Bearing in mind that I come from a different country, I do find this whole “the government must stop travel companies from gouging parents/families during the school holiday break(s)” rather interesting.

When I was young my parents did, I think twice, take me out of school to go visit my father’s uncle down in the United States (I’m Canadian) and there wasn’t a big deal with regards to that. I believe that to this day there are no such things as fines (like UK parents have) when a child is taken out of school. But … if a child misses too much schooling they either have to go to summer school or repeat the grade. When I was 11yrs old I had major surgery and was off school for 2 months – so that I wouldn’t fall behind and have to go to summer school/repeat the grade, the hospital (Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto) runs a school room for the patients .. so I was able to keep up with my classmates.

My parents never complained about travel companies ripping us off, nor have I heard any of my child-ed friends complain so vehemently that they *must* take a holiday during the school term if they want to save some money. It’s just a given in most countries that the summer months (July & August) are the high season and prices will be higher.

If we take a moment to pause and think there is a reason why the travel companies and the travel industry as a whole charges more during the “high season” – it’s supply & demand. There is a limited supply – planes, hotel rooms, b&bs, Disney Land, Alton Towers etc. There is a limited supply, so it is in essence “supply & demand”. The various companies need to keep these resources available (hotel rooms etc don’t just magically disappear during the low season, there are still overhead costs such as insurance, marketing, salaries etc to pay) so to do so they need to recoup most of their costs and earn an income during those 2-3 glorious months out of the year.

As a childfree woman I have my own views. Because I don’t have children it has been expected that I would not take a holiday during the high season – as that is prime time for the parents. I can live with that. So I end up with the less than ideal times to take a holiday, so in essence to compensate I pay lower costs. Shit timing = lower costs. Parents get great timing = higher costs. There is a balance in essence.

Now I see that there has been a push by British Parents to get the various councils & the national government to legislate fairness to the industry. So the idea is to shift the holidays around so that there is a week off in October or each area has a different timing for this. I do not like this, why? It’s a short-term gain for families .. they will get great prices, for a short while. But then the travel industry will twig, rather quickly, and prices will shoot up again. So the end result is, that peeps like me who have to take shitting times for our holidays are now paying astronomical prices (compared to what they usually are). Aaaaannnd, it will be the exact same argument – I need to take a holiday when it’s cheaper, please Mr Government Minister, put through laws which you have no jurisdiction over, so I can save a few pounds.

I have never heard any of my other friends or acquaintances complain about having to pay more because they have children; it’s considered one of the costs of having children. But in the UK there are at least 1 or 2 articles or opinion pieces in the news media about how the travel industry takes advantage of families. I may sound harsh when I say this – but no one has a human right to splay themselves on a beach in Ibiza or the Maldives. Everyone is entitled to a break, to rest, relax and recuperate .. which I am not denying anyone, but being able to go to Greece for your holidays is not a human right, it’s a priviledge.

So instead of expecting others to subsidise families further, which is what this is, just accept the fact you have children and there are costs involved in rearing them. If the travel industry spreads the costs across the year to even them out people who cannot have the optimum summer holiday (because they don’t have children) are still stuck with the more bleaker months, but are now subsidising those who still get preferential treatment when it comes to booking time off work.

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