With summer creeping closer, our plans of jetting off to faraway corners of the globe – escaping the monotony (and miserable weather) of our everyday lives are almost upon us
words Jack Ramage
With summer creeping closer, our plans of jetting off to faraway corners of the globe – escaping the monotony (and miserable weather) of our everyday lives – are almost upon us.
While the summer marks many people’s first proper holiday since the pandemic began, it will also see an unfortunately very familiar character return, and descend on Europe: the Brit abroad. The sunscreen slathered boomers refusing to speak in any other language, and the freshly graduated (and overly-slaughtered) 18 year-olds on their first trip abroad.
And this hasn't gone unnoticed. Destinations including Ibiza and Mallorca, famous for their party scenes which bring in over 10 million tourists a year, recently announced a crackdown on drinking laws on the islands. Tourists found to break these new rules could be fined up to 6,000 euros, while establishments could face up to 600,000 euros, along with forced closure of up to three years.
With this in mind, perhaps it’s time to rethink how we conduct ourselves as visitors at these party-centric locations. But fear not: here’s a quick guide on how to ethically party abroad this summer.
Respect the local community and environment
“There are many environmental challenges that [Balearic Islands] face,” Kate Benyon-Tinker from IbizaPreservation, a non-profit organisation that campaigns for the environmental protection of the region, tells Woo. “A lot of which are related to human pressure, and the increasing number of tourists that we see year on year.”
“One of which is water resources: there is an issue in terms of providing enough water for the usage of the number of people who kind of flood onto the island during the summer months because it's a very large amount of people in a very short concentrated time.”
Benyon-Tinker adds that there has been “a gradual and continued decline” in the quality of bathing water in the islands – partly caused by party-goers and tourists year on year. “We’re also seeing a rise in plastic pollution too: more microplastics in the water and a huge amount of plastic pollution on shorelines.”
Sarah, 22, is a regular punter in Malia, a popular party destination in Greece, from Manchester. On her trips, she’d see the local beaches covered in litter. “I do not think that party goers have locals in mind at all. I think we’re so disrespectful to the community and the country,” she says.
Plastic pollution is a far-reaching and devastating issue in our global marine ecosystem but is particularly prevalent in areas with increased tourism. In the face of such a monumental issue, it’s easy to feel hopeless. Luckily, Benyon-Tinker assures us there are “many simple things you can do to help.”
It might seem obvious, but cutting down plastic use while you party can make a small – but tangible – difference. “Things like bringing reusable water bottles or reusing shopping bags can help.” She says. “Also, chemicals in traditional sunscreen cause damage to local marine life so it’s important to use eco-friendly, chemical-free sunscreen.”
If you’re a smoker, it’s important to be mindful of where you stub it out too. Cigarette butts account for more than 766 million kilograms of toxic trash each year. They take years to degrade - when they eventually do, they release harmful microplastics and toxins. “These can be particularly harmful to our marine life; so please if you’re a smoker be thoughtful of where you put your cigarette butts – not in the ocean or the beach,” Benyon-Tinker adds.
Know your limits
Not only should you be mindful of the environment, you should be mindful of yourself too. “It’s a very toxic environment. There are a lot of people who have just left home for the first time – no one is there to tell them what to do so they just go mad. There's a lot of booze and a lot of drugs.” Sarah told Woo, recalling her experience in Malia over the last two years.
Party destinations can feel far from home, which is a great thing. They can provide a much-needed feeling of escapism and release. But taking it too far and exceeding your limits can also be dangerous.
Sarah recalls a term widely used by party-goers called ‘the Malia shakes’, where your body shakes from dehydration and alcohol abuse. It goes to show how important it is to listen to your body and, if you feel unwell, take it slow. Unfortunately, some don’t follow this message. In 2014, a 22-year-old from Ireland sadly died of alcohol poisoning after downing dozens of vodka and Red Bull cocktails during a three-day booze binge.
Try new things
Travel broadens the mind. Immersing ourselves in different cultures and giving us the opportunity to speak with individuals we otherwise wouldn't. I get it: you’ve been planning this ‘lad’s holiday’ for months and you’re ready to hit the bottle first as soon as you feel the gush of warm air stepping off the plane. But take some time to appreciate your new surroundings: refrain from the all-inclusive English breakfast, and try some of the local cuisines; make friends with the locals or explore
Harry, 25, from Leeds, did just that on his recent trip to Ibiza. He stayed in the secluded and tranquil northeastern region of the Island. “It totally changed my perception of Ibiza,” he notes, “I spent most of my time on beaches we had just to ourselves. We stayed in an Airbnb in a remote field, surrounded by goats – it was worlds apart from the Ibiza I was expecting.”
So how to do as the locals do and find the authenticity on party islands? Check out the recently relaunched Trippin’ for one, an independent platform that connects travel, culture, and creativity, with local guides by cool, creative local people. Multidisciplinary artist Ana Sting, for example, gives a guide to holistic retreats and spiritual practices in Ibiza.