Check the local holidays

One of the most spectacular breakdowns by a tourist I have ever seen, was on the steps of the Mont St Michel. A woman on the “Trip of a lifetime” clung to the stairs wailing hysterically upon finding out that the Abbey was closed for the Labour day holiday. The only day of her visit coincided with one of the three days through the year when the Abbey is firmly fermé.


Me looking swarthy for Labor Day!

Screaming curses down on her husband, the French and presumably God she demanded that people open up the monastery. I was fortunate enough to be staying for two nights on the island so was less affected by the shut down !

On another occasion on December 25 in Australia, I was asked by an Asian tourist why he could not go shopping at any department store or supermarket. He was completely perplexed that an entire country’ss retail could shut down. yet that is the reality on Christmas Day in Australia and New Zealand. The tourist noted that in his country, religious holidays mean longer trading hours not shorter!

Before planning a trip, check the holiday schedule for that country and implications. Will the holiday bring people into the city (leading to higher hotel prices) or empty it? If you are leaving a town on the eve of a national holiday, it could mean higher air and rail prices or complete lack of availability. You may find that alcohol and or food sales are disallowed on the day or week of a particular religious festival.

Don’t ruin your plans because you missed a crucial calendar date.


Working (on Labour Day) from the patio of my apartment on Mont St Michel

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  1. I was very sad that my trip into Florence happened, unforeseen by me, to be on a Monday and the Uffizi was closed. I went all the way to Lapland in Winter to see the Northern Lights, and Mother Nature denied me, I was unable to get into both Geikie Gorge in northern WA, and Cooktown in Qld, because the roads were closed due to monsoon flooding. However, as a traveller sometimes you just have to suck it up. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. Still, that is a very good tip, which will help to minimise disappointments

  2. Oh, and on our honeymoon, our plan was just to wander around Vic & ACT booking into motels as we went, which worked fine until, on our way home, we hit Mt Gambier, and realised it was Easter, and all the motels and hotels were booked out. We ended up sleeping in our car. Very romantic!

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