As with any holiday, the fear of an unexpected delay or mishap always plays on our minds. Hearing so many stories from unlucky travellers who have missed connections, fallen foul of traffic congestion etc., fills us with dread. Shouldering all that stress and panic is not the best way to start any holiday/vacation. However good a deal you’ve managed to get, it is lost if you miss the start of your break or even worse, end up spending days, weeks or months seeking compensation from a travel agent, etc.
With this in mind, having already spent out a considerable sum on a holiday, we feel that paying out a bit more for piece of mind, is a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, we always like to have a PLAN B up our sleeve, where the key here is to make decisions that allow you to make your PLAN Bs……….such as booking the early train, so the later one is the fall-back………….or booking a hotel near the airport/cruise port, so if you can’t get a taxi you can get yourself there on foot…..
So it’ll come as no surprise that our journey to Southampton started almost 6 months ago, with us booking a room at the Travel Lodge Southampton for the night before we set sail on our cruise holiday. “Travelodge Hotels Limited is a private company operating in the hotels and hospitality industry throughout the United Kingdom. Branded simply as Travelodge, it is the second largest in the budget hotel sector (behind Premier Inn) and third biggest hotel chain in the UK by number of bedrooms (32,600 at the end of 2010)”. Based on the hotel’s location, price and reviews we went ahead and made a booking…….the holiday at that point feeling ever so slightly closer.
Although driving to Southampton is possible for us, we had made the decision to take the train a while ago, mostly owing to the fact that it worked out to be a more convenient option. The other factor being that we would be travelling on weekdays (outbound & return), as travelling at the weekends by train is just not worth the hassle due to the continued maintenance works and reduced services that are run. So with 4 months to go the ability to advance purchase train tickets became available. After having trawled through various train ticket sites, we ended up booking with South West Trains directly @£26 return. As seat reservation is not available, we made sure we got to Waterloo with plenty of time to get an early train.
We collected our tickets from the self-service machine, which couldn’t have been easier, as long as you remember to insert the card you made the purchase with……..😜
As we were early, we decided to pick up some food and drink for the journey. There is a small M&S on the main concourse, so we went for a selection of various snacks and goodies. To our surprise we came across wine being sold in individual plastic glasses, which we hadn’t seen before. Well we thought, the holiday starts now…
Then all that was left was for us to board the train……….😀