Published on May 16, 2013 | by Ben Grazebrook


Coming of age: Lads on Tour


AT THE beginning of every summer, airports are full of young males dressed in T-shirts five sizes too small, with copious amounts of fake tan, and the standard ‘short back and sides’ haircut. They will be jetting off to a sleazy sunbaked resort, situated somewhere on the Mediterranean.

‘Lads on tour’ has become a right of passage for the young male; they are able to celebrate the end of school, the end of exams and the end to their teenage years.

Sunbathing and tequila

The usual layout of the holiday is to spend all day on the beach with their over-sculpted bodies burning from the foreign heat. The evening is when things really kick off; bathed in after-sun they will invade the resort town, vests and plimsoles being the dress code. Let’s spare a moment at this stage for the fat one, there’s always a fat one.

Several shots of tequila later they will hit the clubs, mingling with their fellow holiday-goers and the native old timers. Things are getting wild.

Is this traditional ‘lads holiday’ still on the rise or is it on the precipice, shortly about to fall?

Like anything else the ‘lads holiday’ lives and dies by current trends. Ten years ago Ibiza was the ‘hot’ location. Now we are in the age of Malia, Magaluf and Ayia Napa.

Just from looking at the holiday deals available to these locations would suggest that the ‘lads holiday’ is still in a boom period. Hundreds of travel companies all offer heaps of cheap holidays specifically with the post-A level teenager in mind.

Just turn on the TV and programmes such as Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents are documenting not only the holidays themselves but also the reactions of the parents, undoubtedly gripping viewing.

The film industry has also taken advantage of this holiday trend with films such as The Inbetweeners Movie.

From this perspective the interest seems to still be booming. However there are problems and alternatives on the horizon, which could dampen and ultimately destroy the sun-soaked tours.

Money issues

The main issue in the coming years will simply be money, as we are ever reminded we are in a double dip recession. While not overly expensive from the eyes of a teenager, the majority of parents will look upon the traditional ‘lads holiday’ as an unnecessary expense.

The next issue is other alternatives; summer internships are at a record high and are certainly the option most parents would prefer. There are also new trends emerging, specifically volunteering in third-world countries in Asia or Africa – who knew today’s teenagers were so intent on helping others? Or is it just to get a cool new cover photo?

Glorified binge weekend

The biggest problem with the ‘lads holiday’ however is people are bored of the same, stereotypical, glorified binge weekend. Holidays are supposed to be fun, at what stage in getting sun burnt, throwing up in an alley and swapping STDs does the fun actually arrive? The death of the ‘lads holiday’ as we know it is coming soon. Look instead for holidays to more traditional European counterparts; Barcelona, Amsterdam, Berlin being but a few examples.

So perhaps this is an end of an era, the changing of the guard, the final swan song from the era of fake tans and triceps, certainly for our society’s sake, I hope so.


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