By Lily Donnelly 3rd year French and Italian
Lily Donnelly provides the low-down on how to group holiday abroad in a style that does not impersonate The Inbetweeners.
Whether your preferences lie in a cultural city break, a week lounging on the beach or a blow-out in - what most right-minded individuals consider to be a hellhole like - Magaluf, a group holiday is always a trip to (hopefully) remember. Henceforth, a guide to organising a great one.
Location, Location, Location
Do NOT be surprised by the 15€ gin and tonics if you have chosen to holiday on the Cote d’Azur, despite your dwindling bank balance (tried and tested – this ended in drinking cartons of wine). A student-friendly holiday requires a student-friendly destination.
The likes of Spain, Southern Italy, Greece, Portugal and all of Eastern Europe accommodate common interests of affordable food, affordable bars, affordable absorption of culture scattered on historic streets with what is most likely to be free entry to museums and galleries with the mere mention of student status. For example, a traditional pizza margarita can be found anywhere in Sicily for just 4€, seducing your taste buds with a tricolour of red tomatoes, white mozzarella and green basil.
Finding somewhere to stay in the thick of the action seems like a very obvious suggestion, but also one that can be forgotten in the selection process. Trekking to unreliable bus stops for early morning excursions or returning debaucherously in the dark of night is absolutely not ideal nor entirely sage, so finding accommodation in – or at least near - the centre lays the essential foundation for a successful trip. Getting home via a metro, two trams and a considerable stroll is not an effective way of kicking back and relaxing (also tried and tested – this ended in unnecessary uber expenditure).
The question of making this all affordable has been miraculously answered by Air BnB, often offering a three-bedroom apartment with a terrace for the same price as one night at some hostels. Some of the best experiences can be had by just renting a room in someone’s place, offering an on-hand tour guide who might just open two bottles of local French wine for you on their rooftop. Be sure to read reviews, ensure there is a Wi-Fi connection and that the neighbourhood isn’t on the wrong side of the tracks.
Epigram / Lily Donnelly
Spending and Debt Collecting
One individual (me) is likely to end up booking most things for a trip. This individual (also me) would like prompt repayment. Someone realised this, and set up the app ‘Splitwise’. It allows these freelance holiday agents to request money for flights, accommodation or any holiday purchase from their friends, thus erasing any confusion or arguments that may set tense tone for the upcoming trip. Alas, spending doesn’t stop there.
Budgets are boring and often broken, but essential if wallets aren’t to be bled dry by day three. Outlining some guidelines is important here.
For example, two meals in and one meal out a day. One night on the strip followed by beachside beers. Searching for flights on an incognito browser to avoid price-heightening cookies more than a few weeks before your departure date. But what is also important is not being scared to splurge. A holiday is not an exercise of willpower, and no one recounts stories of how they stuck meticulously to their budget on glory day holidays. Anyhow, before money was plasticised, I liked to think of it growing literally on trees – a reassuring thought, only if you forget about the dying crop in your financial garden.
For a group holiday, you will indeed require a group of people. Friends made at university can become some of the closest people in your life, and more importantly, the perfect holiday partners. Listen to these friends when they tell you that you’re burning rapidly in the sun. Listen again when they tell you not to buy those drinks or not to accept one from a questionable character at the bar. And maybe befriend some languages students, so that you can save money on a phrasebook and they can do all the talking that you don’t have to.
It’s meant to be a holiday, after all.
Featured Image: Epigram/ Lily Donnelly