Auntie Flo's Essential Holiday Information
This stuff is important - READ IT!
Auntie Flo has been dispensing travel advice to Respect customers for the best part of a decade. Since then she's become something of an institution, which is quite ironic really, seeing as we all think she should be in one.
There's very little that Flo doesn't know about the world of holidays and, even if you're a seasoned traveller, we strongly recommend that you spend a bit of time reading the next few pages.
Of course, there may be some specific advice you need which may not be covered here, and if that's the case, please feel free to email Auntie Flo at Respect HQ.
Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and Flo assures us that she'll respond to every enquiry as quickly as possible.
Flo says: "Make like a Boy Scout. Be prepared!"
Passports and Visas
What's the point of spending all that time, effort and money booking your wonderful Respect holiday if you either haven't got, have lost, or failed to renew your passport. Unbelievably, hardly a week goes by without a poor desperate punter calling Respect to say that he's either lost or failed to renew his passport and is therefore unable to travel.
So, before you read the rest of this brochure section, go and locate you passport and check its expiry date. If everything's OK, put it back in its usual place and, if it doesn't have a usual place, create one now.
If you need help in applying for a passport, you can find links to both the United Kingdom's and the Republic of Ireland's passport agencies on the Respect Holidays website.
If you're a citizen of any member state of the European Union, you don't need a visa to travel anywhere in this brochure. Nonetheless, if you hail from anywhere outside the EU, you'll have to make enquiries yourself as Respect's staff are totally unqualified to deal with any visa queries.
In this day and age, there really is no need to prance gaily around any destination featured in this brochure with loads of cash. Both Spain and Greece take Euros, there are plenty of cash machines all over the place and most establishments take most UK or Irish credit and debit cards. Remember, some insurance policies have an upper limit is you have to make a claim for losing actual cash, so bear this in mind when sorting out your finances.
If you decide to travel overseas with Sterling and change it up in a bureau de change while you're on holiday, try to use only English banknotes as Scottish and Northern Irish notes are less recognisable to our European pals.
Anyone who travels on holiday without adequate insurance is a complete pillock, so please make sure you buy some before you go. Respect's policies start from just over sixteen quid and offer superb value for money, so you might as well buy one of those, especially as the last time we did an online price comparison our policies came out cheaper than the equivalent policies offered by the Post Office, Boots and Sainsbury's.
Check your travel documents
The Respect boys are generally so efficient it makes me sick. However, mistakes do sometimes occur, even though they're normally blamed on the computer, as if a lump of plastic and micro-electronics had a mind of its own.
So please check your confirmation/invoice, your itinerary and your air tickets to make sure everything is correct before you travel. It really is very unlikely that there are any discrepancies, but - obviously - it's best to check before you travel rather than finding out there's a problem once you get to the airport or your holiday resort.
Health before you travel
You don't need any special jabs to travel anywhere featured in this brochure, which is a shame for me as I can't make any jokes about feeling a little prick. However, it may be that you have a specific medical history which might be relevant to your journeying to faraway climes, and if this is the case consult your GP or visit the British government's Department of Health website.
Don't leave all the additional bits and pieces to the last minute. Remember to sort out airport parking, overnight airport accommodation and train tickets etc. Conveniently, you can access all the necessary information on Respect's interweb thing.
Flo says: "Flying tonight"
Be on time
It's all well and good to be all nonchalant about the whole airport experience, but in this day and age you really should arrive well in advance of the check-in times detailed on your beautifully presented Respect documentation. If you miss your flight by turning up late we and our airport staff will do everything we can to help, but there's no guarantee we'll be able to get you away at all and the whole sorry experience could end up costing you a great deal of money and quite a lot of self-respect. Travel delays account for more missed departures than anything else so check out the latest travel news on the interweb or on local radio.
Always pack your own bags, don't carry any closed packages for anyone else and don't even think about taking illegal drugs with you. That also includes something called Amyl Nitrate, or poppers, a substance which I'm informed by some of my younger friends is a popular stimulant among those of a gay persuasion. If you're found with any illegal stuff - and that includes hash or grass - the penalties really can be very severe and, if you're overseas at the time, there's very little that we or even the British Consul will be able to do to help you. Just say no, kids.
These days, airline check-in staff are very strict about charging excess baggage fees so please try to stay within your baggage allowance.
