Not in front of the parents
How can we ensure Teenagers learn their limits on post-Leaving Certificate holidays
Just how the shoal of Leaving Cert students determine the summer hot spot more than six months in advance is not clear but early bookers pave the way for others – and word travels fast in social media.
Sunway is one travel operator that was able to spot the trend early on and it was one reason it organised packages to Mallorca from Kerry and Knock this year, as well as Dublin.
One 18 year old from south Dublin explains how he and a dozen friends booked flights and accommodation in Magaluf as far back as last October, when they heard people from neighbouring schools planned to go there. “Soon enough many people followed suit as the idea of going to Magaluf spread.”
Even at that stage, direct flights to Palma were full or expensive, so they opted to go via London. The two return flights and a week’s accommodation worked out at just over €400 for the week – with close on the same again needed for food and spending money when they got there.
He thinks the image of these sorts of holidays is fairly accurate, “although I did not experience the horror stories associated with binge drinking, and so on”. While nearly everyone drank every night, “most people I know were responsible enough to drink within measure and within their own limits”.
However, he concedes that the combination of post-Leaving celebrations and the holiday atmosphere may have caused many of them to be rowdier than normal.
The worst incidents that he heard about was the theft of hundreds of euro in cash from a room after a balcony door was left open; some people needed hospital treatment after, allegedly, having drinks spiked and there was some damage to the hotel, such as broken doors, that had to be paid for.
He found bringing two forms of finance, for example, cash and credit card, a good idea as it reduced the chances of having it all stolen.
Also keeping an eye on your drink is always very important.
“If you keep your wits about you,” he adds, “I believe there is no reason for anything to go wrong.”
One drawback to teenagers booking flights and accommodation separately is that there is no tour operator’s representative on the ground to help out if there is a problem.
That is why, says Tanya Airey, managing director of Sunway, parents often get involved with the booking process to make sure it’s a package through a travel agency.
“If there is an issue, there is somebody there to look after them,” she points out.
King Travel in Malahide, Co Dublin is typical of a local travel agency that each year has a few groups of Leaving Cert students from local schools walking through the door in early spring and putting down a deposit.
Managing director Matt Corcoran says they will always ensure the teenagers are taking a package that incorporates good reps at the resort.
When full payment is due six weeks before departure, he usually hears from a parent or two who say they didn’t even know their teenager had booked a holiday . . . and they’re certainly not paying for it.