European travellers more alike than they think
A new survey about travel habits reveals European are much more alike when it comes to likes and gripes than they might have imagined.
The survey, which was conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of leading train booking site Voyages-sncf.com, shows that, in the majority of cases, Europeans whether British, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swiss, Belgian or Italian – share strikingly similar likes/dislikes about their holidays
Some 7,000 frequent traveller respondents from various socio-economic groups in seven countries were all united by a common goal – to simply chillax on holiday (overall 58% European-sample-average*) – and there were a number of other common denominators.
The price is right – Budget-conscious travel has shown up as a key consideration when travelling across Europe with over three-quarters (75%) of Brits booking long in advance of travel, with 27% booking between three and six months ahead. This trait is echoed by other Europeans with more than 70% on average following suit.
Money-saving tips –17% of Brits said that overpaying for charges is their biggest travel mistake. The Dutch however are the most creative with saving money tips with 13% wearing multiple sets of clothing to save on baggage costs, while one in 10 Spanish travellers have just worn one set of clothes for their entire trip (10%) and one in five Italians have shared their travelling companion’s food to cut down on café costs (18%).
Holiday gripes – Children running wild is the UK’s biggest gripe when travelling (38%), a sentiment echoed by the Spanish (27%) and the Dutch (24%). For the Italians however, the biggest bugbear is not being able to move around (25%) while German (24%) and Swiss (21%) travellers say overhearing loud phone conversations makes their blood boil.
Left red-faced – The most embarrassing thing for most travellers is missing their stop (European-average 33%), althought for Italians, it’s breaking wind (36%) and for Brits (22%) it’s falling asleep and waking up to the sound of their own snoring.
What makes us travel – When asked ‘why do you travel?’, 37% of Brits said it was a desire to experience new cultures and destinations – a feeling echoed across Europe by all but the Germans who travel to forget about their work (29%).
Where we research – 57% of Brits prefer to take holiday advice from friends, family and colleagues while other Europeans prefer Google (Europe-wide average 71%). The Swiss are the only nation that asks work colleagues for their destination recommendations in any great numbers (21%). Belgian (15%) and Italian (17%) travellers are much more likely to take travel advice from Facebook than any of the other countries.
One centre or multi-centre – Brits prefer to stay in one place when on holiday (48%), while the majority of their itchy-footed European neighbours prefer to use their destination as a base to explore an area. There may be a reason for this as this survey highlights the fact that Brits in particular find the journey the most stressful part of their holiday experience (26%) with more than a third choosing flying as their preferred method of travel (35%).
Train travel is the continental favourite – In contrast, Britain’s European neighbours found that train travel was the answer. The survey showed that travelling by rail tends to have a calming influence, so given that a third of British travellers (29%) said that the lack of traffic was the greatest thing about train travel, it’s no surprise that travelling internationally by rail (and leaving the traffic jams behind) is enjoying something of a renaissance. The Spanish (26%) particularly highlight its convenience while every other market said they enjoy the passing scenery. Some 9.5% of Brits particularly liked arriving at the centre of their destination but overall, almost a quarter of respondents from the seven countries surveyed said that simply watching the world go by was the best thing about travelling by rail (24%).
*Sample: 7,000 respondents who travel actively (1,000 respondents in each of the following markets: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom)