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Weddings > Planning a hen-night

By Lucy Corry (28 Apr 2006)

Top Tips for planning a hen night abroad.With the advent of cheap flights - and the growth of the currently multi-million pound stag and hen party industry - means that Bratislava is fast becoming a more popular destination for a weekend of boozing than traditional favourites like Brighton or Blackpool. In fact, nowadays up to 70 per cent of pre-wedding parties are being held abroad, according to a recent Foreign Office survey. But it seems that many stags and hens also say farewell to their inhibitions when they leave British shores - and quite often with disastrous consequences.

A survey by online bank Egg found that 20 per cent of partygoers lose valuables, 17 per cent need medical help after sports or drunken accidents and 10 per cent will have items stolen while celebrating the end of single life abroad.

'Stags' seem to be the most at risk, with four times as many men losing personal items as hens, and twice as many falling victim to thieves. Only one per cent of women suffer injuries on a weekend away, compared to 14 per cent of men.

A quarter of revellers end up being arrested, and nearly half travel without any insurance, causing extra headaches for UK officials in overseas posts who are often called on to bail them out of trouble.

The Public Accounts committee of MPs has suggested that irresponsible tourists are "named and shamed" - and made to pay for consular help.

"Where our nationals have landed themselves in trouble as a result of their own irresponsibility, the FCO should not hesitate to charge them for its services," committee chair Tory MP Edward Leigh said.


That old Scout motto - Be Prepared - is still the best policy for a stag or hen weekend, even if you will be participating in activities that Akela might not approve of.

Follow these tips before you go to make sure you stay out of trouble:


Every team needs a captain - and a group of carousing party animals on the lash is no exception. The bride or groom have already got a lot to think about, so this is where the best man or chief bridesmaid should step in. Their job is to make sure everyone knows where they need to be - and when they need to be there.


Now, where did you leave your passport? If you haven't been abroad for a while, make sure your passport is still valid and in good working order, with all the necessary visas. You don't want to be the one left at the check-in counter while all your mates waltz through the departure gates without you, do you?


Going somewhere exotic? Check to see if you need any vaccinations at least six weeks before you go and consider whether you need to take extra health precautions.


Don't even think about leaving home without travel insurance, unless you want the fates to conspire against you. If you're planning any high-risk activities, check your policy to make sure you're covered. Be aware that most insurers take a fairly dim view of drunken 'accidents'.


You need to know more about where you're going than where to track down those mythical 10p pints. Get a good guidebook and get to know your destination - take particular notice of any local laws and customs. Check the FCO travel advice for your destination online at or call 0845 850 2829.


Make copies of your passport, insurance policy (especially the 24-hour emergency number), and ticket details. Give one set to your group 'minder', then leave another set, along with your itinerary, and contact details, with family and friends.


Don't think you can rely on the generosity of others - take enough money for your trip and some back-up funds - either in travellers cheques, sterling or US dollars. Keep a close eye on any credit or debit cards while you're away.


Use common sense when it comes to valuables and packing - if in doubt, leave it behind.


A little bit of old-fashioned courtesy goes a long way. Sharing a crowded flight with a flock of cackling hens or roaring stags isn't everyone's idea of fun - and acting like a bunch of louts abroad won't do much for EU togetherness.

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