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Holidays and House Guests

I was recently asked by a friend living in the UK: “Do expats still take holidays and if so where?” What a strange question and one I’d never considered!

So what’s the deal with expats and holidays? Do you return to your homeland to visit family and friends, explore your new country or are you still tempted to travel to foreign shores?

Some expats, having fulfilled their dream of moving abroad, may prefer to “holiday at home” – a perfect opportunity to explore their new country. For instance, Portugal has so many places to explore, from its outstanding beaches and cruises along the Douro River to city breaks in Lisbon and Porto. Not forgetting the numerous historic towns and villages such as Tavira, Obidos, Tomar and Evora, just waiting to be explored. That’s before you take into consideration the multitude of other styles of holiday on offer, like wine tours and activity holidays such as surfing, kite-surfing, horse riding and bird watching, to name but a few. Phew! I ask you, why be tempted to holiday elsewhere?”However, if you’ve already “discovered” your new country, does the desire to holiday in a foreign land still beckon?

Many years ago, when choosing a holiday destination, we would spend ages studying glossy travel brochures, deliberating over which country to visit, and even longer deciding on the most suitable area before deciding on what hotel to stay at. However, I no longer yearn to travel due to family ties – the arrival of our first grandchild, who lives in France, closely followed by our second grandchild, who lives in England, means we now take frequent “holidays” to both countries. Decision made! No more glossy brochures, and the “dream” tour of Canada and Alaska remains a dream unless winning the Euro Millions Lottery makes it a reality!

Sadly, as many expat retirees have seen their pensions and income diminish over the last few years, and workers on a low income battle to juggle their finances, holiday budgets may only stretch to visiting family or friends back home. So the question of where to go does not arise. But what if you have no family ties or budget restrictions, where would you choose to holiday? Has becoming an expat really changed the way you view holidays?

On the other side of the coin when family and friends visit you do you consider this to be a holiday?

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Suddenly you are catapulted into holiday mode with regular visits to the beach, places of interest and tourist attractions. You become the local tour guide and as such you may be expected to provide an itinerary of daily and evening activities including menu planning. You will also pray the weather stays fine as there is nothing worse than trying to entertain people on holiday when it’s pouring with rain and blowing a gale! Or do you leave them completely to their own devices?

Do you find that since you’ve moved abroad friends, or should I say “acquaintances” suddenly decide they want to visit you now they’ve discovered where you’re living? We rarely socialized back home with these people and now they want to spend a whole week in our company!

I felt sorry for some expat friends when they shared their experience of “house guests” or so called “friends” who decided to visit them because they needed a holiday. They were not only expected to feed them free of charge, wait on them hand and foot, entertain them and provide a babysitting service but act as a chauffeur service, both to and from the airport and for all other excursions as well!

To make things worse they not only hogged their computer but also the TV to watch an endless stream of “soaps” while they prepared and cooked dinner then cleared away. Their guests also had the audacity to complain that they had bought the wrong kind of fruit juice and the breakfast cereal was not to their liking

By the time they had finished relating the story I was horrified. How could thier “friends” be so rude, lazy and inconsiderate? And to add insult to injury they didn’t even to offer to pay their way. It was beyond belief…or was it? Do people forget this is your home and you are not on holiday or do they think you are permanently on “holiday”?

Does some or all the above sound familiar?

To discover more about everyday life in Portugal visit my blog Piglet in Portugal or follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/portugalpiglet

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