According to dictionary.com, a vacation or holiday is a time when individuals take a break from work or studies to rest, travel, or engage in entertainment activities. Similarly, dictionary.com describes a party as a social gathering held at a private venue where invited guests come together for conversation, refreshments, and entertainment like cocktail parties.
This study aims to define a party vacation as a period of travel specifically taken to relax from work or studies and engage in abundant amusement. The term "students," within this research, encompasses individuals studying at any higher education institution, including post-secondary education.
Reasons for conducting the survey
The primary objective of this survey is to comprehend the motivations behind party vacations, which are holidays meticulously crafted for ultimate pleasure.
Party vacations, also known as this type of holiday, have become increasingly popular i...
n British society, particularly among young students. They deviate from traditional holiday experiences and primarily revolve around having fun through excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and late-night clubbing. The main emphasis is on partying and enjoying a wild time.
The popularity of party vacations among students is increasing due to the availability of affordable trips to European destinations that fit their budgets and desire for high-energy fun. After completing their academic year, students often take advantage of their newfound freedom by traveling abroad with friends or partners for at least a week. This allows them to reflect on themselves, break away from daily routines, and immerse in new places and cultures. The internet has played a significant role in making these vacations more accessible, as various travel websites now advertise cheap deals. For example, one online advertisement states: "If you're young, free, single,
and seeking carefree fun and excitement during your travels, there's no better choice than a singles travel tour! Experience the vacation of a lifetime for less than ?150!" (Borders overnight 2010).
Students are bombarded with these types of advertisements, and the urge to take a break after a year or term of studies becomes even stronger. In the past, students were not the primary focus for tour operators. Vacations were mainly for high-income individuals, specifically workers, rather than students. However, the introduction of affordable fees and special package deals by airlines has significantly increased the opportunities for young students to travel abroad.
Many travel companies have noticed that the student population is a profitable market to capitalize on in order to increase sales and make a profit. This benefits both the travel companies and the students who want to have a lot of fun in Europe. European countries have become popular vacation destinations for many British people. According to the ABTA 2004 survey of travel agencies, 13% of these agencies experienced a decrease in demand for UK vacations and an increase in demand for European vacations.
According to ABTA (2004), travel agencies believed that the increase in travelers was because of the convenience of affordable European airfares, offering great value holidays. Additionally, Halifax (2010) states that the strengthening of the pound against certain currencies made it easier for people to afford vacations in central Europe. The pound rose by 5% against the Euro from February onwards, making destinations like Greece, Spain, Portugal, and other Euro-countries even more appealing this summer. The tables provided above indicate a gradual rise in the number of vacations taken outside of the UK
and within European countries by UK residents (England Research 2006). It is evident that Europe is the preferred holiday destination for approximately 80% of UK residents.
In Europe, there are unique destinations known for their party atmosphere. These places market themselves as party destinations to attract tourists seeking lively nightlife. Spain has been the most popular country to visit since 1994, with 13.8 million visits in 2005. France ranked second with 11.1 million visits (Barrow 2010).
Student Travel Behavior
Students, typically young adults aged between 18-28, often have limited disposable income and rely on their families or part-time jobs for money. This characteristic affects their travel behavior as they tend to be budget-conscious and may not spend much on travel expenses.
They are also very funny and adventurous. They tend to want to try new and exciting things; this is reflected in the desire of UK students to travel on party vacations in different parts of Europe. Many students tend to travel on trips with their friends or partners and they tend to plan these trips based on information received from friends, family or as mentioned earlier from the internet.
Aim and Objectives of Research
Purpose: This research is based on the assumption that more students are taking party vacations and is focused on understanding and analyzing the behavior of UK university students during their party vacations. Aims: Questions that this research will seek to answer are:
- Why do students travel on party vacations i.e. what motivates them?
- How do they choose where to travel, what are their sources of information?
- How do they behave while on vacation, what do they
According to a research about spring break, students are taking them less frequently, to explore opportunities for drinking, sex, and drug-taking (Sonmez et al.)
In recent years, there has been a dearth of research on pupil behavior during party vacations, possibly due to its newness as a phenomenon. Previously, limited information was available regarding travel by pupils or young people. It was commonly assumed that they constituted only a small portion of the travel industry and therefore received little attention. However, more recently, various studies have focused on this subject in order to comprehend the reasons behind pupil travel, their expenditure patterns, and the benefits they derive, among other factors.
