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Sun, sex and an empty bank account. Why you should think twice about your holiday plans.

20th June 2012

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Wife beater? Check. Matching ‘Tour’ t-shirts? Check. Congratulations, you are now ready for your lad’s holiday. 

Lads and girls holidays to destinations such as Malia, Ayia Napa and Magaluf have always been popular, even more so in recent years, after their increased appearance in film and on TV. The Inbetweeners movie is a perfect example. The film follows a group of teenagers in a quest for wild nights, freedom from suburbia and above all, girls, before departing for university or the world of work.

Yet, you may be shocked to hear that not every posh, middle class geek ends up taking home a blonde beauty - he is more likely to bring home a black eye, an empty wallet, and Chlamydia.

Clearly, most people that go on these holidays are 18 and therefore free to make their own decisions, and I'm not condemning the choice to go on such a trip. However, for me, there are more worthwhile experiences that can be found for the same price.

Thousands of students take a gap year after finishing school or college, but you don’t have to take a year out to see the world. The long summer break from university provides the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons. Whilst ‘finding yourself’ trekking in the mountains of Nepal on a traditional ‘gap yah’ may not appeal to you, you may find something more interesting a bit closer to home.

Having travelled round Europe twice in the last two years by train with a group of mates, I can honestly say the site of any foreign rail station makes me genuinely excited and evokes some of the most incredible memories.

Personally, the best thing about using the InterRail pass is the freedom that it grants you. Arriving at Prague International Airport last summer, we had no plan of where we were going, staying or doing and yet in the preceding three weeks we visited 12 countries, made lasting contacts with people from 10 different nationalities including Russian, Australian and American, as well as visiting some of the most incredible places and sites Europe has to offer.

A trip round Europe can combine incredible nights out at the best clubs on the continent with quieter day time activities. If you are just looking to chill out on the beach, you may find some hidden gems - free from half pissed Brits, slowly sobering up face down in the sand whilst their mate draws a sun cream penis on their back.

You are guaranteed to meet some truly memorable characters. When travelling through Serbia, on learning I lived near singer Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, a girl sharing our compartment wrote him a love letter with an unknown pill and a condom attached for me to deliver to him. Bizarre? Yes. Worrying? A little. But it certainly made a six hour train journey go quickly and provided one of a thousand funny and unique stories to come out of the trip.

Another reason why InterRail is the perfect way to spend your summer is the cost. A one month global InterRail pass, will only set you back £350, incredible value considering the potential travelling you could do. If budgeted carefully, a month long trip around Europe could cost little over £1000, providing you plan well and are prepared to eat cheap.

With thousands expected to flock to the Mediterranean this summer, we can again expect to see scenes of drunken violence, overcrowded beaches and unconscious teenagers on our TVs. But just bear in mind that there are alternative holidays out there, suited to the adventurous student.


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