Welcome to the Pleasure Dome

It’s only just occurred to me that the song ‘Holiday’ isn’t even about a holiday. All these years and I thought Madonna was making a profound commentary on how Americans are content to ‘holiday’ at home and never experience the big wide world outside their borders. Yeah baby: “In every nation/It’s time for the good times/Forget about the bad times/One day to come together” – a bit like ‘Imagine’ I always thought.  

But Madonna’s American, innit! She’s singing about a day off work, not a trip abroad – she would have called it ‘Vacation’ otherwise, which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. Not sure I like that word. It implies you’ve vacated somewhere and that somewhere was infested by insects. And then when you vacation somewhere else, you take them all with you.

Sadly for many of us, this is an all-too familiar scenario. A hastily booked package tour, too last-minute to properly assess the alternatives, and then seven flea-bitten, undernourished days later, you return to your homeland more in need of a break than before you left.

This is where the Travel Fair comes in. Under just one roof, it has every type of holiday that you can possibly imagine, to every corner of the planet: hot/cold, sporty/relaxing, expensive/cheap, faraway/local, family/singles, quiet/relentless – it’s all here at the Bella Center to peruse, so you can take your time and select the kind of holiday that suits you.

Save yourself the heartbreak of wading through hundreds of villas that all look the same, website comments that look suspiciously like they’ve been written by the resort itself, and details that look like they’ve been Google translated and run through a pigeon English spellchecker.

After all, this is the most significant purchase you’ll probably make this year – the least you can do is dedicate the time it deserves, and a couple of hours spent looking for the ideal booking in return for a couple of weeks of bliss sounds like a fair trade-off to me.    

So whatever you call it – holiday, vacation, sabbatical, beano – the Travel Fair has all the answers. All you need to do is attend.   

Download our full Travel 2013 section





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