According to research conducted by the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC), young travelers have a lower average daily expenditure but tend to stay for longer periods of time, resulting in higher overall spending (Hotel Online 1998). In 2002, the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) conducted a more comprehensive study on international youth and student travel. The objective was to examine various aspects from the perspective of the study group. ISTC collected data by requesting mailing lists from travel companies in eight countries, including Hong Kong, Slovenia, UK, Sweden, and South Africa.
A total of 2,300 responses were received from questionnaires sent to people on specific lists. The questionnaires aimed to gather information about the social and cultural aspects of pupil travelers, as well as details about their holiday trip planning and organization. This research is unique because it directly targeted this group of travelers, instead of relying on
secondary sources or published statistics.
The data and information collected directly from the target group includes the following:
Description of the travelers:
Research findings revealed that a significant portion of student travelers were below the age of 26, with a high level of education but low income. About 51% earned less than $5,000 annually. Many identified themselves as backpackers or tourists, reflecting their varied travel styles.
Reasons and motivation for their trips:
The majority (81%) expressed a desire to explore different places and cultures, while an additional 71% sought fun and excitement during their journeys. Additionally, around 69% aimed to meet new people.
It was observed that the majority of travelers under the age of 26 were primarily motivated by social interaction and excitement. These were the main reasons for their travels. On the other hand, older students showed a greater interest in seeking more meaningful and personalized experiences that could potentially benefit their careers. It is evident that most of them considered exploring other cultures and experiencing excitement to be very important, whereas factors such as contributing to the places they visited, being in a relaxed environment, and utilizing their physical abilities and skills were not as significant.
The origins of their information and trip planning:
71% of the respondents indicated that they obtained their travel information and details from the internet, while 70% relied on their friends and family for information. The sources of information were often overlapping, as most respondents used multiple sources. Only around 37% used guidebooks, which were primarily
utilized by more experienced travelers aged over 26. Less experienced travelers also sought information from travel agents in addition to other sources. Following the acquisition of vacation information, approximately 65% of the students booked their travel through both specialist and mainstream travel agents.
Despite the booking process, it is worth noting that many travelers opted to book their tickets through travel agents instead of making advance accommodations. They preferred to find lodging on their own upon arrival at their vacation destinations. Additionally, around 56% of all respondents were able to secure student discounts for their trip, such as rail and coach discounts or lodging discounts. Regardless of age (whether below or above 26), most students planned their trip using information from friends, family, and the internet.
The destinations for the trip:
As per the young people surveyed, Europe was the favored destination for 51% of them, whereas only 16% traveled to North America. Backpackers showed a higher inclination towards visiting Southeast Asia and Australia.
The research discovered that females have a tendency to visit Western Europe and the Middle East with greater frequency, whereas males favor traveling to Eastern Europe, China, Japan, and South America. The study did not provide an explanation for this gender disparity. Approximately 30% of travelers selected Northern Europe as their ultimate destination. Conversely, the Indian sub-continent was the least preferred option.
With regards to trip duration:
Trips varied in length but had an average duration of about 63 days. Backpackers typically embarked on journeys lasting around 74 days.
The average duration of trips varied based on the destination. Trips to Australasia lasted approximately 128 days on average, while trips to Europe were the shortest at about 34
days. On average, trips to North America lasted around 90 days and trips to India lasted around 84 days. The data shows that 28% of travelers spent less than two weeks on their vacations, while another 26% spent between two weeks and a month. Moreover, approximately 8% of travelers spent over six months on their last trip.
Regarding activities during the trips:
When asked about their activities during their trips, it was found that visiting historical sites and memorials was favored by 77% of students. Additionally, shopping as well as dining in restaurants and cafes were engaged in by 76% of students.
The majority of travelers had a great time and made new friends by going to parties and clubs at night. Additionally, it was found that more than 50% of them spent less than $20 per day. However, since they stayed in certain places for a long time, the total amount spent added up to substantial sums.
On average, in the US, the total money spent including travel amounted to approximately $1,900. Backpackers tended to spend more money compared to other travelers, with an average expenditure of about $2,200.
