When school trips start costing an arm and a leg

Manchester Airport's Terminal One. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA WireManchester Airport's Terminal One. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Manchester Airport's Terminal One. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Going anywhere nice on holiday? Our kids are. One’s off to Monaco with her friends while the other’s flying to Los Angeles to go on tour with her dancing buddies.

I know, it sounds like they’ve won one of those daytime telly competitions where the prize is a ton of money, a flash car and a holiday somewhere nice and can be yours for the price of a phone call. Family holidays to a Balearic beach resort or, God forbid, a week by the seaside in Cornwall suddenly have all the allure of spending three hours locked in the bathroom with no 4G reception and 10 per cent left on their phone’s battery.

Actually, we are going to Cornwall later this year and the only reason the kids haven’t kicked up too much of a fuss is because the cottage we’ve booked has WiFi. Believe me, it was a deal breaker.

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But when did kids’ trips suddenly go all supersize? I must have missed that memo. You know where we used to go on school trips? Millom, what used to be Hornsea Pottery in Lancaster and the fairground at Morecambe.

Mind you, where I’m from the people who live in Barrow-in-Furness call us woollybacks and it wasn’t uncommon to wake to the sight of cows trampling all over your garden.

Our kids and their friends’ trips these days generally involve an aeroplane ride, or failing that a 48-hour coach journey and the use of their passport. Cricket tours to the Caribbean, rugby trips to South Africa and fact-finding tours to China are routine. What’s next, being fired into space in a rocket? I’m sure that by the end of this century schools in Lancaster will be running weekend breaks to the moon.

Of course, all of this costs. How much? About an arm and a leg last time we checked. But if there’s one thing that’s certain in this world, if mum says no then dad will say maybe. And a maybe’s as good as a yes, right?

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Finally, this weekend marks a very special anniversary. The boss has put up with yours truly for 20 whole years. There aren’t many crimes that would warrant such a sentence and at times it must feel like being handcuffed to a maniac. The medal’s in the post.