When I was 16 I went to Newquay with about 10 girl friends.
At 17 I went to the Greek island of Kos with five more and at 18 it was Kavos in Corfu with the girls I worked with.
I’m not going to discuss the details of these girlie holidays – no one wants to hear about that – except to say they were a lot of fun at the time, and still trigger feverish laughter when we reminisce. The non stop clubbing, drinking, sunbathing and stupid antics are not something I’d want to do again though, well, not on such a ridiculous scale.
After a few recent life changes my friend and I decided we needed a holiday. We didn’t care where so long as it was hot and cheap. We ended up paying £240 each for flights and accommodation at the Bayside Hotel in Kremasti, Rhodes, Greece. We wanted to have a stylish girlie holiday, but on as much of a budget as we could cope with.
Unfortunately both of us had the screw it we’re on holiday and made our way through £800 between us for a week in Rhodes. Yikes. More on that later.
We’d both worked hard all year though, and sometimes, you just have to go for it. If you’re planning a girlie holiday with a little bit more money and a little bit more style than when you took those first holidaying steps as a teenager, there are a few things you can do.
1. Get prepped
For some unexplainable reason my friend and I, both individually, decided to prepare our bodies for the occasion as if we were in fact 18 year olds out on the pull. Bikini waxes, eyebrow waxes, HD brows, haircuts, pedicures, manicures – the lot. Even though we only spoke to about 6/7 people other than each other for the whole trip it was a really fun warm up, and boy oh boy did we look ‘worth it’ when we were strutting our stuff on the beach.
2. Drive to the airport, and home again
Wow, you actually have a driving license now! Take advantage of the fact so you can use the ease of getting out the airport exactly when you want to, rather than when public transport tells you it’s time. Airport parking such as that at Gatwick Airport (www.gatwickparking.com) has 24-hour CCTV, barrier control and staff to keep an eye on your vehicle and make sure it’s all ok . Perfect for a quick getaway when the holiday is over too.
3. Book into an airport lounge
We flew from Stansted Airport and were invited into the No1 Traveller Lounge there as guests. It’s normally £20. The lounge was quite small, compared to the one I used at Heathrow and there wasn’t quite as much choice, but it was so relaxing to be away from the main concourse. We could sit and relax with an all you can eat salad buffet and they weren’t shy with the wine at the bar either. The No1 Traveller lounges are the perfect way to start a holiday in style. At Stansted the ticket also gets you fast track entrance through security – very useful for holidaying in style.
4. Get some great value accommodation
Spend less on the accommodation and flight and you’ll have all the more to spend while you’re there. I’d spoken to two friends before I went, both who’d recently been and spent more than £800 on just the hotel and accommodation, yikes! This got me scared for what was going to be waiting for me in Rhodes, but our hotel was great.
Although, we soon found out why it was such good value. I was merrily unlocking the door as we arrived when suddenly there was an engine noise so close it sounded like whatever it was would land in my bedroom. Turns out it pretty much did – we were right in the Rhodes Airport flight path. A few more planes later and we barely noticed them. A small price to pay for having the money and flexibility to be able to pay for what we wanted while we were on our girlie holiday.
5. Arrive in style
Luckily when we booked the trip eagle eye over here spotted they were going to charge us £30 each for transfers. A quick Google search later and I noticed we were just a few minutes from the airport, so I cancelled it.
When we arrived at Rhodes Airport our bags were two of the first to come off, we sailed out of passport control and straight into a taxi. Ten minutes later and we were checked in. After a freshen up and look around the hotel we went to explore the neighbourhood and saw the coach that we would’ve been on come plodding past the bar where we were sipping on our first Greek G+Ts of the week. Smug was not the word.
6. Don’t deny yourself anything
When you’re 18 you’re on a strict budget. We still kind of were, but we didn’t let that stop us. We had dinner out almost every night and a lunchtime gin and tonic around the pool was an absolute must. Unfortunately our excessive food and drink consumption caught up with us and with my friend’s impending wedding and my future travels we decided we definitely couldn’t afford the windsurfing we’d originally planned to do, but que sara sara.
7. Have fun, stylishly
I’d say my friend and I managed a demure holiday, compared to antics of days gone by anyway. We walked, we cycled, we swam, drank, made friends in the hotel, ate the local dishes, drank ouzo, went on a day trip to Turkey, explored Faliraki by bike and investigated the Old Town.
Before we went we talked about going clubbing in Faliraki but as soon as we arrived in Rhodes we knew we wouldn’t, it’s just not us anymore. Some boys, must’ve just turned 18, did chat us up on the beach. They tried to make us meet them at their hotel later to go on a bar crawl, which was absolutely hilarious. Good to know we’ve still got it.
Instead we found a nearby rooftop cocktail bar and just chatted between the two of us. If we wanted company we’d made friends with a few of the hotel guests at the pool bar, or the owner of Mike’s Bar in Kremasti. One of the best things about the holiday was there was no pressure to speak to anyone, make friends, meet boys, or go out every night, unlike the olden days!