Examining the advantages of these trips:
The research also sought to determine how young people felt after their travels – whether they enjoyed themselves and had a good time – as well as their likelihood of taking similar vacations. It was found that many of them did have a good time but were not satisfied. Their vacations only increased their desire to travel more. Furthermore, they mentioned that their vacations contributed to a better understanding of other peoples and cultures.
The research conducted by the ISTC yielded valuable information regarding pupil behavior
before, during, and after traveling. Certain aspects of this research serve as a foundation for the current study. However, it is important to acknowledge a few distinctions: this study solely focuses on pupils, whereas the ISTC research examined young individuals. Additionally, while this research is limited to the UK, the ISTC research had a broader global scope.
These distinctions can be observed in the duration, motives, and activities of the trips. Lengthier journeys tend to have more cultural, educational, and professional purposes, while shorter trips are typically intended for relaxation and enjoyment. In addition, Carr (2002) conducted a study analyzing the correlation between young people's leisure behavior at home and their behavior during vacations. His theory was that vacation choices were influenced by socio-cultural norms, values, and personal values that persisted whether they were at home or on a vacation. To conduct this study, Carr conducted thorough interviews and utilized callback journals.
Based on his survey, it was discovered that young individuals exhibit more liberated and unrestrained behavior during their vacations, although there isn't much disparity in comparison to how they comport themselves during leisure activities at home. Essentially, students who derive pleasure from partying in their spare time are prone to engage in more partying during their vacations as well, while students who typically partake in more serious leisure pursuits at home are inclined to continue doing so on their vacations. In 2003, Carr carried out another study aiming to assess the utilization of tourist information sources by university students and the level of trust they placed in them. For this study, he distributed questionnaires and conducted interviews with students from the University of Hertfordshire.
that the most reliable sources of vacation information were informal sources such as family and friends, despite the fact that this information was often biased and based on personal experiences or hearsay. The least reliable sources were the formal sources, such as TV/radio and travel agents. Even though students still used formal sources, they mostly relied on family and friends to verify the information they received. While these previous studies do not directly explain the behavior of UK students on party vacations, they provide general information on student travel behavior and form a solid foundation for this research.
As stated in the purpose and objectives, the goal of this research was to analyze the motivations and behavior of students on party vacations.
To achieve this, all the received information will be utilized to plan the profile of the average student traveler. Additionally, the profiles of the most popular party destinations in Europe – Amsterdam, Ibiza, Ios, Mykonos, and Mallorca – will be described to gain a better understanding of the party vacation phenomenon. While it is anticipated that there will be similarities in student behavior in these destinations, this study aims to determine if party destinations play a significant role in behavioral patterns. Pursuing the aforementioned objectives, various types of data are required for this research, which can broadly be classified into two categories: qualitative and quantitative data. This refers to the type of information captured that does not necessarily possess numerical properties.
can be utilized for measuring the impact of a phenomenon on a group capable of such measurement. However, they are not suitable for quantitatively assessing the impact. Common methods for capturing this information include
interviews, questionnaires, and desktop research. In the context of this particular project, determining whether university students enjoy party vacations falls into the category of qualitative data since it cannot be measured numerically. Conversely, quantitative data possesses numerical characteristics and can be analyzed using statistical formulas, charts, graphs, etc.
This type of information is typically more objective because it can be repeatedly tested to yield the same results. An example of this type of information is attempting to determine the average amount of money students usually spend on party vacations. The answers will naturally be numerical and can be statistically analyzed to determine if any patterns exist.
The methods used for this research include:
In-depth interviews: this involves the researcher conducting interviews directly with the respondents, either in person or over the phone.
The research worker investigates the questions and takes notes, allowing the respondents to answer the question in any way and to any depth they desire. To ensure a more comprehensive understanding of the vacation party phenomenon, the research also includes a couple of in-depth interviews with select respondents. In addition, desktop research is conducted, where the researcher studies materials already published on the topic of interest. This is typically done to gain insight into the complexity of the issue and to guide the direction of the research.
For this research, desktop studies were conducted to gain insight into the types of questions to ask and how to analyze the collected data for optimal results. Questionnaires were developed to inquire about respondents' preferred party vacation destinations, their age, the amount of money they spent on their vacations, and similar questions. These questionnaires can be open-ended or closed-ended.
research questionnaire was both open-ended and close-ended. Open-ended questions allow respondents to answer in their own way and do not restrict their expression. This is important to ensure that the research is flexible in the results it can obtain. However, analyzing open-ended responses can be difficult. They must be coded before any analysis can be done.
