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Emilie Silverwood Cope: Cost-of-living crisis, a Covid surge and airport chaos - welcome to the 2022 summer holidays

Are we heading for a long summer of discontent? It’s certainly starting to feel like it.

Schools are about to break up and to get us in the holiday mood there’s political chaos and inflation is at 40-year high. The ‘cost of living squeeze’ has been upgraded to the ‘cost of living punch’.

A family enjoy their summer holiday on the beach
A family enjoy their summer holiday on the beach

To get an idea of what shoppers face at the supermarkets these days, Lurpak is now priced at £9.35 and comes with its own security tag. Mortgages, rents, food, petrol, energy, and of course, childcare and holiday clubs have all increased. To quote everyone I’ve spoken to, it’s a total nightmare.

When I booked a holiday to France back in January the only thing I was worried about was a new Covid variant. Now I’m not sure if we’ll even take off. The flight has already been moved 14 times and airports are being described as a ‘hellscape’.

I have found travelling with children awful and confusing at the best of times. Now there’s extra layers of horror in the form of strikes, a Covid surge and a general post-pandemic resentment.

Everyone is very much at their limit and we’ve not even started packing. If you can prove you’re all Covid free and arrive at your destination with your luggage, your family and all your marbles you’re most definitely a winner.

Lots of families have opted to spend their summer holidays in the United Kingdom again. This might be because they were sensible and clever and knew going abroad would be soul-destroying.

[Read more: What is the point of homework?]

It might, however, be because their passport had expired and there’s zero chance of getting it renewed before October, thanks to the delays at the passport office. Either way, they don’t escape travel dramas either.

If you are taking a UK holiday you won’t, at least, have to fork out for PCR tests or risk being abandoned by your airline. You will be spending a small fortune on petrol though which will be fun to think about while you’re stuck in a seven-hour traffic jam on the way to Cornwall.

At least we can tell the children they can’t have any more £4 ice creams because “there’s a cost of living crisis”.

Paying for summer holiday childcare has always been a super-fast track into penury. Parents have long feared juggling six school-free weeks with work.

They wind up having to pay over £100 per week per child for holiday camp (which children loathe at least 70 per cent of the time). Lots of families just simply can’t afford to do this anymore.

Many of us will be re-enacting the lockdown months by working from home and leaving the kids to it. That is, extended screen time for the children while we try to get work done and appear professional on our Zoom calls.

What’s another six weeks of screen time on top of the two years they’ve already clocked up?

Children, of course, can’t wait for their schools to break up. No summer of discontent for them.
Rather, it’s six glorious weeks of no school, no early mornings and endless lazing around. So in spite of all the doom-news, schools are out for summer. Let’s party like it’s 1973.

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