reveals true cost of unread holiday novels

Published: Wed Sep 02 2009 has revealed that more than a third of British travellers (38%) admit they are overzealous when packing their holiday reading material and don't manage to get through everything they take with them. research* has shown that on average travellers take at least three books with them on holiday, but will only get around to reading one or two. This is the equivalent of 46,000 tonnes** of extra weight and the burden of these unread books, is not only bad for our backs, but with the airlines enforcing increasingly strict weight limits, we're wasting precious space in our luggage.

On the scales the average paperback comes in at 340g, that's double the weight of those spare flip flops and other holiday essentials like an extra bottle of sun cream or sunglasses.

Based on prices charged by the major airlines for going over the luggage weight limit, Brits are wasting an average of £1.5 billion pounds a year just by carrying more books than they actually read.

Holidaymakers are just as bad when it comes to carrying this extra weight home again. Another third (33%) admit that once they have finished their holiday read they will take it back to gather dust on the bookshelf at home. Another 16% will even haul their books home to donate to the local charity shop.

The research also established that there are more than 62 million books*** left behind in hotel rooms each year, ready to be recycled by the next guest. Whilst we may be reluctant to leave our own books, a third of people surveyed (33%) have no qualms about reading books that other people have left behind.

Alison Couper, communications director for, said: "Packing for holiday can be a nightmare and travellers are often getting caught out at check-in when they're over the weight limit.

"Reading is a great way to unwind on holiday but perhaps holidaymakers should be realistic about how many books they need to take with them and save themselves from being charged extra." also found out that the plane is the most popular place to delve into that holiday read (73%), closely followed by the swimming pool (70%) and the beach (59%). Two thirds (66%) of holidaymakers admit they still rely on the traditional guide book to help them get around. Only 4% rely on gadgets such as an iPhone or Blackberry which let you access the internet. Almost half (43%) of travellers surveyed admit to taking at least one book away with them that could be considered an 'easy read'. Another one in ten chooses to take a 'challenging' book with them, but never actually gets round to reading it.

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Notes to editors
*Research conducted amongst 1,454 UK travellers in July/August 2009.

** If 208,500,000 books are taken on holiday each year, each weighing on average 340g, this is the equivalent of 46,426 tonnes.

***According to the latest Office of National Statistics Social Trends Report, Britons make 69.5 million trips abroad each year. research found that travellers take on average three books on holiday, making the number of books taken on holiday 208,500,000 a year. 31% admit to leaving their books behind in the hotel which is a total of 62,000,000 books left behind each year.

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