In early 1966, writer Charles Owen was lunching with his publisher at that locus of London’s literary and theatrical scene, the Garrick Club. Owen, a former naval officer with a distinguished wartime service record, was, in his fifties, making a living as a travel journalist and had recently written a successful book on the joys of middle-class independent travel.[i] Over the salmon mayonnaise, his publisher asked him “Could you bear to take a look at the other side of the coin?” “We think that a book about package travel might make a good sequel - there should be a fairly large public for this kind of thing. But, clearly, you must first go on some of the tours yourself” On leaving the club, his publisher had an afterthought, “You know it might not be the ordeal you expect. Some of your fears or, one might say, prejudices may prove to be unfounded. But many people undoubtedly share them and it would be interesting if you were to set them down.”[ii] Clearly, the enthusiasm of ‘ordinary’ Britons to fly abroad for the holidays had become noticeable to the chattering classes to the point that a lighthearted de haut en bas book would sell.
Photo courtesy of Doug Goodman