The following items are STRICTLY PROHIBITED from carriage:
- Flammable liquids and solids such as lighter fuel
- Oxidising materials such as bleaches and peroxides
- Alkalis and wet cell batteries
- Radioactive materials
- Explosives, fireworks and flares
- Compressed gases such as butane
- Butane powered equipment such as travel irons or hair curlers
- Party poppers
The following items can be stowed in your hold baggage but are STRICTLY PROHIBITED FROM HAND BAGGAGE:
- Razor blades
- Any type of knife
- Nail clippers
- Hypodermic syringes (if you need to carry these - for example if you are a diabetic - you can carry them in your hand baggage with a valid doctor's certificate)
- Knitting needles
- Sports bats/cues
I recommend that you carry the following items in your hand baggage, the weight of which should not exceed 5kg (11lbs):
- Travel documents (including insurance)
- Money and credit cards
- Essential medication (in original packaging with a copy of the original prescription)
- Camera film
- Contact lens stuff
- Mobile phone
- Something to read
Stop messing about.at check-in
Nowadays, what with all the necessary security issues surrounding travelling through airports, it's incumbent on check in staff to ask certain questions while they're checking in your baggage. Please don't try to give clever-clever answers or make pathetic jokes about bombs or guns as, even if staff reckon you're probably just a prat being stupid, they have no choice other than to call the authorities.
Similarly, if airport staff or airline crew reckon you're too drunk to travel, they have the right to refuse you boarding or to throw you off the flight prior to take off.
If you are refused boarding and you still feel in the holiday mood (you'll need one more than ever by now!) you'll be responsible for making your own way to your destination and Respect won't be able to refund you either for any unused flight tickets or for any unused accommodation.
Lighten up about lighting up
All flights used by Respect enforce a strict no smoking policy. What's more, those killjoys at the airlines have even installed smoke detectors in the khazi so you can't even slip into the cottage for a quick suck.
If you really can't cope with going a few hours without a smoke, seek the advice of your friendly neighbourhood pharmacist about the range of nicotine replacement products on the market.
Special flight requests
If you're disabled and require special assistance at the airport, please tell us when you book and we'll make all the necessary arrangement with our chums on the ground. Similarly, if you have any specific catering requirements (veggie, vegan, gluten free, religious diets) please inform us when you're making your reservation.
It may be that you make your own arrangements to fly from your local airport and then pick up your Respect flight as part of your Respect package. Please always try to leave at least three hours between the arrival of one flight and the departure of the other as Respect cannot accept any responsibility for missed connections.
Flo says: "Let's holiday!"
Special requests WITH fees
Some properties featured in this brochure charge extra cash for certain upgrades. These could be rooms with a seaview, bungalows by the pool, superior rooms etc.
If you choose to pay for one of these upgrades then the upgrade is guaranteed. Since I started at Respect I really can't recall one solitary occasion when such an upgrade hasn't been honoured but, if that does turn out to be the case, we'll apologise profusely and refund any money paid for these optional extras.
Special requests WITHOUT fees
Respect receives bucket loads of requests where no fee is involved. You may, for example, ask for a room on a high floor, with a double bed or close to the bar.
Whenever you make such a request, it's added to your reservation and passed to the overseas accommodation concerned. Such requests, though, are never guaranteed and don't form part of the contract between you and Respect Holidays.
Health & Safety
Believe it or not, the boys at Respect value your health and safety more than anything else, and that includes fame, fortune and regular sex.
Consequently, every single property featured here either conforms to or exceeds local standards of health and safety. What's more, every property is regularly visited by a member of our crack overseas team just to ensure that everything's just as it should be.
Once you arrive, please take a moment or two to familiarise yourself with the location of fire exits, which end of the pool is which and work out the safe operation of your cooker in any self catering accommodation. If anything looks at all untoward, please notify a member of Respect's overseas staff (the contact number is on your itinerary) and also the accommodation's management or receptionist.
Crime, especially robberies and violent crime, are not especially prevalent in Respect's destinations and generally far less commonplace than in many of the UK's towns and cities. That said, there will always be circumstances where someone sets out to take advantage of unsuspecting holidaymakers. To avoid any problems, just be as streetwise as you would at home: don't go out with more cash than you need, always hire a safe and don't accept lifts from anyone you don't know.
If someone offers to buy you a drink, always watch the drink being poured and never leave your drink on a table or at the bar unattended. As you may know from the UK gay scene, a few saddos (who couldn't pull a muscle, never mind a bloke, without artificial assistance) sometimes see fit to spike the drinks of others with some very nasty substances so - although this is unusual - try to remain on your guard.
Talking of drugs, please don't be tempted to buy anything from street dealers. At best, it's likely to be as effective as a Murray mint, and - at worst - it might actually be dangerous.
When I was younger, I used to indulge in watersports at every opportunity. Diving and jet ski-ing are my personal favourites, and I've also been known to do a bit of parascending and speedboat racing.
