So, here’s a thing. This post was *supposed* to be about the most quirky, amazing “hotel” we spotted on the road, high up in the hills, from Frigiliana to Torrox. But then we started to plan our route back home later in the week, and all of a sudden, the topic of the blog changed. Because, after spending quite a bit of the last 12 months travelling in Italy, Spain and Greece – and receiving generally amazing service for amazing prices – I was literally floored by the price of getting home.
There is a rider here – we booked one-way flights out to Malaga (for £30 each) and so expected to be a bit stung on the way back. However, we’re planning on travelling back mid-November, NOT the middle of peak season. So, to Skyscanner we turned – and I actually thought I’d searched on wrong dates…
- very few direct flights Malaga to Manchester
- those that were direct were ALL in excess of £200 per person
- less expensive flights – around the £70.00 – were multiple stop-overs, involving travelling times in excess of 12 hours, or sold out
So, we sacked Manchester and looked at Liverpool – same problem, but exacerbated by later arrival times and no way of getting back home except by taxi, or staying overnight in a hotel (in Liverpool, so taxi into town), hotel cost & train back the following day.
So, we sacked Liverpool and looked at London. Things were looking up – flights to Gatwick for £75 each. OK, so not as good as the flights out, but at least they’d get back in the UK. Next part of travel plan – Gatwick to Manchester. Flights – stupid expensive. Seriously, unless you are on expenses, daft rich or prepared to travel at 5am, who can afford to do internal UK flights? I’m sure a coach could have been done, but been there, done that, many years ago and quite simply, my coach days are over.
Next port of call was the Trainline App. And I stupidly thought – after travelling by train in Italy & France recently – that the train from London to Manchester would be reasonable. Again, I wasn’t talking peak time – that was SILLY prices! (As in £321.00 at 4.40pm). No, we decided that after 10pm might be OK. And it probably would be, if you were prepared to spend in excess of £60.00 EACH and then still have to get a taxi from Manchester as the train got in after midnight. To be fair, we could have got the 11pm for a bargainous £38.00 getting into Manchester at 2.10am, so maybe we were just being fussy…
Then, suddenly, a lightbulb moment! We’ve been hiring cars for England on our travels, so why not IN England? And, do you know what? Even with taking out additional insurance, with SixT, it cost just £109.00 – pick up at Gatwick, drop off at Manchester Airport on Friday, so we can have a leisurely drive home. Stop off wherever takes our fancy on the way back north, get home, have a lie in, both drive to the airport on Friday lunchtime, drop hire car off and come back in our car.
Still think we’ve paid quite a lot to get back, and definitely return flights at the outset would probably have been less expensive or less hassle – but part of what we like about travelling is being flexible. What we don’t like is feeling that we’re being ripped off. And it seems that’s what happens more & more. We’ve stopped doing hold luggage because I now refuse to pay the excessive charges. This trip has been hand luggage only – which makes me shudder even more to think what checking in bags might have been.
We’re not going to stop travelling – but we are going to stop being ripped off. And we’ll be sure to share here, if & how we do it…
P.S. Next post will be about the hotel we found 🙂