With author, blogger, hotelier and restaurateur George Dailey

Why do we put ourselves through the agony of cheap travel? Because we crave the sun? I am no different. However, I have a theory that it is the light in say the Med that many of us mature folk yearn for. Winter in England is notoriously grey with very few bright days whilst winter on or near the Med tends to be a far more inspiring and invigorating experience in those months with an ‘r’ in them. For many of us, life is just more fun in the sun.

However, in order to get our sun or light fix we try to soften the travel experience by paying for a seat at the front of the plane and speedy boarding. Both options can often be a complete waste of money.

Following the purchase of a seat in the front two rows of the plane on a recent foray to warmer climes, fate decreed that our flight carried an abnormal number of mothers with young infants and no visible men in attendance to help. The babies and toddlers were at one in their indifference to the prospect of some Mediterranean sun and light and were therefore keen to display their displeasure at being uprooted from comfortable familiar surroundings with a very vocal ‘me too’ protest. Furthermore to our horror at the sharp end, the mothers chose to gather at the loo and galley area and alongside us in the aisle.

I and my fellow mug punters who purchased seats in what we assumed was pole position found ourselves in a very confined space with a dozen or so mothers all bobbing up and down as if performing a bizarre tribal dance mumbling futile soothing words to the screaming bundles in their arms. From this experience by the way, my opinion of air hostesses has improved immeasurably. How they do their job calmly is really impressive and makes being able to cope with a full restaurant and irate customers demanding their table seem like a walk in the park.

Of course with speedy boarding the clue or the hook is extending the hope to us mugs that by getting on the plane first we will get to our destination quicker than the great unwashed. Not so, travelling halfwits, me included. For although we may all from time to time board a plane seamlessly and enjoy a calm, well-managed flight to a chosen destination, it does not mean you will get away to that beach idyll any quicker than the guy who was last to board and clearly worse for drink. For nowhere does it say fast clearance through passport control at the other end and your bags will be waiting for you by your taxi sir.

My expensive seat in row two did allow me a prompt exit from the plane sure enough but straight into a empty coach which sat motionless until the last victim was loaded. We then proceeded 200 metres to an innocent door in one of the outer termini. Twenty minutes of yomping brought us to passport control and a further five-minute slog to baggage reclaim. Drenched in sweat I was able to recover somewhat as our bag containing vital balms, potions and creams together with 12 pairs of my wife’s shoes apparently essential for our week’s stay, was the last sack to be spewed from the mouth of the baggage carousel. We finally trudged out of the almost empty arrivals hall, careful to avoid discarded nappies and random pools of sick, and collapsed into a taxi.

Some order was later established meandering along a pristine beach in the early evening as dusk approached. Men and women of an advanced age happily jogging along the water’s edge obviously enjoying a nightly routine. Families with toddlers in prams and pushchairs cruised the immaculately maintained pedestrian walkway alongside the beach, whilst literally dozens of proud owners exercised wildly enthusiastic dogs of every shape and size.

As darkness approached, the moon illuminated the sparkling silver sea, lights began to appear in apartments we had not even noticed and the colourful neon signs of local restaurants and bars began their job of enticement. The overall feeling of warmth, community and the sheer exhilaration of an early Mediterranean evening promenade was all too obvious in this seaside village that many would be reluctant to venture into in the height of summer but in early spring or late autumn is a very pleasant cure-all.