Anyway, Respect doesn't operate any of this sort of stuff so, if you decide to take part in one of more of these activities, it's up to you to ensure that anything you do is covered by your holiday insurance policy and that the provider of the service is fully insured themselves.
There really have only ever been one or two incidences in the past when Respect customers have been made to feel uncomfortable because of their sexuality, so it's highly unlikely that you'll have any such problems while on your holiday. If, however, you're made to feel awkward or, worse, threatened by other guests staying in your accommodation contact your rep immediately. Any such homophobia is completely unacceptable and we'll do everything we can to knock it on the head. Please remember, though, that Respect is not responsible for the behaviour of holidaymakers booked with other companies and there's very little we can actually insist on being done apart from in cases of the law being broken or there being excessive disruption to other guests.
You'll notice that the frequency of maid service, linen change and that kind of stuff is mentioned with almost military regularity throughout the accommodation bits of this brochure. The frequency stated includes preparing your room for your arrival so if, for example, it's stated that maid service takes place three times a week, it'll be done once before you arrive and twice during the course of your stay. If that's not clear, please feel free to enrol on an adult literacy course.
Rise above it
In certain parts of the world the provision of certain services may not be as reliable as we might expect in the UK. Small, hot islands frequently suffer from water shortages or problems with water pressure, and there can be the occasional difficulty with electricity. These problems don't happen very often but, if they do, please try to remain good humoured. Some things are nobody's fault so stay chilled, relax and remember.you're on holiday.
Moving on, let's talk about insects. Yes, it's true, in hot countries you might well be visited by these little beasties and, although their presence isn't usually a sign of a lack of cleanliness you can minimise the chance of any unwelcome visitations by ensuring that you chuck out all unfinished food and drink. I usually sashay down to the old supermercardo and invest in a spray which more often than not does for the little beggars big time.
Many properties featured by Respect are billed as offering satellite television. However, that's not to say that there'll be too much of a choice of English language broadcasts, so please don't expect to receive anything like the digital TV package you've got at home. Nonetheless, it can be quite good fun watching reruns of the House of Eliot in German.
Accessing your accommodation
Most Respect accommodation is reserved from 2pm on your day of arrival until 10am on your day of departure. This tends to fit in quite well with most Respect flights but those of you on later flights might want to keep your accommodation on for a little longer. If this is the case, just ask reception who'll do their very best to accommodate you if at all possible, although they do reserve the right to levy a charge.
Sometimes, maids and other maintenance staff work flat out to prepare your room between the time of the previous guests' departure and your arrival.. These excellent staff do all they can to ensure that everything's sparkly clean for you, but please be patient if you're asked to wait for a short time just so everything's spot on for your arrival.
Who can stay in your accommodation
Your accommodation is booked only for those named on your Respect confirmation documents. If you allow anyone else to stay then we will charge you. Obviously, I'm not referring to what happens if you get lucky and invite someone back for a cuddle, but Respect will get a bit narked if, for example, you book a two week holiday for one person and you sneak a mate in for a significant part of your holiday duration.
Some properties, especially in the Canaries where the season runs for 12 months of the year, need to undergo essential maintenance which may take place during the course of your stay. Now, I'm not talking about building or construction work which is rare and, in any event, should be advised to you before you travel. All I'm talking about is a bit of decorating, replacement of broken furniture, pool cleaning and the like. Please don't be a stroppy bunny if this is happening while you're on holiday: accommodation owners don't do that sort of thing for fun. It's done to maintain standards and ensure the comfort of you and future holidaymakers and, anyway, any disruption is likely to be minimal.
Don't be a skinflint
If you're staying somewhere with its own poolside bar, please don't eat or drink stuff not purchased there. It really is not the right way to behave; after all, you wouldn't take your own sandwiches into a restaurant at home, would you
Let's talk about sex
Or, more specifically, let's talk about taking people back to your room or apartment. This, as you probably don't need to be told, can be ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC but you need to know that you are responsible for your guests. This means that if your guest causes any damage to your accommodation or behaves in such a way to disrupt other holidaymakers, you'll the one who'll get it in the neck. Which, obviously, is not the place you originally intended to get it.
The old queens who run Respect run a very tight ship with an enviable record of good customer service and, as such, the company receives a tiny number of complaints. The overwhelming chances are, then, that your holiday will run perfectly smoothly and that you'll continue to book with Respect for many years to come. Nonetheless, I can't pretend that problems never occur, and the important thing to remember is that, if anything at all happens that you feel gives cause for complaint, you must follow the very simple and straightforward steps outlined in Respect's booking conditions. These conditions can be found in the price booklet which accompanies the Respect brochure, on the reverse of your confirmation invoice and on the Respect website so, I hope you'll agree, there's no excuse at all for not reading them.