Past the package holiday?

Sitting at home on a rainy Sunday morning, it’s difficult to comprehend that just three weeks ago I was enjoying the sunny 26 degree climate of Ibiza. Just a two hour flight from the UK, Ibiza is the smallest of the Balearic Islands and is an ideal destination for last minute holidays and an escape from the British autumn.

We booked a cheapish package holiday with Thomson for the third week in October; although the weather was great and there were fewer tourists, many bars and restaurants were closed in anticipation of the end of the season. Sitting on the coach from the airport surrounded by older couples and families, I began to wonder whether the package holiday was still for me.


There is a lot to be said for them; everything is paid for up front, there are no hassles with transfers, holiday reps organise everything and drop you right outside the door of your hotel… but there is something quite clinical about the whole thing, and you start to feel like a typical tourist rather than someone who actually wants to experience the culture of the country.

We had been moved from the apartments we originally booked due to a water safety issue, and we were now staying at the Hotel Miami Ibiza in the resort of Es Caná. I had no idea what to expect; the name itself put me off, as I was imagining a huge high rise with absolutely no personality or character. And really I was right, about the main all-inclusive hotel at least; luckily we were staying in the self-catering apartment complex down the road. My first impressions were made worse on arrival at the reception desk, on finding a British man shouting at the staff about how things were not to his satisfaction. I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide with embarrassment. My opinion on all-inclusive holidays can be summed up in this one line I overheard from one holiday maker ‘well I’d have done more shopping but we barely left the hotel’. Why would you go to a different country and not see any of it?!

Es Caná itself appeared to be specifically built for tourists, and almost felt like an extension of Britain in that everyone spoke and wrote in English. So much so that when I spoke in Spanish in one restaurant, the waiter looked at me in astonishment. It does have some nice beaches though, and it’s worth taking the bus out to Santa Eulalia and Ibiza Town to experience some real Spanish life.


We also went on an arranged sunset cruise organised by Thomson as this wasn’t something we could have done ourselves. Once the coach picked us up to take us to San Antonio, we again began to realise this maybe wasn’t for us. The rep pretty much aimed all the commentary at the older generation and was quite patronising in her analysis of Ibiza’s club scene; basically all her negative opinions sounded great to us! Needless to say on arrival we lost the group at the earliest opportunity and went to Café del Mar. The sunset cruise was great though and definitely worth doing.


As far as package holidays go, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t go on another one; they are generally stress free and are great for a relaxing break. I think I have become so used to going on independent trips I’d forgotten how package holidays work – next year I’ll know what to expect! 🙂


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