Planning 101 26th September 2014

UK or Europe - Considering your Stag Weekend Options

Weighing up stag do choices is a nice place to be...considering where you'd like to have one helluva fun filled weekend with your best mates and no nagging should put a big smile on your face. Show a little creativity with a group pleasing itinerary, throw in a few games and even a wet weekend in Bognor could be fun.

The modern stag however doesn't have to settle for a pickled egg, pool and a pint down the local, he's genuinely spoilt for choice. There really are a wealth of amazing options from the traditional to the unusual to the new, sporting and extreme, and you can enjoy a range of pretty spectacular experiences without ever having to get your passport out. But if you do fancy a short flight, dozens and dozens more possibilities open up.

Vegas aside, Europe's considered a right of passage and highly appealing for many - Prague and Amsterdam immediately spring to mind. Provided you're not just going to sit in a pub, (btw - you might as well stay local if that's what you fancy), it's the exciting cultural submersion that adds the extra ingredient, the extra sauce. Just remember if you're headed abroad you're representing so please, please treat your destination and the locals with respect. I think we're pretty safe in assuming very few of our European cousins relish the prospect of a mob of hairy arsed, tipsy Brits descending on them. So kudos if you buck the trend and show your hosts how great us Brits really are In return you're likely to enjoy a weekend you'll never forget.

But before we agree that Europe is amazing (it is) and why stags should go at least once every couple of years, let's not forget how fantastic the home of stags, the UK, is. We're a partying culture, that's to say we've got a healthy appetite for a good time and we're pretty social. Towns and city centres even some villages have raised the bar on entertainment and hospitality standards, and it's not all relative - the 2000s are a very different era. The appetite for leisure, creativity and the subsequent growth in options has literally exploded. No one who wants to stay at the top of their game can afford to deliver a duff experience or keep offering the same old stuff. For stag and hen weekends - a multi-million pound industry, it means when you know where to look and what to do you can enjoy some of the greatest stag weekend experiences available right here in the UK. If you look hard enough and plan well enough you can have a weekend to rival and indeed beat what most of Europe has to offer...but it's worth repeating, it takes smart planning and a fun itinerary.

Here are some considerations for choosing between the two...

Budget, up front international adventure means the extra cost of a flight however you may well get that back in savings on beer and food.

Convenience, how easy will it be for people to get to / coordinate?

Fun factor, content and fit, what do you fancy doing? Is the itinerary more or less key than the location? Does the weekend offer the fit for the whole group?

Other stag dos and events, you might have a few coming up in which case it's worth checking where those will be.

Attendance, does staying in the UK mean everyone can come? Does going abroad mean a smaller group size? If a trip to Europe is a done deal and other besties could miss out on seeing the groom off then consider having an additional UK stag celebration aswell - keep in mind a smaller event doesn't have to be the whole weekend.

Local knowledge, cultural differences and language skills, do you know where you're going and how to get around? Will you be limited by language skills or other handbrakes?

Flight times and availability, believe it or not it's often overlooked.

Passports, does everyone have them?

Fear of flying, ok bit of a stretch but worth putting in the list.

The journey back, flying with a blistering hangover and the onward journey home is not one of the joys of a stag weekend, however the legendary experience might well outweigh the discomfort.

Memorability, is it going to be memorable? What are you going to do that's different? How are you going to mark the celebrations?

My Top 20

I've mellowed quite a bit from when I first started going to stag weekends, my tastes have definitely changed and I now get the worst hangovers (thanks age!), but put on the spot my top 20 lads weekend favourites in the UK and Europe are...

Chester (Liverpool as reserve)

It's pretty even stevens between home and away, I love getting around the UK for a big event as much as Europe, there are things we just do better. In terms of travel and new adventures next on my list are Reykjavik, Berlin and Bruges, which all sound amazing, the lads in the office say the first two are. While Bruges will be a new one later this year, I'll write about it shortly!

The 3 Ps Whatever you choose the most important things are the people and the planning, get that right and the place will be a success wherever you go!