Monday 5 December 2011

In which I make a holy show of myself in Debenhams

Yesterday the family von auntiegwen had to go into town. Now, en masse this is not such a good idea, if we go in two's it seems to work better and we have a remote chance of getting done what we set out to do. So, I get The Beautiful Son (because no one else will have him) and off we go. This is our list

Christmas jumper - Jack
Chino's 30 waist 34 leg (hard to get, it appears every man in Leicester is short) - Jack
New shoes - clown size - Jack
John Bishop DVD - Lucy
Flat boots - me

We whizz round in record time, that is the joy of shopping with a boy, he will accept any clothes that fit him in the first shop you find. Whilst we are in Debenhams I see a Virgin travel agency so I think while we are waiting for the others we will go and get a quote for our Easter trip to Florida. I haven't used a travel agent since 1998, I source flights and accomodation myself but I think I'll just get a quote, they may be able to get me a better deal.

Whilst we are waiting I ask TBS what he thinks it will cost for us to go, at the moment there are 3 adults, 2 teens and a child so if you want to come with us, let me know quick before I get booked. TBS reckons it will cost £2,500, I so wished he would be right, I didn't laugh outright then, it's unkind to crush a young man's dreams.

The nice Virgin lady takes all the details, I have my dates, I know how many people, I am so careful that we will be back for April 15th when BBD gets to see McFly, not only does she get to the concert she gets to meet them too, this is thrillingly exciting for her, a bit problematic re dates for me, and a real ball ache for her brother who thinks we should just book whenever we please, after all he had to miss MGMT because it clashed with a flight.

The nice Virgin lady tells me they have no villas left for rent, no 3, 4 or 5 bed villas. I ask for a quote for flights.

She can't get me back on an economy flight, TBS tells her not to worry, just book premium economy, it's only money says he, he's quite enamoured of the free champagne and the food served on real plates, I tell her to change the dates. As his paper round won't even cover the airport parking.

So, I get a quote for 6 flights, going for 11 days instead of 14. Guess how much?

Scroll down, get a bit of anticipation going


again £7937

for economy flights. No villa, no car, just flights.

I did actually laugh, for quite a long time and my pelvic floor's not what it was (apologies for the TMI)

The nice Virgin lady explains that it's because they have sold the first allocation of seats, so they charge more for the next ones. In the brochure, they give you a guide price of £575 per villa per week, £969 fly drive per adult, £799 per child and £899 per teen, total cost £6654 which is still a huge amount for a holiday. Now when it says that in the brochure I think give or take a few hundred that's what it should cost, I'd be mighty miffed if I was buying a skirt in Marks and Spencer and it said £40 on the price ticket and when I got to the check out they said "oh it's gone up to £100 as that's the second batch we've ordered as it's so popular"

And also it's because I am going in peak season school holidays, that old favourite, get me taking kids to Disneyland in the school holidays, what a weirdo.

She advised me to go and try Virgin Atlantic directly as it'd be cheaper.

So I'm in a travel agents and they advise me to do it myself, marvellous.

PS - I found (on t'internets, all by my very own self) the flights she couldn't get me back on so the full 14 days, an executive (ooh get us, how very posh) 4 bed villa with private pool and games room, a 7 seater people carrier plus insurance and the grand total was £6930, a grand cheaper than I was quoted just for flights.

I can't think why travel agents are having such a hard time, can you?

PPS - I have refrained from tweeting #PRrequest about this (apparently bloggers can actually ask for stuff to review, although how I'd get it back to them would be the tricky part) but if any travel company would like the considered opinions of my good self and the beautiful children, please get in touch soonest, I will blog all the live long day about this trip, and I'd only be too happy, nae delighticated to tell the lovely readers about your kindest of kind offers.


Nota Bene said...

Return for McFly? You're kidding me! And you want to introduce your BBD to popstars? I can see next year's blogs. Nothing but sex, drugs and rock and roll.

auntiegwen said...

NB - oh come on, it's McFly

AGuidingLife said...

A caravan in Skeggy never did any harm. Send the kids there and just the adults go to Disney, the pounds will drop off )

auntiegwen said...

