Finishing the Leaving Cert and rewarding yourself with a good break – be it in cities or in the sun – is probably one of the best things you can do. It's a trip where you don't have to worry about exams or exam results. It's a much-needed trip to blow off some steam. To be honest, it's a reward for a tough year.
I went to Magaluf last summer. There have been lots of horror stories to come out of the sunny student hub over the years. I had no problems, and know very few who had any. I enjoyed every minute of it. I've so many memories and the good greatly outweigh the bad.
Sixth Year Holidays are usually trips full of alcohol and questionable decision-making. Lots of things happened in the 7 days I was away. Here's a small guide to having one of the best weeks of your life:
Make sure you bring everything you need
This can range from sun cream, clothes, swimwear and sunglasses to deodorant, shower stuff, aftershave/perfume and condoms. Check currencies in case it isn't Euro, and order in advance so you don't have to pay bank charges. Make sure your numbers in your phone have international codes (e.g. 00353871234567) so that you can stay in touch with friends and family.
Consider looking at local rules and laws
For Magaluf in particular, there has been a change in a number of laws. This includes changes to do with public behaviour and a ban on drinking on the street past midnight. Find the major changes here.
Use the first day to get to know your surroundings
Most hotels and hostels have reps that can recommend places to go (take this advice with a pinch of salt. Some get paid to recommend stuff). Find a supermarket where you can buy water, food, snacks etc. See what restaurants are nearby and where clubs/attractions are. Find a landmark or a restaurant you can remember so you can ask for directions if need be. Better to do it in the day rather than when you've had a few drinks and could easily get lost.
Use a safe in your room
Theft is common in many touristy areas. If your room has a safe, use it. If you can't, hide money in different places. If things do get stolen, you won't be stuck with nothing. Take extra care of your passport!
Plan something to do during the day
You might think this is obvious. Trust me – it's not. I know people who spent so much time indoors that they came home as pale as they did going out. Be it walking around or just chilling by the pool/beach – just get up and do something. Don't spend too much time sitting in your room or in the bar during the day. You didn't spend the money to sit indoors! And you probably won't last the night if you start drinking in the afternoon.
Don't be pressured into doing something you're uncomfortable with
Many people think your Sixth Year holiday is your chance to do something you don't usually do. This includes sex or visiting strip clubs, smoking, taking drugs or getting a tattoo among other things. Just because it's a Sixth Year holiday doesn't make it an excuse. Don't do something you'd regret in 10 years.
Avoid walking by yourself
It's much safer to take a friend with you when going to an ATM or walking back at night. Take care when walking passed populated areas or large groups – especially if they're rowdy. Girls can be targeted more than guys, so lads – look out for the girls in your group.
Beware of thieves
I saw people getting robbed day and night (in front of many people) by reps for strip clubs and by men selling glasses and watches nicknamed the 'lucky, lucky' men. They target drunk people and individuals. There's no need to be afraid of them – just politely decline and keep valuables close. Try walking in groups at night.
Deal with the annoying reps
If you've ever walked up the Magaluf Strip, you've experienced very persistent reps. They provide great deals if you come in groups including free drinks or discounts in clubs. However, they actively try to get in your way and are quite invasive. They can split up your group on a street with around 3000 people on it. This happens anywhere in the world where there's nightlife. It's crucial to be polite to them: Reps are friendly with security and other reps. If you piss one of them off, you could piss them all off.
Be careful how much you drink
Alcohol is usually cheaper anywhere you go. Spirits and cans can be sold at a third of the price. Don't use this as an excuse to go mad. Stick to what you drink at home and pace yourself. Make sure you have a good meal beforehand and stay hydrated during the day – especially if you're on a sun holiday. You don't want to waste a good night out because you had too much to drink.
Overall: Enjoy yourself! However long you go for, it'll be something you will remember for a long time.
If you take anything from this, please let it be to look after your friends. People may change character when they go away. Some of your friends might go too wild and end up sick or in trouble. Make sure you stick together and watch out for each other. Use common sense and come home safe after an enjoyable week or two.