The Dunn Thing

The art of holidaying

Issue 4 - 2016
By Andrew Dunn, founder of Scott Dunn · Illustration Mathew Cook

“I like to do precisely nothing on day one, then ease into watersports, tennis and sightseeing”

Issue 4 - 2016
By Andrew Dunn, founder of Scott Dunn · Illustration Mathew Cook

“I like to do precisely nothing on day one, then ease into watersports, tennis and sightseeing”

There’s an art to holidaying, and I like to think I’ve perfected it over the 30 years we’ve been sending guests around the world. Now, for instance, I like to arrive at hotels and villas in daylight. It’s easier to orientate and, after settling in, I always try to have a massage. It’s a great thing to do after all that tiring travelling and instantly puts you in the holiday mood. In a resort I like to do precisely nothing on day one, then ease into watersports, tennis and sightseeing. But in somewhere as lively as India or Latin America, it can be good to get out straight away and immerse yourself in things from the start.

It’s important to get the balance right between relaxation and adventure, between pre-planned high points and the space to discover things for yourself. Be honest about what’s the right mix for you: our best family holidays have been adventure followed by beach, with three stellar moments along the way. The classic is Kenya followed by the Indian Ocean, and we’ve enjoyed a similar mix of boost and beach in Jordan. I tend to go for three parts activity to one part beach, but know thyself: don’t make your party get up at 3am for a trek if they really don’t want to. And learn to adapt with the years: you can’t expect the same type of holiday to work as your children grow up.

I’m a great believer in having a family pow-wow at the planning stage, but then it’s like any management – one person needs to take charge. I’m also firm about technology and put phones and tablets in the hotel safe between 10am and 4pm. The children moan at first but forget within minutes. The same should go for us: aim to handle texts or emails, if you have to, just once a day. Everyone is happier.

It’s worth learning the art of packing light, although there are a few items I prioritise, including high-quality headphones and, if on a beach holiday, a really good snorkel and mask – the ones they give you never quite fit.

On a really well-planned holiday, you won’t even be aware of all the arrangements in place that make things run smoothly. Our philosophy is to design out any pressure points, then concentrate on adding in the special stuff. If there’s a fabulous local restaurant that books up months in advance, we’ll know about it, and get you a reservation. These little details can make a trip truly memorable.

There are some things that aren’t worth compromising on. For example, getting to the airport can be stressful, and we can arrange for you to be picked up at home or for valet parking. The price gap isn’t big enough to make the pain of a shuttle bus ever worth it! A good tip to remember is that home carriers tend to leave their own countries at better times.

The best thing about a good break is that it gives you something to look forward to. So my last tip is to start thinking about the next holiday as you finish the last one: something to dream about on the flight back.

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