So we went to Tunisia on holiday at the beginning of May. It was TW’s idea, she realised that since the bank holiday and the General Election coincided in the same week, we could take the girls out of school and only miss eight sessions. At the moment, there is a bizarre scheme in place in our local education system where if you take your children out of school for more than five days without authorisation, you get fined. And of course, “holiday” is not a good enough reason to obtain approval. So we did tell them in advance that we were going to take the children out of school, and the school marked it as “unauthorised absence”. TW had searched the internet thoroughly and found a holiday through Sunmasters, which came in at just over £1,000, which wasn’t bad for the five of us. I’m sure that it would be at least double that during the school holidays. We were flying Monarch and staying at a hotel in Monastir called the Delphin Ribat. TW chose not to book any luggage into the hold during the flight, so we were restricted to 10kg each of hand luggage. Actually none of us packed more than 7kg, and that was with the children taking a cuddly toy each. Working to that limit really concentrates the mind, and we don’t normally max out our luggage anyway – we normally pack the 23kg to book into the hold and travel light in the cabin. So I packed one pair of trousers, one pair of shorts, trunks, two short-sleeved shirts and a t-shirt and obviously had what I was wearing; trousers, a long-sleeved top and a jumper, and sandals. I chose to travel in sandals and was planning to wear them for the week, but unfortunately I developed a blister and had to switch to my back-up sandals after a couple of days.Anyway, we got to Gatwick in good time, this was to be the girls’ first overseas holiday and TW wanted to make the most of the experience with them, so that meant immersing ourselves in Duty Free and generally having a good look around the airport. We booked the car into “Summer Special” car parking, with a special deal which meant it was only £40 for the week, which was cheaper than the train tickets would have been, and it was so straightforward – we booked online, they told us to turn up after a certain time, we left the keys with them and then jumped on the shuttle bus to the North terminal. It was really simple, and it’s certainly a service we’ll use in the future. We had a go on the inter-terminal shuttle train to get to the South Terminal, which I think they enjoyed; actually they enjoyed the whole thing. Then we checked in, and they told us that since the flight was busy, we could check in our luggage free of charge, if we so chose. Result! That saved us about £200, not that we needed to check it in, but it meant that we could wander the airport unencumbered by luggage which was threatening to kneecap or seriously disable unsuspecting members of the public. So of course we agreed, and then we skipped joyfully to the security checkpoint. It was there that we hit our first hurdle; although we took all our metallic items (coins, rings, phones, etc.) out of our pockets, our middle child pinged as she went through the scanners. She had to go into one of the new-fangled complete body scanners to be scanned in more depth. I think it was due to the sequins on her top, but she looked very worried as she went into the “scanning chamber” – she’ll probably never wear that top again :). We had a look around airside, and went for lunch at Frankie and Benny’s; I have to say it was great value, and maybe the kids enjoyed it more than Pizza Express. The portions were large, and the drinks were refillable, which is the main concern for our children, at least. I had the Full English breakfast which was delicious; the bacon was a bit dry but apart from that, it was a full plate of deliciousness. We had to stock up on sun tan lotion because we thought we were taking hand luggage only, and so we hadn’t packed large bottles of sun tan lotion; TW went to Boots and picked up some of their own-brand stuff, which came with after sun too. And then it was time to fly. It was amazing how the time sped by, and suddenly we were in the air. More to come next time…

via Blogger http://ift.tt/1EVVraV

Advertisements