Monday, 10th May 2021

Chris Grayling's guide to planning a journey

WHETHER it’s a day trip to York or backpacking around Vietnam, good planning makes for a stress-free journey. Transport secretary Chris Grayling tells you how: 

Ships are good for sea travel

If you’re booking a cruise, do it with a company that has ships, or promises it knows where it can get some. Pizza Hut, Kwik Fit, Mothercare - all utterly useless for cruises. Also, cars do not work on the sea, even if it’s flat and looks as if you can drive on it.

Airlines have rules about what you can take with you

For some reason airlines are quite strict on baggage, as I discovered when attempting to fly back from New York with a few guns I’d picked up as souvenirs for friends. But I did get a selfie with a genuine NYPD!

Wear comfortable clothing

A long-haul flight to Indonesia can be uncomfortable if you wear a duffle coat, fleece, thermal underwear, balaclava and wellies. Also, the weather can often be different in the place you’re going from the place you’ve left.

Never cycle through train tunnels

On a family cycling holiday it’s tempting to take a shortcut through a tunnel, but my advice is: DON’T. Trains can quickly catch up with a small child on a bicycle, no matter how frantically you tell them to pedal faster.

Do your research

When visiting a place of historical interest, for example Wales, read up on it first. I looked quite the historian as I explained how Asterix and his Gauls fought off Cleopatra’s marauders.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

It is not possible to walk from Surrey to Helsinki in a day. Germans don’t like to be asked if their actual grandfathers were Nazis. Not everyone in Brazil is a prostitute. Just a few things I’ve discovered on my road, where often the only way to learn new things is to blunder on like a fucking idiot. That’s the joy of travel.