Summer is nearly here and the idea of going on holiday massively appeals, but god damn it, holidays aren’t cheap, especially when you have kids. Between flights, accommodation, food and drink – okay, ice cream – and getting to the airport in the first place, a quick getaway makes an enormous dent in the old bank balance.
Throw in fancy attractions and it’s even pricier. A two-night trip to Disneyland Paris for a family of four, a month from now, starts at £1,444, and that’s not including food, drinks or getting to King’s Cross to catch the Eurostar. And that’s not even proper Disneyland, it’s Disneyland Paris. Comme ci, comme ca, but let’s be honest – it’s the least impressive of all the Disneylands.
Don’t do it. Go to B&Q instead. The DIY megastore offers everything Disneyland does, plus you don’t have to travel anywhere near as far. Take it from me: B&Q has everything the Happiest Place On Earth has – and more.
Sure, Disney is famous for its iconic characters: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, all those anthropomorphic alliterative animals. But B&Q has its characters too. Look, there’s Comedown Clive, who hasn’t been to bed for two days and is somehow managing to operate the checkout. There’s Livid Lisa, apoplectic with rage at a malfunctioning checkout. Look, there’s Channeling Rage At The Breakdown Of His Marriage Into DIY Julian buying a bandsaw. If you want to see ducks and mice, go home via the park and the alley behind the chip shops.
Okay, Splash Mountain is pretty famous, and loads of families have treasured memories of going on the teacup ride together. But B&Q has about five different types of trolley, all of which can easily hold a child or two. The big flatbed ones, like one might use when buying a bunch of lumber, are a lot of fun to be pushed around on, especially if you can find one with a knackered wheel (you usually can!). Running around the garden centre bit is as good as Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, with the added frisson of danger if they have a good cactus selection.
At Disneyland you can part with a small fortune for a picture of yourself on one of the rides, or a souvenir Mickey Mouse clock, or a whole load of plastic crap that costs 10 times what it would in the outside world. B&Q is that outside world. You know what kids love? Paint! There is loads of it for sale in B&Q, and even free gifts in the form of those little colour samplers.
And hey, instead of a souvenir Disneyland t-shirt, why not opt for a high-vis vest, which is both functional and fashionable? Or a drill. Drills are great. If opting for the JCB-ID750, currently on clearance, that family of four could leave B&Q with 10 drills each – yes, that’s right, 40 drills in total, more drills than any family could ever need – for less than the price of the Disneyland trip.
Disneyland is undoubtedly loads of fun for everyone – apart from standing in queues, everything you get to do there is a massive laugh. But can’t you have just as much fun pratting about in a big-ass DIY shop? Running around the lumber yard, climbing on shelves, making a big mess in the hardware aisle by knocking over loads of screws?
Nearly a quarter of us go into debt paying for holidays we can’t afford, as competitiveness, one-upmanship and showing off on social media makes us feel like unless we bankrupt ourselves getting the best of everything we’re somehow letting ourselves and our families down.
Going into debt to take a two-year-old on a fancy holiday they will forget about in a matter of weeks and won’t necessarily enjoy any more than if you all stayed at home feels unnecessary. Can’t we just, sometimes, forego the financially hideous option that looks great on Instagram, and go and mess about for free.
There’s usually a vending machine!
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.