Places to Party on Your Gap Year
Planning a gap year is easier said than done, so it usually helps to focus your itinerary around an event you really want to attend. After all, no backpackers want to find themselves strolling in to a new city when the decorations are being taken down and the rubbish is being swept up.
It is no surprise to see Ibiza on the party list, so let’s get it out of the way first. Ibiza Rocks is one of the greatest places to see some of the best international DJs around, holding shows every Wednesday throughout the peak party season in the summer. The gigs are held, naturally, at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel. If you really want to get up close to the action – and not miss a gig – then you can watch the shows from your balconies if you request a room facing that direction. Of course, the entire atmosphere is in the crowd, so book at your own risk.
Some of the most famous performers have been Example, Chase & Status and Zane Lowe, as well as the rest of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 1xtra. If you want to take the partying to sea and go on the ultimate booze cruise then just jump aboard the Ibiza Rocks the Boat – see what they did there? Of course, Ibiza does have plenty of other great clubs and bars for every sun seeker and partier to enjoy.
Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico
During the first three weeks of March, Cancun’s hotels, clubs and beaches are filled to the brim with US Spring-breakers doing what they do best: drinking and dancing. Pool parties and beach parties become a part of everyday life, and there are plenty of club crawl tourist groups going around offering discounted entry and drinks. The City is the biggest and best club to go to, with a capacity of more than 5,000 people, three floors and nine bars! There’s even a hot tub party, where girls and guys get soaking wet and lose their inhibitions. A Cancun standard.
For something extra, get involved with the Inception Music Festival, which has become the main event during Cancun’s party season. This month-long show tours around the different clubs of Cancun with different guest DJs, such as Flo-rida, Snoop Dog and, er, Paris Hilton? Hey, I bet it was a night to remember!
Spring Break in Miami Beach
If North America is more your scene then why not join spring-breakers on the Miami coast instead. Expect much the same: all-day drinking, sea dipping and partying. What’s not to love? The younger generation fill every corner of South Beach, and staying in hostels is without a doubt the best way to be submerged into the action. Ultra Music Festival is one of the musts, although its high prices have been causing a bit of controversy over the past few years. If you can afford it, you’ll get the chance to see DJs such as Avicii and Calvin Harris on a massive stage with lights and pyrotechnics.
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival
This is one of the Caribbean’s most anticipated festivals. Although the actual carnival is held only two days of the week in February, the pre-parties start weeks in advance. Pack your sunglasses because you’re bound to see some of the brightest and most elaborate costumes; one costume once included a 20ft chandelier! Apparently, bigger is better! Traditional dancing, stick fighting and limbo competitions are also a regular sight throughout the days.
All the parades and competitions may seem a bit family-fun, but the celebration fever ignites at night. Throughout there day there is plenty of rum readily available so you’ll be feeling the buzz, and aching for some music to dance to. The street parties go on well into the daylight hours, with party-goers covering themselves in mud, powder and paint. For one of the most liveliest and colourful festivals and street parties, Trinidad should definitely be a stop-over on your travels.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Mardi Gras has been celebrated annually in New Orleans since the 1800s and the locals are not letting this tradition die out any time soon. Grab your string of beads, gulp down the local ‘hurricane’ cocktail, and you’re ready to go! In the day time, make your way to Canal Street to watch some of the 52 parades which take place over the ten days, whilst soaking up the lively free spirit and jazz culture of New Orleans.
When the sun goes down, the revellers really get to let loose. On the New Orleans strip in the French Quarter there are some great bars and signature drinks, with the ‘grenade’ being just as popular as the tongue staining ‘hurricane’.
White Night in Tel Aviv, Israel
Known as ‘Layla Lavan’ in Hebrew Tel Aviv’s annual White Night festival is one of the biggest street parties around the globe. Occurring on the full moon of June ever year, this festival celebrates the moment when UNESCO announced the White City of Tel Aviv a World Heritage Site in 2003. Around 1,500 events are held all over the city, with a giant silent disco in Rabin Square, live musical performances, performing arts. Tel Aviv is one of Israel’s busiest party hubs filled with people from all ages and backgrounds festival or no festival, so if there’s an excuse for a party then they’ll go all out. People can jump into the numerous clubs, and spill out to join the street parties until the sun rises over the dead sea. On the beaches they will be partying too of course, with DJs and drink and a comfy sand pillow to rest your overwhelmed head.
Mud Festival in Borgeong
What first started out as a marketing campaign in 1996 has now become one of the craziest and messiest festivals around. This really is a different type of festival, but all the more reason why it should be on every traveller’s bucket list. South Korea is one of the biggest contributors of cosmetic ‘healing’ mud, so to celebrate it, tourist and locals alike just spend two weeks getting covered in the stuff. Thousands of tourist flock from afar to join in the mud sliding, mud wrestling and being locked up in the ‘mud prison’ where the only means of escape is a mud punishment, of course. In the midst of the mud madness, you can actually enjoy it for its actual purpose and have a mud massage.