First up, consider the guest list. These days that list probably looks a lot different to the first stag you went to. We’re all getting married older—in 1971 blokes were about 24 when they walked down the aisle, now it’s late 30s—so the days of all-out drunkathons are well and truly over.
Now it’s all about bespoke celebrations with friends, whoever they are. The rule book governing who can and can’t join a stag or hen trip has been shredded. Stags (and Hens—see our guide on page ) are becoming far more like group celebration holidays. In some cases Hens and Stags go away together on one big celebration trip—the bride and groom surrounded by their friends. What was once a night out with your best mates of the same gender is becoming a longer getaway with all of your social circle with a lush, exotic backdrop. Bali, anyone?
Traditional British destinations are still great if you get the accommodation and activity right, but think a little more out of the box and you’ll discover a new crop of stag destinations with beauty and brains as well as beer. Copenhagen, New York, Dubai are all new under-the-radar hits for stags for 2018.
Today’s stags are looking for something more than pure boozing (let’s face it, you don’t need to travel halfway across Europe to do that). 2018’s biggest trends are all about making a weekend into a proper bonding exercise: take a tip from Dermot O’Leary, who spent his stag do climbing in Morzine. Get the location right and everyone will be in a good mood.
Barcelona has flown the flag for smart getaways for the last couple of years, but the baton’s now being passed to Europe’s sunniest city, Lisbon. As well as 3000 hours of sun a year, it has gorgeous beaches, great food and a fantastic nightlife. Its activities pack a punch too: try karting on a massive 1270m outdoor track (Europe’s fastest, FYI).
For class without the price tag, Croatia’s beautiful backdrops offer luxurious bang for your buck. Croatia’s capital city Zagreb has been surpassed by coastal Dubrovnik, not least because the latter doubles for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones. There’s plenty of fun to be had without stripping the stag naked and shouting “Shame!” like the Septas did to Cersei. There’s the epic Obonjan Island (see pages 86-89) where there’s sea kayaking, snorkelling and fantastic food or, if you all want to dress up as Paddington, you can always try the international jam and marmalade festival in October.
Closer to home, Liverpool, Brighton and the Highlands are all seriously on trend for the 2018. And swanky accommodation is a must-have. Get somewhere decent to recharge in between activities and you’re all set.
So have your own personal Guy Ritchie moment in tweeds at a remote Scottish castle, or stay in a luxury boutique hotel like Brighton’s MalMaison. Hire a great villa in Ibiza or Marbella or get with The Jet Set in a 5 star hotel in New York.
Activities. Nope, they don’t have to be as full-on as they used to be. Escape rooms and river cruises are hugely popular and available in plenty of atmospheric cities: you can get on board somewhere glamorous like Riga, or Madrid, as well as in glittering Brit locations like Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Above all, 2018 is about doing it your way, on your terms. There’s no hard and fast rule about where you should go or what you should do. If you’ve got the time and budget then why not a week in Asia rather than a weekend in Southampton? It shouldn’t be stressful or difficult; it’s a one-off event that should be about making memories for years to come. So make it memorable, make it different and (ok, we’re biased) make it Red7, and you’ll make it utterly amazing.