Sometimes as surfers we are faced with tough decisions; where to surf, which board to ride, should I go out tonight, that kind of thing. But when there are factors in play that directly affect the choices, such as work, money and the missus the decision gets harder. This is what makes deciding whether to go on a long haul or short haul surf trip one of the hardest choices out there but here are a few factors to help you make the right decision:
Unless you’re a freelancer earning a mint in web design for numerous London clients, it’s a huge commitment taking the amount of time off work to justify a holiday on the other side of the globe. If you fancy the barrels of Bali, jetlag can see you spending the first week of your holiday wanting dinner for breakfast and being a general space cadet, so you need to take at least two weeks off, maybe three, possibly four to shake off the grogg, get settled into the vibe and reap the benefits. With most jobs, taking a month off will mean using up all your holiday allowance, so you’ve got to make the most of it.
An escape to sunnier climes doesn’t have to come with a side serving of jetlag though, if you go short haul to somewhere like Morocco for example, you can potentially book off a long weekend, get a usually inconvenient but this time convenient early flight with one of the budget airlines, surf memorably mental waves for a few days, soak up crazy culture and be back into work on Tuesday with a healthy glow.
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This is a deceiving one as you may think that you will be saving money by going for a week in France instead of a fortnight in Sri Lanka, due to the cheap airfare and shortened holiday. However in a lot of long haul destinations you get serious bang for your buck and it can even out. I actually saved money whilst being on a two-week holiday in Sri Lanka a couple of years ago as the cost of living is extremely cheap.
A flight to France may only be £120 return, but with short haul flights you have to pay to take your board, so that’s another £60, a smart cabin for a week works out at around £250pp based on two sharing, you’ll probably want a hire car which is another £150pp, a beer in le pub is around £5 and moules et frites will set you back close to £10. Take all this into consideration and you’re looking to spend around £1,000 in total.
On the flip side, you can get flights to Sri Lanka for around £400, with all-inclusive packages for £795. So for around £1,200 you can surf tropical waves for a fortnight, fueled by colourful cuisine, tick all the boxes for a true cultural holiday and gain experiences that money can’t buy.
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The flight itself is a part of the experience when flying long haul, you can take the time to relax with no distractions (internet) and have a good think, clear your head, read a book and do pretty much anything that you’ve been putting off. You also get to see the opportunity to see a sunset and a sunrise in the same flight, which is very cool.
Short haul flights however, are very convenient. Being able to leave work at lunchtime, fly to Spain in time for a quick surf and cold cervesa whilst the sun sets is pretty special.
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A long haul trip to Indo with the fellas isn’t as justifiable to the missus as a quick jaunt to Portugal. If you go ahead and leave her behind you’ll have a lot of time to think about being in the green room, whilst in the dog house back home…
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Generally the waves further away from the UK the better and more predictable. Look at Oz for example, about as far away as you can get from blighty and home to thousands of waves better than our own. Short haul destinations (Europe) are usually Atlantic Ocean facing, which can be all time but can also skank you big time.
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On all surf trips our plans can go pear-shaped very quickly. Sunstroke, reef cuts, localism, crazy roads, flat spells leading to booze and drunken debauchery etc. But when you’re a long way from home and things go wrong it can be very scary and very dangerous. A hospital stint in Hossegor after a fight in Dicks Sand Bar will seem like a walk in the park compared to spending days thinking you’re dying in a horribly over-crowded church funded hospital in central Costa Rica.
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Taking the factors above into consideration the short haul trip takes the win, but don’t let our experiences make your decision for you. The best way is to find out which you prefer for yourself.
Then if you’re still undecided, take a week’s surf trip to Europe in Autumn and pack your bags for the long haul for three week’s somewhere warm in Winter…