Therefore, many studies prefer to have a combination of both open and closed-ended questions. This allows for freedom of expression and makes data analysis easier. In this research, an example of an open-ended question is why someone goes on a party vacation. Since there could be multiple answers to this, it was decided to gather more comprehensive insights by asking respondents to indicate which of five destinations they went to.
Respondents who did not travel to any of these destinations were asked to leave the survey. In order to determine if there was a link between gender, income, age, other demographic characteristics, and student behavior on party vacations, these questions were also included in the questionnaire.
Sampling is the process for selecting a portion of a group for testing. Since it is not feasible or practical to test or administer questionnaires to all UK students, it is necessary to choose a subset of the population. This must be done in a way that is unbiased and ensures fair representation of the entire population. There are two types of sampling: random and nonrandom sampling.
Probability sampling was used for this research, implying that the chosen group was indiscriminately selected. The sample population consisted of pupils at the University of Greenwich. Students at the university were randomly approached to participate in the study. Those who
agreed were provided with a link to complete the questionnaire online.
The way information is analyzed depends on the research goals and the type of data collected. In accordance with the purpose and aims of this research, the analysis of the data will mainly be descriptive to provide a clear understanding of the students' behavior. The quantitative data will be analyzed using pie charts, graphs, and other relevant statistical methods. The results will show the reasons for party vacations, the amount students spend on them, and other important information. The qualitative data will be analyzed descriptively.
The data received will be used to explain the outcomes of the quantitative analysis. In certain cases, it may be necessary to code some of the responses in order to apply statistical analysis to the data.
Findings and Data Analysis
Based on the administered questionnaires and conducted in-depth interviews, the following demographic profile of the student travelers was established.
The demographic profile of the student travelers:
Majority of the students who traveled for party vacations were men (73.5%) while only 26.5% were females (see figure 4.1). The reason for this is unknown.
It is possible that workforces tend to enjoy partying more, which may explain why most of the respondents were men. This is especially noteworthy considering that random chance sampling was used. Figure 4.1 shows the gender breakdown of the student travelers. Interestingly, about 65% of the students have their own source of income, either through employment or generating revenue in some other way. Approximately 35% rely on others, such as family or the government, for their income.
Many students have part-time jobs during the school term, and some work full-time during vacations.
The majority of pupils were single, with only about 10% of them being in a relationship. None of them were married. This is consistent with the low percentage of married university students and is reflected in this study. It is noteworthy that most of them are not in any relationship, especially considering that further research reveals that most of them go on party vacations with their friends.
More than 80% of the students went on the trip with their friends, about 10% went with their spouses, and only 3% went with their families. None of them traveled alone. All the vacations lasted for less than two weeks. This aligns with the idea that all the students were seeking was a brief break from their regular study and work routine.
The literature review reveals that party vacations are distinctly different from long vacation trips that students take during their gap year to learn about different cultures and gain relevant work experience for their intended careers. These gap year trips typically last several months, sometimes up to a year. In contrast, over half of the respondents in this study reported that their vacations lasted less than a week. The amount of money spent on vacations varied, with over 41% of respondents spending between 500 to 1000 pounds and 35% spending between 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. Only 3% spent less than 500 pounds, while 21% spent more than 2,000. These findings directly contradict the expectations based on literature and desktop studies conducted.
The information collected suggests that students typically do not spend a significant amount
of money on their vacations due to limited available funds. However, it is important to note that the data may be skewed as many students indicated having their own source of income separate from any financial support they receive from their families or the government. As anticipated, a majority of the students consumed alcohol during their vacation festivities. Only a small percentage (3%) abstained from drinking altogether. 47% reported daily alcohol consumption, while 50% claimed to consume alcohol moderately.
The measurement of the types of alcohol consumed proved to be more difficult as many pupils consumed multiple types of alcohol. The popular choices included spirits, with approximately 50 people indicating they drank spirits, beer, with about 55 people stating they consumed it, wine, with 48 pupils reporting they drank it, and 9 respondents admitting to consuming other types of alcohol. This confirms that consuming alcohol is a significant aspect of party vacations. Additionally, as anticipated, there was a generally high usage of drugs during these party vacations.
