One of the things I learned very quickly after our daughter arrived on the scene nearly two years is that driving to the airport when you go on holiday is a double-edged sword. On one hand it means that the journey there is pretty straightforward. You can take as much luggage as you want and there’s no hanging around waiting for trains with a tetchy toddler. It’s at the airport that the problems start. Do you drive up to the terminal and leave the family and bags there, drive back to the car park and leave the car and then wait for the bus before returning to where you left the family shivering in the car drop-off zone as much as an hour later? Or do you drive everyone to the car park and then all try to get on the bus with the mountains of luggage?
About a year ago, I had a revelation. I’d always thought that valet parking was for fat cats travelling on business. In fact, it’s probably the most family-friendly service ever introduced at an airport.
So when we pulled up late last night at Heathrow and the nice man from purpleparking whisked away our car, it was virtually effortless. It costs £30 or £40 more but not having the stress is well worth the money.
That said, I still get a frisson of fear every time the valet drives away in our car and you wonder whether you were really sure it was a valet. Maybe I’m just paranoid.