S - I kinda think Disney's for children, even humungous and mahoosive ones like mine and I hope never to go to Skeggy again, the drivers there don't like me

Mac n' Janet said...

We live in Georgia, next state up from Florida, and I think they're overcharging you on the house and car, doesn't cost near that much if you book here.

auntiegwen said...

janet - I know but if I book the car and the villa independently they charge the earth for flights, it seems to be cheaper if I book it as a package

Andy said...

How do you know the nice lady was a virgin?

Am I missing the point?

Trish said...

My lad is also a 30/34. We eventually got him kitted out in TK Maxx yesterday: both son and purse were very happy.

Good luck with the PR shout: pass any extra offers my way.

If you're my way next week and you have any spare time we could always meet up if that's not too scary a thought?

auntiegwen said...

Andy - she had a badge on that told me so

Trish - Zara men are good for that size too but maybe not so economical, definitely love to meet up, have to be training in Pinchbeck at 1.45pm so finished a few hours later, that may be too late or could have coffee before?

Anonymous said...

Going in two's - that's genius. We usually, and very quickly, end up in two's, if only for the sake of the enjoyment of everyone else. Starting out in two's will be our strategy from now on.

mannanan said...

I've been lucky in the fact that I've visited Folrida on four occasions. The last three I've used an independent travel agent I found through Daltons Weekly and all have been very reasonably priced and the villas have been luxurious. His name is Richard but I'm at work at present so haven't his number on me. When I return home tomorrow I will send you his number.

Nikkii said...

We always do holidays independently - and book our flights 13 months in advance on the day they are released cos we have to go school holidays (him being a teacher). Still cost us £3,700-ish for 4 adults and 1 child from Edinburgh to Orlando. We went for a month so villa was £2,800, big feck off car was about £900. You often get a referral deal from villa owners to car hire companies so that was a good price I think. The villa cost the same as a caravan in Lossiemouth (not that I could stand that for 4 weeks). We were about another £900 for Universal multi park tickets to last the 4 weeks so Disney was a no-go - they wanted twice that :/ (I prefer Paris anyway). I've not been able to bring myself to add up what we spent when we were there.... we had a huge luggage allowance booking early - huge. Was it worth it? Jury is still out. Put it this way - we won't be going on holiday again for a wee while!

Sueann said...

After all said and done...your trip sounds fabulous!! Wow!m 1000 saved!
Definitely worth doing yourself.

jazzygal said...

And the lesson is NEVER book by travel Agent! Well, do ring/call in to get a quote...just so you can feel so virtuous getting a better deal online;-)

xx jAZZY

Ayak said...

I did notice on my last trip to the UK that most of the travel agents in my home town have closed down. It's not surprising is it? Anyway glad you got a better will be a fabulous trip x

auntiegwen said...

hfbstest - oh the asbo's demand we can't go out en masse any more

Mannaman - cheers for that, I'd really appreciate it

Nikki- it's an expensive one all right, we've been before and it's fine for eating out and shopping and stuff, like you say the big one is the flights and the tickets, it kills me that they charge adult prices when they become 10

SueAnn - still trying to commit myself to spending that amount of cash, I think I'll need a stiff drink beforehand :)

Jazzy - scary how much of a price difference there is xx

Ayak - yep same here, we used to have a lot more, like I say once I've bitten the bullet and decided to pay it'll be fine

Wylye Girl said...

Don't get me going on the difficulties in finding a 34 leg, auntie. The Boy nearly had to go back to school with his ankles showing! Dead jealous of holiday plans BTW. Travel Agents? Do they still exist?

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Apart from all the numbers, I was wondering if there's a reason why the men in Leicester are all short?

Macy said...

For seven grand do you get peanuts and drinks on the flight?
Just checking....I'd hate to think what they'd charge for sandwiches...

mannanan said...

Just remembered I said I'd get you some details....Email just sent.Sorry for the delay.

Mrs Worthington said...

have fun in Florida - you've been tagged btw

Taz said...

I've promised my two a return to Florida at some point - good job I didn't say exactly when as it sounds like I may to see a few organs (and I don't mean music ones) first