With the summer holidays hovering on the horizon like a beacon of hope to all teenagers, thousands of 16-18 year olds are starting to plan their first holiday abroad with their best friends…and no parents! But hold on - before the fun comes the planning, and as you’re about to discover, this is the hardest part. Luckily, the guys at icelolly.com are here to soothe the panic and talk you through the whole thing!
Before you can even think about planning your trip, you need to know exactly how much people are willing to spend. Money is one of the top sources of arguments on group trips, so it’s important to establish early on what everyone will be able to afford. Browse a few sites first to get an idea of the minimum price you can expect to pay, then decide between the group how much you are willing to spend on the flights + hotel package, and how much spending money you think you’ll need.
When you’re travelling with a large group you’ll find that everyone has different opinions on where you should go. The best option is to pick a crowd pleaser - somewhere with a nice mix of beaches, bars and activities. Europe is a good choice for a first holiday as it’s not far from home and English is widely spoken; Ibiza is world-famous as the ultimate clubbing island, but cheaper destinations such as Magaluf, Ayia Napa and Kavos are popular amongst teenagers on a budget.
A group booking can get complicated, so it’s a good idea to pick one or two people who are going to take charge. Choose carefully – this is the person who will be responsible for making the booking, collecting payment from the group and keeping paperwork safe, so make sure it’s someone organised!
Travel agents will often be willing to drop their prices to secure a booking by a large group, so don’t be afraid to haggle! If you’re lucky the agent may offer a discount for a certain number of people (the standard number required to qualify for a discount is 10), or if not you can usually cut costs by sharing rooms between 3 or 4 instead of 2.
Payment deadlines will vary depending on what travel provider you book with; some request payment upfront while others simply give you a deadline a certain number of weeks before you travel. When you’re booking on behalf of a group it’s best to book with a company that doesn’t require immediate payment; that way you have plenty of time to collect money from your friends. Make sure you clarify with the agent exactly when your payment is due!
Transfers from the airport to your hotel are generally more expensive than public transport, but they’re also safer and much more convenient as you’ll get dropped off right outside your hotel. Booking transfers means you won’t have to worry about missing your bus stop or having to drag your suitcase miles to the hotel, and if you have a large group you may qualify for a discount!
The legal drinking age varies slightly depending on the country you visit; in most European countries the minimum age is 18 but there are a few exceptions; in Cyprus you can drink at 17, and in Portugal you can drink beer and wine at 16 and spirits at 18. Hotels are required to abide by the country’s drinking laws, so alcoholic drinks included in an all inclusive package will still be off limits to you if you are under the legal age.
When you book your holiday you should also make sure you have travel insurance, particularly if you’re planning on doing activities like quad biking or watersports. You should also make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is issued for free and gives you access to free or discounted medical care in any EEA country.
By Kate Moxon - Made the mistakes so you don't have to!