So 2012 has begun with more predicted gloom and doom for the UK, European and Worldwide economy. You may think that this has affected Brits and their appetite for European breaks away……well think again.
Hotels are now offering fantastic rates compared to two or three years ago, the pound has strengthened against the Euro and bargain flights are still available – you just have to search a little bit harder for the deals and perhaps be a little more flexible on your travel dates and flight times.
The Stag and Hen weekends market in particular has seen not only an increase in general enquiries, but also in European bookings. Lee Clarke/Daniel Landen of Release Travel commented that 46% of their enquiries for 2012 have been for European destinations, the highest level for almost 10 years. In anticipation of this trend have launched new Hen and Stag weekends packages in Europe to cater for demand, with tremendous results.
“It seems that nothing will get in the way of a few days in the sun to celebrate something special. People are still spending good money on weekends to the Mediterranean, mainland Spain and Eastern Europe. However, what we have found recently are that the packages tend to be much more simple compared to two or three year ago.
Two or three nights, return airport transfers, a bar crawl and a simple daytime activity tends to be the norm at the moment. Stag kidnaps, banger racing, sky-diving, F1 days and Real Madrid/Barcelona football tickets and activities of this ilk are less in demand these days as they tend to increase the cost of a weekend quite considerably”, said Lee Clarke/Daniel Landen.
City destinations like Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Barcelona will always be popular but are rather expensive for people who want to get away on a budget break bookings for these cities are, on average, 16% down in 2012 compared to 2011. Release Travel have seen a huge increase in resort bookings with Magaluf (Majorca), San Antonio (Ibiza), Benidorm, Albufeira (Algarve, Portugal) proving very popular. The Costa Del Sol – Marbella, Puerto Banus, Benalmadena, Fuengirola & Torremolinos are also a huge draw with flights into Malaga being particularly competitive. On average these beach destinations have seen have seen a huge increase of 77% in 2012 compared to 2011.
Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, also offers great value for money as the pound is quite strong against the Polish Zloty. Krakow, Wroclaw and Warsaw are becoming increasingly popular, offering cheap hotel & activities and pretty wild night-life.
Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania) and Zagreb (Croatia) are also notable destinations that are increasing in popularity. Of course, the old Eastern European favourite, Prague, still draws the crowds but to a lesser extent as seasoned hen and Stag weekends groups look to broaden their horizons.

Release Travel are the UK’s leading organisers of stag weekends, hen, birthday and activity weekends, Founded in 1999, saw an 88% increase in bookings in 2011 compared to 2010 and advance bookings for 2012 are up by an amazing 163% compared to 2011. 50,000 people will use Release Travel’s services this year.
Planning a group weekend away need not be a struggle – visit to get all the help you need.
Dan Landen/Lee Clarke are available for comment. For further information please email
Address: Suite 2, Hamilton Court House, 1-3 Alum Chine Road, Westbourne, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH4 8DT
Phone: 0800 130 36 36

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