These days, grooms-to-be are more likely to be chained to debt than a lamppost when they sober up from their stag do. But there are plenty of low-cost alternatives for savvy stags to enjoy on their last night of freedom.
1. Brewery tours
Most stag parties involve copious amounts of booze, but sometimes quality is better than quantity. And it's certainly easier on the wallet.
Elderly relatives and less boisterous buddies can also enjoy a tour around a quality beverage producer, before supping some carefully chosen tasters, and if the rest of the group choose to continue drinking, you can move on to a venue of your choice.
Most major breweries have one site that does tours, but you can search on sites like Visit A Brewery, or opt for package deals from providers like Freedom Ltd. Scots, and those up for a road trip, might also consider a tour at one of the country's fantastic whisky distilleries.
2. Greyhound racing
Casinos can empty the wallets of inexperienced visitors in no time at all, and horse racing can be an expensive excursion, but a visit to the dogs offers the same skills and thrills at a fraction of the cost. Trackside bookies will usually take bets without a minimum stake requirement, and dwindling attendance at the UK's dog tracks mean that you can often pick up generous group discounts or free drink deals with your entry fee.
It's worth remembering, though, that gambling is always a risky business. Check your budgeting software beforehand to get an idea of how much you're willing to risk on your bets, and set yourself a limit to make sure you don't spend more than you should.
The beauty of this option, aside from the obvious thriftiness, is its infinite flexibility. While weekends in Prague and Riga inevitably end up in boozy bar crawls through the city centre, a weekend of camping gives stags the option of drunkenly re-creating '90s raves in their own mini-campsite, or indulging in any manner of outdoorsy pursuits.
Canyoning and coasteering are inexpensive, but location-specific, activities that are guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. The former involves walking, climbing, clambering, swimming and rafting through canyons. The latter is, mainly, jumping from increasingly high cliffs. If you're claustro- or acrophobic, you might just prefer hiking between pleasant country pubs.
4. Commandeering a pub
Speaking of pubs, the gradual trend towards bars, clubs and all manner of debauched venues has left the UK's traditional public houses sufficiently neglected that great deals are commonplace. Many pubs will provide designated spaces for large groups, and those with a kitchen may even throw in catering if you're guaranteeing a certain amount of business.
It's also worth remembering that traditional pubs can be great gaming venues. In addition to dart boards and pool tables, look out for skittles, bar billiards, cribbage and snooker if you fancy organising a tournament to spice up proceedings.
If you've had any other exciting and thrifty stag experiences, or have some bright ideas to share, let us know in the comment field below.
Posted by Marc Murphy