greeted us back in 1993. The former hosts these days move to a comfy table near the kitchen, sipping ouzo or beer while the next generation puts on a show.

We make the taxing choice between the two idyllic coves that sit side by side, and while away the days swimming, sipping iced coffees and reading in the sun. One morning of the week or fortnight, we’ll walk the coast path to the neighbouring village.

The key thing about our copy-and-paste holiday is: we relax as soon as we get there. Minute one. Without any trace of the unexpected to trip us up - How do we get from airport to hotel? What if the restaurants aren’t nice? - it’s sheer serenity from the minute we step out of the plane cabin into a blast of olive-grove-scented heat. Even a mid-pandemic trip in August 2021 didn’t yield any nasty surprises.

I know I’m not alone in craving this predictable, satisfying type of travel experience

Doesn’t it sound like heaven - first time or eleventh? I know I’m not alone in craving this predictable, satisfying type of travel experience - I know for a fact one ex-colleague of mine who has worked decades in the travel industry goes back to the same bay in Crete summer after summer, while another can’t get enough of one particular Balearic island.

This side of the pandemic, opinion seems to be split - half the travel pack has had a fire lit underneath them, shooting off to see all the new countries they briefly worried they’d never get the opportunity to visit. Others are craving the deliciously familiar - that lovely beach, that corner table by the rocks and waves, that comfortable transfer distance or cheery local taxi driver.

But I felt reassured by last week’s statistic, knowing that the “copy and paste” approach is still popular and understood - if not cutting edge or in vogue.

As for where I take my own beloved, so-good-we-went-10-times holidays? Well, I wouldn’t want you to copy me.

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