I Will Not…
1. Use Hire (Rental) Cars as an extension of my luggage
No longer will I unload my luggage into my hire car until maps, guidebooks, camera accessories and socks (why is it always socks?!) fill the back seat, the boot (trunk) and glove compartment. I will not leave them there so long that I am still throwing things back into my luggage when we reach the airport.
I will also stop using the car as a repository (read: bin) for biscuit wrappers, water bottles and squashed bags of potato crisps. I will use trash cans, and not just the one at the rental car return facility.
2. Assume that speaking French means that I’m “making an effort”. At least when I’m not in France.
My language skills are as follows: English, followed by French (fluent), German (not bad) and Spanish (basic). When speaking Spanish, I take the approach that if I don’t know the correct word, I’ll just throw the French word in instead. This is not always a great approach: “gateau” in French means “cake”, whereas “gato” in Spanish means “cat”, so you can see how that one goes wrong.
Once I have mortally offended a waiter/waitress by asking for a slice of cat, I will no longer assume that leaving a wildly extravagant tip will soothe the waters. (Although, to be fair, it does usually soothe the waters).
1. Organise my foreign cash
A recent trawl through our foreign currency reserves (OK, an envelope, a tin and a few coin bags) revealed us to be in possession of 18 foreign currencies. Hey, don’t mock, some of them are still in circulation!
Next time, rather than going straight to the foreign exchange, I will CHECK to see what we have at home first.
But, just entre nous, if the French Franc ever comes back into existence, give me a call. I’ll give you a good exchange rate…
2. THINK THROUGH which clothes to bring with me
Rather than just haphazardly throwing clothes into a case, with a vague eye as to quantity and climate, I will plan my outfits, shoes and jewellery and make up and…
Oh hell, who am I kidding? I can’t even do this during the week for work. What are the chances of getting it right for a 3-week trip?
IMHO, the most important thing to do when getting into a new hire car is to locate reverse gear. The reason? Because I use it a lot! Because we’re always getting lost! (Or “exploring” as I optimistically call it).
I will not trust maps given out by hire car companies, hotels or tourist offices. I will ask for directions when leaving my hotel, rather than trusting our sense of direction. (Have you ever noticed that when there are 2 of you, each of you thinks that a different direction “is the right one”?).
So there you have it: my travel resolutions for 2015. Do ask me how I’m getting on, won’t you?!