Life & Culture

How to Have the Perfect Summer Holiday

In his latest column, Raven Smith shares some sage advice on taking a vacation

  • TextRaven Smith

I know you’ve been scrolling through Instagram looking at people (me) having the best summer of their (my) life, so I thought I’d share some useful tips for des bonnes vacances. Holidays are essential, not to mention fun. Think about it – the best TV happens when people go on holiday: Joey took a piss on Monica at the beach. And with my help this could be you!

1. Destination

When it comes to picking a destination, my advice is to think like Agatha Christie – she really set the bar for exotic locations. The Orient Express, a steamboat down the Nile, the French Riviera and Belgium (of course). Your friends are going to Magaluf but you, mon ami, are doing Mesopotamia.

2. Companions

If you don’t have kids then DO NOT, under any circumstance, go on holiday with people who do. Children have the potential to suck the fun out of things like the vacuum of space. It’s a known fact that people who have kids have to sign a disclaimer at the bottom of the birth certificate saying they waiver adult fun indefinitely. They may harp on about how their offspring have enriched their lives, but honestly all they want is lager and pingers and when they actually do lager and pingers they just get emotional about their kids. Veto.

3. Getting beach body ready

Forget the pre-holiday diet, eat as much as you can before you go on vacation. Think Christmas Day eating: savoury, sweet, savoury, sweet. It doesn’t matter how big you get because you’re going to get dysentery when you accidentally drink the water (probably from the ice cube in your sangria, whoops). So it’s important to prepare your body for the two days you’ll spend on the loo.

4. Accommodation

Stay in a hotel, not an Airbnb or hostel. Drinking a coke from the fridge only to have it replaced while you’re out far outweighs the potential joys of meeting new people. Sharing economy is great but sharing a loo is grim (see dysentery). Would Poirot share a bathroom? Non.  

5. Jet lag

Honestly whingeing about jet lag when you’re on holiday is the most privileged horseshit ever. Don’t do it.

6. Food

I have this very ugly habit of stealing monogrammed plates from restaurants. My entire eating schedule is, in fact, based around it – researching places to eat on Instagram and checking out their crockery. I just love the idea of coming home and eating Tesco own brand Hula Hoops out of Ritz bowls. I am the Robin Hood of finger foods. So by all means follow my lead and see your holiday as an opportunity to acquire some nice new dinnerware.

7. Drink

You’re your best self after two drinks, I promise.

8. Party

Don’t pretend you’re going to Ibiza for the daylife, nobody buys that. You have to party on at least two consecutive nights, preferably in damp and slightly chaffing beachwear. You have to drink from a fishbowl once. And put the umbrellas in your hair. Snog a waiter. Snog your tour rep. Snog your mate. Also, play this drinking game: Every time someone says you’ve had too much to drink, drink. Every time someone offers you a glass of water, drink.*

9. Music

Whether by the pool or at the beach, listen exclusively to the music that was in the charts the summer you left secondary school. Mine includes Groovejet by Spiller and that Lady, hear me tooonight song.

10. Finally...

The whole point of going on holiday is to make your friends at home jealous, sure, but mystery is powerful tool too. I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation but WHAT IF you don’t social your whole trip? What if you just interact with people, places and things non-digitally? Like, actually engage in and, crucially, enjoy the moment. What if you decide to keep all the good experiences in your heart, not your phone? What if you do things without desperately recording them and interact fully?

Lol who am I kidding. Have fun. Hydrate. Blah blah blah.

*Disclaimer: don’t be an idiot.

Raven Smith is a London-based creative director and the former commissioning director of Nowness. He is’s columnist, writing about life and culture.