Cheap flights and an even cheaper hotel in the middle of a well known European strip? Check. Group of same sex friends (mostly single) ready to hit said strip? Check. Ridiculously crude t-shirts and silly straw hats? Check. Cue the clubbing holiday, a rite of passage for any sun-seeking young adult wanting a week away from rules and the prying eyes of parents. Somewhere that’s guaranteed to have sun, sex (if that’s your thing) and very strong alcohol. It’s seems that Brits just can’t get enough of them and thousands of us rowdily pile onto planes every year to spend our annual leave spewing in the street and proving that our binge-drinking stereotype isn’t far wrong.
I have had the pleasure of being part of two holidays like this. My first in Kavos, Corfu and my second in Sunny Beach and quite honestly I have never experienced anything quite like them.
Even arriving in Kavos was an experience; the transfer coach inching down the strip as hundreds of drunk holiday makers throw things at the windows, flash the driver and chant intoxicated slurs as they pass. Rule 1. If you love the environment of your local city centre on a Saturday night, go ahead and stay in a central hotel; if not go a little further afield so that you are able to escape the manic night-life and it’s inevitable aftermath. In Sunny Beach we were a ten minute taxi drive from the strip and it meant that on nights that we didn’t want to dance until our feet hurt, we could have a evening undisturbed.
Rule 2. If you like to lounge around and top up your tan on pristine beaches, make sure your only option isn’t the coast directly next to the clubs. Syringes, rubbish and all other types of paraphernalia littered the sand as we strolled along on our first day in Kavos. It is safe to say we remained poolside for the entirety of our holiday.
While clubbing holidays often feel safe, with lots of people of a similar age out and about each night and the drink making everyone and anyone your best friend, all is not always as fine and dandy as you may think. I was amazed at how full on the men were in Kavos, with club promoters physically picking girls up and forcing them into clubs for drinks. Rule 3. If you’re female stay in pack… As boring as it sounds walking off on your own while intoxicated in an unfamiliar area is not a good idea.
Rule 4. In my opinion, just because you’re on a clubbing holiday, it doesn’t mean you should wallow all day hungover in a pit of self pity. Try to get out of the strip at least once during your holiday and go further afield, even if it’s just to visit the next town. You’ll see a whole different side of the country you’re visiting and experience the local culture so much more, as well as having something else to tell people when you get home other than how many Sambucas you had in the bar of your hotel.
Lastly, remember that these strips haven’t existed since time began. I couldn’t have been more shocked when walking to a central bus stop one morning to see elderly gentlemen coming out of their homes to clear up the mess that people had made the night before. This is still home to some and while I’m sure tourism has brought a lot of positives to these people’s lives I am almost certain strips like this also destroy traditional ways of life and have changed towns beyond recognition. Rule 5. Respect the local people and the fact that you are a visitor on their turf.
Ultimately, clubbing holidays can be super fun. I got to spend time with some of my closest friends and had some of my biggest laughs while out in a club thousands of miles from home, drinking cheap alcohol and wearing an ‘I love Kavos’ t-shirt. I can understand how that is attractive to some people and I’m glad that I was able to experience a couple of trips like this.
However two are more than enough for me. I no longer want to experience a British Invasion of someone else’s culture and then on return claim that I experienced the country. I don’t want to go home feeling more ill and haggard than when left the UK. And I definitely don’t want to spend the whole week eating southern fried chicken on the side of a curb, unable to remember my night. For some, this is all they need from their yearly holiday and if it’s your scene then I salute you. I want to experience a touch of culture, a hint of another way of life and from now on that is exactly what I’ll be doing.