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12:06pm on Monday, 30th May, 2005:



We just booked our summer holiday (or, for our American readers, holiday — learn English). Ten days in Florida's theme park heartlands is costing us half the price of a car.

We're going to Florida because we did that when our elder daughter finished primary school, so it's only fair to do so when our younger daughter finishes this year. She couldn't go on all the rides last time because she wasn't tall enough, but she will be this time; she's also less likely to make us stand in line for an hour for 3 minutes of sitting in Dumbo (we hope). Also, she may be more inclined to walk around than she was before, so we'll get to see all of EPCOT (assuming we're lucky with the weather — we caught the tail end of a tropical storm last time, too).

We waited so long to book because we were looking at other parts of the USA to visit. When the new "if you goddam terrorists want to get into our country, you're gonna have to sneak across the Mexican border like every other undesirable" laws come into play in October, it's going to be majorly inconvenient to visit the USA; we were thus toying with the idea of going on a more tour-oriented trip instead, as we won't be back for some time. It proved too difficult to find one that suited us, though (ie. one that didn't involve our — which is to say my — having to drive a car), so we went with the original Disneyland plan.

This a lot of money for a holiday. Next year, we'll probably be going somewhere a little cheaper to balance things out. The year following our previous Florida trip we spent in Wales looking at castles; next year could well be Scotland (or France, as that's actually cheaper to visit than Scotland and the people there don't hate the English any more the Scots do).

What amazes me, though, is that we seriously considered not going on this trip because of the cost, yet other families with notionally much smaller incomes than we have seem to spend this kind of money on holidays every year. Sometimes, they go on two holidays, and their "main" one is two weeks rather than ten days. Stereotypically, they have a mortgage, two cars, smoke 40 a day and regularly go down the boozer, and yet they never seem to run out of money. How come?

Surely they don't borrow to pay for everything?

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).