Only 18% of the respondents reported not taking any drugs. 35% of them admitted to using drugs daily, while approximately 47% said they consumed drugs in moderate amounts. Additionally, the majority of the respondents (75%) found it very convenient to acquire drugs during their party vacations, whereas only 25% found it difficult. The destinations for these vacations were typically places where drugs were easily accessible, which explains why the students had no trouble finding them. Cannabis was the most popular drug among the participants, with roughly 70 out of the 102 respondents consuming marijuana (also known as hemp) on their vacations.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, was a popular drug among
approximately 40 respondents during their vacations. It has the capacity to reduce anxiety and depression, while inducing euphoria in users. On the other hand, cocaine was the least favored drug, with only around 28 respondents admitting to using it. As an addictive recreational drug, cocaine stimulates the nervous system.
None of the respondents took amphetamines. These drugs are not legally permitted in most states but are readily available on the 'black market'. Similarly, it is not surprising that the majority of the students went clubbing during their holiday trips. Only 18 respondents abstained from going clubbing, while approximately 40 of them went clubbing every day of their vacations. The remaining respondents mentioned going clubbing in moderate amounts.
Booking the Party Holidays A survey on how people acquire information about their vacations revealed that the sources of vacation information are diverse. The majority of respondents, about 80%, learn about their holidays from their friends, while approximately 60% obtain information from the internet. Only 10% rely on their families for holiday information. Interestingly, only 20% gather information from magazines and 12% rely on tour operators.
The majority of students reserved their vacations online. After gathering information from friends and confirming it online, 91% of respondents chose to book their vacations through the internet. Only 9% booked offline. The study also looked at which travel operators were popular for making vacation arrangements. Among the respondents, approximately 50 of them opted for Expedia.
Thomas Cook was the second frontrunner, with only about 20 of the respondents booking their vacations through them. Around 12 of the respondents booked their vacations with Thomas vacations (figure 4.12). When asked about the factors influencing their
choice of travel operators, 34% of the respondents mentioned that online feedback influenced their decision, while 31% were influenced by the price and affordability of the vacations. Brand loyalty also played a role, with 19% being influenced by it. They only used the travel operators they had used before for previous vacations. Additionally, 13% of the respondents were influenced by suggestions from friends, while only 3% were influenced by the ease of web serviceability. Overall, the students appeared to be quite satisfied with their chosen travel operators as over 80% stated that they would recommend them to their friends, while only 12% said they would not.
The pupils' overall satisfaction with their vacations was quite high. 65 of them described their vacations as astonishing, while 30 said they were amusing, indicating that they had a nice time. Additionally, about 12 mentioned that their vacations were quiet. None of the respondents found their vacations boring. After understanding the general profile of the pupils who went on party vacations, the profile of the holiday destinations will be discussed in order to better understand why the pupils choose them and what actually happens on these vacations.
The Destination Profiles
Ibiza is an island located in Spain with a population of over 117,000 people according to the 2007 census (Fundacion De Promocion Turistica De Ibiza 2010). It is well-known as a popular tourist destination and for its vibrant nightlife.
Many nines and DJs utilize the island as a hub for releasing new vocals, particularly in techno and electronic dance music. Notable nines include Privilege, Space, and Pacha. Ibiza is known for clubbing, especially in the summertime.
June marks the start of summer in Ibiza
with opening parties, while October represents the end with shutting parties. Many tourists who visit Ibiza for clubbing spend their nights partying and clubbing, waking up late the next day. The students' party vacation trend became apparent from questionnaires and interviews. A majority of the students who visited Ibiza were aged below 25 years.
Half of the respondents who went to Ibiza were 19 years old or younger, while only 10% were over 25 years old. They were asked to provide their top two reasons for choosing Ibiza as their party vacation destination. 15 of them said the beach was their main reason, 12 said they went to party, and 3 said they went because of the sun. As for their second reasons, 15 said they went to party, 6 said they went to have fun, 3 said they went to meet girls and listen to music, and another 3 said they went because of the beach.
Considering Ibiza's reputation for Electronic dance and techno music, it's understandable that 60% of visitors to the island enjoy these genres, whereas 20% of respondents prefer Pop music.
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