Famed for selling cheap package holidays abroad for young people, with copious amounts of sun, sand and, erm, sex, all washed down with gallons of alcohol, Club 18-30 reached iconic status in the UK.
Arguably at it’s peak in the 1990s / early 2000s, UK travel agent Thomas Cook is now thinking about letting go of the youth holiday brand.
It reached notoriety when a TV documentary series was aired in the UK between 2001 and 2004, showing exactly what the drunken youth got up to on their holidays. Let’s just say there was a lot of drinking and a lot of nudity.
It may surprise you to know that I once went on an 18-30 holiday.
We have to go way back to 1998 (yes, twenty years ago), back to a time when I didn’t yet have a mobile phone, and social media didn’t exist.
My best mate and I went for a week in Ibiza, along with another mate we knew from the pub, for a lads holiday.
We booked a week on Ibiza, the Balearic island famous for dance music, drugs, and drunkenness.
We were about 24 years old, so we fell perfectly into the Club 18-30 demographic.
We made the mistake, though, of going too early. We went to Ibiza in June, so everything felt a little bit quiet; nothing was crowded, and our apartment building was half empty. In a way we missed out on the full 18-30 experience; we should have gone during the peak season in July or August.
We still had fun, though. Looking back, I’m surprised by my appearance; was that really me, playing soccer in the sea, wearing Adidas t-shirts and shorts?
I was genuinely excited to visit Cafe Del Mar, the famous beach-side chill-out bar, and the iconic clubs. I realised, though, that clubbing wasn’t really my thing. I didn’t like being surrounded by people off their heads on drugs, in a club somewhere, drinking overpriced bottles of beer.
The music, however, I loved. Here are some of the tunes from Ibiza in 1998.
Yes, we got drunk, yes we danced, yes we sat on the beach. Yes, we took part in a few of the Club 18-30 activities, which were mostly bar crawls through the town, and a coach trip to one of the clubs further along the island. Nothing debauched happened (much to our disappointment).
This was the most memorable thing that happened; I got sunburnt feet. It hurt. A lot.
I made a big decision in Ibiza. I was sitting on the beach and realised that I wanted to live and work abroad. A year later, I was on a plane bound for Japan, where I would spend the next three years of my life.
I suppose I should thank Club 18-30 for that.