Taking Stock - April 30, 2012

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IF you have a child approaching primary school age, there’s a good chance you were rushing a little more than normal to check those e-mails last Monday.

That is because the day, for those of us in Blackpool, at least, was the one when we found out which school our little ones would be attending come September.

Would you get that all important first choice? Or would those best-laid plans, formulated over the past six months, have to be torn up when the news arrived?

If you’re interested, we didn’t get our first choice for The Munchkin, or our second, something which caused My Good Wife a deal of upset, at least until she realised there was no way any decision had been taken on a personal basis.

Still, it does, as a parent, feel a little galling that somebody, somewhere, didn’t want our little girl – even if their choice was made without ever meeting her.

So, it’s aside with disappointment and on with planning for the school years ahead.

One of the things we’ll have to get used to is the impact of term time on our holiday plans.

And, we’re not alone.

A survey this week revealed a quarter of Brits would take their youngsters out of school, even with the stern warnings being handed out these days, for a break abroad.

I’ll admit it’s tempting.

After all, the prices don’t half go through the roof when the airlines hear a rumour a school, somewhere in the country, might be planning to break up for a week or two.

I suppose it’s all about supply and demand.

Florida is cheap in the middle of March, because all the little ones are at school. It costs a fortune in August, because we’d fill those seats three times over, and more.

Of course, we could put in place some system of staggered holidays, with at least one school on a break at any time.

Think about it, not only would it confuse the airlines, it’d also take some of that dreaded rush-hour traffic off the road.

I know there’d be issues, but if it knocks a couple of hundred quid off my hols, I’d be willing to give it a go.

Mind you, you don’t have to restrict yourself to the school holidays to find yourself paying more than you should to join the jet set.

Next week, My Good Wife and I will be heading off for a much-anticipated weekend away.

Our flights, booked just before Christmas, cost just a couple of hundred quid, give or take – a bargain, I thought, until I noticed the same tickets on sale this week for more than £100 less.

How’s that fare fair?

To tell the truth, I’m confused.

I’ve always been of the belief you book early for a bargain and pay the price for leaving it late.

If that logic no longer applies, how am I ever going to know the best time to grab a cheap getaway?

Then again, what am I thinking about.

I’ve got little ones at school now – tied to those strict holiday dates, I’ve a sneaking feeling a cheap getaway is very much a thing of the past.