Make Poverty History

Monday, May 30, 2016

Algarve family holiday Part 1 - Preparation

Arranging a family holiday when your children are all grown up and have children of their own can be difficult.  By now they all have commitments in their lives and may not be able to get away at a particular time.  I wanted the family to get together as a celebration of my 60th birthday.  We settled on the last week of May, the one leading up to the bank holiday.  So, a big thank you to my children, and their spouses for making it possible.  I know there were some difficulties and I appreciate the effort some of you made.
Then the question is "Where to go?"  As one of our party does not fly, the first choice - Florida - is not an option.  We agreed on the Algarve.  Then to find somewhere to stay. I found and offered a selection and the choice was unanimous, so the Villa was booked: Villa Ana. Next, Brody also needs his holiday, and we are wary of kennels.  We heard about PetStay, and decided to give them a try.  As the dog / dog sitter must meet prior to the holiday, we arranged a time to travel to see the sitter.  There was some sort of mix up, so we had to reschedule and the eventual meeting went very well.  Meanwhile we received a notice that the Villa is no longer with HomeAway and we have to deal direct with the owner. 
Now I'm starting to wonder if there even is a Villa Ana.  Fortunately in the internet age it is possible to find out and Liz managed to find it on Street View, even if the address we were given could not be found - it appeared to be 800 metres from the location we had found.
Finally we needed transport, arranging drivers and cars had to be done as well.  I used RentalCars.com, because they offered a wide selection.  I was looking for space, seats and comfort.  Their site does not handle two rentals at all well, and it got very confused on the second booking, so much so that I had to close the browser and start again.
Flights had to be booked too.  We started by doing a few basic comparisons, we wanted to fly from Southend, but the cost was very high, however while I was waiting for various passports to arrive the costs at Stanstead rose significantly, so Southend became worth the premium.  Booked with EasyJet, and we were pleased with their treatment of families with children. 

All booked and ready to go two weeks before travel, but there's still the question of the Villa - have we really booked Villa Ana - the one on the website, or somewhere else, or not at all?

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