The 10 signs you’re a middle-class travel snob
The jet age projected glamour, but also enabled the working classes to join the British bourgeoisie and visit Spain and Portugal, the USA and Australia.
It would, though, be a romantic delusion to imagine the last 50 years as an era of total democratisation. From their luggage to their choice of destinations, the middle classes have maintained differences and no-go zones for the hoi polloi.
Here are ten ways to check if you think you’re above the rabble:
You prefer British Airways, despite everything
Its product may be diminishing but you still find yourself drawn to the red, white and blue of BA. It’s a combination of patriotism, prejudice, loyalty and all those memories of Concorde’s sonic boom over Richmond Park. You evolved into the globetrotting aesthete you are today in the era of the “World’s Favourite Airline” ads, after all, and no one likes to see sands shifting too much. Moreover, the pilots sound in control and army-like; they speak so little, so poshly, so commandingly…
You have a second home in France
You’re not what anyone would call a Francophile – neither the labour laws nor the EU are your tasse de thé – but having a converted grand gîte in the Luberon was de rigueur back in 1989 (it’s pure coincidence that Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence appeared around then) and you just can’t let it go.
You like Spain, but only inland Andalusia or Menorca
So much of Spain has been ruined by social climbers (Puerto Banús, the Canaries), gangsters (Marbella), golfing groups (Estepona), budget airlines (Madrid, Barcelona), clubbers (Ibiza), the rabble (Majorca, Benidorm), but you will still condescend to trip off there once a year so long as you’ve a house rental (“we don’t like Airbnb but…”) close to but definitely not in Ronda, or else on the family-friendly, calm, youth-free, Unesco-approved island of Menorca.
You have given up on Cornwall, but still follow the in-crowds
What a bore St Ives is, how passé Polperro and such a pity that Salcombe got so tacky. But, after second-guessing the next big British thing, you now deign to regularly visit Southwold, where you have a bijou bolthole, and Holkham, where Jenny and Roger have one they like to swap with yours.
You adore the Caribbean
Some friends laugh at how strict you are about your annual winter fling, but you haven’t chosen without careful consideration. A non-stop flight is ideal, though you will entertain a bespoke twin-prop if it looks safe and glamorous. Antigua, Barbados, Canouan: that’s your current ABC. A few friends have suggested Cuba, Aruba, even Curaçao, but they sound like cocktails.
You insist on an annual ski holiday
Contrary to rumour, skiing is not yet classless, at least, not in the French Alps, and especially not in Val d’Isère or Trois Vallées, where you go, year-in-year-out – either in January or late February depending on the snow (and on when you get back from the Caribbean). People go on about mountaintops and clean air and “wellness” and all that nonsense, but for you a summit is quite simply the embodiment of being at the top of the world, and above the dross.
You are luxuriously eco-conscious
You offset, you heartily approve of eco-lodges, you usually hang your towel for a second shower (unless there’s sand on it, or anything grubby that shows against the luxurious white fleece), you admire and respect nature and wildlife… but the fact remains, you are a long-haul specialist (“once you’ve taken off it’s not so different carbon-wise”) and simply have to have a business or first-class seat. It’s a long way to Costa Rica, currently your favourite country because of that gong Prince William awarded it.
You love airport lounges
For when you have to use minor British airports (Heathrow is the only serious one) you have purchased an annual lounge pass that also works in dubious overseas aerodromes. It makes sense to occasionally fly Ryanair – but the stag-dos at Stansted must be avoided at all costs.
You like your adventures soft
Don’t let it ever be said you are a fuddy-duddy. You are far too fit to lounge on a white-sand beach all day, so you always combine your exotic adventures with a challenge of some kind – such as getting up early on the seven-berth, birds of paradise-themed cruise through Indonesia, using a train (albeit a Pullman) to get to Machu Picchu, or doing a chocolate-making course on the Mayan Riviera.
You just love safaris, as long as they are selective
The key thing to understand here is: you were there first. The must-remain-unnameable tented camp in the shadow of Mount Kenya was so utterly private back in 1999 that only those in the know (and in the VIP corner of the 1902 lounge) at Costa Rica had heard of it. But ever since that first drive with your better half and the kids in the gun-toting, macho, “old school” owner’s ancient Defender, you’ve not even looked at another safari destination.